21st Century America Project

For years the team at NDN/NPI has been a leader in helping policymakers better understand the changing demographics of the United States. We are excited to announce that we are bringing our demographic and public opinion research together under a single banner: The 21st Century America Project. The project will feature work by Morley Winograd and Mike Hais, NDN/NPI Fellows, authors of the critically acclaimed book Millenial Makeover; Alicia Menendez, our new Senior Advisor, who has extensive experience working in these emergent communities; and other NDN/NPI Fellows and collaborators.

Below, please find some of the highlights of our past work on 21st Century America:

2010 Highlights

A Continued Look at the Changing Coalitions of 21st Century America, Poll and Presentation, by Mike Hais and Morley Winograd

Hispanics Rising 2010

The American Electorate of the 21st Century, Poll and Presentation, by Mike Hais and Morley Winograd

Millennial Makeover, a blog by Mike Hais and Morley Winograd

Data Matters Columns, a blog by Mike Hais

2009 Highlights

The Drop Dobbs Campaign

The Anti Vitter-Bennett Amendment Campaign

The New Constituents: How Latinos Will Shape Congressional Apportionment After the 2010 Census, by Andres Ramirez

NDN Backgrounder: Census 2010, Immigration Status and Reapportionment, by Andres Ramirez

Latino Vote in 2008, by Andres Ramirez

2008 Highlights

End of the Southern Strategy, by Simon Rosenberg

Hispanics Rising II

2007 Highlights

The 50 Year Strategy, by Simon Rosenberg and Peter Leyden in Mother Jones

NYT: State Legislatures Slow on Immigration Measures

Julia Preston of The New York Times has an article up which details how states have gradually slowed progress on anti immigrant legislation. The full article can be read here, with excerpts below:

Under newly fortified Republican control, many state governments started the year pledging forceful action to crack down on illegal immigration, saying they would fill a void left by the stalemate in Washington over the issue. Now, with some legislatures winding down their sessions, the lack of consensus that has immobilized Congress has shown up in the legislatures as well, and has slowed — but not stopped — the advance of bills to penalize illegal immigrants.

While anti immigrant legislation in states has slowed, and no state has yet passed legislation as stringent as Arizona's SB-1070, the focus on tougher enforcement on the state level:

Still, immigrant advocates in many states say the debate has clearly shifted in favor of tougher enforcement. They say they have had to fight just to hold the line on immigration issues that they thought were long settled. Bills similar to Arizona’s are advancing in Florida, Kansas, Oklahoma and South Carolina. In Kansas and Oklahoma, even though Republicans control the legislatures and the executive branch, immigration proposals have encountered unusually vocal opposition from business.

Yet there is definitely an up hill battle in getting these bills passed in both chambers of state legislatures, in New Mexico, Governor Susan Martinez is having problem's selling legislation that would deny undocumented immigrants drivers licenses to her fellow state legislators:

In New Mexico, the repeal effort was championed by Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican and a Hispanic, who had promised such a move in her campaign last year. A bill she supported was defeated by the Democratic-controlled State Senate on Wednesday. Instead, it approved a bill that added requirements, including fingerprinting, for immigrants without a Social Security number who apply for licenses. If that bill wins final approval and the governor’s signature, it will create a two-tiered system in which licenses issued to people without proof of legal residence will be distinctively marked. According to license authorities, about 83,000 illegal immigrants are driving in New Mexico.

With the first part of state legislative calendars coming to a close within the month law makers are beginning to realize how cost prohibitive enforcing these new laws have become:

In Washington State, the debate over driver’s license rules polarized a state that has been relatively tolerant of illegal immigrants, an important part of the work force that picks apples. Several Democrats joined Republicans in supporting a repeal of the license law. State fiscal authorities estimated that the repeal would cost about $1.5 million a year in new verification technology and monitoring expenses. That swayed some budget-minded lawmakers, and the bill was killed Monday.

In The Face of Growing Budget Crisis Arizona Immigration Bills On Hold

In the face of a growing budget crisis in Arizona, state legislators have had a gut check moment on anti immigration legislation.

Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce has placed several anti immigration pieces of legislation on hold as several members of his own party balk at passing more controversial legislation in the face of a state on the brink of an economic break down. 

