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CIAO Focus, July 2014: America's Immigration Debacle

The U.S. government has attempted for more than two decades to put a stop to unauthorized immigration from and through Mexico by implementing “enforcement-only” measures along the U.S.-Mexico border and at work sites across the country. These measures have failed to end unauthorized immigration and have placed downward pressure on wages in a broad swath of industries.

Comprehensive immigration reform that legalizes currently unauthorized immigrants and creates flexible legal limits on future immigration in the context of full labor rights would help American workers and the U.S. economy. However, the federal government’s current policy is to step up its enforcement-only strategy without creating a path to legalization for the millions of undocumented immigrants currently living in the country.

Despite evidence that comprehensive reform would raise the “wage floor” for the entire U.S. economy, to the benefit of both immigrant and native-born workers, states such as Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina have responded to federal delay tactics by enacting laws that restrict the rights of immigrants and invite racial profiling by local law enforcement. The most well-known of these laws is S.B. 1070 in Arizona, which remains largely unenforced due to legal challenges to its constitutionality by the U.S. Department of Justice.

--Cato Journal, Vol. 32, No. 1 (Winter 2012)

From the CIAO Database:

Children of Immigrants: 2011 State Trends Update

Immigration and the Changing Landscape for Local Service Delivery Demographic Shifts in Cities and Neighborhoods

America’s Incoherent Immigration

The Economic Benefits of
Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Canada-U.S. Relations and the Impermeable Border Post 9/11: The Co-Management of North America

Outside Sources:

Border crisis scrambling the politics of immigration policy (Washington Post)

How the United States Immigration System Works: A Fact Sheet (Immigration Policy Center)

Unfair Immigration Policies (Human Rights Watch)

Immigration (The White House)

Past CIAO foci can be found in the archive.

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Source: Stanford News

The CIAO Atlas country data is provided by

The Economist Intelligence Unit

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