Immigration Facts and Data

 

National Trends | Texas Trends | Immigrants and the Economy | Immigration Enforcement and Schools | Immigrants and Social Services | Border Enforcement | Federal Jail Screening and ICE Access Programs | Local Immigration Enforcement and Public Safety | Impacts of Anti-Immigrant State Law | Immigration and Crime | Checkpoints and License Plate Scanning | Immigration Detention and Removal


National Trends

•    Nationally, foreign born persons (both legal and not) comprise approximately 12.4% of the nation’s population, up from 11.2% in 2000.  U.S. Census Bureau, “U.S.A. State & County QuickFacts,” January 17, 2012.  According to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center, the number of undocumented immigrants nationally in 2010 was 11.2 million.  Jeffrey S. Passell and D’Vera Cohn, “U.S. Unauthorized Immigration Population:  National and State Trends, 2010,” Pew Hispanic Center, February 1, 2011.

•    Immigration rates in states not traditionally touched by migrants, such as those in the Midwest and New England, are on the rise.  Ricki Lyman, “Census Shows Growth of Immigrants,” The New York Times, August 15, 2006.  It is becoming more and more commonplace for native-born U.S. citizens to live alongside immigrants.

•    Legal immigration is on the rise. The federal government is expected to approve 18,000 more naturalization applications and deny about 3,300 fewer than last year.  Julian Aguilar, “Legal Immigration Increases in Texas, U.S.,” The Texas Tribune, July 28, 2011.

•    The number of undocumented immigrants living in the United States is on the decline.  For the first time in U.S. history, the number of immigrants leaving, being deported, or legalizing their status is higher than the number of people who are arriving illegally or overstaying their visas. Overall, immigration rates are down 8% since its peak in 2007.  Passell and Cohn, “U.S. Unauthorized Immigration Population:  National and State Trends, 2010.”

•    Most researchers contribute the declining inflow of unauthorized immigrants to the economic recession.  Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Madeleine Sumption, and Aaron Terrazas, “Migration and Immigrants Two Years after the Financial Collapse:  Where Do We Stand?” Migration Policy Institute and BBC World Service, 2010; also see Martha Mendoza, “$90b Spent on Border Security, with Mixed Results,” Boston.com, June 26, 2011.  U.S. Census data analyzed by the Pew Hispanic Center showed that fewer than 100,000 Mexican undocumented immigrants settled in the United States in 2010; this is compared to an estimated annual average of 525,000 individuals between 2000 and 2004.  Damien Cave, “Better Lives for Mexicans Cut Allure of Going North,” The New York Times, July 6, 2011.

•    Six out of ten undocumented immigrants in the United States are from Mexico.  Cave, “Better Lives for Mexicans Cut Allure of Going North.”

•    On the Mexican side of migration, an extensive survey indicated that the number of individuals interested in migrating to the United States has fallen to its lowest level since the 1950s. Researchers contribute this to the economic crisis in the U.S., smaller family sizes in Mexico, dangerous conditions along the U.S.-Mexico border, an increase in educational and employment opportunities in Mexico, and a rise in the overall standard of living in Mexico.  Papademetriou, et al., “Migration and Immigrants Two Years after the Financial Collapse:  Where Do We Stand?”; also see Mendoza, “$90b Spent on Border Security, with Mixed Results;” also see Cave, “Better Lives for Mexicans Cut Allure of Going North.”

•    Approximately 5.2% of the American workforce consists of undocumented immigrants.  Passell and Cohn, “U.S. Unauthorized Immigration Population:  National and State Trends, 2010.”

•    Approximately 65,000 undocumented immigrants graduate high school each year; only 5-10% of them go to college.  Immigration Policy Center of the American Immigration Council, “The DREAM Act,” May 18, 2011.

Texas Trends

•    There are an estimated 1.7 million undocumented immigrants living in Texas.  Undocumented immigrants make up about 6.7% of Texas’ state population.  Jeffrey S. Passell and D’Vera Cohn, “U.S. Unauthorized Immigration Population:  National and State Trends, 2010,” Pew Hispanic Center, February 1, 2011.

•    Approximately 9% of the Texas workforce consists of undocumented immigrants.  Passell and Cohn, “U.S. Unauthorized Immigration Population:  National and State Trends, 2010.”

•    Texas has a high number of mixed-status families, meaning families with documented immigrants, undocumented immigrants, and native-born U.S. citizens.  Research from the Pew Hispanic Center concluded that 75% of children of unauthorized immigrants are U.S.-born citizens, and 1 out of 10 Texas children have an undocumented parent.  Susan Carroll, “Study:  1 in 10 Texas Kids Has an Undocumented Parent” Houston Chronicle, April 14, 2009.

•    Many undocumented immigrants are actively seeking a legal path to citizenship.  Collectively, Dallas, El Paso, Harlingen, Houston, and San Antonio approved about 48,900 immigration applications in 2010.  Julian Aguilar, “Legal Immigration Increases in Texas, U.S.,” The Texas Tribune, July 28, 2011.

