HEADLINES: Immigration

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A bipartisan group of senators has introduced legislation to help American companies hire immigrant workers, particularly those with hard-to-find math and science expertise. Startup Act 2.0 would essentially create two new types of visas, one for foreign students who obtain graduate degrees in science- and math-related fields from American universities, and another that offers permanent residence to immigrants who start successful companies and create jobs in the United States. Similar legislation failed earlier this year after it got caught in larger questions about immigration policy, and complaints that the non-natives could squeeze Americans out of well-paying jobs. Freshman Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) worked across party lines on the new bill, which would also eliminate caps on the number of work-based visas allotted to each foreign nation, further easing the path for skilled immigrants who want to bring their talents and business ideas to the United States. [The Washington Post]

A scathing new report commissioned by the organizations Partnership for New York City and Partnership for a New American Economy and touted by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg details the way the United States is failing to attract and retain the immigrant workers — skilled and unskilled — who are crucial to thriving in a global economy. The analysis compared American immigration laws to immigration systems in other countries intent on encouraging certain kinds immigrant labor. The conclusion: the United States is falling behind because of its “irrational and undirected” immigration policies. Competition from robust economies in countries like Brazil, China and Singapore has dimmed America’s reputation as the preeminent destination for immigrant strivers, the report argues, and immigration laws have not caught up. “American immigration policy now unintentionally undermines growth and prosperity,” the authors wrote. [International Business Times]

The controversial federal immigration-enforcement program called Secure Communities went live across Colorado this week. Secure Communities was designed to be the quick, accurate, high-tech way to snag the worst criminal undocumented immigrants by checking fingerprints of arrestees with federal immigration data. But its official debut in all 64 Colorado counties Tuesday, after several years of planning and wrangling, happened with some underfunded counties still relying on snail-mailed, inked fingerprints rather than instantaneously sent, computerized, biometric prints. It also happened just as the American Civil Liberties Union raised questions in one county about turning over information from those involved in domestic violence to federal immigration authorities. The ACLU accused Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario of violating the state law by immediately forwarding the names of immigrants involved in domestic-violence cases to ICE. The ACLU said several domestic-violence victims were placed in deportation proceedings because of Vallario’s actions. [The Denver Post]


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