HEADLINES: Immigration

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Earlier this week, about three dozen people set out on a six-week bus voyage through the dark terrain of American immigration politics. Their journey is to begin, fittingly, in the desert in Arizona, national capital of anti-immigrant laws and oppressive policing. The momentum for this daring ride, called the “UndocuBus,” began building last week at the federal courthouse in downtown Phoenix. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, was testifying at trial about his office’s long history of racial profiling and discriminatory policing. It will wind through other states where laws and failed policies force immigrants to toil outside the law — New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee — and end in North Carolina at the Democratic National Convention. Many of those planning to ride the bus are undocumented and — for the first time — are not afraid to say so. Read the discussion here. [NYTimes]

An Associated Press story last week said that the cost of implementing the immigration program that would adjust the immigration status of more than 1 million youths in the country without documents could cost $585 million and would require the federal government to hire hundreds of federal workers. The tentative figure focused on the net costs, without accounting for the revenues that will be collected through application fees for the temporary work permits, said Ali Noorani, executive director for National Immigration Forum. Tamar Jacoby, president of ImmigrationWorks USA, a national federation of small-business owners advocating immigration reform, said the cost-benefit analysis should include considerations such as the taxes these youths could contribute once they obtained decent-paying jobs after college, the cost and feasibility of mass deportations, and tax-revenue loss if these youths turned to gangs or remained unemployed for long periods of time. [National Journal]

In two weeks, somewhere around 1 million people who were brought into the country without documents as children can begin applying for temporary permission to live and work in the U.S. under an Obama administration directive aimed at so-called DREAM Act students. On Tuesday, immigrant advocates in Chicago began gearing up for the Aug. 15 launch of the application process by announcing a DREAM Relief Day event on the same day at Navy Pier, where attorneys and other volunteers will be available to help those eligible apply for the two-year work permits. U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Chicago, said the initiative could help lead to the sweeping federal immigration changes that advocates have sought unsuccessfully for years — including the federal DREAM Act, which would create a pathway to citizenship for many young immigrants. In Illinois, an estimated 75,000 people stand to be affected by the new policy, Gutierrez said. Read more about the announcement here. [Chicago Tribune]

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