According to an analsyis by Immigration Impact, the latest Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) report paints undocumented immigrants as the U.S.’s number one public enemy. The report lists all federal laws which an undocumented immigrants could break for coming here, living and working in the U.S. Even though the reports catalogue the statutes, it does not offer a realistic solution to dealing with the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.
The report criminalizes undocumented immigrants
Undocumented immigrants come to the country for two main reasons: to work and to be reunited with family members already here. It is logical to assume they would prefer to come here legally and not have to worry about being deported every day, however, there is a mismatch between supply and demand in our immigration laws causing immigrants to take expensive, dangerous and difficult chances to come for a better future.
The new report does no justice to hardworking immigrants who struggle to feed their families every day through honest work. Among some of the more serious flaws in the report, it fails to recognize the degree to which U.S. laws criminalize undocumented immigrants. New categories of criminality have been created which only apply to those immigrants who are not native born. For example, an immigrant can be deported for aggravated felony, but what constitutes as an aggravated felony differs from what it was a few years ago. Today, someone could be deported for shoplifting and other minor offenses.
Most undocumented immigrants have not committed violent crimes
Congress has already defined entering into the country illegally as a misdemeanor although “illegal re-entry” is a felony. Neither of these offenses are threatening or violent so this explains why nonviolent immigration offenders make up the majority of undocumented immigrants who are deported annually. New research shows that most of the immigrants who are likely to be undocumented are not “Criminals” as most people understand the work. They have not committed violent crimes or property crimes nor do they pose a threat to national security or public safety. This report illustrates the problem with focusing on legal status rather than creating a program where immigrants can get rid of their “criminal” status.
If you have questions regarding how to deal with people who paint all immigrants as criminals, applying for a visa or the changing immigration laws, contact us at 314-961-8200 or visit our contact page.