Arpaio – nonfeasance in public office

Press Release – October 23, 2012

eLatinaVoices, an online community committed to advocacy for children, will hold a press conference on Wednesday, October 24, 2012 at 11:30 a.m. at the Arizona State Capitol, Rose Garden to denounce Sheriff Joe Arpaio for not protecting children, causing irreparable harm to child victims and mismanagement of the office of Sheriff. We will endorse Paul Penzone for Sheriff.

IMMEDIATE: For information contact: Olga Aros, eLatinaVoices, 623.845.6382,

“I will continue with what I have always done!” Sheriff Arpaio does not get it! His lack of performance has hurt children and cities, cost taxpayers millions of dollars and because he decided not to investigate 432 sex crimes, children and families suffered. Arpaio has not paid attention to how the jails under his leadership function. As a result, you had inmates that lost their lives while in custody. The misappropriation of jail funds is a story…all by itself. His attitude and vindictiveness against appointed and elected officials is not the type of leadership needed today. He is no longer fit for the job of Sheriff.

7 cities contract with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office to provide law enforcement services. These cities paid MCSO millions of taxpayer dollars, but were not informed about the uninvestigated crimes that placed children in their cities in danger. Where was Sheriff Joe, while these crimes went uninvestigated. He was posturing for the media, seeking publicity and playing politics.
A broad look at Arizona child abuse statistics tell the story of how children are treated in Arizona. Arizona Child Protective Services as of October 2012 had more than 13,000 child abuse and neglect reports. CPS has 60 days to investigate, but the limited staff and backlog will not allow CPS to complete this requirement. City of Phoenix has made progress investigating over 2,500 child sex crimes cases, but continue to receive as many as 500 a month. In combination with what the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has neglected…we know our children are not safe!

As voters, we have an opportunity on November 6 to change things for the better in Maricopa County for our children. Changing leadership in the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office is necessary, we cannot take another four years of the same.

Today, we ask the citizenry in Maricopa County to support a new Sheriff…Paul Penzone, who brings 21 years of law enforcement experience and has the energy to focus on rebuilding the trust in the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. Additionally, he has been an executive with ChildHelp, working on preventing child abuse and educating the community on how to safeguard children. eLatinaVoices endorses Paul Penzone for Sheriff in Maricopa County and asks residents in Maricopa County to do so too.

About eLatina Voices
eLatinaVoices, formed on September 30, 2010, is the largest online community of active Latinas in Arizona. The member organization is committed to advocating for and taking collective action on issues that impact the well-being of children, families and the Latino community. eLatinaVoices facilitates civic engagement and is focused on connecting active members to share ideas, work with elected officials and use their influential, collective voices to create change and improve the lives of young Latinos and women.

By utilizing social media, eLatinaVoices increases the exchange of information among Latinas to create an informed, active, engaged and mobilized community that addresses public policy issues, promotes equal education, encourages civic participation, and protects the rights of children and women a focuses on economic equality and justice in all of society. The women of eLatinaVoices are committed to advocacy and the community they serve.


Published: Feb. 13, 2012 at 7:04 PM

PHOENIX, Feb. 13 (UPI) — Arizona Republican lawmakers looking to retake the mantle for the nation’s toughest immigration laws have slim chances, experts say.

In 2011, Alabama overtook Arizona in installing measures focusing on illegal immigration by passing a measure exceeding Arizona’s infamous Senate Bill 1070, The Arizona Republic reported.

Arizona state Sen. Steve Smith sponsored Senate Bill 1444 that would require school districts to tally the number of illegal-immigrant students attending their schools. He also proposed Senate Bill 1445 that would mandate hospital personnel to tell police about any illegal-immigrant patients asking for care and compile an annual report of data on those patients. The bills would not prevent schools from teaching students or doctors from providing medical treatment.

While some Republican legislators say they hope to take back the distinction of being the toughest state when it comes to undocumented aliens, their hopes might be in vain because congressional focus is elsewhere. As James Carville said when he was working for Bill Clinton during the 1992 presidential campaign: “It’s the economy, stupid.”

Anjali Abraham, public-policy director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, said she’s observing the bills but doesn’t expect them to pass.

