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Entries in Immigration (62)


CEI Today: Net neutrality, Farm Bill, and economics of immigration

NET NEUTRALITY - RYAN RADIA Net Neutrality Unconstitutional, Public Interest Groups Tell Appeals Court

On July 23, TechFreedom and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, along with the Free State Foundation and the Cato Institute, filed a brief amici curiae (PDF) with the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit arguing that the FCC’s 2011 “Preserving the Open Internet” Order is unconstitutional.

By denying providers their constitutional rights, the groups argue, the FCC’s rule forces consumers to bear the costs of building tomorrow’s networks, foreclosing novel business models in which content companies share part of that burden
.  >Find out more

>Interview Ryan Radia


FARM BILL - FRAN SMITH Farm Bill Boondoggle Won't Cure Drought, Coalition Tells Boehner


Twelve government watchdog groups, including CEI, sent House Speaker John Boehner a letter this morning urging him to hold firm and not give into special interest pressure to schedule a vote on the bloated Farm Bill.

Agricultural interests and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack are pushing for fast consideration of a nearly $1 trillion farm and food stamp give-away, saying that farmers need the bill because of the devastating drought and claiming there is no safety net without the new bill.

That’s nonsense, as current and generous crop insurance will take care of most farmers, and there were private alternatives available. > Read the coalition letter on

> Inteview Fran Smith


IMMIGRATION - DAVID BIER High-Skilled Immigration Restrictions Are Economically Senseless

Employer discrimination based on national origin has been illegal in the United States since the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, yet American immigration law has continued to discriminate in that exact manner. If the government insists on restricting foreign workers’ access to U.S. markets, it should do so on the basis of merit, not nationality. Last week, Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) took an important step toward that goal, but it is a flawed one.  > Read the full commentary on

>Interview David Bier






Fred Smith discusses the Law of the Sea Treaty and other treaties.


View the video



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CEI's Liberty Week Podcast - Unfunded Mandate Reform


Unfunded mandates are a way for Congress to increase government's size and scope without increasing the deficit. Of course, this just means that state governments and the private sector are footing the bill instead. Research Associate David Deerson explains why past efforts to rein in unfunded mandates failed, and why new legislation that Congress is set to vote on this week could help.




CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government.  For more information about CEI, please visit our website,, and blogs, and  Follow CEI on Twitter!


CEI - Supreme Court Immigration Ruling a Modest Victory for Free Market Reforms

Supreme Court Immigration Ruling a Modest Victory for Free Market Reforms

Ruling Restricts State Attempts to Penalize Immigrants Seeking Work But Leaves Limits on Free Association

 WASHINGTON, D.C., June 25, 2012 – The Supreme Court has struck down portions of Arizona’s SB 1070—the controversial immigration law that targets undocumented migrant workers. The court ruled that federal law preempted sections that allowed for arrests without warrants, required immigrants to carry “alien registration documents,” and made it a criminal offense for undocumented workers to work or solicit work.

Even though the Court upheld a section that requires police officers to check immigration status, these significant revisions are still a modest victory for free market immigration reformers, says David Bier, a policy analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI). “The ruling restricts state attempts to create further punishments for peaceful migrants who seek work from American employers,” Bier said. “Unfortunately, the law will continue to limit American citizens’ freedom of association by criminalizing those who ‘employ, harbor, or transport’ unauthorized workers.”

“Ultimately, however,” he continued, “immigration reformers must recognize that the real source America’s broken immigration system is federal laws that make legal entry nearly impossible for migrant workers and the U.S. employers that hire them. Federal and state laws that continue to reinforce this fundamentally anti-free market system hurt America’s economy by limiting productivity, forcing employers to expand overseas, and driving up prices for all Americans. Real reform means less regulations and more freedom.”


CEI Today: Corn & global warming, NLRB in court, and real immigration stats

Court Slaps NLRB — Again

In yet another victory for workers and job creators, a federal district court has struck down the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) ambush election rule. The ruling is the latest in a series of cases where the courts have overturned the NLRB. This time U.S. District Judge James Boasberg threw out the NLRB’s rule because the board rushed through the rule without the requisite three member quorum. >Read the full commentary on

> Interview Vincent Vernuccio


♫ Corn Is Busting Out All Over ♫ (Update on Global Warming and the Death of Corn)

About a year ago on this blog, I offered some skeptical commentary about the gloomy testimony of Dr. Christopher Field of the Carnegie Institution for Science, who warned the House Energy & Commerce Committee that global warming would inflict major losses on U.S. corn crop production unless scientists develop varieties with improved heat resistence.

