Immigration:
Challenges and Opportunities

Immigration Policy

Immigration is a topic of heated debate in the United States. It poses significant challenges to State Senators, but also can offer economic opportunities. Therefore, immigration has been a perennial topic on the Senate Presidents’ Forum agenda. The Fall Forum “Looking South,” to examine border security issues in a session led by Edward Alden, Bernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. The view “Looking North,” was described by Theresa Cardinal Brown, Director of Immigration Policy for the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), who presented a case study of Federal/Provincial Partnership in Canada and its lessons for US Federal/State cooperation. The session on “Looking Inward” brought insights from Jeremy Robbins, Executive Director of the Partnership for a New American Economy, who assessed the economic impact of immigrants in the US workforce.

Looking South: The Price of Border Security

Safety and economic prosperity make the US an irresistible magnet for people fleeing violent and impoverished nations, Mr. Alden reminded the Forum. Of the 313 million people in this nation, 40 million (13%) are immigrants, including 11 million undocumented persons.

In the US, a Mexican worker can earn 3 times what he or she could at home. Such wealth disparities drive immigration, Mr. Alden observed, making it difficult to stop. In addition, the recent Central American influx from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador represents people fleeing the increasing violence of drug lords, but also those, especially children, who are forced to become members of drug gangs or to be drug couriers.

Substantial investments in border security since the 1990s funded more fences, floodlights, cameras, and Border Security agents. In 1990, 3,000 agents accounted for 1.2 million apprehensions that year. Today, there are 21,000 agents, but only approximately 100,000 apprehensions per year. Even with improved border security technologies, such as drones watching the US-Mexico border, projections suggest only a 50%-to-55% apprehension rate of illegal entrants. Mr. Alden asked, “Are we apprehending fewer people because the beefed-up security means fewer are trying to cross the border? Or are they more savvy about getting through?”

The key border security questions facing the states are: “What resources are we willing to commit to protecting our borders?” And “What’s the best way to accomplish this?” Mr. Alden discussed three different approaches to border security:

1. Funding more agents, fences, and border controls

2. Reducing the attractiveness of illegal entry by making it harder to work illegally

3. Increasing legal immigration by creating temporary worker programs

Discussion

Sen. David Long (IN): Today, border security concerns are not just about the economy, but about terrorists coming to the US with violent intent. This is a national security issue. We have to ask how that reality affects the price we are willing to pay for border security. Are ISIS terrorists trying to come through Mexico?

Mr. Alden: During its first 5 years, the Homeland Security Department developed intelligence databases to identify terrorists by using fingerprints from known terrorist hotspots such as safe houses in Iraq. These people are on a Watch List to prevent them from entering the US. Mexico works closely with the US and shares data on every person entering Mexico at a stop point en route to the US. Mexico recognizes that a terrorist attack in the US would shut down the borders and be economically devastating for Mexico. They have strong incentives to stop terrorists and are working to identify potential threats and prevent them from entering Mexico. Currently, there is no evidence that ISIS is trying to come in through the Mexican border. If terrorism is the primary focus for border security, there are more effective means to halt terrorists long before they reach the border.

Sen. Troy Fraser (TX): We have 60,000-to-70,000 unaccompanied immigrant minors filling the housing in Texas. We do not have the resources to keep taking in these children, and we are not finding their families in the US to take them in. The Mexican drug cartels are using the children to smuggle drugs into the US or to divert border guards to focus on the children. Are we apprehending fewer people because the smugglers are better funded and smarter?

Mr. Alden: The Mexican drug cartels are using children as mules to carry drugs into the US because minors are treated less harshly at the border. This is a drug problem. Now that marijuana is legal in Colorado, they are smuggling drugs into that state. Improved border security has slowed down illegal entry by 50%, but we have only stopped 5% of drug smuggling.

The recent wave of unaccompanied minors was completely unprecedented. From 2008 to 2011, fewer than 6,000 children a year came from  El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala in somewhat equal numbers and 11,000 from Mexico. They were apprehended and sent home. In 2012, those numbers doubled. By 2014, 12,000-to-15,000 children were coming from each of the three Central American countries on an annual basis.