Immigrants and the Economy

•    One group of researchers estimated that if all undocumented immigrants in Texas were to leave, the losses for one year (based on 2008 economic figures) would be approximately $69 billion in total expenditures, $31 billion in Gross Product, and $19 billion in personal income, and nearly 400,000 jobs would be lost.  The Perryman Group, “An Essential Resource:  An Analysis of the Economic Impact of Undocumented Workers on Business Activity in the US with Estimated Effects by State and by Industry,” 2008.

•    The total goods and services that immigrants consume through spending paychecks, in addition to all they produce for their employers, is close to $800 billion.  Further, immigrants produce goods and services at relatively lower costs because the undocumented population typically receives about 20% less in wages than those who are legalized; this leads to lower prices for American consumers and higher profits to employers.  Raul Hinojosa, “A Massive Economic Development Boom,” Bloomberg Business Week, July 18, 2005.

•    The addition of low-skilled immigrants expands the size of the overall economy, creating higher-wage openings for managers, craftsmen, accountants, and the like.  The net result is a greater financial reward and relatively more opportunities for Americans who finish high school.  Daniel Griswold, “Higher Immigration, Lower Crime,” Center for Trade Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, December 2009.

•    For workers with less than a high school education, the relative wage effect of immigration is similar to the overall effect.  U.S.-born workers with less than a high school education saw a relative 0.3% increase in wages (or $1.58 per week) due to new immigration between 2003 and 2007.  Foreign-born workers with less than a high school education saw a relative 3.7% decrease in wages (or $15.71 per week).  Heidi Shierholz, “Immigration and Wages: Methodological Advancements Confirm Modest Gains for Native Born Workers,” Economic Policy, February 4, 2010.  In other words, immigration by workers with less than a high school degree served to lower the relative wages of other immigrant workers with less than a high school degree, not native workers with less than a high school degree.

•    Anti-immigrant laws throughout the U.S. have triggered poor relations internationally.  While states such as Arizona, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Utah face little repercussions from straining international relationships, Texas is in the difficult position of relying heavily on foreign companies.  For example, in 2008, foreign companies employed 76,500 workers in Arizona; in Texas that number was 439,400.  Arizona exported $15.7 billion in 2010; Texas exported $206.6 billion, and Mexico accounted for 35% of exports, making it the largest partner.  International Trade Administration, “Texas:  Exports, Jobs, and Foreign Investment,” U.S. Department of Commerce, 2011.  In addition, Texas is by far the top investment site for foreign businesses, with over $119.25 billion in foreign direct investment assets.  “Texas Wide Open for Business:  Texas Foreign Direct Investment,” Office of the Governor, Economic Development & Tourism Division, 2011.  In recent years, Texas has also seen a sharp increase in the number of visas awarded to wealthy Mexicans who have invested $1 million or more and who have created or preserved 10 or more jobs.  Jeremy Schwartz, “Austin Beginning to Compete with Other Texas Cities for Wealthy Immigrants from Mexico,” Austin-American Statesman, June 6, 2011.  Given Mexico’s history of public opposition to harsh immigration laws, passing similar bills in Texas could instigate a poor relationship with the international business community and other stakeholders.  “Prop. 187 Approved in California,” Migration News, (December 1994): 1, no. 11; also see Bay Buchanan, “A Year after SB 1070, Activist Judges Stifling Immigration Enforcement,” TownHall.com, April 28, 2011.

•    When harsh immigration laws lead to job loss, the hardest-hit industries are agriculture and mining, two important sectors for the Texas economy.  Huyen Pham, and Pham Hoang, “The Economic Impact of Local Immigration Regulation:  An Empirical Analysis,”  Cordoza Law Review, 32 no. 2 (2010):  485-518.  Currently in Texas, we are seeing a shortage of hired labor in the agricultural sector; overly punitive immigration laws will only exacerbate this problem.  Jared Janes, “Texas Lawmakers Hope Bills Yield Patch for Farm-Labor Shortage,” The Brownsville Herald, March 21, 2011.

•    Studies have shown that increased immigration enforcement creates a likelihood that migrants who make it to the United States will stay here.  Wayne Cornelius, “Current Migration Trends from Mexico:  What Are the Impacts of the Economic Crisis and U.S. Enforcement Strategy?” The Mexican Migration Field Research and Training Program Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, University of California, San Diego. [PowerPoint presentation], June 8, 2009.  As such, in states with harsh immigration laws, immigrants are likely to move to other areas within the U.S., taking their low-wage labor and, in some cases, entire industries, with them.  For example, Arizonian immigrants have simply moved to other states, taking agricultural industry with them and driving down labor costs in neighboring states such as Oklahoma.  Kari Lydersen, “Arizona Bills Drives Immigrant Workers—and Anti-Immigrant Agendas—to Oklahoma,” In These Times Magazine, March 7, 2011.  In some cases, workers change industries but continue to work in their areas of residency.  Pham and Hoang, “The Economic Impact of Local Immigration Regulation:  An Empirical Analysis.”