Well, this just in, courtesy of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA): USDA projects the U.S. corn crop for 2012 to reach 14.79 billion bushels, the biggest ever. The numbers are mighty impressive and indicate that, in this decade at least, U.S. corn farmers are more than a match for climate change.
> Read the full commentary on

>Interview Marlo Lewis


IMMIGRATION - DAVID BIER The Flawed Case Against Immigration

Not only does the anti-immigration crowd not seem to care about unfunded mandates or amnesty when those suit their purposes, their claims that are trying to costs welfare are also dubious. Since Arizona's SB 1070 actually criminalizes work, or looking for work, even looking like you're looking for work in "a place where unlawfully present aliens are known to congregate," the law's actual effect is to create more destitute and needy families who might use public benefits. Of course, this may be the point--at least to bolster their flimsy case against immigration. > Read the full commentary at

> Interview David Bier



Ten Thousand Commandments 2012

An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State
May 15, 2012

The scope of federal government spending and deficits is sobering. Yet the government’s reach extends well beyond the taxes Washington collects and its deficit spending and borrowing. Federal environmental, safety and health, and economic regulations cost hundreds of billions—perhaps trillions—of dollars every year over and above the costs of the official federal outlays that dominate the policy debate.

CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government.  For more information about CEI, please visit our website,, and blogs, and  Follow CEI on Twitter!


CEI Today: Eurozone troubles, immigration problems, and Sierra Club re-branding

EUROPE - IAIN MURRAY The Great Unanswered Question About the Eurozone


In a column for the FT today, Wolfgang Munchau lays out what may be the only plausible solution to the Eurozone crisis – for governments like Greece to “default into” the European Stability Mechanism. The ESM could then issue bonds, thereby mutualizing the bad debt of the defaulting governments. The Euro survives, the PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Spain) get their debt off their books and can rebuild without having to do distasteful things like reform their labor markets, and the Euro project continues with its new Banking Union.

Except…  The great unasked and unanswered question with all of these schemes is: where is the money coming from? That’s not the same as the question who will buy this debt.  > Read the full commentary on

> Interview Iain Murray


ENERGY - MYRON EBELL Fossil Fuel Shill Sierra Club Bites the Hand That Fed It

The Sierra Club is re-branding its anti-natural gas efforts as “Beyond Natural Gas.”  Beyond Natural Gas joins the Sierra Club’s other two anti-energy campaigns, Beyond Coal and Beyond Oil.

The Sierra Club’s timing, whether intentionally or not, kicks Aubrey McClendon, their former patron, when he is down.  Time Magazine
reported earlier this year that McClendon gave the Sierra Club $26 million between 2007 and 2010 for their Beyond Coal campaign.  This week McClendon was relieved of his duties as chairman of one of the U. S.’s largest natural gas producers, Chesapeake Energy, although he remains CEO.  It also became public knowledge last week that the Securities and Exchange Commission has launched an investigation into McClendon and Chesapeake. > Read the full commentary on

> Interview Myron Ebell


Our Immigration Problem's Not Going Away

The Pew Hispanic Center’s recent report on the decline of unauthorized immigration has elicited a flood of responses. The report’s finding that “the net migration flow from Mexico to the United States has stopped” has led to some victory laps, such as that by Timothy Noah in his recent New Republic article, “What Crisis? Our Non-Existent Immigration Problem.” Such triumphalist “problem solved” proclamations are wrongheaded. They ignore the 11 million undocumented immigrants still here, the thousands of deaths along our border, the constant Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids, and the millions who wait in vain for green cards. > Read more at

>Interview David Bier



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NRO Editorial: Arizona's “commonsense” immigration law is constitutional

A new NRO editorial, “Uphold S.B. 1070,” says the Supreme Court should uphold Arizona’s “tough, commonsense immigration-enforcement” law and allow states to “use their law-enforcement resources to ‘do the jobs Americans the Justice Department won’t do.’”

The complete text of the editorial follows. It can also be found on National Review Online at


Uphold S.B. 1070

By The Editors

Today, eight justices of the Supreme Court (Associate Justice Elena Kagan, formerly President Obama’s solicitor general, has recused herself) will hear oral arguments in The United States v. Arizona, a case that will decide whether the Obama administration may impose its strategic neglect of federal immigration laws on the states, or whether instead the states may use their law-enforcement resources to “do the jobs Americans the Justice Department won’t do.”