This influx was driven by several factors:

  In recent years, the US has deported many drug lords back to Central America, leading to increasing violence there and impressment of children into drug gangs or as drug mules carrying drugs to the border.

  Drug cartels also dispensed misinformation, telling parents that their children would not be deported from the US.

  At the same time, unaccompanied minors are treated less harshly than adults, and more lenient US laws allow them to be reunited with family members and provided access to health care and education while they awaited deportation hearings, which could be delayed for 4 years.

Sen. Eduardo Bhatia (PR): Immigration has many dimensions beyond border security. There are 11 million undocumented people in the US, and many of them have US-born children who are US citizens.  You can’t deport the parents and leave the children behind. But these immigrants pose challenges for the labor force, housing, and social services. Meanwhile, the US provides refugee asylum for people fleeing such violent places as the Middle East. What about asylum for those people fleeing the violence in Central America?

Mr. Alden: Until there’s a level of comfort that we have control over the borders, we cannot address the other dimensions of immigration. Eventually, we will have to re-evaluate ‘refugee status.’ However, today these immigrants are not being granted that status when they finally get their day in court. The federal government controls immigration policies such as border security and workplace regulations, while the states face the significant challenges of funding health care, education, and social services for immigrants.

Looking North: Federal/Provincial Partnership

Ms. Brown coordinates and supports the work of the BPC’s Immigration Task Force, co-chaired by former governors Haley Barbour (Mississippi) and Ed Rendell (Pennsylvania) and former Secretaries Henry Cisneros and Condoleezza Rice. She noted that both the US and Canada are federal systems, with power shared in the constitutions between the federal and the sub-federal governments (states in the US and provinces in Canada). Both are immigrant-receiving countries, and both are multicultural societies. These similarities lead the US and Canada to cooperate on a broad range of issues. The Canadian response to immigration challenges may have applications in the states, Ms. Brown observed.

The States Take Action on Immigration

Ms. Brown examined the role of the federal/provincial partnership in the immigration context because in recent years, the current dysfunction in the US federal immigration system has caused more and more states to take action. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, since 2007 on average, 1,300 immigration-related bills are introduced each year and 200 laws are enacted in the states. Some laws have been created to support enforcement of immigration law and some to support integration of immigrant communities. But the proliferation of state laws shows clearly that states are getting more, not less, involved in immigration policy in America.

 Immigration-Related Laws in the States

States’ Welcoming Initiatives

In the absence of federal legislative changes for immigration, states are proposing new ideas in immigration that are state-based. Many states, recognizing the potential immigration benefits from immigrants, have created formal “welcoming initiatives” to lure and help settle new immigrants to their states. Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan has proposed a set-aside of immigrant visas for highly skilled workers who would settle and work in Detroit. The state of Utah as part of the “Utah compact” has proposed a state-based temporary worker program. Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts has a Global Entrepreneur Program that essentially allows state-based higher-education institutions to be “incubators” for investor start-ups and act as “employer” for visa purposes. Many states already have found help for their economic-development projects from the so-called EB-5 investor visa program to provide funding for projects in their states from convention centers and athletic stadiums to ski resorts.

Limitations on States’ Roles

Although states are passing legislation, recent US Supreme Court decisions have limited the areas where states can regulate immigration or immigrants, Ms. Brown pointed out. The most recent was the case against the State of Arizona’s expansive immigration law, SB1070, which was mostly struck down. But the case reiterated those areas where states may have some room to legislate. Specifically, there are areas where immigration touches on an area of state responsibility, such as issuing drivers’ licenses or determining in-state tuition or eligibility for state-funded benefits (where there are no federal matching funds). States can also regulate how their law-enforcement officers can participate in immigration enforcement, such as through participation in formal partnerships such as the 287(g) programs or whether or not to honor immigration detainer requests.

Ms. Brown reviewed Canada’s government structure to illustrate how our northern neighbor’s immigration system works between the federal government and the provinces. Canada has a parliamentary system of government, a constitutional monarchy with the head of state being the “sovereign” or Queen Elizabeth II, who is Queen of Canada in this context. The Sovereign is represented in Canada by the Governor General at the federal level and by Lieutenant Governors in the provinces.

