Friday February 28, 2014
A new national poll released by the Pew Research Center has found that Americans still support a path to legal status for unauthorized immigrants but are divided equally over whether the increase in the number of deportations is a good thing.
The Pew researchers found that an overwhelming majority of 73% of respondents believes that unauthorized immigrants should be allowed to remain in the country, either by applying for citizenship or permanent residency.
But when asked about increased deportations, the responses are equally divided about whether it's a good or bad thing: 45% on each side.
Since President Obama took office, the government has deported 1.6 million unauthorized immigrants, a higher rate of deportation than any of his predecessors.
The path to legal status is a critical component of the comprehensive immigration reform bill passed by the Senate last year and supported by Obama and Democrats.
Monday February 24, 2014
A record 2,999 Americans gave up their citizenship in 2013, according to statistics from the U.S. Treasury Department.
The number of renunciations has grown steadily through the last decade as more U.S. citizens and green card holders have sought to avoid taxes by moving abroad and giving up their citizenship.
In 2000, only 431 people renounced their citizenship, but the number had swelled to 1,534 by 2010.
Unlike most countries, the United States requires all its citizens to file tax returns, no matter where they live or where they earn their income.
Renunciation is governed by Section 349(a)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), and the U.S. Department of State oversees the process. Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin and rock star Tina Turner are among the famous Americans who have decided to give up their citizenship in recent years.
The U.S. government takes renunciations very seriously and has stringent requirements for those who wish to surrender their citizenship. And there's no turning back once you give up being an American.
Monday February 17, 2014
President Obama says Congress will pass comprehensive immigration reform before he leaves office in 2017.
"I believe it will get done before my presidency is over," he told Univision Radio on Feb. 14. "I would like to get it done this year."
House Speaker John Boehner put a halt to negotiations over an immigration reform bill this month because he said President Obama "couldn't be trusted" to enforce tougher border controls, though the Obama administration has deported more unauthorized immigrants than any administration in history.
The president says the real reasons Republicans have balked on reform is that they're afraid of political consequences in the mid-term elections later this year.
"They're worried and they're scared about the political blowback," Mr. Obama said. "We can all appreciate the maneuverings that take place, particularly in an election year."
Meanwhile, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, a member of the Senate's Gang of Eight, said on CNN's State of the Union that his party can't stay on the sidelines forever.
"I have not given up hope that we would act and we must act," McCain said, pointing to demographic changes in his state and the Southwest, where Hispanic voters will insist on immigration reform.
Obama has urged supporters of reform to call and write their Republican representatives and push for change. "I think sending a strong message to them that this is the right thing to do, it's important to do, it's the fair thing to do, and it will actually improve the economy and give people a chance," the president said.
Monday February 10, 2014
The Brookings Institution, a non-partisan Washington-based think tank, has released a study that says the EB-5 visa program for foreign investors and entrepreneurs isn't being run as efficiently as it should.
The researchers found that the program is overly complicated for immigrants to navigate, and that too often there isn't enough coordination between U.S. immigration officials and the local economies the program is supposed to be helping.
The study suggests involving the U.S. Commerce Department in the program to gain more expertise and connections with the business community. The researchers also want the program to keep better records and statistics to help assess its effectiveness.
The EB-5 program has enjoyed bipartisan support in Congress and with the Obama administration as a way to use immigration to stimulate the U.S. economy.
The program allows foreign investors and entrepreneurs to obtain green cards and permanent residency for themselves and their family members if they invest at least $500,000 in a U.S. business and create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs.