Tuesday, November 2, 2010

New GOP class tougher on immigration?

The Republican class set to sweep into the House after Tuesday’s midterm elections could include several freshmen who have some real world experience cracking down on illegal immigration.

Candidates like Lou Barletta, mayor of Hazleton, Pa., promise to pressure Republicans already in Congress to make sure immigration doesn’t get lost among all the talk about creating jobs and otherwise bolstering the nation’s still sagging economy.

Barletta, who’s trying to unseat veteran Democratic Rep. Paul Kanjorski, got national attention with a 2006 ordinance that would revoke the licenses of businesses that employ illegal immigrants and fine landlords for renting to illegal immigrants. It was struck down in a federal court in September, though, and hasn’t been enforced.

“We can convince others, if we’re going to deal with the deficit and the budget, you can’t exclude the illegal immigration problem out of that equation because it has a direct effect on the budget,” Barletta told POLITICO. “Not dealing with it would be like having a car with three wheels.”

Then there’s State Sen. Jeff Perry, who’s running against Democrat William Keating for an open seat in a Massachusetts district that includes Cape Cod. For the past four years, Perry has introduced a bill that would ban illegal immigrants from accessing social services such as public housing.

If he wins, Perry plans to introduce federal legislation that would stop social services funding, just like the law he tried to get through in Massachusetts, and supports ideas such as a mandatory national verification program that isn’t popular with business groups and Republican House leaders.

“It impacts people who are trying to create jobs and people who are trying to find jobs,” Perry said. “We have a lot of small businesses here in this congressional district. There’s not a week that goes by that I don’t’ hear from them. They’re frustrated.”

“Especially in the blue collar trades,” he said, “they’re competing against illegal immigrants who don’t pay their taxes. They don’t play by the same rules and that needs to change.”

In Alabama, Montgomery City Council member Martha Roby, who shepherded an ordinance through the council that goes after businesses who hire illegal immigrants, has a shot at knocking off Democratic Rep. Bobby Bright.

In Florida, state Rep. Sandy Adams, who’s looking to oust Democratic Rep. Suzanne Kosmas, has repeatedly pushed legislation to stop illegal immigrants from getting drivers’ licenses or from being able to pay university tuition at in-state rates. She’s also introduced a bill to crack down on government contractors who hire illegal immigrants.

And several other candidates in Arizona and New Mexico, among other states – like Steve Pearce and Jesse Kelly – persistently have campaigned hard right on immigration.

Their support for measures that crack down on businesses could run into strong opposition from Republican congressional leaders, who avoided laying out a plan for comprehensive immigration reform in the GOP “Pledge to America.”

The national immigration debate trickled down to the state and local level in 2005 and 2006, prompting several local politicians who are now running for congressional seats to address the issue.

In 1994, few of the new Republicans had tackled immigration, and the pressure for reform came from incumbents such Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and a bipartisan congressional commission.

Should Republicans gain control of the House Tuesday, Smith and Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) would likely be leading investigations of the Obama administration’s enforcement of existing laws as the likely new chairmen of the House Judiciary Committee and its Immigration Subcommittee.

Smith has campaigned for Perry in his district, praising him for his work on immigration and saying wants to see Perry on the Judiciary Committee.

Smith and King lobbied to get leaders to promise to solve immigration earlier this year, when the party was drafting the Pledge to America, but weren’t successful. Now, they’re counting on pressure from conservative freshmen to help them bring immigration legislation to the floor. “I hope they are not easily led. I hope they are the leaders themselves,” King said.


Government of Canada Announces 2011 Immigration Plan

The Government of Canada will maintain high immigration levels to help sustain the economic recovery, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today upon tabling the annual immigration plan in Parliament.

It is estimated that Canada will welcome between 240,000 and 265,000 new permanent residents in 2011. Sixty percent of these immigrants will come through economic streams.

"Canada's post-recession economy demands a high level of legal immigration to keep our work force strong," he said. "At the same time, we are maintaining our commitment to family reunification and refugees."

Like many other countries with ageing populations and low birth rates, in the not too distant future Canada will not have enough people to keep our work force growing. While the majority of new entrants to our labour force will continue to come from within Canada, without immigration, the size of our work force will shrink. Within the next five years, all of our labour force growth will come from immigration.

Highlights of the 2011 immigration plan include a higher range of admissions for spouses and children in the family category. In keeping with recent reforms to Canada's refugee system, the 2011 plan also includes an additional 1,125 refugees resettled in Canada as part of the commitment to increase total refugee resettlement by 2,500 over three years. In 2008, the last year for which figures are available, Canada resettled more bona fide refugees than any country but the United States. Canada resettles over one in 10 of the world's refugees.

"These refugees are selected and screened by Canada, and come here legally," noted Minister Kenney. "We look forward to giving them a safe, new beginning."

Within the economic category, the 2011 plan balances projected admissions between federally and provincially selected workers to meet Canada's national and regional labour market needs. Provincial programs help distribute the benefits of immigrants across the entire country. Twenty-five percent of economic immigrants are now destined for provinces other than Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec, compared to 11 percent in 1997.

The Federal Skilled Worker Program remains a significant portion of the economic category. The program admits a range of workers, including technicians, skilled tradespersons, managers and professionals, who help to supplement the Canadian-born work force.

The annual immigration plan is part of Citizenship and Immigration Canada's annual report tabled in Parliament by November 1 each year.


No comments:

Post a Comment