As a parliamentary system, the majority party in parliament is asked by the Governor General to form a government. The  head of that party becomes the Prime Minister, who chooses other members of parliament for his or her Cabinet to serve as ministers over the governmental organizations and lead the civil service. This structure is also present in the provinces. In effect, in this system the ability of the parliament to be a check on the executive and vice versa is limited. With a majority in parliament of his or her party, the Prime Minister is generally assured of support for any legislative proposals made, and legislation is generally more favorable to the exercise of executive discretion.

Canadian federalism is defined a bit differently in the Canadian constitution than the US Constitution. Where our Declaration of Independence hallows “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” as “unalienable rights” that government is required to protect, Canada’s constitution embodies “peace, order, and good government.” Under the US Constitution, all powers not specifically granted to the federal government remain with the states. In Canada, any power not specifically enumerated remains with the federal government. Under this division of powers, however, immigration is specifically designated as a “concurrent” or shared area of jurisdiction.

The Canadian Constitution requires the federal government to make annual “equalization payments” to the poorer provinces to equalize their income. These payments are an important and constitutionally required part of the provincial budgets and may be used at the provinces’ discretion. These disbursements may be used to address some of the costs of immigrant settlement and integration. Additionally, the federal government has a formal responsibility to help fund the settlement and integration responsibilities of the provinces.

The Economic Role of Immigrants

Like the US in its early years, Canada’s immigration system has historically been to support Canada’s population and settlement of a continent and workforce needs. That system focused on the economic contribution of immigrants, although there are provisions for family sponsorship of close relatives. Overall immigration to Canada is far smaller in absolute numbers than to the US, totaling about 260,000 in 2012, while the US admitted over 1 million new legal residents in that same year.

While Canada’s population is about one-tenth the size of the US, 35 million in 2012 compared to 314 million in the US, on a per capita basis, Canada admits more immigrants per thousand in its population than the US does. Canada has the highest percentage of foreign born of any of the G8 countries, at just over 20% of the population as of 2011. The US has averaged around 13% foreign born during that same time period.

Multicultural Positivism

In spite of Canada’s  higher rates of immigration, the Canadian public supports that influx  at higher rates than in the US, public polling consistently shows. Canada also has a formal policy of “multiculturalism” (it is a specified mission of the federal Minister for Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism”), and most Canadians see it as an integral part of Canadian values. This translates into formal federal and provincial programs for immigrant settlement and integration.

Because of the constitutionally shared authority to legislate immigration, there is direct coordination between the federal government and the provinces on immigration. The federal government has exclusive jurisdiction over “naturalization and aliens,” which enables it to determine the number of immigrants admitted to Canada, and the criteria against which they are selected. In this context, the federal government has introduced key legislation, such as the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which outlines federal approaches to these immigration issues. However, the federal government, through Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), consults regularly and formally with the provinces annually on immigration policy and goals.

The Provincial Nominee Programs operate alongside the federal programs for immigration (ie, permanent settlement) in Canada. Under these programs, applicants can apply for selection by a province based on that province’s identified criteria, which frequently relate to job skills and (in the case of Quebec) language capability. Each province agrees to a target number of immigrants each year under the overall federal targets and selects its own applicants in these categories. If approved, the applicant then applies to Citizenship and Immigration Canada and is vetted for national criteria and admissibility, such as health and security screenings. The provincial agreements also include specific temporary-worker programs where there are specific provincial labor needs as well.

Lessons for the States

Ms. Brown asked “What can we learn from the Canadian model?” First, that a federalist approach is workable when the structures of government permit it, and there are formal agreements in place. A specific instance might be  that a one-size-fits-all immigration law and policy may not realize the greatest economic benefits across all American states, which can have widely varying economies and economic circumstances that could benefit from different forms of immigration. The rigidity of US immigration law, in which quotas and requirements are set in statute and cannot be adjusted except by additional legislation, makes the system less responsive to changes in the economy. Additional involvement by the states could also help build support for modifications in federal immigration law, and the public may have more confidence in their legislators when they understand that their states have more control.

Ms. Brown concluded that the Canadian experience provides some applicable lessons for US states:

•  Regular consultations with the states/provinces can contribute to better policy/legislative outcomes.

