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A new report by the centre for American Progress found that undocumented immigrants are staying in the country despite tough anti-immigration bills designed to “make life so difficult for immigrants that they will self-deport.”
States such as Georgia, Alabama and Arizona have implemented laws that require proof of legal residency to enroll in school or to seek medical treatment, making it difficult for undocumented immigrants to live there.
Self-deportation is often referred to as the less costly alternative to the actual deportation of more than 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., which would cost $285 billion.
Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State who has endorsed Mitt Romney, said earlier this month at CPAC that self-deportation, especially using E-verify, is working. Pacific Steel Casing Foundry was forced to let go of more than 200 workers, some of whom worked for the company for decades, before the holidays in December because their documents did not pass the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) audit. The audit, similarly to E-verify, reviews employees’ I-9 documents including their social security numbers, birth dates and statements about their legal status, reports R.M. Arrieta for In These Times.
According to Josh Lederman of The Hill, Kobach claimed that after Arizona began requiring employers to use E-Verify, “people started deporting by tens of thousands.”
But despite harsh laws, the report provides several reasons unauthorised immigrants decide to stay instead of returning to their home country:
- About 45 per cent live with children, who after living most of their lives in the U.S. have assimilated into American life.
- Self-deportation would mean breaking up a family for about “16.6 million people in families with at least one undocumented immigrant.”
- The high costs and hardships associated with crossing the border illegally result in the undocumented immigrants staying in the U.S. instead of trekking back and forth.
- While the rate of illegal immigration into the U.S. has decreased as rates of unemployment grew, the employment opportunities in the native countries of these undocumented immigrants are not any better.
Consequently, undocumented immigrants stay put within U.S. dodging the law and its various requirements or move to a more immigration-friendly state.
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