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December 17, 2014

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Maryland report calls immigrant workforce ‘vital,’ Alabama to revise controversial immigration law

Here’s a collection of interesting news in the realm of immigration from coast to coast.

Report: Immigration benefits Maryland: The Commission to Study the Impact of Immigrants in Maryland issued its final report Wednesday.

In a press release accompanying the report’s release the findings were summarized:

Immigrants to Maryland contribute significantly to the state's economy, and were vital to its workforce expansion in both technical and less-skilled occupations from 2000 to 2010 … During this period, immigrants mostly complemented rather than competed with U.S.-born state residents for jobs, it adds.

Also from the press release:

The report did say that when economic growth is weak, competition from new immigrants may lead to lower wages and contribute to unemployment among lower-skilled workers. “Notably, when it occurs, the negative effects of new immigration are most concentrated on the wage and employment opportunities of previous low-skilled immigrants.”

Revisions coming for Alabama immigration law: The immigration law passed last year in Alabama that has been followed nationally will be revised, the state’s governor, Robert Bentley, announced Friday.

The move comes after legal immigrants were detained in the state for not carrying sufficient identification and proof of legal residency.

Read the Reuters report.

ICE announces first public advocate: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has hired its first public advocate in the agency’s history.

In a blog post on the ICE website, the public advocate, Andrew Lorenzen-Strait, outlines his duties:

• Assist individuals and community stakeholders in addressing complaints and concerns in accordance with agency policies and operations, particularly concerns related to ICE enforcement actions that affect U.S. citizens;

• Inform stakeholders on Enforcement and Removal Operation’s policies, programs and initiatives, and enhance understanding of ERO’s mission and core values;

• Engage stakeholders and build partnerships to facilitate communication, foster collaboration and solicit input on immigration enforcement initiatives and operations; and

• Advise ICE leadership on stakeholder findings, concerns, recommendations and priorities as they relate to improving immigration enforcement efforts and activities.

Federal appeals court delays seven deportations: Muddling the current climate for deportations even further, a federal appeals court in San Francisco has halted the deportation of seven people and asked the Obama administration for a decision on the prosecution on the cases.

The court asked for clarification regarding two memos released last year by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton urging prosecutors to use “discretion” when deciding whether to pursue immigration cases.

It was a 2-1 decision by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and dissenting judge Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain chided his colleagues for issuing an “audacious ruling” and said the judges lacked the authority to make such demands of prosecutors.

Read the Associated Press article.

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