•  States may be in a better position to determine economic/workforce needs.

•  US Immigration Law is highly rigid, but new ideas and flexibility might help break gridlock.

Looking Inward: Economic Benefits of Immigrants in the Workforce

Jeremy Robbins, JD, reported that immigration leads to vibrant economic growth. Mr. Robbins is the Executive Director of the Partnership for a New American Economy, a bipartisan coalition of more than 500 Republicans, Democrats, and Independent mayors and business leaders who support immigration reform as a way of creating today’s jobs for Americans.

Immigrant Entrepreneurs

Currently, immigrants are increasingly likely to start businesses. He noted that in 2011, immigrants made up 13% of the population, but they started 28% of all US businesses. And more than  40% of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children. At a time when the rate of start-ups in the US is falling, immigrants are twice as likely to create a business as native-born persons. Between 2000 and 2011, start-ups owned by immigrants doubled, while businesses begun by native-born people decreased by 10%. Furthermore, businesses less than 5 years old account for the bulk of job growth today.

Hispanic entrepreneurship, in particular, is growing exponentially. From 1990 to 2012, the number of Hispanic-immigrant entrepreneurs increased by 436%, while native entrepreneurs increased by only 14%. Hispanic entrepreneurs powered the economy during the recent recession, adding 160,000 to their ranks, while the number of native-born entrepreneurs decreased by 250,000.

Immigrants and the Demographics of Aging

The median age of the US workforce is climbing, and the ratio of seniors to workers is skyrocketing. In 1978, the median age was 34.8, but in 2018 it is projected to reach 42.3 years. Today, 10,000 workers are retiring every day. In 1978, there were 18 seniors to each worker. By 2018, there will be about 26 seniors to one worker, and by 2040, this could reach 35 seniors vs one worker. As society ages, who will the workers be? Who will contribute to Social Security and Medicare programs? Immigration offers a solution, Mr. Robbins said, noting that immigrants have paid $182 billion more into Medicare than they have taken out.

The aging population also exacerbates the shortage of health care professionals and aides. Immigrants fill roles at both ends of the health care spectrum. They are twice as likely to be doctors and twice as likely to be home health aides compared with native-born workers.

As the population ages, seniors seek to sell their homes. It is increasingly likely that an immigrant will be the buyer. Immigrants in the US are responsible for an estimated $3.7 trillion boost to home equity.

Immigrants and Globalization

US industries face global competition, so they have to out-innovate others. And US universities have become the training ground for innovators for the world; 76% of patents awarded to the top 10 patent-producing US universities had at least one foreign-born inventor.

“Can we keep the highly skilled workers trained at US universities?” Mr. Robbins asked. ‘Not with current H-1B Visa limitations,’ is the answer. The low cap on these visas is not responsive to real economic and job needs. In fact, even with a relatively high unemployment rate following the recent recession, as of June 2014, there are 4.7 million unfilled jobs due to a shortage of skilled workers. And that lack of workers has repercussions for other tech workers. It is estimated that H-1B visa denials in 2007 to 2008 cost US-born tech workers 231,224 jobs and $3 billion in wages. Highly skilled immigrants create American jobs; every foreign STEM worker with an advanced US degree creates 2.62 American jobs, according to “Immigration and American Jobs,” a December 2012 report by the Partnership for a New American Economy and American Enterprise Institute.

Only 7% of permanent visas issued in America are based on economic needs. Switzerland, Spain, and South Korea allocate about 80% of visas based on economic needs, and 58% of UK visas are skills-based. Other countries are recruiting the talent that the US turns away.

  Canada launched a Start-Up Visa Program, which allows foreign entrepreneurs to immediately apply for permanent residence on securing a commitment from an angel investor group.

  Chile offers a $40,000 grant and a one-year work visa to entrepreneurs who agree to stay in that South American country for six months.

  Brazil created “Start-up Brazil,” a government partnership with private accelerators that allows domestic and foreign entrepreneurs to apply for government grants and offers mentorship, training, infrastructure, and other resources.

  Singapore established the entrepass visa, which, on renewal, allows foreign-born entrepreneurs to bring their families over on visas.