Immigration Enforcement and Schools

•    Nationally, the number of full-time police officers in high schools and middle schools is on the rise.  American Civil Liberties Union, “School to Prison Pipeline:  Talking Points,” June 6, 2008.  Most Texas schools have police on campus.  Texas Appleseed, “Texas’ School-to-Prison Pipeline:  Ticketing, Arrests & Use of Force in Schools:  How the Myth of the ‘Blackboard Jungle’ Reshaped School Disciplinary Policy,” December 2010.  These officers have the same discretion as any other peace officer in Texas to ask immigration questions and assist in immigration enforcement.

•    Legislative proposals deterring undocumented children from attending school may violate constitutional law, established in the Supreme Court case Plyler v. Doe. 457 U.S. 202 (1982).  Plyler recognized that undocumented children have an equal protection right to attend public school, if it is otherwise offered as a free service by the state.  School districts trying to follow Plyler would be wise to limit the discretion of peace officers in their district to ask immigration questions or assist in immigration enforcement, or face discrimination lawsuits.

•    Since the passage of S.B. 1070 in Arizona, several schools have reported lost funding resulting in job cuts due to dropping enrollment numbers.  University of Arizona, Southwest Institute for Research on Women, and Bacon Immigration Law and Policy Program, “Left Back:  The Impact of SB 1070 on Arizona’s Youth,” law.arizona.edu, September 2011.  A similar phenomenon is being recorded in Alabama since the passage of their 2011 S.B. 1070-copycat legislation.  One district has estimated that it will lose $2 million in funding if the students who were absent in the days directly after the bill went into effect were indeed dropouts or withdrawals.  Alan Gomez, “Ala. Immigration Law Marked by Hispanic School Absences,” USA Today, October 4, 2011.

Immigrants and Social Services

•    Unauthorized immigrants paid a net contribution of $12 billion to Social Security in 2007 alone.  Stephen C. Goss, chief actuary of the Social Security Administration, September 3, 2010; also see Edward Schumacher-Matos, “How Illegal Immigrants are helping Social Security,” The Washington Post, September 3, 2010.  One research center estimated that in 2008, immigrants contributed around $53 billion in taxes nationally.  Mark Stevenson, “Study:  100,000 Hispanics Leave Arizona after Immigration Law Debated,” msnbc.com, Nov 11, 2010.

•    By 2007, the Social Security trust fund had received a net benefit of somewhere between $120 billion and $240 billion from unauthorized immigrants.  That represented an astounding 5.4% to 10.7% of the trust fund’s total assets of $2.24 trillion that year.  Stephen C. Goss, chief actuary of the Social Security Administration, September 3, 2010; also see Edward Schumacher-Matos, “How Illegal Immigrants are helping Social Security,” The Washington Post, September 3, 2010.

•    The 2005 Economic Report of the President concludes that “summing up the economic benefits and costs of immigration shows that over time, the benefits of immigration exceed the costs.”  Ronald D. Lee, “Economic and Fiscal Impact of Immigration,” Testimony for Panel on the Demographic and Economic Impacts of Immigration, before the Senate Immigration Subcommittee,  September 9, 1997.

•    Non-citizens do not have access to social services in Texas, aside from emergency medical and mental health services, and limited services reserved for women and children.  Carole Keeton Strayhorn, “Undocumented in Texas:  A Financial Analysis of the Impact to the State Budget and Economy,” Office of the State Comptroller – Texas, December 2006.  Contrary to popular belief, undocumented immigrants have never been eligible for Medicaid, CHIP, food stamps, or TANF.  Anne Dunkelberg, “Immigrants and Public Benefits in Texas,” Center for Public Policy Priorities, March 28, 2007.

•    Immigrant families have twice the rate of poverty as their U.S.-born counterparts, and 50% are food insecure.  Curtis Skinner, “SNAP Take-Up among Immigrant Families with Children,” National Center for Children in Poverty, March 2011; also see Heidi Shierholz, “The Effects of Citizenship on Family Income and Poverty,” Economic Policy Institute, February 24, 2010; also see Alisha Coleman-Jensen, Mark Nord, Margaret Andrews and Steven Carlson, “Household Food Security in the United States in 2010,” United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service, September 2011.

Border Enforcement

•    In its FY 2011 budget, the Obama Administration requested a net appropriation for the Department of Homeland Security of $45 billion in budget authority.  Jennifer E. Lake, “Homeland Security Department:  FY 2011 Appropriations,” [Congressional Research Service Report for Congress], Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress, (Washington, D.C.:  7-5700), December 23, 2010, www.crs.gov, R41189.

      »    Within that request, net appropriations for Customs and Border Protection (CBP, which includes U.S. Border Patrol) are set at $9.8 billion.

      »    Net appropriations for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are $5.7 billion.

      »    $50 million was requested for grants to local law enforcement in border regions through the Operation Stonegarden grant program, renamed the State Homeland Security Program. In FY 2009, Texas received almost $30 million from Operation Stonegarden.  National Immigration Forum.  ”Operation Stonegarden Fact Sheet.”  Washington, D.C., 2010; also see Josh Filler, “An Analysis of the Fiscal Year 2011 Homeland Security Grants,” emergencymangament.com, February 3, 2010.

