Ok, so maybe it’s not exactly a cheap novel to enjoy under the beach umbrella on a sandy shore, but it is a short – and hopefully helpful – primer of the hot issues and updated stats for those following the immigration policy debate this summer.

Two issues presently dominate the debate; state action soon culminating in a Supreme Court decision on Arizona’s SB-1070 and the use (and abuse) of immigration policy by both parties in an election year to influence special interest voters.

The Election

  • The Obama Administration continues extending backdoor amnesty to thousands of deportable aliens, while Congress sits on its hands, despite the overt usurpation of Congressional authority.
  • Former Governor Mitt Romney is wavering on immigration enforcement policy he articulated throughout the primary. Additionally, he has failed to address if and how he might reverse the backdoor amnesty policies underway should he become President.
  • In the battle for the Hispanic vote, both parties consider more concessions for illegal and legal immigrants. Republican Senator Marco Rubio is drafting a GOP DREAM Act hoping to capture Romney’s support while Democrats continue to push amnesty legislation.

The States

  • The Supreme Court decision on Arizona’s SB 1070 enforcement law is expected in late June. The battle for immigration enforcement continues at the state level. Recent efforts to weaken Alabama’s state law failed and other states continue to explore E-Verify and enforcement legislation.
  • The Obama administration is aggressively shutting down state and local enforcement efforts, whether it’s by suing states over new laws or defunding local enforcement programs like 287(g) or weakening Secure Communities.

Congress

  • Senator Marco Rubio wants GOP to support amnesty and increase legal immigration. Rubio appears to have either self-appointed himself the election year “immigration issue broker” or been assigned the task by the GOP. He is shopping around a GOP version of the DREAM Act but, thus far, has refused to disclose the details of the plan.
  • Republicans and Democrats push visa reforms and additions to unnecessarily increase legal immigration. Rather than tackle the underlying issues with our immigration system or acknowledge that the U.S. already admits over 1 million legal permanent residents a year, leaders in both parties advocate for more visas and looser requirements.
  • Nationwide E-Verify bill is stalled in the House Ways and Means Committee. Along with requiring E-Verify, the bill could pre-empt state enforcement laws.

Number of Illegal Aliens

  • 12 million (FAIR, 2010)
  • 11.2 million (Pew Hispanic Center, 2010)
  • 10.8 million (DHS. FY 2010)

Number of Jobs Presently Held by Illegal Aliens

  • 7 million (2010)

National Unemployment Rate

  • 8.1% (Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 2012)
  • Over 22 million Americans are unemployed, underemployed or have given up actively looking for work. (BLS, April 2012)

Unskilled Immigrant Admissions

  • Nearly 1 million (Department of Homeland Security, FY 2011)

Annual National Cost of Illegal Immigration

  • $113 billion
  • The bulk of the costs – $84 billion – are absorbed by state and local governments

Pending Enforcement Legislation

  • Several attempts to close loophole that allows illegal aliens to receive the Additional Child Tax Credit. The latest House version was added to the House passed budget. Two bills have been introduced in the Senate.
  • The House adopted an amendment to the FY 2013 spending bill for the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS), that defunds the Obama Administration’s lawsuits against several states that seek to strike down their immigration enforcement laws.
  • The House adopted another amendment to the CJS appropriations bill that strips certain federal funding from sanctuary cities.

Pending Amnesty Legislation

  • DREAM Act – Versions introduced in both House and Senate (H.R. 1842, S. 952) in 2011. Introduced in every session since 2001 and often lumped into other amnesty bills. Last failed in Senate in December 2010.
  • Comprehensive Immigration Reform (S. 1258) – mass amnesty, introduced nearly every session. No vote on it yet during this session.
  • Adjusted Residency for Military Service (ARMS) Act (H.R. 3823) – Introduced by Rep. David Rivera (R-FL) in January. It is essentially only the military component of the DREAM act. Forthcoming?: GOP DREAM Act from Senator Marco Rubio.

States to Watch

  • Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Utah – the Supreme Court decision in Arizona SB 1070 will affect active DOJ lawsuits against these states.
  • California – considering tax plan and guest worker program for illegal aliens.
  • Illinois, Massachusetts, New York – Governors of these states refuse to cooperate with Secure Communities. DHS is set for full compliance in 2013. Will these states hold out?
  • Mississippi – the House passed an immigration enforcement bill in March, will they take it up again next session?
  • New Mexico – the battle over driver’s licenses for illegal aliens continues. If they repeal, Washington will be the only state that gives driver’s licenses to illegal aliens.
  • Oregon – Governor supports allowing illegal aliens to use Matricula Consular ID in place of driver’s license.

In-State Tuition for Illegal Aliens

  • Total of 13 states have passed in-state tuition for illegal aliens
  • Maryland passed in-state tuition for illegal aliens in 2011, however activists led a successful petition drive and the law will be put to referendum in November 2012.
  • Wisconsin repealed in-state tuition for illegal aliens in 2011.

Miles of Fence Constructed

  • 649 miles out of the 1,954 mile-long southern border is secured by fence
  • 299 miles of vehicle barriers
  • 350 miles of pedestrian fencing

Deportations Stats 2010

  • Criminal removals        168,532
  • Voluntary                        88,112
  • Total                               387,242

Deportation Stats 2011

  • Criminal removals        216,698
  • Voluntary                        77,829
  • Total                               396,906

Deportation Stats 2012 YTD

  • ICE has removed 127,044 criminal illegal immigrants this fiscal year.
  • Deportations are lagging behind last year’s rate by approximately 12,000, or 9%. (According to ICE comments to Los Angeles Times, May 26, 2012)

Mexican Border Violence

  • 47,515 killed in drug-related violence since President Felipe Calderon took office in 2006.
  • 49 beheaded bodies recently found on highway in northern state of Nuevo Leon.
  • Obama Administration rolls back National Guard, shifts to drone surveillance.