  New Zealand allows Entrepreneur Work visa holders to apply for permanent resident status as early as 6 months if their business meets certain requirements.

In closing, Mr. Robbins said there are three key aspects to the immigration discussion: border security, families, and competitive advantage for economic growth. He made several recommendations for actions the states can take to capture the economic benefit of immigrant workers:

1. Create an agency, an Office of New Americans (or an Office of Immigration)

2. Develop workforce recertification programs so immigrants with skills can pursue their careers (as opposed to driving a taxi)

3. Attract entrepreneurs through business-plan competitions and incubators

4. Increase access to higher education by allowing in-state tuition

5. Help immigrants overcome language barriers by providing dual languages in schools and services

Discussion

Sen. Eduardo Bhatia (PR): Where do the undocumented workers reside and what jobs are they doing?

Mr. Alden: Lower-skilled immigrants with less than a ninth-grade education find jobs in construction, agriculture, hotels, and restaurants. While initially, immigrants congregated in border states such as California, Texas, and Arizona, now they are broadly dispersed and immigrating to wherever there are jobs.  In the 1990s, workers would come illegally to the border states, work for a while, and then return home to their families. Today, the smuggling fee for a desert-border crossing is $3,000. This is so costly that people now bring their families with them and follow the jobs, staying in the US.

Mr. Robbins: Immigrants are changing the face of the US voting electorate as more people stay and marry. 80% of immigrant families are mixed, including a US-born spouse, so some members of the family can vote. By 2016, Hispanic voters will become a major voting bloc in Colorado, Virginia, New Mexico, and Nevada. In Texas, 1 million additional Hispanic voters will be on the rolls in the next 2 years. Population growth in the next few years in America will be among Hispanic and Asian immigrants, not native-born people.

Sen. David Long (IN): What is the best thing to do with the 11 million illegal immigrants? Deporting them and having them reapply for citizenship is costly and doesn’t make sense. A better plan would be to create a work-visa program to get them documented and then allow them to stay here and work legally.

Mr. Alden: Giving illegals a free pass on the path to citizenship offends some people who may have waited a long time to follow the legal process. They are willing to go through all the hurdles to be able to work and travel legally in the US.

Ms. Brown: At least half of all illegal immigrants have been in the US for 13 years or more and have mixed families. If they got a temporary work permit, they would not be willing to leave the country when that permit expires. We need to develop some form of perpetual legal status. Right now, it can take up to 10 years to get a legal visa. We need to clear out the backlog in the courts and create a more efficient process.

Ms. Brown commented on Senator Marco Rubio’s (FL) step-by-step proposal for, first, securing the border, and second, creating a process for legal immigration, and, finally, allowing amnesty for illegal immigrants. She noted that economic disparities drive people to want to come to the US. This stepwise process would simply drive up business for the smugglers. What is needed is a comprehensive immigration system, she said.

Mr. Robbins: Agreed that a secure border is not enough because many people over-stay their visas. Immigrants come to the US to work. What is needed are more legal ways to work so that people can play by the rules.

Sen. John J. Cullerton (IL): What specific recommendations do you have for the states? It seems unlikely that any comprehensive immigration-reform legislation will pass because of political maneuvering. Is there some small piece that the CEOs in the Partnership would endorse?

Mr. Robbins: In the current political arena, it’s difficult to get any bipartisan agreement. Everyone agrees that we need a policy to define the legal status of undocumented immigrants, but not what that policy should be. There is agreement about retaining highly skilled workers. On the low-skilled side, there are concerns about immigrants taking US jobs.

Sen. Susan Wagle (KS): The fear factor is making immigration reform even more difficult. People are worried about ISIS, and they are hearing a lot of rhetoric on talk radio. If the midterm elections produce a Republican Senate, will they be able to find some policy to agree on?  When I discuss immigration, I have to overcome the fear factor with economic arguments, such as pointing out that immigrant buyers may help maintain the equity people have in their houses.

Ms. Brown: Politics and perception always overcome facts. People believe the news coverage, so it  takes some effort to understand the issues and solutions for immigration.  Education at town halls and on talk shows is needed to explain how immigration actually affects the local economy.

