Center for Equal Opportunity

The nation’s only conservative think tank devoted to issues of race and ethnicity.

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Immigration & Assimilation

CEO chairman Linda Chavez discusses Donald Trump and Birthright Citizenship

On August 19th, CEO Chairman Linda Chavez appeared on "All in with Chris Hayes" on MSNBC to discuss birthright citizenship. Duration: 11:46

http://www.msnbc.com/all-in/watch/trump-plans-to-end-birthright-citizenship-509056579686

The Immigration Impasse

The Right’s division on immigration cuts across the usual lines: There are social conservatives, hawks, and economic conservatives in each camp. The division goes deep: It reflects differences about not only what policies the government should adopt but the moral convictions that should underlie them and the political strategies that should accompany them. One thing all of these camps share, however, is a lack of political realism.

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The Constitutionality of Arizona SB 1070 and other state immigration laws

The Issue Brief also illuminates the question of to what extent SB 1070 and similar state laws permit racial profiling, and concludes that such profiling “is not merely incipient in the statute (and proposed copycats in Florida, Michigan, Rhode Island and South Carolina), it is expressly authorized.”

Click Here to Download the Issue Brief.

Truth and Consequences: The impact of repealing "Birthright Citizenship"

Welcoming Remarks:

  • Caroline Fredrickson, Executive Director, American Constitution Society for Law and Policy 

The panel will feature:

  • ModeratorAngela Maria Kelley, VP for Immigration Policy and Advocacy, Center for American Progress
  • Sam Fulwood III, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress
  • Wade Henderson, President and CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
  • Priscilla Huang, Associate Policy Director, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum 
  • Margaret Stock, Adjunct Instructor, University of Alaska Anchorage

Boneheaded Birthright Citizenship Fight

Jen is right on both the substance and politics of a GOP move to revoke birthright citizenship from children born to illegal aliens. As I’ve written here and here , the 14th Amendment was carefully drawn and debated to exclude only two categories of persons: the children of diplomats and children born on Indian reservations that were deemed sovereign territories at the time.

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Answering the Critics of Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Argument #1: "Immigration reform will harm taxpayers." Response: Legalizing both the flow of workers and the workers already here will help taxpayers by raising the newly legalized workers' productivity, their earnings, and the likelihood that they will pay taxes in the formal economy.

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Eastman is wrong: the Constitution does guarantee birthright citizenship

John Eastman has taken me to task for what he calls my misreading of the language and history of the 14th Amendment in a recent op-ed I wrote for The Wall Street Journal. We’ve known each other for decades, and I consider Eastman a friend, but he’s simply wrong in thinking the children born to illegal immigrants in the United States are not entitled to birthright citizenship under the 14th Amendment.

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Born in the USA?: The historical and constitutional underpinnings of Birthright Citizenship

On March 31, 2011, the American Constitution Society and the Center for American Progress brought together leading thinkers to discuss current challenges to birthright citizenship and provide historical perspective to the debate about what the 14th Amendment guarantees.  

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Let's Help President-elect Trump Fix Immigration the Right Way

Immigration was clearly the issue that galvanized many of Donald Trump's supporters. But if he is to try to unite the nation, he needs to think carefully about how to proceed. If he does it right, he could pleasantly surprise his critics, including me.

Trump has repeatedly said he will cancel President Barack Obama's "illegal" executive orders, day one, including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Some 4 million people who came here illegally as children would once again be subject to removal from the United States, an inhuman and economically self-defeating proposition. But Trump could mitigate the effect by accompanying this action with a pledge to support the DREAM Act. The bill originally proposed by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has had bipartisan support in the past. It would accomplish the same thing as President Obama's DACA program in a way that honors the legislative process -- providing legal status to those who came here before the age of 15, have no criminal record, have paid taxes if they've been employed, completed or are in the process of completing high school, served or are willing to enlist in the U.S. military and learned English. Americans overwhelmingly approve -- 70 percent, according to the exit polls on Election Day -- of giving legal status and a path to citizenship to this group, as they do giving legal status to the rest of the 11 million who are here illegally but have paid taxes and committed no crimes since their arrival.

But if President-elect Trump is to keep his promise to stop illegal immigration, he has to do more than build a wall. Americans want better border security, and Trump has already pledged to increase spending, hire more agents and stop the practice of catching and releasing those apprehended at the border. But the most effective method of deterring illegal immigration remains allowing the market to dictate how many newcomers we need. We must provide a way for needed workers to immigrate legally -- something that simply doesn't exist under current law.

Trump could begin by offering legislation for a new, vastly expanded guest-worker program that would provide work permits for both high-skilled and low-skilled workers. We need more engineers and more agricultural workers. This used to be a tenet of GOP immigration policy, and the new president should make it one again. He could also make those temporary visas available first to undocumented immigrants who are already working, paying taxes and contributing to the economies in which they've lived, sometimes for decades. What those living in the shadows most want is the right to work legally, pay taxes and become part of the fabric of American life.

Building walls and deporting workers would harm our economy, not help it. President-elect Trump claims he will make America great again, but he could not do so by depopulating it. We need younger people in our aging American population. The median age of Mexican-born immigrants is 25, while the median age of Americans is 37. These younger workers pay taxes, which make our social safety net possible, especially Social Security and Medicare. A growing population adds to our wealth; it doesn't detract from it, provided those who come are productive members of our society. We can make sure that they will be by bringing in sufficient numbers of people with the right skills -- including the ability to speak English -- but also by limiting access to welfare programs for at least 10 years.

One other novel thing Trump could do, which might assuage those who worry that immigrants are an economic burden, is to create a system for American citizens and immigrants here legally to accept some financial responsibility by sponsoring those who come here. Under the immigration laws in effect in the 1970s and '80s, I sponsored a handful of immigrants, for whom I accepted financial responsibility if they ended up not being able to support themselves. I even had to submit my tax returns to demonstrate I could do so. I would gladly do the same again, especially for people who are already here and living in the shadows. So why not create a program whereby current residents here legally, citizens, businesses and nonprofit or religious organizations could sponsor unrelated individuals or families and guarantee the recipients will not become dependent on public assistance? Most would-be immigrants would jump at the chance of eschewing future welfare benefits. Even now, immigrants are less likely to receive public assistance than comparable native-born individuals, and undocumented immigrants are already prohibited from everything but emergency medical care.

If Donald Trump is looking to solve the immigration problem, he needs to broaden his horizons beyond building walls and deporting people. There are good ideas out there; he just needs to start listening.