“I think there are enough people who want to move on from this kind of thing and focus on jobs and the economy and other issues,” Abraham said.

Republican senators who voted down the same bills in 2011 are still here this year, the newspaper reported Sunday.

Their opposition to the measures was mostly centered on the negative effect they would have on the business community in Arizona.

Read more:


Press Release
February 13, 2012


Russ Oates


Hispanics to Account for Greater Share
of Growth in the Labor Force

Hispanics are expected to account for 74% of the growth in the nation’s labor force from 2010 to 2020, according to new projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). A Pew Research Center commentary notes that this is much higher than in the previous two decades. Hispanics accounted for 36% of the total increase in the labor force from 1990 to 2000 and for 54% from 2000 to 2010. A major reason is that the Hispanic population is growing rapidly due to births and immigration. At the same time, the aging of the non-Hispanic white population is expected to reduce their numbers in the labor force.

Another important factor is that Hispanics have a higher labor force participation rate than other groups. The nation’s labor force participation rate-that is, the share of the population ages 16 and older either employed or looking for work-was 64.7% in 2010. Among Hispanics, the rate was 67.5%. There are two main explanations for this gap: Hispanics are a younger population than other groups, and include a higher share of immigrants.

The figures for Hispanics come from the latest round of BLS projections for the U.S. labor force, covering 2010-2020, which indicate that growth will slow overall. These projections show that the labor force will increase by 10.5 million in this decade, growing to 164.4 million in 2020 from 153.9 million in 2010. That is less than the increase of 11.3 million from 2000 to 2010, and substantially less than the 16.7 million increase from 1990 to 2000. The projected average annual increase in the labor force from 2010 to 2020-0.7%-is also less than the annual growth of 0.8% from 2000 to 2010 and only about half the 1.3% annual rate of growth from 1990 to 2000.

The commentary, “Labor Force Growth Slows, Hispanic Share Grows,” authored by Rakesh Kochhar, Associate Director for Research, Pew Hispanic Center, can be accessed on the Pew Hispanic Center website and on All Things Census at the Pew Social & Demographic Trends website.

The Pew Hispanic Center and Pew Social & Demographic Trends are projects of the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan, non-advocacy research organization based in Washington, D.C., and funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Talk About Class Warfare!

SOURCE: AP/Sandy Huffaker
Jose Aguilar, and his wife, Maria, read a book with their children Jose Jr., 7, and Jennifer, 9, at their home in National City, California. Some conservatives in Congress want to pay for a payroll tax cut extension by taking away the child tax credit from some immigrant families.

By Marshall Fitz , Sarah Jane Glynn |January 20, 2012

By next month Congress must extend the 2012 payroll tax cut to help boost our nation’s economic recovery. In 2011 this tax cut resulted in 122 million American households boosting their take-home-pay worth to the total tune of $120 billion. The extension and expansion of the payroll tax holiday through 2012 would put an average of $1,426 in the pockets of U.S. households and could create more than 1 million new jobs.

Some members of Congress, however, are looking to offset the lost revenue in callous and counterproductive ways so that they don’t have to raise taxes on millionaires by a single penny. A disturbing number of conservatives are proposing that American-born children in low-income immigrant families should be the ones to foot the bill. Their proposal is economically self-defeating and smacks of the class warfare conservatives deride.

First the facts. Congress enacted the Child Tax Credit in 1998 to help keep America’s children from falling into poverty by allowing families with children to reduce the amount of federal taxes that they owe. Because the objective of the credit is to protect children in low-income families, Congress only requires the Internal Revenue Service to ensure that the child being claimed is a U.S. citizen or legal resident alien.

Immigrant parents of American-born children can claim the Child Tax Credit using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, which enables immigrants who are not eligible for Social Security numbers to file and pay federal taxes. In practice, this means that undocumented workers whose wages are taxed and who file federal income tax returns are eligible to claim the credit on behalf of their U.S.-citizen children.

Conservatives now want to help pay for the payroll tax holiday by stripping the ability of these Individual Taxpayer Identification Number tax filers to claim the credit. Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) has introduced a bill with 36 Republican co-sponsors titled the “Refundable Child Tax Credit Eligibility Verification Reform Act,” which would require taxpayers to provide their Social Security numbers in order to claim the portion of the Child Tax Credit that is refundable. In other words, it would disqualify low-income American children of undocumented parents from receiving this economic relief.