Border security and security from terrorism are two different challenges. Illegal immigrants crossing the border to find work can be met and managed at the border. But terrorist travelers need to be intercepted long before they reach the border. This relies on intelligence gathering, an analysis of terrorist organizations, and listening to terrorist chatter. There has been some chatter from ISIS about attempting to enter the US through Mexico, but the drug cartels will not tolerate this. It would be bad for business. Terrorists don’t try to cross borders illegally. They try to fly in legally on visas, so stopping them requires a different strategy.

Sen. Wayne Niederhauser (UT): We recognized that 11 million undocumented individuals are not going to go back home. In Utah, we thought it would be better to allow the illegals to become  legal and to know who and where they are. Utah has enacted comprehensive immigration reforms. Our policy was driven initially by enforcement, but then it became more comprehensive. We offer in-state tuition and drivers’ privilege cards to undocumented people. We tried to implement a Guest Worker Program so workers could be recognized in a safe way, but that was put on hold by the federal government.

One of the unintended consequences of our comprehensive program was that we put our own US citizens through the ringer. They had to have a birth certificate to renew their drivers’ licenses and people complained. We had to explain that we need to identify everyone--documented and undocumented persons.

Ms. Brown: If knowing everyone’s identity is essential to creating a secure system, then everyone has to be credentialed.

Sen. Ulysses Currie (MD): What about the competition for lower skilled jobs? Right now, African American men face 12% unemployment and for youth it is 50%. Why should we let more people in when these Americans are unemployed? Would selectivity change that argument if we admitted only people with needed skills?

Mr. Robbins: The current flat quota-based system does not work. We have to assess job openings and see where immigrant workers would help create new jobs. Then, we also have to retrain and reskill people for existing jobs. In the long run, immigration reform benefits everyone. There is certainly short-term pain for some people, so we need to mitigate their losses.

Ms. Brown: Immigration reform is essential for economic growth, helping US industries meet workplace needs and  be more competitive in addition to making the nation  more secure.

Keynote Speakers

Edward Alden

Edward Alden is the Bernard L. Schwartz senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in Washington, DC, and the author of The Closing of the American Border: Terrorism, Immigration and Security Since 9/11 (Harper Collins, 2008). Mr. Alden was the project director for the Council’s Independent Task Force on U.S. Trade and Investment Policy (2011), which was co-chaired by former White House chief of staff Andrew Card and former Senate majority leader Thomas Daschle. He also directed the Independent Task Force on U.S. Immigration Policy (2009), which was co-chaired by former Florida governor Jeb Bush and former White House chief of staff Thomas F. (Mack) McLarty. He is the director of CFR’s Renewing America Publication Series. Most recently, Mr. Alden was co-author of the CFR Working Paper Managing Illegal Immigration to the United States: How Effective Is Enforcement?.

Theresa Cardinal Brown

Theresa Cardinal Brown joined the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) in January 2014 as Director of Immigration Policy, where she coordinates and supports the work of BPC’s Immigration Task Force, co-chaired by former governors Haley Barbour (Mississippi) and Ed Rendell (Pennsylvania) and former Secretaries Henry Cisneros and Condoleezza Rice. The BPC is a nonprofit organization founded in 2007 by former Senate Majority Leaders Bob Dole, Tom Daschle, Howard Baker, and George Mitchell that drives principled solutions through rigorous analysis, reasoned negotiation, and respectful dialogue. The Immigration Task Force issued a set of recommendations for immigration reform in August 2013 and continues to work to present bipartisan, rational immigration-policy options for leaders.

Charlie Cook

As the editor and publisher of The Cook Political Report and a political analyst for the National Journal Group, Charlie Cook’s prodigious writing is a direct line to the heart of politics. He writes weekly for National Journal magazine and National Journal Daily, and he also pens a regular column for The Washington Quarterly. According to The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Cook “produces the sharpest political handicapping in the business, serving as the one-man, go-to source for Americans who want to be truly informed.” For the spring semester of 2013, Mr. Cook  served as a resident fellow at the Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

Michael Dimock

Michael Dimock is the Vice President for Research at the Pew Research Center in Washington, DC. He is responsible for guiding and coordinating all of the research projects the center undertakes, overseeing research standards and practices, and seeking out new research opportunities. Dr. Dimock is particularly involved in the Center’s public-opinion-survey research, having served for over a decade as the head of research, and ultimately the director, of the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, the unit that focuses on American politics and public opinion.