The Associated Press has the full story here:

Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce has placed new legislation on illegal immigration on hold pending action on a new state budget, a spokesman said Friday. Pearce's pause for the bills reflects majority Republicans' stated priority for tackling the state's budget shortfall, spokesman Mike Philipsen told the Associated Press.

Perhaps of broader importance, even if the bills are brought back to the floor for a final vote, it is unclear whether or not Pearce has the votes to pass the legislation:

Although the new illegal immigration measures won the committee's endorsements, it's unclear whether they have enough support from majority Republicans to win Senate passage in the face of unified opposition by the chamber's small Democratic minority. With fallout from SB1070 still a factor amid the state's economic woes, some Republican senators have said Arizona has done enough legislation on illegal immigration for now. Others have said they want the state's budget troubles addressed first.

Legislators in Arizona have been under tremendous pressure from their constituents to focus in on the economy. Whether or not all of the state congress gets the message it seems for now that enough are listening.

Utah Adopts Immigration Alternative Which Provides Undocumented With ID Cards

Movement in state passed immigration laws has shifted over the weekend, both the LA Times and The New York Times have stories up showing how nationally more legislatures are opting to move away from Arizona style anti-immigration laws.

Nicholas Riccardi of the LA Times has part of the story HERE:

A year ago, a revolution on immigration enforcement seemed underway, with legislators in at least 20 states vowing to follow the lead of Arizona's tough new law targeting illegal immigrants. These days, the momentum has shifted. In at least six states, the proposals have been voted down or have simply died. Many of the other proposals have not even made it past one legislative chamber.

While Arizona style immigration laws have had trouble passing in most states, Utah has come out with an alternative immigration law that mirrors most of the provisions found in a framework written up last year for Comprehensive Immigration Reform in Congress:

The one state whose Legislature has passed an Arizona-style law, Utah, only approved a diluted bill accompanied by another measure that goes in a dramatically different direction. The Utah Legislature on Friday voted to create ID cards for "guest workers" and their families, provided they pay a fine and don't commit serious crimes. Immigrants who entered the country illegally would be fined up to $2,500. Immigrants who entered the country legally but were not complying with federal immigration law would be fined $1,000.

This Utah passed legislation shows a huge shift in the immigration debate. This state passed legislation contains a guest worker program which has stalled out immigration legislation in the Congress in the past. Julia Preston of the New York Times has a full account of what the Utah legislation does  here:

In the first move by a state to extend legal recognition to illegal immigrant laborers, the Utah Legislature has passed immigration bills that include a guest worker program that would allow unauthorized foreigners to work legally in the state. ...The guest worker bill came after intense lobbying by business and farm groups as well as by some immigrant advocates, and it enjoyed the quiet but all-important endorsement of the Mormon Church.

What is significant about this state passed law is not just that it passed but how. Business and religious groups lobbied hard to move the legislation in the legislature. Businesses have long pushed back on anti-immigrant legislation in states. Chambers of Commerce's have long touted the positive economic impact that undocumented workers have on small businesses in their states.

Lets hope that other states recognize this as they continue to explore passing their own immigration laws in the future.

Obama and Calderon Seek To Ease Tensions

Mexican President Felipe Calderon and President Barack Obama met this week and their talks have been mostly focused on a strained relationship between the two countries:

Matt Spetalnik of Reuters has the full story here:

President Barack Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon vowed greater cooperation to combat drugs and arms smuggling and ease trade tensions as they sought to smooth over cross-border differences. Long-simmering problems between the United States and Mexico have slipped down Obama's agenda as he has been distracted by Middle East unrest, a budget fight in Congress, a fragile U.S. economy and his looming 2012 re-election bid. But Calderon's visit has been a chance to refocus Obama's attention on bilateral ties, and the leaders announced an agreement on a way to resolve a long-haul trucking dispute that has hurt trade between the two countries, whose two-way commerce surpasses $1 billion a day.