How the Child Tax Credit works
Low-income families often owe less in federal income taxes than the amount of child tax credits they can claim. In these cases they may be eligible for the Additional Child Tax Credit—the portion of the credit that is refundable. The refundable amount is designed to incentivize hard work by linking the credit to earnings: The more the parent earns from working, the larger the available credit. As of 2009 the value of the Additional Child Tax Credit refund is equal to 15 percent of earnings above $3,000 and cannot exceed $1,000 per child.

Imagine a single mother with two children, working full time for minimum wage with a yearly income of $15,000. Federal, state, and local payroll taxes are withheld from her paychecks, but her income is too low to owe federal income tax. (Filers who are not liable for federal income tax have usually paid other federal taxes such as Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes, as well as state and local taxes.) The Additional Child Tax Credit, however, makes her eligible for a $1,800 ($15,000 minus $3,000, times 0.15 = $1,800) refund to help defray the costs of raising her two children. A similar parent working in a higher-wage job who has sufficient federal income tax liability would be able to claim the full $1,000 per child.

If this woman were an undocumented worker whose children are U.S. citizens, when she filed her taxes using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, or ITIN, she would be eligible to receive this refund under current law. According to a report by the Treasury Department’s inspector general, in 2010 there were about 2.18 million taxpayers like this woman who filed with ITINs and claimed a refund. That means millions of American children rely on these parents’ refunds to put food on the table, buy school books and clothes, and shelter them.

Approximately $4.2 billion in refundable credits were issued in 2010 to ITIN filers, representing about 15 percent of the total Additional Child Tax Credit refunds paid. These same 2.18 million filers also contributed more than $7 billion in federal taxes toward Medicare and Social Security, programs from which they will never recoup benefits, meaning the U.S. Treasury still comes out ahead.

Harsh and counterproductive consequences
The average household income for ITIN filers claiming Additional Child Tax Credit refunds in 2010 was about $21,240. This is less than half the 2010 median household income in the United States of $49,445, and would mean that a family of four with two children was living below the poverty line. Latino children are more likely to live in poverty than any other racial or ethnic group, and more than half of the 6.1 million Latino children in poverty are the U.S.-born children of immigrants.

These are the more than 2 million families threatened by this assault on the ACTC—hard-working families with children who are U.S. citizens. This tax increase could harm as many as 4 million of these American children already living on the economic margin. At a time when our nation has the largest number of people living in poverty since data were first collected 52 years ago after the deepest recession since the 1930s, tipping the scales against low-income children is not only immoral but also bad economic policy.

Federal assistance to lower-income families has a stimulating effect on our economy because these families are more likely to spend these funds on the necessities of daily life rather than saving them. Every dollar spent on a payroll tax cut generates $1.25 of economic growth. According to the Congressional Budget Office, refundable tax credits to low- and middle-income families have the second-highest positive impact on the economy out of all the current fiscal policy options. Only increased aid to the unemployed provides a bigger economic boost.

Tax refunds for lower-income families and payroll tax cuts are both important fiscal policy strategies. Terminating one policy to pay for the other is like robbing Peter to pay Paul and will cause more harm to our economy in the process. While Congress considers ways to offset the cost of extending the payroll tax cuts, denying tax credits to the parents of American children should not be among the options.

It makes zero economic sense to raise taxes on those who are already disproportionately likely to be living in poverty and who are certain to pour those additional resources back in to the economy.

An obvious alternative
The payroll tax cut extension is expected to cost $120billion, while by his own admission Rep. Johnson’s “Refundable Child Tax Credit Eligibility Verification Reform Act” is expected to save at best only $24 billion over 10 years. What if, instead of singling out a subset of American children to take food out of their mouths, we asked millionaires to pay their fair share in taxes?

America’s millionaires currently pay an average tax rate that is significantly lower than what it was in the mid-1990s. Senate Democrats have proposed a 1.9 percent surtax on adjusted gross income more than $1 million, which would generate $155 billion over 10 years. A paltry 0.2 percent surtax on millionaires would result in the same savings as denying Additional Child Tax Credits to the citizen children of immigrant parents.