•    A recent report by the Associated Press estimates that the federal government has spent a total of $90 billion between 2000 and 2010 on border security.  Martha Mendoza, “$90b Spent on Border Security, with Mixed Results,” Boston.com, June 26, 2011.

•    In FY 2010, the United States utilized 20,163 U.S. Border Patrol agents.  The vast majority of agents are stationed on the U.S.-Mexico border.  Politifacts.com, “U.S. Has More Border Patrol Agents on the Border than Ever, but Debate Goes On,” St. Petersberg Times, July 2, 2010.  In Texas and New Mexico specifically, a total of 9,373 Border Patrol Agents (46% of total agents) are stationed.  Jennifer E. Lake, “Homeland Security Department:  FY 2011 Appropriations.”

•    In 2005, Texas border regions began implementing Operation Streamline, a policy that has increased federal criminal prosecutions for illegal entry and illegal reentry.  Since that time, prosecutions for unauthorized entry have increased 136%, while prosecutions for unauthorized reentry have increased 85%.  This has cost an estimated $1.2 billion over five years.  Tara Buentello, Sarah V. Carswell, Nicholas Hudson, and Bob Libal, “Operation Streamline:  Drowing Justice and Draining Dollars along the Rio Grande,” Grassroots Leadership, July 2010.  This increase has positioned illegal reentry as the primary criminal charge on the federal level.  Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, “Illegal Reentry Becomes Top Criminal Charge,” Syracuse University, June 10, 2011.

Federal Jail Screening and ICE ACCESS Programs

•    As of 2010, the United States had 14 ICE Agreements of Cooperation in Communities to Enhance Safety and Security (ICE ACCESS) programs.  These programs are intended to enhance cooperation among local law enforcement agencies and ICE in enforcing immigration laws.  The most widely used of these programs are the Criminal Alien Program, Secure Communities, and the 287(g) program.  Detention Watch Network, Families for Freedom, Immigrant Defense Project and National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, “Deportation 101:  A Community Resource on Anti-Deportation Education and Organizing,” May 2010.

     »     Criminal Alien Program (CAP): This began as a pilot program in 1986 to enable ICE (then INS) investigators to go into prisons and jails to interview individuals believed to be unlawfully present in the United States.  Christopher N. Lasch, “Enforcing the Limits of the Executive’s Authority to Issue Immigration Detainers,” William Mitchell Law Review 32, no. 1 (2008): 166-167.  CAP has been implemented nationally; with the assistance of new technology and funding, immigration agents are able to screen nearly all foreign-born persons booked into Texas jails by phone or in person.  The CAP budget for FY 2009 was $150 million and for FY 2010 $200 million. Department of Homeland Security, “ICE Enforcement Salaries and Expenses FY2009,” ICE Newsroom, [Congressional Justification, S&E 35], 2009.  Once individuals suspected of unlawful presence are identified, agents place an ICE detainer or “hold” on the person; when the person is released from jail, he or she is transferred to ICE custody.  U.S. Customs and Immigration Service, “Fact Sheet:  Criminal Alien Program,” March 29, 2011.

     »     Secure Communities: Through Secure Communities, the fingerprints of booked arrestees are screened through a combined immigration and FBI database.  Immigration Policy Center, “Secure Communities: A Fact Sheet,” November 4, 2010.  If a person is identified in the database, an ICE “hold,” or “detainer,” is placed on the individual.

    »     287(g) Program: Pursuant to an agreement with the federal government, local law enforcement can be trained to exercise some of the powers of federal immigration agents.  Created by 8 U.S.C. Section 1357(g).

•    Local jails and TDCJ facilities in Texas participate in CAP.  Andrea Guttin, “The Criminal Alien Program, Immigration Enforcement in Travis County, Texas,” Immigration Policy Center, February 2010; also see U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, “Texas Prison System is the First to Partner with ICE to Automatically Identify and Remove Criminal Aliens:  All Detainees Sent to Prison Will Have Criminal and Immigration Records Checked,” ICE Newsroom, May 19, 2009.  CAP contributes to more deportations than any other ICE ACCESS program; in 2009, 48% of deportees were identified through the CAP program.  Dora Schriro, “Immigration Detention Overview and Recommendations,” Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, October 8, 2009

•    Texas has 100% participation by its jails and state facilities in Secure Communities.  U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, “ICE ‘Secure Communities’ Program Now Activated in All Texas Counties: Secure Communities Strategy Prioritizes Immigration Enforcement Actions against Convicted Criminal Aliens,” September 29, 2010.

•    Although both CAP and Secure Communities are intended to target serious criminal aliens, many individuals identified for deportation are non-criminals.  U.S. Customs and Immigration Service, “Fact Sheet:  Criminal Alien Program;” also see Immigration Policy Center, “Secure Communities: A Fact Sheet,” November 4, 2010; also see ACLU of Arizona, “In Their Own Words:  Enduring Abuse in Arizona Immigration Detention Centers,” ACLU of Arizona, 2011.  A study of government data led by the Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Day Laborer Organization, and the Cardozo School of Law found that Travis County, Texas, leads the nation in deportations of non-criminal undocumented immigrants, due to the county’s use of the Secure Communities program.  82% of immigrants who have been deported through the Secure Communities program in Travis County had no prior convictions.  Tony Plohetski, “Travis County Leads Nation in Deporting Noncriminal Immigrants, Group Finds,” Austin-American Statesman, August 10, 2010.

