US immigration policy: A classic, unappreciated example of structural racism

“In sharp contrast to today’s undocumented population, “illegal” European immigrants faced few repercussions. There was virtually no immigration enforcement infrastructure. If caught, few faced deportation. All of those who entered unlawfully before the 1940s were protected from deportation by statutes of limitations, and in the 1930s and 1940s, tens of thousands of unauthorized immigrants like Nora O’Donnell’s grandfather were given amnesty.[viii] The few not covered by a statute of limitations or amnesty had another protection: until 1976 the government rarely deported parents of US citizens.[ix] There were no immigrant restrictions on public benefits until the 1970s, and it wasn’t until 1986 that it became unlawful to hire an undocumented immigrant.

In sum, from the early 1900s through the 1960s, millions of predominantly white immigrants entered the country unlawfully, but faced virtually no threat of apprehension or deportation. Businesses lawfully employed these immigrants, who were eligible for public benefits when they fell on hard times.”

“[x] often in the context of racialized debates targeted mainly at Latinos. Researchers have documented how through the 1960s, racialized views of Mexicans shaped law and bureaucratic practice.[xi] Over the next decade, Congress: ended the Bracero program, which had allowed as many as 800,000 temporary migrants from Mexico annually to work mainly in agriculture; cut legal immigration from Mexico by 50%; and ended the long-standing practice that parents of US citizens wouldn’t be deported. Reducing lawful means of immigrating predictably led to a rise in unauthorized entries, which was met with calls for tougher enforcement.”

Science-Based Policy Means Decriminalizing Sex Work, Say Hundreds of Researchers

“”The data clearly shows that criminalizing consensual adult sexual services causes severe harms, which fall mainly on the most marginalized groups—women, people of color, transgender and non-binary workers, workers’ with disabilities, and economically marginalized workers,” said Jones. This criminalization “does not prevent or minimize violence or abuse ostensibly identified with human trafficking.”

As we’ve been detailing for years here at Reason, this war on sex work not only harms people choosing to engage in prostitution but leaves little room for actually helping victims of violence and sexual exploitation.”

E-Verify: Making Life Harder for Workers and Small Businesses, With Enthusiastic MAGA Support

“”there are non-trivial set-up, training, and compliance costs to using the system. These costs are particularly cumbersome for small firms, which a 2011 analysis suggested would spend $2.6 billion on compliance-related costs if forced to utilize E-Verify.”

The law, which is currently imposed on some or all workers in 22 states, is thus widely flouted, and smaller firms are more likely to evade it.”

“The economists found reasons to believe that E-Verify produces “significant declines in Hispanic worker employment.” But they saw “no evidence that native-born workers benefit from E-Verify mandates,” and in fact found that those mandates “reduce employment among some lower-skilled groups of native-born workers.” Specifically, “the passage of any E-Verify mandate reduces employment among natives with a high school degree or less education by 2.7 percent,” an effect “entirely driven by reduced employment among low-skilled natives who are 16 to 40 years old.””

“the authors did not find evidence that E-Verify lowers the actual “potentially undocumented population” in areas where the system is enforced. The authors suggest that they’re instead getting by with “increases in supplementary family income sources”—i.e., being helped by others in their households.”

“when something goes wrong with the system, nearly half of the problem cases can take up to eight days to resolve, creating uncertainty and paralysis for both hired and hirer—and giving employers an incentive just to cut out potential workers who might have eventually made it through the system.

How often does E-Verify mistakenly mark people as legally unable to work when they should have been approved? About 0.15 percent of the time, which sounds impressive, but if it were applied to every American worker via federal mandate it would leave more than 187,000 people a year barred from work for no reason at all.

The system can be gamed with borrowed or stolen identify documents, and the low compliance with state mandates does not hold out promise of success for any federal mandate that might come along.”

Trump’s hold of Ukraine aid was illegal, according to the US government’s top watchdog

“In a legal opinion released Thursday, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) found the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) decision to keep $400 million in Pentagon assistance to Ukraine for a “policy reason” in violation of the Impoundment Control Act of 1974.

That law was designed to “prevent the President and other government officials from unilaterally substituting their own funding decisions for those of the Congress,” according to the House Budget Committee.”

There Is No Line

“The lived reality of immigration is much less like a line and much more like the forking paths of a Choose Your Own Adventure book. Make the right choices (marry an American, get hired by a U.S. firm at the executive level, win a Nobel Prize, secure an H-1B visa and parlay it into a green card) and you can make a life in the United States! But make just one wrong choice (marry a Canadian, fail to achieve tenure, get hired by a foreign company, don’t have an employer that will sponsor your green card application), and you’re out of luck.

And most people don’t have the opportunity to make any of these choices. A low-education, working-age Mexican male—that staple of blue-collar employment in the American Southwest—does not qualify as a permanent immigrant under any of the visa regimes listed above. There is simply no path for many people in the world.”