The anti-immigrant group Progressives for Immigration Reform (PFIR) announced a press conference today on Capitol Hill in opposition to the DREAM Act to be attended by Latino leaders and a bipartisan group of members of Congress.
The press release named Carmen Perez as the leader of the coalition.
“Latino leaders are gathered today in solidarity. We are here to send a strong message to Congress that as Latino activists, we stand staunchly opposed to any measure that puts Americans at a disadvantage and rewards illegal behavior,” Perez said.
On its website, PFIR claims to examine “unintended consequences of mass migration” and says “there must be no amnesties given for those who have illegally entered the United States to work.”
This statement, however, fails to acknowledge that the DREAM Act will impact students who were brought to the US as children by no will of their own by their parents. Legal status would also not be automatically granted as individuals would be required to complete at least two years of college or serve in the military.
“I think progressives and conservatives alike can agree on the need to support working and middle-class citizens during a depressed economy,” said Leah Durant, Executive Director of Progressives for Immigration Reform. “This bill would provide in-state tuition rates and residency benefits to illegal immigrant students when many Americans are hurting the most. What makes sense is that America’s jobs and tuition benefits should be reserved for people who are legally entitled to compete for them.”
La Plaza previously reported that Immigration is good for the US economy. An Economic Letter published by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco says immigration expands the economy’s productive capacity, stimulates investment and promotes specialization that in the long run boosts productivity.
The letter, written by Giovanni Peri, an associate professor at the University of California, Davis, also debunks the myth that immigrants take jobs from American workers, as PFIR claims. Peri said that consistent with past research, there is no evidence that immigrant workers are taking jobs away from Americans.
“The impact of these immigrants on the U.S. economy is hotly debated. Some stories in the popular press suggest that immigrants diminish the job opportunities of workers born in the United States,” Peri said in the letter. “Economists who have analyzed local labor markets have mostly failed to find large effects of immigrants on employment and wages of U.S.-born workers.”
A vote on the DREAM Act is expected as early as tomorrow morning.