•    While many Texas politicians support the full implementation of the Secure Communities program, resistance nationally has been on the rise since the program was introduced.  Several city, county, and state officials have voiced concern with the program, arguing Secure Communities does not meet its stated intent to identify and deport high-risk criminal alien offenders and, in fact, has unintended negative consequences for public safety.  Deportation Nation, “Secure Communities Timeline,” DeportationNation.org, 2011.

•    Texas’ largest jail, the Harris County Jail, entered a 287(g) agreement with ICE in 2008, enabling specially trained sheriffs’ deputies to exercise some of the powers of ICE agents.  Mizanur Rahman, “Local Deputies Can Now Enforce Immigration Laws,” Houston Chronicle, August 15, 2008.  This agreement helps conserve ICE resources at county expense.  Harris County currently spends $1.1 million per year on its 287(g) program.  Harris County Sheriff’s Department, personal communication with TCJC, February 17, 2011.

Local Immigration Enforcement and Public Safety

•    Federal immigration law does not require and, in fact, may not legally require local law enforcement or other local entities to ask immigration questions of detainees, and federal authorities will not deputize local law enforcement to ask immigration questions without specialized training provided under the program created by 8 U.S.C. § 1357(g).

•    Policies that mandate or encourage local law enforcement to act as federal ICE agents exhaust massive amounts of precious resources:

    »     The per-day cost of housing one inmate in a Texas jail is approximately $40 in urban counties and $60 per day in rural counties.  Brandon Wood, Assistant Director of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, personal communication with TCJC, December 14, 2011.  Travis County information also available at Andrea Guttin, “The Criminal Alien Program:  Immigration Enforcement in Travis County, Texas,” Immigration Policy Center, February 2010.  Every new immigrant arrested and detained on a petty offense because of an immigration screening will cost counties hundreds or even thousands of dollars.  Federal programs including CAP and Secure Communities place an added burden on counties to house immigrants with detainers for longer periods, without helping to pay for it.

    »     Texas law enforcement officials have estimated that local immigration enforcement could cost local jails anywhere between $1 and $4.5 million per year.  Christy Hoppe, “Sanctuary Cities Gets First Hearing,” DallasNews.com, March 2, 2011.

    »     Resources for peace officers across the board are already stretched thin and face ongoing budget cuts, even without new locally enforced immigration measures.  The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) currently has a 10% vacancy rate; 370 of DPS’s 3,500 commissioned officer positions are empty.  Further, DPS, like all other public services, has been asked to trim its budget in the face of an $18 billion budget shortfall.  Brandi Grissom, “State law enforcement lags local police in pay,”  The Texas Tribune, August 3, 2010.  At the local level, Houston is facing a 5% budget shortage, Dallas officers may take a 5% pay decrease, and Austin is facing a mandatory 20-day furlough and an 8% cut to salaries.  Andy Cerota, “HPD, Libraries Could End Up on Budget Chopping Block,” KTRK-TV Houston, March 4, 2011; also see Rebecca Lopez, “Dallas Police Unions Battle with City Over Budget Cuts,” WFAA.com, May 12, 2011; also see “AISD Budget Cuts Affect Police” MyFoxAustin.com, March 14, 2011.

    »     The current response time for high-priority 911 calls in Harris County (e.g., for a heart attack, burglary in progress with family home, etc.) is 5 minutes.  Harris County Sheriff’s Department, personal communication with TCJC, February 24, 2011. Dallas County has a 3-minute response time to high-priority calls.  Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, personal communication with TCJC, March 1, 2011.  When peace officers spend their time on immigration enforcement – such as asking drivers for proof of immigration status, and making an arrest on a moving violation so that immigration authorities can pick up the immigrant from jail – officers become unavailable for hours for high-priority calls.  National Immigration Forum, “Deficits, Lawsuits, Diminished Public safety:  Your State Can’t Afford SB 1070,” December 30, 2010.

    »     Studies of other programs across the country that encourage police officers to do ICE’s work have shown a dramatic loss of resources.  For example, programs in Prince Williams County, Virginia, have diverted $3 million in funds from crime fighting to arresting undocumented suspects for minor offenses over a two-year period.  Thomas M. Guterbock et al., “Evaluation Study of Prince William County’s Illegal Immigration Enforcement Policy,” 2010.

    »     An estimate prepared by Yuma County, Arizona, estimated that local immigration enforcement would cost their 200,000-person county a minimum of $22 million to run and operate.  National Immigration Forum, “Deficits, Lawsuits, Diminished Public safety:  Your State Can’t Afford SB 1070.”

•    Enforcement of federal immigration laws on the local level erodes trust between law enforcement officers and the community they serve:

    »     Immigrant and mixed-status families stop reporting even serious and violent crimes, and immigrant witnesses who see suspicious behavior or serious crimes fail to come forward out of a fear of deportation.  University of Arizona, Southwest Institute for Research on Women, and Bacon Immigration Law and Policy Program, “Left Back:  The Impact of SB 1070 on Arizona’s Youth,” law.arizona.edu, September 2011.

