HEADLINES: Immigration

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More than 5,000 children of immigrants are languishing in state foster care nationwide because their parents were living in the United States illegally and were detained or deported by federal immigration authorities. These children can spend years in foster homes, and some are put up for adoption after termination of their parents’ custody rights.With neither state nor federal officials addressing the problem, thousands more are poised to enter the child welfare system every year. “They can be dropped into the foster care system for an indefinite period of time,” says Wendy D. Cervantes, vice president for immigration and child rights policy at First Focus, a bipartisan advocacy organization in Washington, D.C. “This causes severe long-term consequences to a child’s development. It has a negative impact on the country as a whole and a direct impact on taxpayers. The fact that these children have parents means they shouldn’t be in the system in the first place.” A recent report by the Applied Research Center (ARC), a national racial-justice think thank, found that when immigration enforcement methods intersect with the child welfare system, consequences for immigrant families can be devastating and long-lasting. [Huffington Post]

Immigrant rights advocates are making their voice heard in Olympia as hundreds gathered to sway legislators on state immigration laws. Those are immigrant rights advocates rallying on the steps of the Washington state house. They want to convince lawmakers in Olympia to keep E-verify optional for Washington employers. E-verify allows businesses to check whether a worker has the necessary legal documents. Critics say the federal database is flawed, and can get the wrong people kicked out of the country. [Oregon Public Broadcasting]

The United States needs to ease restrictions on immigrants who plan to open businesses, and create a separate visa for potential entrepreneurs, according to a report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Current immigration laws make it difficult for people to enter the United States and start a business, according to the report, released today by the Chamber and the Immigration Policy Center of the American Immigration Council. Expansion of the visa program would also aid companies’ access to foreign-born graduates of U.S. universities, helping economic growth, the authors of the report said. Immigrant entrepreneurs established 18 percent of the Fortune 500 companies, according to a June 2011 report from the Partnership for a New American Economy, a group of business leaders and mayors that advocates for immigration reform. Those companies, such as Google Inc., Big Lots Inc. and Comcast Corp. generated $1.7 trillion in revenue in 2010 and had 3.7 million employees worldwide, the report said. “They are going to contribute and succeed somewhere — why shouldn’t it be the United States?” Thomas Donohue, the Chamber’s chief executive officer, said in a Jan. 12 speech in Washington. [BusinessWeek]

 

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