• History shows Trump will face legal challenges to detaining immigrants

    President Donald Trump has followed through on his promise to ramp up immigrant detention as part of immigration enforcement. His executive order on border security and immigration describes a “new normal” that will include the detention of immigrants while they await removal hearings and removal. Rather than doing something new, President Trump is simply expanding the use of immigrant detention — a tool which has long been part of the arsenal of the U.S. government in immigration enforcement. Courts have regularly been asked to intervene to curb the excesses of immigrant detention. As detention appears to be an important part of Trump’s immigration enforcement plan, legal challenges will almost certainly follow.

  • Trump’s policies will affect four groups of undocumented immigrants

    President Donald Trump is expected to order the deportation of millions of “criminal aliens” this week. Administrations prioritize the removal of some immigrants over others because immigration enforcement resources are limited. Since the mid-1990s, previous administrations have focused on removing immigrants with criminal convictions, regardless of whether they have legal residency. Trump’s focus on deporting “criminal aliens” and his suggestion that he might offer reprieve to certain immigrant youth suggest there could be some continuity between his enforcement priorities and those of Obama. But the new president’s emphasis on mass deportation promotes fear. This, in turn, may make noncitizens less likely to apply for naturalization, attend school, seek medical care or challenge violations of labor laws.

  • DHS OIG recommends USCIS suspend plans to use ELIS for naturalization application processing

    The Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (DHS OIG) recommended that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) stop plans to reinstate use of the Electronic Immigration System (ELIS) to process naturalization benefits for immigrants. The OIG says that its urgent recommendation stems from an ongoing review which discovered alarming security concerns regarding inadequate background checks and other functionality problems with ELIS.

  • Six years after first attempt, fight over anti-sanctuary cities bill has changed

    Bills targeting “sanctuary cities” failed to pass the Texas Legislature in 2011 and 2015, but similar efforts this session have better chances of making it to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk.

  • U.S. ends preferential treatment of Cuban migrants

    The Obama administration has decided to end a 20-year-old preferential treatment of Cuban immigrants – a policy known as Wet Foot, Dry Foot – which allowed most Cuban migrants who reached the United States – typically on boats – to receive a Green Card after one year. Ending the policy means that undocumented Cuban immigrants will from now be treated the same way as migrants from all other countries who enter the United States without proper papers.

  • Nearly 500,000 immigrants deported from U.S. in 2016

    The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency reported that nearly half million immigrants were deported in 2016. The agency did not offer details about the nationalities of the deported immigrants. In all., 530,250 individuals were apprehended across the United States in 2016 – of which 450,954 were removed.

  • Trump’s immigration policies will pick up where Obama’s left off

    In 2017, the Trump administration will likely continue and expand the Obama administration’s focus on removing immigrants convicted of crimes. Whether Trump will break ground for a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico is far less certain. To increase crime-based removals, the Trump administration will probably seek greater state and local assistance in federal immigration enforcement, but Trump is likely to encounter the same resistance that Obama did in working with state and local governments on immigration enforcement.

  • Working the system is easy for undocumented immigrants

    This is the economic and social reality in which millions of unauthorized immigrants find themselves: a country so reliant on cheap labor that substantial portions of the economy are built largely on the backs of immigrants willing to do work most Americans won’t, and for lower pay. An underground labor market provides abundant employment opportunities for undocumented immigrants in the United States. But working in the shadows often means accepting exploitation.

  • Abbott vows to cut funding for "sanctuary campus" schools

    Rebuking a growing movement aimed at protecting undocumented students under incoming President Donald Trump, Gov. Greg Abbott vowed Thursday to cut funding for any Texas school that declares itself a “sanctuary campus.” The definition of a “sanctuary campus” is murky, but Abbott  made it clear they are not welcome in Texas.

  • Mexicans are migrating, just not across the U.S. border

    Mexican migration to the U.S. is in decline. The Pew Hispanic Research Center has found that since 2009, more than one million native-born Mexicans living in the U.S. returned to Mexico. But many other Mexicans never crossed the U.S.-Mexican border in the first place. Why are some Mexican migrants choosing to stay home? What does it mean for the U.S. border with Mexico? The decline in migration to the U.S. is not simply linked to building more barriers at the border. Changing demography, economy, the difficulties of living in the U.S., and a growing sense of opportunity at home, among many other factors, are shifting Mexican migration to the U.S. Migrants balance risk and opportunity as they decide to move. Fostering the continued growth of those possibilities within Mexico, and the continued strengthening of the Mexican economy can help build a future without building a wall.

  • Trump’s immigration policy would push legal U.S. workers down the occupational ladder

    U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has proposed deporting millions of undocumented immigrants, and many voters appear to believe that deporting illegal immigrants would boost job opportunities and wages for U.S. workers. But our economic modelling suggests different conclusions. The eight million illegal workers currently in the U.S. workforce contribute to U.S. output. If all the illegal workers left the United States, our modelling found, then the U.S. economy would be 3 percent to 6 percent smaller. A smaller U.S. economy would need fewer workers in all occupations. The exception is farm laborers and construction workers: there would be fewer jobs overall in these occupations, but there would be more jobs for legal U.S. residents. This is because deporting illegal workers would open up vacancies. Moreover, in general terms, eliminating illegal workers from the U.S. workforce would change the structure of employment for legal workers away from skilled occupations towards low-skilled, low-wage occupations.

  • With Trump in D.C., Texas might spend less on border

    With a tight Texas budget session ahead in 2017, state legislators are already looking for every available dollar. Not having to spend $800 million on border security — the amount allocated in the previous two-year budget — would amount to a huge financial windfall at the state Capitol. Not counting federal funds, the Legislature spent about $114 billion in the last budget. If President-Elect Donald Trump delivers on his promise to dramatically beef up security on the U.S.-Mexico border, leading Texas lawmakers say they might quit spending so much state tax money on it.

  • Number of undocumented immigrants in U.S. unchanged over the 2010-2016 period

    The issue of undocumented immigration has been central to the campaign of Donald Trump — and major motivation behind the surge of Hispanic voters supporting Hillary Clinton. The number of illegal immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border may be too high than some Americans want, but experts point out that it has not risen in recent years. The numbers of unauthorized immigrant in the United States grew rapidly in the 1990s and early 2000s, but that trend changed with the onset of the financial crisis. The total number of Mexican immigrants in the United States is virtually unchanged over the 2010-2016 period.

  • Counting 11 million undocumented immigrants is easier than you think

    News organizations widely report that there are 11 million unauthorized immigrants living in the United States. But where does this figure come from? Donald Trump has falsely asserted: “It could be three million. It could be 30 million. They have no idea what the number is.” In the third debate, Hillary Clinton said, “We have 11 million undocumented people. They [undocumented parents] have 4 million American citizen children. 15 million people.” The confusion is warranted – but demographers have figured out a simple and effective way to estimate the number of unauthorized immigrants.

  • Trump’s wall ignores the economic logic of undocumented immigrant labor

    Donald Trump portrays undocumented immigrants as invading “criminals” supported and abetted by the Mexican government is, and who pose a dire threat to the nation. Trump’s call for building a wall assumes that the cause of undocumented migration originates in Mexico, in the Mexican government, or in the criminal intent of migrants. A border wall makes intuitive sense if you assume the cause of undocumented migration is external to the United States. This is a belief that ignores not only the ease of breaching such a wall, but more fundamentally the economics of low-wage, undocumented labor migration that generated these flows in the first place.