    »     Studies have shown that survivors of domestic abuse are less likely to seek social services or report their batterers.  “Shelters fear SB1070 could prevent domestic violence victims from seeking help,” Kvoa.com, June 29, 2010.

•    Local immigration enforcement causes racial profiling and ripens conditions for abuse:

    »     According to a 2009 study, when police in Irving, Texas, first received 24-hour-per-day access to immigration ICE screening in their local jail, arrests of Latinos for traffic violations skyrocketed, while arrests of Anglos and African Americans for traffic offenses remained constant.  Many Latinos who were arrested on petty offenses were in fact U.S. citizens and legal residents.  Trevor Gardner II, and Aarti Kohli,  “The C.A.P. Effect:  Racial Profiling in the Criminal Alien Program,” The Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity and Diversity, University of California, Berkeley Law School, September 2009.

    »     A recent report by the Arizona group No More Deaths has documented more than 30,000 instances of abuse by Border Patrol agents over three years.  No More Deaths, “A Culture of Cruelty:  Abuse and Impunity in Short-Term U.S. Border Patrol,” cultureofcruelty.org, 2011.  Further, there are dozens of news stories about U.S. citizens who have been detained and deported under ICE’s custody.  Sarah V. Carswell, “ICE Errors,” November 2011, TCJC.  Department of Homeland Security workers, though well trained in immigration, are still riddled with lawsuits and human rights violations.  Local law enforcement will be even more vulnerable to rogue officers and claims of immigrant abuses.

    »     In Texas, many county jails have had problems with overcrowding at some point during the past several years.  Encouraging local law enforcement to engage in immigration enforcement could push large Texas jails back over capacity.  Overcrowding in Texas jails leads to substandard and sometimes unconstitutional jail conditions, which may result in expensive litigation.

•    Law enforcement officials themselves have spoken out against anti-immigration bills, stating that they spread already scarce resources thin and endanger public trust. National Immigration Forum, “Deficits, Lawsuits, Diminished Public safety:  Your State Can’t Afford SB 1070;” also see Christy Hoppe, “Sanctuary Cities Gets First Hearing.” This sentiment is echoed among the rank-and-file of the police force.  The average police officer does not want to enforce federal immigration laws, believing the practice would have a negative impact on public safety and lead to an increase in civil lawsuits.  Mary Malina, Ed., “The Role of Local Police:  Striking a Balance between Immigration Enforcement and Civil Liberties,” The Police Foundation, April 2009.

Impacts of Anti-immigrant State Law

•    California’s 1994 Proposition 187, a measure that created a state-run screening system to block undocumented immigrants from using a variety of social services, was estimated to be extremely costly to the state.  Had the Proposition been upheld in court, full compliance would have cost California as much as $15 billion.  Nancy H. Martis, “#187 Illegal Aliens; Ineligibility for Public Services; Verification and Reporting,” California Journal,1994.  Regardless, California has seen long-term social effects.  For example, one group of researchers found a decrease in outpatient mental health service use by Latinos, but these services were offset by an increase in the use of more expensive crisis services.  Joshua J. Fenton, Ralph Catalano, and William A. Hargreaves, “Effect of Proposition 187 on Mental Health Service Use in California:  A Case Study,” Health Affairs, 15, no. 1 (1996): 182-190.

•    In 2006, Colorado passed H.B. 1023, which banned state spending on undocumented immigration.  According to a report by the Colorado Joint Budget Committee, the law cost the state $2 million to enforce within the first year and saved the state nothing.  Mark P. Couch, “Colo. Immigration Law Falls Short of Goal,” Denverpost.com, January 25, 2007.

•    Oklahoma’s H.B. 1804 of 2007, a bill that forbid the state from providing education, health care, and various other services to undocumented immigrants, including infants, required police to check the immigration status of anyone “suspected” to have undocumented status, among other anti-immigrant measures.  The economic impact on the state was alarming:  

    »     One study showed a 3% decrease in the overall workforce, a decrease in production, a decrease in high skilled wages, and a decrease in the Gross State Product as a result of the bill’s passage.  Economic Impact Group, L.L.C., “A Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) Analysis of the Impact of the Oklahoma Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act of 2007,” Edmond, OK:  Economic Impact Group, L.L.C., March 24, 2008.

    »     A recent study showed that the Oklahoma law had enormous social costs and ultimately has not achieved its stated goals.  Some social costs include: creating a “culture of fear” among the broader Latino community; hindering the ability of citizen children to receive the public benefits to which they are entitled; lower enrollment in K-12 schools; lower college completion rates; and inadequate guidance for service providers, which created bureaucratic inefficiencies within the social service sector, negatively affecting all service users.  Robin Koralek, Juan Pedroza, and Randy Capps, “Untangling the Oklahoma Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act:  Consequences for Children and Families,”National Council of La Raza, Washington, D.C., 2010.