Congress should be asking themselves who benefits from keeping taxes low for millionaires (answer: no one but the millionaires in question), and who will benefit from the payroll tax cuts (answer: the entire economy through increased incomes and job creation). In spite of the political rhetoric, immigrants and their children contribute positively to the economy and will continue to do so in the future. Asking poor children to bear the brunt of these costs while millionaires continue to enjoy tax breaks is cruel and poor public policy.

Marshall Fitz is Director of Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress. Sarah Jane Glynn is a Policy Analyst with the Economic Policy team at the Center.

Beyond Politics: How Undocumented Youth Can Find Emotional Support

 by Mónica Novoa ShareThis | Print | Comment ( 2

Friday, December 2 2011, 11:30 AM EST Tags: Drop the I-Word

 On the day after Thanksgiving, 18-year-old Joaquin Luna took his life. An undocumented student in Texas, Luna was reportedly anxious about his immigration status. While the tragedy has been widely reported in some progressive circles, it also points to the deeply disturbing reality that many people struggle with mental illness and thoughts of helplessness, and it’s especially hard for undocumented young people to find help.

There is not an undocumented person or ally, family member or loved one that has not witnessed or experienced the effects that systematic dehumanization and alienation can have on the body, mind and spirit. People who find themselves directly impacted,and those of us who walk with and behind, have also witnessed the inner strength and courage that goes beyond what a person’s status is and to the core of who people are.

Given the seriousness of the situation, we sought out friends and experts to spread the word about mental health awareness, and support. We are thankful to our friend Sonia Guinansaca at the New York State Youth Leadership Council, for her candid and heartfelt testimony. And we also spoke with Chicago-based social worker Jacqueline Luna, an ally who supports young people organizing via the Immigrant Youth Justice League (IYJL) and the TheNational Immigrant Youth Alliance (NIYA).

What would you tell someone currently struggling that would offer them hope?

Sonia: As a person who has been suicidal and still battles with it, I have realized that I am not alone. In our communities, mental health is something that should be openly discussed, but it is not discussed enough.

Many times I felt alone with this struggle, I felt ashamed and guilty like I was the only one with suicidal thoughts and I felt that there was something wrong with me that I was letting down the movement and that I was weak.

During one of the NIYA’s meetings, I found someone that reassured me I am human and reassured me that there is a community that has my back and will support me even across states. Since then, I have reached out to community counseling and been open about my struggle with mentors and close friends and now to all of you.

I know it is tough,but there is hope. Seek proper help and know that you are valued, that you are beautiful and it is tough, but you are not alone. We are here for each other.

Within the New York State Youth Leadership Council, the most helpful resources have been our Support Group, Arts and Expression, and Mentoring Programs.The support group started about 3 years ago and has been a space where young undocumented people feel comfortable coming to and sharing concerns and trauma. It has been facilitated by counselors in training — with and without papers.

How did you start working with DREAMers on mental health issues?

Jacqueline:I have a personal connection to the work. Both of my parents were undocumented for a period of time as I was growing up, and it really impacted them in different ways. And I feel like it still affects my mom, but she’s also a very strong, determined woman. It impacted how she raised me and my siblings, so that’s always been a part of me knowing where my parents come from.

I also dated someone who was undocumented. As we had our relationship, we also met other people who were undocumented and they became part of my family and community. So I talked to them and heard from them what it felt like to be undocumented. [They described] not feeling heard, or not being seen as a whole person.

Thinking of my privilege as a US citizen, but also as a mental health worker, in a field that’s all about talking about your feelings and supporting people, I was really wondering how I could help the people I cared about in a more concrete way. But also pushing this movement forward in a sustainable way, because a lot of the organizers are undocumented themselves and also supporting other undocumented people.

What does mental health access currently look like for undocumented people?

Jacqueline: It is limited because there isn’t enough awareness in terms of the undocumented community, of where they can go. And organizations that provide mental health services aren’t always making themselves known and accessible to the undocumented community. There are free services, affordable or income-based services like sliding scale in community-based organizations.

It takes a lot for someone to be able to admit they need help. And there’s the other piece too of really hoping that the person you’re meeting with is aware of an undocumented experience, so they’re not using the i-word and they’re not further scaring people and [they] really just listen and support.

