Details Emerge Regarding Homeland Security Department
President George W. Bush has chosen Governor Tom Ridge to head the new Department of Homeland Security, and has selected Navy Secretary Gordon England for the post of DHS deputy secretary. Drug Enforcement Agency administrator Asa Hutchinson, a former congressman from Arkansas, has been tapped to head the Border and Transportation Security Division. These two positions will oversee the department's immigration functions. The Immigration and Naturalization Service is among the first agencies scheduled to be folded into the DHS on March 1, along with the Coast Guard, Secret Service, Customs, and the Transportation Security Administration. President Bush has designated Michael Garcia, assistant secretary for export enforcement at the Department of Commerce, as acting INS commissioner. Garcia will oversee the INS transition. Administration plans call for the DHS to be fully operational by September 30, 2003.
Justice Department Expands Expedited Removal Policy
Citing the demands of national security, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has expanded the government's authority to use expedited removal to deal with people who arrive at U.S. borders by sea and are neither admitted nor paroled. Since 1996, immigration officers at ports-of-entry have had the authority to issue final and binding removal orders that are not subject to review. Expedited removal also creates bars to future entry. Prior to mid-November, expedited removal was applied only to individuals arriving at ports-of-entry, such as airports and land borders, without proper travel documents. Advocates for immigrant rights have expressed concerns about possible failure to provide due process, and have focused on the danger of legitimate refugees losing access to the system.
Citizenship Requirement for Airport Screeners on Hold
District Judge Robert Takasugi has issued a preliminary injunction barring the firing of non-citizen airport screeners pending the outcome of a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and Service Employees International Union on behalf of airport screeners in San Francisco and Los Angeles. The move also opens the possibility of the screeners reapplying for their jobs. A trial date has not yet been scheduled. In the interim, the ruling appears to apply to all airports nationwide. The deadline for removal of non-citizens in screening jobs had been November 19.
Study Highlights Role of Immigrants in 1990s Boom
According to a study released by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, half of the national labor force's 16 million new entrants in the 1990s were immigrants. The study indicates that these immigrants played a key role in the decade's economic growth. Male immigrants accounted for eight out of 10 new male workers. The report notes that as many as half of the eight million new immigrant laborers may, in fact, have lacked legal authorization to work. As recently as the 1970s, immigrant labor had comprised only 10 percent of labor force growth, before growing to nearly a quarter in the 1980s, and reaching half in the 1990s. Nevertheless, 86 percent of the total U.S. workforce is American-born.