•    In April of 2010, Arizona passed S.B. 1070, a bill mandating local law officials to enforce federal immigration law.  While not 100% of the law went into effect, several documented repercussions have arisen:

    »     Arizona has lost millions of dollars.  Mass boycotts of Arizona have contributed to huge losses within the state’s tourism and convention industries.  By November 2010, Arizona had already lost an estimated $141 million in consumption and $9.4 million in tax revenues.  Marshall Fitz, and Angela Kelley, “Stop the Conference:  The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Conference Cancellations Due to Arizona’s S.B. 1070,” Center for American Progress, November 2010.  An additional $250,000 came directly from the state, in an attempt to boost tourism.  Ginger Rough, and Dawn Gilbertson, “Governor Out to Rebrand Arizona Over Immigration Law Criticism,” The Arizona Republic, May 11, 2010.

    »     Undocumented immigrants have begun consuming less out of fear of leaving their homes, in some cases causing a 70-80% decrease in sales.  Jeff Tyler, “Hispanics Leave AZ over Immigrant Law,” American Public Media, June 14, 2010.

    »     Within six months of S.B. 1070’s passage, an estimated 100,000 Latinos had left the state.  Mark Stevenson, “Study:  100,000 Hispanics Leave Arizona after Immigration Law Debated,” msnbc.com, Nov 11, 2010.

    »     Survivors of domestic abuse have become less likely to seek services and report their batterers.  “Shelters fear SB1070 could prevent domestic violence victims from seeking help,” Kvoa.com, June 29, 2010.

    »     S.B. 1070 has led to higher dropout and lower enrollment rates in public schools.  One district in Phoenix has estimated 100 dropouts, and the University of Arizona issued a statement indicating a drop in enrollment.  Naeema Hernandez, “Dreams Deferred for Latino Youth:  SB 1070 Likely to Increase Latino Dropout Rates,” National Women’s Law Center, June 17, 2010; also see Andrea Fuller, “Arizona College Officials Worry about Effects of New Immigration Law,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 30, 2010.

    »     A recent report looking at the impact of Arizona’s S.B. 1070 among adolescents found that the number of high school students in Arizona without parents increased, in some areas doubling.  The study also indicated that teenage marriage for immigration purposes and stress-related health problems increased.  University of Arizona, Southwest Institute for Research on Women, and Bacon Immigration Law and Policy Program, “Left Back:  The Impact of SB 1070 on Arizona’s Youth,” law.arizona.edu, September 2011.

    »     Several schools have reported an increase in job cuts due to low enrollment numbers and low levels of funding.  University of Arizona, “Left Back:  The Impact of SB 1070 on Arizona’s Youth.” 

•    In 2011, Alabama passed the harshest anti-immigrant bill in U.S. history.  While the effects of this are still under evaluation, negative effects on schools are already clear.  One district has estimated that it will lose $2 million in funding if the students who were absent in the days directly after the bill went into effect prove to be dropouts or withdrawals.  Alan Gomez, “Ala. Immigration Law Marked by Hispanic School Absences,” USA Today, October 4, 2011.  Additionally, Alabama has seen an increase in child guardianship transfers, indicating that many mixed-status families are preparing to be torn apart.  Associated Press, “Immigrants Fearing Deportation in Alabama Make Plans for Kids,” Austin American Statesman, October 10, 2011.

Immigration and Crime

•    Unlawful presence in the United States is not a crime.  While illegal entry is a federal misdemeanor, nearly half of our nation’s undocumented immigrants arrived on a valid visa and have violated no criminal laws by overstaying.  ACLU of Northern California, “Costs and Consequences: The High Price of Policing Immigrant Communities,” February, 2011

•    Dozens of studies have shown that immigrants commit less crime than their native counterparts.  Generally, immigrants come to the U.S. to work, and engaging in criminal activity jeopardizes that situation.  Daniel Griswold, “Higher Immigration, Lower Crime,” Center for Trade Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, December 2009; also see ACLU of Northern California, “Costs and Consequences: The High Price of Policing Immigrant Communities;” also see Kristin F. Butcher, and Anne Morrison Piehl, “Crime, Corrections, and California,” California counts: Population Trends and Profiles, 9, no. 3, February 2008; also see Ruben G. Rumbaut and Walter A. Ewing, “The Myth of Immigrant Criminality,” Borderbattles.ssrc.org, May 23, 2007.

     »     A recent study by the Cato Institute showed that immigrants commit crimes less than their native-born counterparts.  Undocumented immigrants from Central America have less than half the incarceration rate than U.S.-born whites.  Further, immigrants without a high school diploma have an incarceration rate only one-seventh that of native high school dropouts.  Griswold, “Higher Immigration, Lower Crime.”

     »     Latino immigrants commit less crime than U.S.-assimilated Latinos.  According to a recent issue of The American Conservative, “for almost every ethnic group, Hispanic or otherwise, immigrant generations have lower rates of criminal behavior than their American-born children.” Ron Unz, “His-Panic:  Talk TV Sensationalists and Axe-Grinding Ideologues Have Fallen for a Myth of Immigrant Lawlessness,” The American Conservative, 9, no. 3, (2010), 22-31.