$1 Billion dollars a day between our two countries is a huge deal, while the two presidents focused on some of the positive aspects of our countries relationship, they also touched upon the border and concerns that President Calderon raised about the destabilizing forces of America's insatiable desire for drugs and lax gun laws:

But Obama made clear he had heard Calderon's appeal to do more to crack down on U.S. drug consumption and illegal arms shipments and cash flow to Mexican gangs, which the Mexican government says is fueling violence south of the border. While insisting that Washington had already ramped up its efforts in those areas, Obama told reporters: "We have to take responsibility just as he's taking responsibility ... We're putting more and more resources into this."

What is important about this meeting is that President Obama has now publically acknowledged that America's consumption of drugs and lax gun laws have contributed to the destabalization of the region. What is even more telling is that he was willing to awknowledge that the United States has stepped up by providing resources and fostering co-operation.

The full read out of the speech can be read HERE, with quotes from both presidents below:

President Obama on the shared responsiblity between the United States and Mexico on drug violence in Mexico:

I reiterated that the United States accepts our shared responsibility for the drug violence. So to combat the southbound flow of guns and money, we are screening all southbound rail cargo, seizing many more guns bound for Mexico and we are putting more gunrunners behind bars. And as part of our new drug control strategy, we are focused on reducing the demand for drugs through education, prevention and treatment.

President Obama on immigration reform:

We have also discussed immigration, an issue on which both countries have responsibilities. As I told President Calderón, I remain deeply committed to fixing our broken immigration system with comprehensive reform that continues to secure our borders, enforces our laws -- including against businesses that break the law -- and requiring accountability from undocumented workers. And we have to conduct this debate in a way that upholds our values as a nation of both laws and immigrants. So I’m eager to work with Republicans and Democrats to get this reform done, which is vital to the U.S. economy.

President Calderon on the border:

Secondly, in terms of the border, both President Obama and I agree that we must turn this area into the land of opportunities and not of conflict. Last year we adopted a declaration on the administration of a 21st century border, which we want both for the United States and Mexico. And since then, the bilateral executive committee entrusted with that implementation has agreed to a plan of action in addition to issuing a joint declaration to prevent border violence, so as to enable us to avoid tragic events such as those that we've seen on both sides of the border.

President Calderon on immigration reform:

Thirdly, in terms of immigration, President Obama has always recognized, invariably recognized the contributions of immigrants to the economy and society of the United States, and I recognize and value his clear and determined support for the adoption of a comprehensive migratory reform in this country, as well as his firm commitment to the human and civil rights of communities, regardless of their point of origin. I've expressed to him my concern for the proliferation of local initiatives that are against the interests or the rights of immigrant communities.



Black Lawmakers Accuse GOP of "Manufacturing Tension" Between African Americans and Immigrants

The fallout from the House Subcommittee on Immigration Policy Enforcement Committee hearing "Making Immigration Work For Minorities," continues today.

Some Black lawmakers have expressed frustration that the Republican controlled committee is trying to "manufacture tension" between Hispanics and African Americans.

Suzanne Gamboa of the Associated Press has the full story up HERE, with quotes from law makers below:

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, D-Mo., chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus: criticized the hearing's premise in a statement. Several other Democratic lawmakers echoed that argument, saying Republicans were ignoring their lack of support for job training, affirmative action, college financial aid and other programs more critical to employment of minorities.

"I am concerned by the majority's attempt to manufacture tension between African-Americans and immigrant communities. It seems as though they would like for our communities to think about immigration in terms of 'us versus them,' and I reject that notion," Cleaver said in his statement.

Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, issued a warning at the start of the hearing against any attempts to pit blacks against Latino immigrants, a notion that he said he found "so abhorrent and repulsive."

The article also notes the political calculations by the GOP in putting on this hearing:

The GOP has been trying to balance its immigration enforcement agenda with its need for greater Hispanic voter support to win the White House in 2012. Republicans hoped to show some minorities support deporting immigrants and oppose granting legal status to those who are in the country illegally.

But not all of the minorities present were willing to play ball, Wade Henderson, chairman and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights noted that there were far more problems facing the African American community in regards to employment than undocumented immigrants:

Henderson said high unemployment among blacks has a wide variety of causes. Unemployment rates for more than 50 years have been almost double what they are for white Americans, he said, even as the population of foreign-born people in the U.S. has increased.

