Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Legal Violence in the Lives of Immigrants
Press Release

RELEASE: Legal Violence in the Lives of Immigrants

How Immigration Enforcement Affects Families, Schools, and the Workplace

Washington, D.C. — Today the Center for American Progress released “Legal Violence in the Lives of Immigrants: How Immigration Enforcement Affects Families, Schools, and Workplaces,” which draws upon more than 200 in-depth interviews conducted over 10 years to show the cumulative effects of immigration enforcement, fear of immigration enforcement, and the ensuing stigmatization of immigrants. The report illustrates that, in the absence of legislative reform, aggressive immigration enforcement hinders today’s immigrants from integrating into life in the United States as their predecessors did before them. The impact reaches the wider community in which they live–straining family ties, opening the door to employer mistreatment and causing children to underperform in school or leave school early. Put simply immigration enforcement affects all Americans, documented and undocumented, native-born and foreign-born alike.

“This report provides even more evidence of the need to pass immigration reform,” said Angela Maria Kelley, Vice President for Immigration Reform and Advocacy. “With close to two-thirds of all Americans supporting a path to citizenship, and prominent members of both parties coming out in favor of reform, now more than ever we need to legalize the 11 million unauthorized immigrants living in the United States to stop the far-reaching and harmful effects of immigration enforcement on all of America’s communities.”

To mitigate the harsh effects of legal violence and to ensure that all residents of the United States have the ability and opportunity to integrate and prosper, this report finds that both Congress and the Obama administration must address the issue. Congress must pass immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the country. The administration should target enforcement practices  on serious criminals rather than low-level offenders. Finally, immigration must be decoupled from local enforcement efforts so that immigrants and their families can regain trust in authorities.

Read the full report here.

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