What are some of the coping mechanisms that can be used specifically by organizers who are on the front lines?

Jacqueline: When you’re organizing around something that’s so connected to who you are, it’s very personal as much as it is political. You’re wholeheartedly invested in what you’re doing, so the degree of separation maybe at some point isn’t there. It can also be a way to disconnect from your feelings and kind of make it about the political process.

I think for organizers, it’s important for them to acknowledge that they have their own experience in addition to their organizing experience. They have to really tune into their feelings. If they’re feeling frustrated, if they’re feeling angry about their own experience, they have to acknowledge that and think about how those feelings will spill into a meeting and other interactions.

Once people are able to acknowledge their own feelings, it’s about what they want to do with it. Do they want to avoid, it, ignore it for the moment and keep moving? Or do they need to really address it and develop some type of coping skill that they need to talk to someone about? As much as we try to keep our emotions in, they come out in other ways. In our behavior, in our bodies as in headaches, stomach aches.

What are some of the signs that friends and family should look out for if someone is feeling this unique stress and anxiety over their future?


Jacqueline:Typically, if someone isn’t able to talk about it and instead trying to deal with it alone, it may be all they are thinking about so they may not be as present in class, at work, at home, or in conversations with friends. People may be withdrawn from family and friends and stop doing activities that they normally enjoy. They may be into other behavior that is out of the ordinary for them. It could be that they’re trying drugs or drinking more. Or they’re isolating themselves and they used to be a really social person. It can manifest in different ways, but the change is expressed consistently for weeks or months.

Asking someone about their mental health doesn’t have to be taboo. It just means you are showing concern for the other person. We should be able to ask and to really take the time to intentionally check in with someone.

What are some of the best ways you have seen communities take care of one another and rely on their own wisdom in terms of prevention and getting creative when there is a lack of access?

Jacqueline: There are a few things. First, I’ve heard of undocumented potlucks here in Chicago. Only undocumented people are invited. It’s a safe space, from what I have gathered, and a time where people can really share deeply and build trust.

Another important thing is humor. Julio Salgado has done a couple of videos about how being undocumented is not a crime, but it’s awkward. The scenes show humor that undocumented people can relate to, and it acknowledges that within the community, stress can also be relieved through laughter. “Ask Angy” and her dating while undocumented videois another great one.

Finally, for many people it’s been helpful to join an organization and take a more active role in changing immigration status. Even if it’s not getting deeply involved, it can be about connecting, being more aware and knowing that people are organizing to change things and can offer support.


By Elizabeth Llorente – November 2, 2011

At a rally in front of the federal immigration offices in Newark, about a dozen U.S. born children with at least one parent who has been deported spoke of how their families had been hurt and their lives upended.

About a dozen U.S.-born children, each the child of a parent who has been deported, participated in a rally in New Jersey on July 6 where they described the hardship of deportation on them and their families. The rally organizers, which included American Friends Service Committee, hope to build momentum for a bill sponsored by Rep. Jose Serrano, a New York Democrat, that calls for taking account children’s rights when considering deportation.

Source: Photo by Karen Keller for Fox News Latino

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The Toll of the Great Recession : Childhood Poverty Among Hispanics Sets Record, Leads Nation

Press Release

September 28, 2011

The spread of poverty across the United States that began at the onset of the Great Recession of 2007-2009 and accelerated last year hit one fast-growing demographic group especially hard: Latino children.

More Latino children are living in poverty—-6.1 million in 2010—-than children of any other racial or ethnic group. This marks the first time in U.S. history that the single largest group of poor children is not white. In 2010, 37.3% of poor children were Latino, 30.5% were white and 26.6% were black, according to an analysis of new data from the U.S. Census Bureau by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center.

This negative milestone for Hispanics is a product of their growing numbers, high birth rates and declining economic fortunes. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Hispanics today make up a record 16.3% of the total U.S. population. But they comprise an even larger share—-23.1%—–of the nation’s children, a disparity driven mainly by high birth rates among Hispanic immigrants.

Of the 6.1 million Latino children living in poverty, more than two-thirds (4.1 million) are the children of immigrant parents. The other 2 million are the children of parents born in the U.S. Among the 4.1 million impoverished Latino children of immigrants, the vast majority (86.2%) were born in the U.S.