In April 2010, Arizona governor Jan Brewer signed the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act into law. The tough, commonsense immigration-enforcement package that would come to be known simply as S.B. 1070 had passed comfortably in both houses of Arizona’s legislature and enjoyed broad public support. But in July of 2010, the Obama Justice Department asked a federal court for, and was granted, an injunction against enforcement of major provisions of the law, including the requirement that police make an effort to ascertain the immigration status of lawfully detained individuals when there is reasonable suspicion they are in the country illegally; the complementary requirement that immigrants carry federal immigration papers or be subject to misdemeanor charges; and the imposition of penalties on illegal immigrants who improperly seek work. In April of 2011, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals added to the annals of its infamy by upholding this injunction, and in December the Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal.

The conflict centers on whether the aforementioned provisions of S.B. 1070 preempt federal law on a matter of federal prerogative — in contravention of the Supremacy Clause in Article VI — or whether, as the state of Arizona has argued, they merely complement that law. But we can save the Court the trouble. There is simply no plain-language reading, either of the Arizona law or of federal immigration code, that renders the one incompatible with the other. The Justice Department’s case rests instead on a willful misreading of federal statute, and it reinterprets the requirement that states not preempt federal immigration laws as a requirement that states harmonize their own laws with federal immigration enforcement practices or in this case, with the lack thereof.

Federal courts have generally held that although setting immigration law is the exclusive domain of the federal government, the states can and indeed should play a role in enforcing that law. For example, in United States v. Vasquez Alvarez (1999), the Tenth Circuit saw “a clear invitation from Congress for state and local agencies to participate in the process of enforcing federal immigration laws” and a “preexisting general authority of state or local police officers to investigate and make arrests for violations of . . . immigration laws.” The Fifth Circuit similarly noted in Lynch v. Cannatella (1987) that “no statute precludes other federal, state, or local law enforcement agencies from taking other action to enforce this nation’s immigration laws.” And in Plyler v. Doe (1982), Justice William Brennan, writing for the majority in an otherwise pro-open-borders opinion, held that “despite the exclusive federal control of this Nation’s borders, we cannot conclude that the States are without power to deter the influx of persons entering the United States against federal law, and whose numbers might have a discernible impact on traditional state concerns.”

This is all S.B. 1070 does. Let us take each of the enjoined provisions separately. Section 2(B), arguably the most controversial, requires that police officers who have lawfully arrested, detained, or otherwise stopped persons for a violation of any law or ordinance take reasonable measures to ascertain the immigration status of those persons should there be a reasonable suspicion they are here illegally. The Justice Department has argued, and the lower courts have agreed, that this unjustly singles out aliens as a group for discrimination and surveillance. But the provision is aimed specifically at aliens already suspected of breaking the law. U.S. code requires aliens to be properly registered with the federal government, and it already commands federal authorities to respond to any inquiries “by a Federal, State, or local government agency, seeking to verify or ascertain the citizenship or immigration status of any individual.” So it stands to reason that local authorities with custody of a suspected illegal alien (who may have committed one of the deportable infractions codified in federal law, to boot) have the investigative and enforcement resources to confirm that alien’s status.

The same goes for section 3(C), which imposes penalties on aliens for not carrying registration papers. Federal law already requires that “every alien, eighteen years of age and over, shall at all times carry with him and have in his personal possession any certificate of alien registration or alien registration receipt card issued to him.” And federal penalties for a willful failure to complete and carry proof of registration already exist. The Arizona law merely adds a layer of state penalties to existing federal ones.

Lastly, section 5(C) of S.B. 1070 makes it unlawful for illegal aliens to solicit work. Opponents have argued that this preempts the clear congressional preference to focus on employers of illegal workers and not the workers themselves. Federal law does prohibit states from imposing their own sanctions on employers — but it does not forbid states to impose sanctions on illegal workers, who are already required to swear, under penalty of perjury, that they are lawfully authorized to work in the United States. Under this section, S.B. 1070 thus avails itself of the means open to it in the pursuit of an avowed congressional end: to stem the employment of illegal workers.

While it is thus clear that nothing in the Arizona law runs afoul of federal immigration statutes, it is equally obvious that, facing an immigration crisis in its back yard, Arizona has decided to enforce those statutes more strenuously than the current administration in Washington. That it has been compelled to do so should not be cause for a censure of the former, but of the latter.

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