Denial of equal opportunity in education, criminal justice, housing and jobs "continues to contribute more directly to the high unemployment rate that African-Americans endure and not the issue of illegal immigration as has been cited by virtue of this hearing," Henderson said.

VIDEO: Southwest Border Mayors Proud of the Progress Being Made Along the Border

With Mexican President Felipe Calderon in Washington D.C. this week, the border is sure to be a hot topic of conversation between him and President Barack Obama. While NDN has certainly written alot about the border and the fact that it is a safe and economically prosperous region, it is important to note that there is also a group of mayors in border states who are also weighing in on what is happening along the border.

Below are several videos of border mayors commenting on the positive economic realities of the border, and the fact that their cities are safe:

U.S. Mexico Border Mayors Roundtable On The Safety of The Border Region

Arturo Garino, Mayor of Nogales Arizona

Mayor of El Paso, Texas John F. Cook

Mayor of Yuma, Arizona Alan L. Kriege

Vice Mayor of Tucson, Arizona Richard Fimbres

HEARING: “Making Immigration Work for American Minorities” Misses Key Evidence That Shows No Impact On Wages By Undoc Immigrants

Today, the Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement held a hearing entitled, "Making Immigration Work For Minorities," which sought to tie undocumented immigration to the unemployment and low wages of other American minorities.

Chairmen of the Judiciary Lamar Smith released the following statement, which can be read in full Here, with excerpts below:

Chairman Smith: With unemployment at or over 9% for 21 months, jobs are scarce.  And that is especially true in minority communities across the U.S. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in January the unemployment rate for blacks was 16% and for Hispanics was 12%.  These unemployment rates are well above the national average. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, seven million people are working in the U.S. illegally.  These jobs should go to legal workers, many of whom would be minorities.  Virtually all credible studies show that competition from cheap foreign labor displaces American workers, including legal immigrants, or depresses their wages. 

The above statement is artfully worded and makes some very broad observations about the American workforce, but in the end, no not all credible studies show that competition from cheap foreign labor displaces American workers. In fact the Immigration Policy Institute recently released a report showing that not only do undocumented immigrants not hurt American job's but they help grow them. The full report can be read here, with excerpts below:

Immigrants are not the cause of minority unemployment.

  • If immigrants took jobs away from large numbers of minority workers, one would expect to find higher minority unemployment rates in those parts of the country with larger numbers of immigrants.  Yet data from the 2009 American Community Survey, analyzed for the IPC by Rob Paral and Associates, indicate that there is no correlation between the size of the foreign-born population and the African American unemployment rate in U.S. metropolitan areas {Figure 1}.

So, going back to Chairmen Smith's statement, while it is true that the Black population of the United States does have a higher level of unemployment rate there is no correlating data to show that this is because of undocumented immigration in the country.

I highly recommend reading the report in full as there are also a number of studies that show that wage disparities are not to be blamed on undocumented immigrants. Additionally NDN's own Robert Shapiro wrote a paper last year that showed that American wages were not affected by undocumented immigration.

That paper The Impact of Immigration and Immigration Reform On the Wages of American Workers showed two important things:

High levels of immigration have not slowed overall wage gains by average, native-born American workers. Most studies suggest that recent waves of new immigrants are associated with increases in the average wage of native-born Americans in the short-run and with even larger increases in the long term as capital investment rises to take account of the larger number of workers.

The Wage Impact of Reforms to Provide a Path to Legal Status for Undocumented Immigrants Would Lift Wages of Everyone: The largest effects of such reforms would be felt by immigrants themselves: After the 1986 immigration reforms, wages rose by 6 percent to 15 percent for previously-undocumented male immigrants and by 21 percent for previously-undocumented female immigrants. Those reforms also increased wages of previously legal immigrants. Research also suggests that those reforms led to modest wage gains by native-born Americans.

Nuff Said

Tea Party Patriots National Conference In Arizona Signals Shift In Immigration Debate

The Tea Party Patriots have recently wrapped up their national conference in Arizona, while this may not seem related to immigration, it is. Marc Lacey of the New York Times has the full story here, with quotes below:

The Tea Party Patriots chose Arizona as the site of its first policy conference — a meeting that was part strategy session, part pep rally — to show support for a state that has been boycotted by many groups because of its crackdown on illegal immigration.

