HEADLINES: Immigration

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The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding a piece of Arizona’s controversial immigration law portends such a “huge” increase in policing for one department that the chief wondered Tuesday if his agency will be able to handle the workload. Other law agencies in Arizona, however, reported “business as usual” a day after the Supreme Court ruling. Just 70 miles from the Mexican border, the Tucson department may have to spend more than $10 million a year to book and jail up to 36,000 arrestees also suspected of being undocumented immigrants — a more than 7% increase to the agency’s $130 million budget. The police chief said he wonders if his 950-officer agency has been dealt an “impossible mandate.” The state law, SB 1070, allows citizens to sue his department or others if they fail to enforce federal immigration laws. [CNN]

U.S. states with immigration laws modeled after Arizona say they hope to implement their own legislation soon after a mixed Supreme Court ruling let stand the most controversial element of Arizona’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants. Five states followed Arizona’s example in crafting laws requiring police to notify federal authorities when they have reasonable suspicion that someone is undocumented, and sometimes imposed other strictures as well. Those states – Alabama, Georgia, Utah, Indiana and South Carolina – have found themselves in federal court just like Arizona, facing lawsuits, either from immigrant rights groups, the Department of Justice, or both. Now that the Supreme Court has weighed in on Arizona’s law, upholding police checks on immigration status while throwing out three other provisions, lawsuits that hinged on that ruling are moving forward, with no sign from the states that they will soften parts of their laws. [Reuters]

Arguing against immigration policies that force foreign-born innovators to leave the United States, a new study shows that immigrants played a role in more than three out of four patents at the nation’s top research universities. Conducted by the Partnership for a New American Economy, a nonprofit group co-founded by Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York, the study notes that nearly all the patents were in science, technology, engineering and math, the so-called STEM fields that are a crucial driver of job growth. The report points out that while many of the world’s top foreign-born innovators are trained at United States universities, after graduation they face “daunting or insurmountable immigration hurdles that force them to leave and bring their talents elsewhere.” The Partnership for a New American Economy released a paper in May saying that other nations were aggressively courting highly skilled citizens who had settled in the United States, urging them to return to their home countries. [New York Times]

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