Tag Archives: Polls

Idle hands at the Border Patrol, 1/15-1/22

24 Jan
Border Fence with a  Border Patrol Agent

Photo by: Leo Ortiz

A tougher stance for the border patrol, AP, 1.17.12

A downward trend in apprehensions has left the border patrol (BP) twiddling their thumbs, but rather than scale back the 21,000 agents, the agency has new plans for its idle time. The BP will soon outline punitive measures to take against immigrants who are detained and are to be deported. Yes, they have decided that deportation isn’t punitive enough, and that they need to make the lives of undocumented immigrants even more difficult. The thought is that if the border patrol makes the process more difficult for immigrants from Mexico, then there will be overall less immigration. Of course, the US immigration will continue to avoid acknowledging the contribution of undocumented immigrants on the economy, that should go without saying.

The new rules have been given the euphemism “Consequence Delivery System.” This is just another way to make life more difficult for immigrants, not much different from what anti-immigration legislators like Lamar Smith are already doing across the country. The new system includes: longer stays in the immigration detention system, flights to Mexico City with bus ticket to home town, prosecution in the Mexican courts for smugglers, and bus rides to border-towns hundreds of miles away to disconnect migrants from their networks. Essentially, the Border Patrol is institutionalizing the culture of abuse and maltreatment as outlined in the report from No More Deaths “Culture of Cruelty.” Continue reading

Undocumented workers pay billions in Social Security taxes, 12.25.11-1.2.12

4 Jan
A common myth is that undocumented immigrants don’t pay taxes. But, a recent article in The Seattle Times shows that each year billions of dollars are deducted from undocumented workers’ pay checks, and this money goes to the Social Security Administration (SSA) and Medicare. The funds go into what is called an Earning Suspense File, established to collect money from filers whose names do not match social security numbers. In 2009, the last year for which figures were available, there were $72.8 billion in wages from 7.7 million workers whose names did not match the social security numbers. Of this, approximately $9 billion went to the SSA system and an additional $2.1 billion went to Medicare. In addition, they also pay sales tax, income taxes and rent, which landlords use to pay property taxes. Instead of seeing the benefits from these billions, undocumented workers face accusations that they do not pay taxes.
This inaccurate – and discriminatory- accusation is just another example of how U.S. policies and society exploit and scapegoat our undocumented workers. Less obvious are the health repercussions of these false assumptions. For instance, many undocumented workers will not be able to claim the benefits to which they contribute, such as Medicare or Social Security pensions. The “immigrants-do-not-pay-taxes” myth also stigmatizes workers and encourages flawed policies, such as E-verify, that further marginalize undocumented workers. Anti-immigrant systems and policies exploit immigrant workers, when what our society needs to do is recognize the contributions of our workers and treat them fairly. One way to start is by exposing these discriminatory myths.
In Other News
Calif. bans car tow practice that hit illegal immigrants, USA Today, 12.27.11
On Sunday, a new law took effect that prohibits police from impounding cars at checkpoints if the only offense is not having a license. Immigrant advocates have long critiqued checkpoints as unjustly targeting undocumented immigrants while towing companies gain huge profits from impounding fees.
As Deportations Rise to Record Levels, Most Latinos Oppose Obama’s Policy, Pew Hispanic Research Center, 12.28.11
The report finds that “By a ratio of more than two-to-one (59% versus 27%), Latinos disapprove of the way the Obama administration is handling deportations of unauthorized immigrants.”
Immigration laws pose a test of states’ rights in Supreme Court, LA Times, 12.28.11
While federal judges have blocked anti-immigrant laws introduce by conservatives in half a dozen states like South Carolina and Arizona,  the Supreme Court’s conservative majority may shift against immigrant rights advocates.

E-verify sections of Alabama and Georgia’s anti-immigration law now in effect, 1.2.12
Employers in Alabama and Georgia are now required to use the E-verify system, which mandates employers to sign a document confirming that “they’ve e-verified their employees….[and] are complying with federal law.”