Friday, May 27, 2011

Strict Arizona immigration law gets Supreme Court blessing

The Supreme Court gave its blessing today to one of the strong immigration control laws passed by Arizona, a law that has served as a model for similar measures in other states.

Arizona requires businesses to use the national eVerify system to check workers immigration status. Licenses are revoked when illegal immigrants are intentionally employed.

The Chamber of Commerce and labor groups formed a powerful coalition to challenge the law. They argued it steps on the federal government's broad immigration powers.

Conservatives carried the day in the 5-3 vote. Chief Justice John Roberts said while federal law bars states from imposing civil and criminal penalties for immigration violations, Arizona's license revocation statute doesn't fall into the category.

Mike Hethmon of the Immigration Reform law Center praised the ruling. "The Supreme Court has essentially given its seal of approval to states making eVerify mandatory for businesses in their jurisdiction," Hethmon said.

Roy Beck of the reform group NumbersUSA sees it as much more than that, calling the ruling "a tremendous victory for unemployed Americans." "There are about 7 million illegal aliens estimated to be working in non-agricultural jobs. There are many Americans unemployed and lined up to get those jobs," Beck claimed.

Also supporting the ruling is the Latino advocacy group known as the League of United Latin American citizens (LULAC). Luis Vera, LULAC's general counsel, says the law should expose businesses that utilize underpaid immigrants in unsafe conditions.

About a dozen states have laws similar to Arizona's. "There are at least a dozen other states that have held back," Rob Beck said, "I think we're going to see those states passing those laws in the next year."

Further, he predicts the business community's concerned for a single uniform system will send it from the Supreme Court across the street to Congress, to push for a standard nationwide eVerify requirement.

One of the Chamber of Commerce's primary complaints to the Supreme Court was that employers would be facing a myriad of state laws that raise business costs.

Making its way to the justices is the challenge over Arizona's better known enforcement measures, which include allowing police to stop anyone suspected of being an illegal alien.

Lower courts have struck down key provisions. CBS News Senior Legal Analyst Andrew Cohen says while scholars will be poring over the language of today's ruling, the issues are different and the justices may not rule in favor of states' rights in that case.

At NumbersUSA, Roy Beck believes that law does not reduce illegal immigration as much as the one that was the subject of today's decision.

He says that's because "the thing that causes illegal aliens to go home eventually and prevents illegal aliens from wanting to come is whether they can get jobs."


Hispanic Turnout 2010: Despite Predictions, It Neither Spiked nor Slumped

An analysis of new Census Bureau voting data from November 2010 shows that Hispanic turnout conformed to the pattern of recent midterm elections. Before the 2010 election some commentators argued that the failure to address immigration would increase Hispanic turnout, others argued it would cause them to stay home. The new data shows that neither of these predictions were correct.

Among the findings:

* Prior to the 2010 election, the Center for Immigration Studies projected that Hispanics would comprise 6.8 percent of the national electorate in congressional elections. The new Census Bureau data match this projection, with Hispanics comprising 6.9 percent of the vote.

* Our projection was correct because it was based on the assumption that Hispanic turnout would follow past patterns and that they would be neither especially animated nor especially disengaged in 2010.

* The 31.2 percent of Hispanic citizens who voted in 2010 is very similar to the 32.2 percent who voted in the 2006 mid-term election and the 31.2 percent who voted in the 2002 mid-term election. All of these values fall within the margin of error of ± 1.7 percentage points and indicate that 2010 was not unusual.

* In addition to the 6.9 percent of voters who identified as Hispanic in the 2010 election, 77.5 percent of voters identified as non-Hispanic white, 11.5 percent as non-Hispanic black, and 2.4 percent as non- Hispanic Asian.

* Hispanics are a much smaller share of voters than they are of the general population. In November 2010, Hispanics were 16.3 percent of the total U.S. population, 14.1 percent of the adult population, 10.1 percent of the adult citizen population, and 6.9 percent of those who voted.

* The size of the Hispanic vote varied significantly by state. In 2010, Hispanics were less than 5 percent of the vote in 39 states plus the District of Columbia, and more than 10 percent of the vote in only five states (New Mexico, California, Arizona, Texas, and Florida).

* Polling of Hispanics indicates that immigration is not one of their top issues. Like other voters, education, jobs, healthcare, and the federal deficit all rank above immigration in importance.

* This does not mean immigration is unimportant to Hispanics. It does mean it was not an issue that was important enough in 2010 to have a discernable impact on their overall turnout.

* Only 27 percent of Hispanic voters in the 2010 election were immigrants themselves (naturalized U.S. citizens) and just 14.9 percent lived in the same household as a non-citizen. The lack of direct personal experience with immigration may explain why the issue does not rank higher in importance to Hispanic voters.

* CNN’s national exit polls showed that in 2010, 60 percent of Hispanics voted for Democrats and 38 percent voted for Republicans. This compares to 69 percent and 30 percent in the last mid-term election in 2006. If the failure to address immigration played a role in Hispanic voting, it seems to have helped Republicans.

* However, the increase in the Republican share of the Hispanic vote in 2010 is almost certainly related to general voter dissatisfaction with the economy and the Democrats, and it parallels gains that Republicans made among many demographic groups.

Methods and Data

The data for this analysis come from the public use file of the Voting and Registration Supplement of the Current Population Survey (CPS) collected by Census Bureau, which contains about 100,000 adults. The Voting and Registration supplement is conducted in November every other year after Election Day. The public-use file of this data was recently released. Among other questions, the survey asks individuals if they are registered and if they voted. The Hispanic and race questions are separate. Hispanics are individuals in the CPS who self-identify as Hispanic or Latino, which means that they or their ancestors came from a country that derives its language and culture from Spain.

The above is a press release from from Center for Immigration Studies. 1522 K St. NW, Suite 820, Washington, DC 20005, (202) 466-8185 fax: (202) 466-8076. Email: Contact: Steven Camarota, (202) 466-8185, The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent research institution which examines the impact of immigration on the United States. The Center for Immigration Studies is not affiliated with any other organization

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