•    Dozens of studies have shown that over the last 10-15 years, while immigration rates have risen, the crime rates have gone down. Rumbaut and Ewing, “The Myth of Immigrant Criminality.”  The Cato Institute found that high immigration yields lower crime overall because the presence of low-skilled workers pushes American citizens into higher-skilled positions and into the middle class in general.  Griswold, “Higher Immigration, Lower Crime.”

•    Areas with a high population of recently arrived immigrants, such as El Paso and San Antonio, historically have extremely low crime rates when compared to cities of similar size.  Studies have shown that in U.S. cities, the higher the Hispanic population, the lower the crime rates will be.  When compared to majority white cities, majority Latino cities fall 10% below average in homicide rates and 15% below average in violent crime rates. ACLU of Northern California, “Costs and Consequences:  The High Price of Policing Immigrant Communities.”  For example, El Paso has been considered “one of the safest big cities in America.”  Radley Balker, “The El Paso Miracle:  How Can a Comparatively Poor, High-Immigration Town that Sits Across the Border from Super-Violent Cuidad Juarez Be One of the Safest Big Cities in America?” Reason Magazine, July 6, 2009.  With an 80% Latino population, El Paso has the lowest homicide and robbery rates of any major city in the U.S.  Unz, “His-Panic:  Talk TV Sensationalists and Axe-Grinding Ideologues Have Fallen for a Myth of Immigrant Lawlessness.”

•    A study by Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse showed that while the number of cases awaiting resolution before immigration courts has reached an all-time high (over 280,000 cases), criminal, national security, and terrorism cases are on the decline. Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, “Rising Immigration Backlog at All-Time High yet Criminal, National Security, and Terrorism Cases Fall,” Syracuse University, September 14, 2011.

Checkpoints and License Plate Scanning

•    While the purpose of driver’s license checkpoints is to ensure drivers are licensed and carry proper insurance, police officers who oversee them have the opportunity to overstep boundaries.  In El Paso in 2006, checkpoints were shut down after claims of racial profiling and illegal search and seizure sparked lawsuits against the Sheriff’s Office.  “Sheriff’s Office Facing Lawsuit,” KFOXTV.com, May 26, 2006.

Immigration Detention and Removal

•    Despite an overall decrease in illegal immigration over the past few years, the number of immigrant detainees has risen sharply.  Many have argued that this is linked to the private prison industry’s interest in a new profit-making population. Tara Buentello, Sarah V. Carswell, Nicholas Hudson, and Bob Libal, “Operation Streamline:  Drowing Justice and Draining Dollars along the Rio Grande,” Grassroots Leadership, July 2010; also see William Fisher, “The Corrupt Corporate Incarceration Complex,” TruthOut.org, July 1, 2011.

•    Approximately 37% of federal immigration detention beds are located in Texas. In FY 2010, Congress provided funding for 33,400 detention beds.  The total detention beds in Texas equal 12,426.  Immigration detention beds are spread between 11 facilities throughout the state and, in FY 2009, they held an average daily population of 7,811 detainees.  Sarah V. Carswell, “ICE Detention Facilities and Detainees,” Grassroots Leadership.  All but two of the facilities are privately owned, under a contract with the federal government.  Buentello et al., “Operation Streamline:  Drowing Justice and Draining Dollars along the Rio Grande.”

•    In 2009, the U.S. government deported almost 400,000 people.  This is the largest number of deportations the U.S. Government has ever conducted in one year.  It is worth noting that a majority of those deported (67%) were non-criminal aliens, meaning they had no criminal record prior to deportation.  Further, 15.4% of the criminal aliens only had immigration crimes such as illegal entry and illegal reentry on their records.  Department of Homeland Security Office of Immigration Statistics, “Immigration Enforcement Actions:  2009,” August, 2010.

•    The Department of Homeland Security deported approximately 100,000 people from Texas in 2010, 25% of the total 393,289 deportations conducted nationwide.  Ronald Trowbridge, “Immigration Bills Face Likely Dead Ends in Texas,”  Austin American-Statement, January 18, 2011, A8.

•    The Department of Detention and Removal has a budget of $2.75 billion nationally and enough capacity to detain 33,400 immigrants at one time.  Between 2001 and 2010, the number of immigrants that passed through ICE detention per year has nearly doubled, from 209,000 to 392,000 people.  National Immigration Forum, “The Math of Immigration Detention: Runaway Costs for Immigration Detention Do Not Add Up to Sensible Policies,” Immigration Forum.org, August 2011.

•    In 2010, DHS provided funding for 33,400 detention beds.  According to recent data, the detainee average daily population is 31,771 and the per-day cost of one detainee is $80 per day.  This amounts to approximately $2.5 million per day, or $927.7 million per year for immigration detention.  Some lawmakers have argued for facility expansion to accommodate the 300,000 non-citizens currently living in the U.S. with removal orders.  However, to incarcerate this many people for one day would cost $24 million, or $8.8 billion per year.  This does not include prison building, transportation, deportation, administrative salaries, and other costs associated with detention and deportation processes.  Chad C. Haddal and Alison Siskin, “Immigration-Related Detention:  Current Legislative Issues,” Congressional Research Service, January 27, 2010.