Jared D. Harris

Jared D. Harris is a faculty member at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, where he teaches courses and workshops on strategic thinking and ethical decision making to military officers, leaders in education, legislative leaders, students, and business executives.  A Fellow with the Business Roundtable Institute for Corporate Ethics and a Senior Fellow with Darden’s Olsson Center for Applied Ethics, Mr. Harris is also a research partner at the Open Ethics and Compliance Group and the Institute of Management Accountants.  Mr. Harris’s  research highlights the interplay between ethics and strategy, with a particular focus on the topics of corporate governance, business ethics, and inter-organizational trust. His recent books include Public Trust in Business (Cambridge University Press, 2014) and The Strategist’s Toolkit (Darden Business Publishing, 2013).

Jeremy Robbins

Jeremy Robbins is the Executive Director of the Partnership for a New American Economy, a bipartisan coalition of more than 500 CEOs and mayors making the economic case for immigration reform.  Mr. Robbins previously worked as a Policy Advisor & Special Counsel in the Office of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Robert Sack of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Additionally, he served as a Robert L. Bernstein International Human Rights Fellow working on prisoners’ rights issues in Argentina along with being  a litigation associate at WilmerHale in Boston, where, along with working on general corporate litigation matters, Mr. Robbins was part of the firm’s team representing six Bosnian men detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, the European Court of Human Rights, and federal courts in Washington, DC, and Massachusetts. He received a J.D. degree from Yale Law School and a B.A. degree in Political Science from Brown University.

Other Immigration article:

 

Immigration reform is essential for US economic growth.


“Are we apprehending fewer people because the beefed-up security means fewer are trying to cross the border? Or are they more savvy about getting through?”

Sen. David Long

Edward Alden


Currently, there is no evidence that ISIS is trying to come in through the Mexican border.

Sen. Troy Fraser


The recent wave of unaccompanied minors was completely unprecedented.

Sen. Eduardo Bhatia


Until there’s a level of comfort that we have control over the borders, we cannot address the other dimensions of immigration.


The Federal government controls immigration policies such as border security and workplace regulations, while the states face the significant challenges of funding health care, education, and social services for immigrants.

Theresa Cardinal Brown

Sen. Ulysses Currie

Sen. Keith Faber


Canada has a very different system of cooperation between the federal government and its provinces that may have some lessons the American states can learn from.


Canada admits more immigrants per thousand in its population than the US.


Canada has the highest percentage of foreign born of any of the G8 countries, at just over 20% of the population as of 2011. The US has averaged around 13% foreign born during that same time period.


The provincial agreements also include specific temporary-worker programs where there are specific provincial labor needs as well.


Additional involvement by the states could also help build support for modifications in federal immigration law, and the public may have more confidence in their legislators when they understand that their states have more control.

Jeremy Robbins


The number of Hispanic-immigrant entrepreneurs increased by 436%, while native entrepreneurs increased by only 14%.

 


Immigrants have paid $182 billion more into Medicare than they have taken out.

 


It is estimated that H-1B visa denials in 2007 to 2008 cost US-born tech workers 231,224 jobs and $3 billion in wages.

 


Only 7% of permanent visas issued in America are based on economic needs. Other countries are recruiting the talent that the US turns away.

 

Edward Alden, Theresa Cardinal Brown,
and Jeremy Robbins


Immigrants are changing the face of the US voting electorate. For example, by 2016, Hispanic voters will become a major voting bloc in several states.

 

Sen. John J. Cullerton

Sen. Susan Wagle


Border security and security from terrorism are two different challenges.

 

Sen. Wayne Niederhauser

Sen. Ulysses Currie


Immigration reform is essential for US economic growth.

 

Edward Alden

Theresa Cardinal Brown

Charlie Cook

Michael Dimock

Jared D. Harris

Jeremy Robbins

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