HEADLINES: Immigration

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A Georgia law, known as H.B. 87 and passed in April, that penalizes anyone harboring undocumented immigrants and allows police to check the immigration status of anyone they believe to be in the country illegally could cost the state $800 million in lost farm value, a report from the Center for American Progress finds. The report estimates that if Georgia farms were forced to install mechanized labor to replace that migrant labor scared away by the law, it would cost the average small farm $1.2 million per year — a sum that could put most farms out of business. Research firm, the Perryman Group, estimates that removing all documented workers from Alabama would cost the state $1.1 billion in gross product. [Huffington Post]

In a blunt speech on Wednesday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano took on critics of the administration’s immigration policies on both the left and right, telling Republicans that security along the border with Mexico is “at an apex” and rejecting calls from immigrant advocacy groups to slow the pace of deportations. The secretary said she would not cancel or suspend a fingerprint-sharing program her department has been expanding across the country. The program, Secure Communities, has been assailed by Latino and immigrant groups, who say it swept up many non-criminal immigrants. [NYTimes]

Lawmakers on the House Judiciary’s immigration subpanel proposed granting American residency to foreigners who earn advanced degrees in math and science fields at a hearing on Wednesday. Darla Whitaker, a senior vice president for Texas Instruments, said her company must increasingly turn to foreign nationals to fill positions that require advanced skills. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) pushed her own bill, the Immigration Driving Entrepreneurship in America (IDEA) Act, which would grant residency to immigrants who earn master’s degrees or PhDs in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) from certain research universities. [The Hill]


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