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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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Bogus Facts Confuse Us on Immigration

A new study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine shows, once again, that immigration and immigrants are good for America. But don't expect hallelujahs from the restrictionist crowd -- or indeed even fair reporting. The Washington Times greeted the report with the highly misleading headline "Mass immigration costs government $296 billion a year, depresses wages," while Breitbart News screamed, "National Academies' Study Shows $500 Billion Immigration Tax on Working Americans." Both are so misleading as to constitute a disinformation propaganda campaign. No wonder so many on the right have abandoned Ronald Reagan's welcoming approach to "anyone with the will and the heart to get here."

The study, which was conducted by an eminent group of economists -- including Harvard's George Borjas, who is a critic of low-skilled immigration -- shows both short- and long-term benefits from immigration for our economy and most workers. It also shows short-term costs to state and local governments -- mostly in the form of educating immigrants' children -- which are more than recouped when those children reach working age. Confusing? A bit, so let me break it down.

The 40 million immigrants in this country fall mostly into two categories: high-skilled, highly educated adults and low-skilled, less educated adults and children, some of whom, about 11 million, are here illegally. The former group, according to the study, may improve wages for some groups of native-born workers, whereas the latter has some negative impact on the wages of two groups: prior immigrants and the native-born who have less than a high-school education. These effects, though real, are small and pertain to relatively few American-born workers.

But what about the costs to taxpayers these immigrants incur? Contrary to popular belief in some circles, immigrants are taxpayers, too -- even most who are here illegally. All immigrants pay both sales and real estate taxes, either directly or through their landlords. These taxes help fund schools and state and local governments. Those who work also pay federal income and Social Security taxes. Some immigrants here illegally are paying into false Social Security accounts, but that hurts them, not other taxpayers or the government.

Overall, immigrants contribute slightly more to the federal government than they receive in benefits, but immigrants can be a burden on some states, at least temporarily. The reason? Immigrants, especially those from Latin America, are likelier to have school-age children living in their home than the native-born population, primarily because they are younger. The median age of native-born Americans is roughly 40, while the median age of Hispanic immigrants is much lower, 26 for the largest group, Mexicans, with only Cubans approaching the national median.

Educating children is expensive, but most Americans regard education as an investment, not a burden. In order to come up with the hysterical "cost of immigration," Breitbart News and the rest of the anti-immigrant right treat educating the children of immigrants as if it were a form of welfare. But the academies' study makes clear that this simplistic approach discounts that immigrants' children -- the majority of whom are American-born and therefore citizens -- grow up and pay back their "costs" in the form of taxes they pay as adult workers. When tax contributions from second- and third-generation individuals are taken into account, the costs of education show a small benefit in real dollars -- with some states benefiting more than others, depending on what they spend on education and the health of the state economy overall.

One other point that restrictionists miss is that our aging population is the biggest drain on government. Seniors like to think they've already paid for the checks and the health care they receive from Social Security and Medicare, but for most people, it's not true. Current workers are paying for these benefits, because most people 65 or older will receive more in benefits over their lifetime than they paid in during their working years.

Without younger immigrants paying into the system now, Social Security and Medicare would eventually collapse or prove so onerous on workers that the programs would depress the overall economy. The actuaries at the Social Security Administration predict that increasing immigration by nearly 50 percent a year would boost Social Security's long-term health significantly, contributing about a half-trillion dollars in increased contributions, thus narrowing the 75-year Social Security funding gap from 1.92 percent of total payroll to 1.67 percent.

The academies' study is long and technical, but its general message is clear. "Immigration has an overall positive impact on long-run economic growth in the U.S.," as the press release states it. Too bad this message isn't getting through to everyone.