HEADLINES: Immigration

Published On: Donate

Kansas business groups are asking legislators to move away from strict immigration policy by starting a program designed to give undocumented immigrants hard-to-fill jobs. The new proposal has been criticized as “amnesty” for people who’ve come to the United States without documentation. The coalition pushing the new program includes agriculture groups with memberships that traditionally lean toward the GOP, as well as the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, another stalwart supporter of conservative Republicans. [Huffington Post]

Alabama’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants, widely seen as the toughest in the United States, has cost the state’s economy up to $10.8 billion, according to a new study. The Alabama law, passed in June, requires police to detain people they suspect of being in the U.S. illegally if they cannot produce proper documentation when stopped for any reason, among other measures. The cost-benefit analysis by University of Alabama economist Samuel Addy estimated up to 80,000 jobs were vacated by undocmented immigrants fleeing the crackdown. The lost jobs also cost Alabama up to $264.5 million in lost state sales and income taxes, and as much as $93.1 million in lost city and county sales taxes. [Chicago Tribune]

The dining hall workers had been at Pomona College for years, some even decades. For a few, it was the only job they had held since moving to the United States. Then late last year, administrators at the college delivered letters to dozens of the longtime employees asking them to show proof of legal residency, saying that an internal review had turned up problems in their files. Seventeen workers could not produce documents showing that they were legally able to work in the United States. So on Dec. 2, they lost their jobs. Now, the campus is deep into a consuming debate over what it means to be a college with liberal ideals, with some students, faculty and alumni accusing the administration and the board of directors of betraying the college’s ideals. The renewed discussion over immigration and low-wage workers has animated class discussions, late-night dorm conversations and furious back and forth on alumni e-mail lists. Some alumni are now refusing to donate to the college, while some students are considering discouraging prospective freshmen from enrolling. For the last two years, many of the dining hall workers had been organizing to form a union, but the efforts stalled amid negotiations with the administration. Many on campus believe that the administration began looking into the employees’ work authorizations as a way to thwart the union effort, an accusation the college president, David W. Oxtoby, has repeatedly denied. [NYTimes]

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