The Tea Party Patriots showing solidarity with Arizona in their battle with the federal government is not shocking, but more then anything else this event is a perfect example of how moderate conservativism which had once had a sensible, cautious support of broader reform of immigration has been co-opted.

Which is to say that the current debate over immigration, in Arizona in particular, has become not so much about a realistic discourse on how to solve problems associated with undocumented immigration but a staring contest between states and the federal government.

Arizona's recent anti-immigrant omnibus is a perfect example of legislation that has been designed more to provoke a federal lawsuit then any sort of realistic legislative proposal.

Arizona picking a fight with the federal government, at first glances seems like a good fit for the Tea Party's view of a Constitutionally Limited Federal Government.

Yet upon further reflection, as we have seen with the debate over state passed laws that would revoke birthright citizenship, many state legislators have noted that the reason they are filing these laws is not so that states can actually police immigrants, but to highlight that the government has failed to enforce federal immigration laws and that more then anything they want the government to do more.

Which is to say that the Tea Party's tacit support of Arizona's state government is only a further indication that this is more about political posturing than taking a hard look at how our countries immigration system can be improved.

In an Associated Press article from last year on a Tea Party rally on the border,  Sherriff Joe Arpaio gave the following assessment on what to do about the problems of undocumented immigrants in the country:

“Don’t just say border enforcement, that’s a cop-out,” he said. “Let’s say lock them up in the interior.”

People are entitled to say whatever they like about immigration, yet this sort of commentary falls far short of engaging in an actual debate about what can be done to not just secure the border but to find better ways to fix our current broken immigration system. Which even Sherriff Joe, can acknowledge should be fixed.


New Report Shows That Crime In Arizona Border City Nogales Has Dropped By 11%

Just  a quick hit to before everyone heads off to the weekend, the Nogales Police Department has released a report showing that serious crimes have fallen by 11% over the last year.

This is big news given the rhetoric coming from the state capitol in Arizona. Governor Jan Brewer has repeatedly said that the border is out of control. Going so far as to sue the federal government for not enforcing immigration laws.

The reality, as we can see in Nogales, AZ an actual border city, is quite different. The Nogales International has the full story:

A new report shows that serious crimes fell by 11 percent in Nogales last year, a decline that the city’s mayor and police chief say reaffirms Nogales’ credentials as an especially safe community. According to the report, issued by the Nogales Police Department and released to the public this week, 459 major felony offenses were committed within city limits in 2010, down from 515 in 2009.

The full story can be read HERE.

New Arizona Immigration Omnibus More A Test Of Federal Government Authority Than Practical Enforceable Law

Arizona is pushing an unprecedented new type of state passed Anti-Immigrant legislation forward this week, what is becoming increasingly clear is that SB1611 is designed not so much to regulate immigration in Arizona but to pick a fight with the federal government.

Alia Beard Rau, Dan Nowicki and Ken Alltucker of the Arizona Republic has the full story here:

Some Arizona lawmakers are tired of the federal government telling the state what to do. They don't believe federal requirements, Supreme Court rulings or decades of precedent are good reasons to require state taxpayers to pay to educate illegal immigrants or provide them with health care. And, this year, they're doing something about it.

And by doing something about it.... The state legislature intends to pass a state law which will almost certainly face a lawsuit from the federal government and advocacy organizations:

...many of these efforts, if they become law, will likely face federal lawsuits challenging their constitutionality. But that threat didn't deter the Legislature from passing Senate Bill 1070 last year and doesn't seem to be slowing momentum for these bills this year. Many of the bills have passed their first legislative-committee hurdle.

Fortunately it is possible that this bill will not have the votes necessary to pass:

Several of the more moderate Senate Republicans have voiced dislike for the bills, saying they are a distraction from the more important efforts to bring jobs and restore the state's economy. And once they leave the Senate - where President Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, helped move them through - their chances diminish. House Speaker Kirk Adams, R-Mesa, has made it clear that the budget and jobs are his priority. And, in the House, he will decide which committee, if any, hears the immigration bills.

More on this as it develops.

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