The Great Recession, which began in 2007 and officially ended in 2009, had a large impact on the Latino community. At its beginning, the unemployment rate among Latino workers increased rapidly, especially among immigrant workers. Today, the unemployment rate among Latinos, at 11.1%, is higher than the national unemployment rate of 9.1%. Household wealth among Latinos declined more sharply than either black or white households between 2005 and 2009. And according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, food insecurity among Latino households increased sharply at the start of the Great Recession. In 2008, nearly a third (32.1%) of Latino households with children faced food insecurity, up from 23.8% in 2007.

Prior to the Great Recession, more white children lived in poverty than Hispanic children. However, since 2007, that pattern has reversed. Between 2007 and 2010, an additional 1.6 million Hispanic children lived in poverty, an increase of 36.3%. By contrast, even though the number of white and black children living in poverty also grew, their numbers grew more slowly—-up 17.6% and 11.7% respectively.

These findings are based on an analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Annual Social and Economic (ASEC) Supplement of the March 2011 Current Population Survey (CPS), supplemented by historical time series data based on the CPS. The March CPS is the official source for national poverty estimates.

The report, “Childhood Poverty Among Hispanics Sets Record, Leads Nation,” authored by Pew Hispanic Center Associate Director Mark Hugo Lopez and Research Analyst Gabriel Velasco, is available at the Pew Hispanic Center’s website

Dealing with Disappearing Parents

Story By Luis Carrión

May 11, 2011

The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law was the site of a recent press conference to announce the release of a new report on Immigration and the Child Welfare System titled Disappearing Parents.

Nina Rabin is the director of border research at the UA Southwest Institute for Research on Women (SIROW), as well as the author of the report. Her work focuses on how immigration policy impacts women and children, and she says one of the lesser-known stories about immigration is what happens to children-–many of whom are U.S. citizens–when their parents are detained or deported.

“When (someone) is detained it can be for a period of months or years,” Rabin says, and “a lot can happen with the custody of the kids in that time.”

Rabin’s report describes families entangled at the point of contact between two large bureaucracies: the federal immigration enforcement system and the state child welfare system.

“People disappear into the immigration system, and the immigration system isn’t really responsive to the concerns raised about family separation and children on the outside,” Rabin says. “And from the child welfare system’s perspective-–kind of understandably—if this parent disappears they have to move on, they have to find a permanent home for this child.”

That leaves the system to decide children’s fates, without their parents present. Rabin says the two bureaucracies are simply “rolling along and not recognizing what’s happening to people.”

Patricia Manning is also with SIROW, where she works as an immigrant social services coordinator and advocate. She says in a little over a year she’s seen 110 women, the vast majority of them housed in the privately operated Eloy Detention Center.

Drawing made by woman being held at Eloy Detention Center.

Most are parents, and they are distraught by their separation from their children, she says. She points out that, once the parents are in detention, there are no mechanisms in place to facilitate contact between them and their children.

Isaias Noguez, of the Mexican Consulate in Tucson, says the report on disappearing parents highlights the pervasive problems created at the intersection between ICE and the child welfare system. He points out his office can help overcome some of the unique problems that result.

“Frequently attorneys or judges have problems contacting parents that are in detention here in Arizona or have been deported to Mexico. If they notify the consulate, then we can serve as bridge to allow contact with the parents that are detained or are now in Mexico,” he says. “Similarly, through the Child Protective Services in Mexico, known as DIF, the consulate can, again, act as a liaison so that the appropriate authorities in the U.S. and in Arizona can contact the authorities in Mexico so that we can attain a reunification of the minors.”

Noguez says that the biggest problem for his office is that, in most instances, the Mexican Consulate is never notified of cases. He says too many parents face the possibility of termination of their parental rights. He feels the report shows how this is often due to their inability to comply with the juvenile court’s timeline for regaining custody because of their detention.

Rabin says the report is intended to provide information to the agencies involved, as well as the public. The report makes certain recommendations, including providing enhanced legal assistance to immigrant parents with U.S. citizen children in state custody. It also suggests appointing key liaison positions in ICE and the child welfare system to improve the ability of the two systems to communicate and coordinate with one another.

A version of the report will be published later this fall in the Connecticut Journal of Law.

Is the next immigration fight over ‘anchor babies’?

By Ed Hornick, CNN
April 28, 2011 — Updated 1716 GMT (0116 HKT)

Opponents of illegal immigration mount a small counterdemonstration last year in New York City.

Washington (CNN) — While the nation’s political dialogue was hijacked over the issue of President Obama’s birthplace, bubbling below the surface is the fact that a child of illegal immigrants born in the United States — derided by some as “anchor babies” — could one day be president.

Under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

So under the law, children of illegal immigrants born on U.S. soil are citizens.

Stoking the debate is the fact that under the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, those children may sponsor other family members for entry into the U.S. when they reach age 21.

Critics say they, in turn, anchor family members outside the U.S. on American soil, creating an end-run for illegal immigration.

The issue is not a new one. In 1993, Sen. Harry Reid, who is now the Senate majority leader, blasted the rise in what amounts to legal illegal immigration because of the stress it places on the system.

“If you break our laws by entering this country without permission and give birth to a child, we reward that child with U.S. citizenship and guarantee a full access to all public and social services this society provides. And that’s a lot of services,” he said.

That position has been recently taken up by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, among others in Congress.

And state governments are taking matters into their own hands.

In February, Arizona state Sen. Ron Gould, a Republican, pushed for a bill that would ban U.S. citizenship for these babies. The proposal was later rejected.

I think most of the legal and constitutional scholars who have spoken on the issue have said the Constitution is clear on the issue of citizenship.
–Clarissa Martinez de Castro, National Council of La Raza

In January, a group known as the State Legislators for Legal Immigration proposed a legislative “fix” to prevent these babies from being citizens. The coalition of lawmakers from 40 states says the 14th Amendment has been wrongly applied to those born purposefully on U.S. soil to gain American citizenship.

The National Council of La Raza, the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S., is lashing out against recent attempts in several states to change the 14th Amendment because of anchor babies.

And the group has the backing of the American public, according to a 2010 nationwide poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. A majority of Americans — 56% — opposed changing the 14th Amendment; 41% favored changing it.

Clarissa Martinez de Castro, director of immigration and national campaigns for the National Council of La Raza, says opponents want to take their cause all the way to the Supreme Court.

“Even the state legislators who announced they were trying to push this measure and tinkering with the 14th Amendment acknowledge that what they’re seeking is a lawsuit and to take this to the court,” she said. “I think most of the legal and constitutional scholars who have spoken on the issue have said the Constitution is clear on the issue of citizenship.”

Martinez de Castro said that if advocates want to change the nation’s immigration policy, they should fix it rather than tinker with the Constitution.

Jon Feere, a policy expert with the nonpartisan Center for Immigration, agrees.

Feere said that even if the wording of the amendment is changed so children born to illegal immigrants are not granted U.S. citizenship, “you’re still going to end up with illegal immigration and illegal immigrants having children in the U.S.”

“The result of that is we have an influx of illegal immigration,” he said. “So I think a lot of people feel that our immigration and citizenship system is controlled by immigrants rather than citizens, because when you think about it — ‘Who is a U.S. citizen? What will our future look like?’ — The (babies) are the ones who decide.”

The American Resistance organization says “the 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868 to protect the rights of native-born Black Americans, whose rights were being denied as recently freed slaves.”

The group, which describes itself as “a coalition of immigration crime fighters opposing illegal and undocumented immigration,” said that the intent of the amendment “was clearly not to facilitate illegal aliens defying U.S. law at taxpayer expense.”

According to a Pew Hispanic Center study released in late 2010, 79% of the 5.1 million children of unauthorized immigrants were born in the U.S.

Almost one of four children born in the U.S. in 2008 had parents who were immigrants, the study also found. Of those, 16% of the parents were legal immigrants and 8% were in the U.S. without proper documentation.

In addition, more than three-fourths of all unauthorized immigrants in the United States in March 2009 were Latinos, the study said. And nearly one of every four children under age 18 in the nation was Hispanic. That trend is likely to continue, the study found.

CNN’s Arthur Brice and Shannon Travis contributed to this report.