If you are reading this, you must be curious about immigration. Perhaps it is just a casual interest, a desire to be a well-informed citizen on a debate that is roiling the country. Or maybe you have the passionate concern of the advocate, eager to learn enough to convince others of your perspective. In either case, there are lots of ways to satisfy your curiosity without leaving your computer.*
You can check out the newspapers and other general interest publications (no Breitbart, please; forget the fake news) or you can dig into the Migration Policy Institute and other professional research and policy sources. You can get serious about the numbers with the Pew Research Center—perhaps that organization’s Hispanic Center but also its Fact Tank, which will surprise you with such information as the percentage of federal arrests (50) made in 2014 just for immigration offenses.
And sometimes you can wade past the passionate stands, pro-immigration or anti-, to get solid, unbiased information from the groups that focus solely on that issue.
America’s Voice, for instance, is very frank about seeking to “harness the power of American voices and American values to enact policy change that guarantees full labor, civil and political rights for immigrants and their families.” It will plead with its readers (presumably sympathetic to its pro-immigrant message) to join its “Dreamer Dinners” campaign. But it will also tell them about the imaginative protests against a restrictive law proposed in Texas. (Hint: It involved beautiful dresses.)
Coming from the other side of the debate, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) will make a case for expanding the requirements for employers to ensure that they hire only people with legal authorization to work, but you will also find on its website useful information about state adoptions of the federal E-Verify program that checks the immigration status of new hires.
The vast resources of the Internet, however, offer readers information on immigration quite beyond general interest publications and special-interest sites. All it takes is a bit of imagination to take you in a direction you might not expect.
Are you wondering how immigrants fare in your home state of Alabama or North Carolina? Facing South will tell you what President Trump’s budget, if enacted, would mean for rural migrants in the Southern states. People who want to follow what’s going on at the state level as the controversy builds over national immigration and refugee policy can keep track of what the National Conference of State Legislatures is paying attention to: twice a year it issues a report on state bills and resolutions regarding immigration. In the first half of 2017 almost twice as many state laws (both beneficial and restrictive) passed as in the same period in 2016. If you are interested in how immigrants affect rural areas, check out The Daily Yonder, with articles about the shortage of agricultural workers and the need for immigrants to address it.
Finally, if you really do have to leave your computer, apps will step in while you are on the go. Try Immigo, sponsored by the National Council of La Raza and Pro Bono Net and available free on iTunes for iPhone and iPad. If you don’t want or need help with an immigration problem, you can skip those menus and get the latest immigration news. For Android users there’s Arrived, available in the App Store and aimed at new arrivals.
The diversity of information sources on the web reminds us that immigration issues today are all-encompassing. Immigration history is American history, it is said, and in 2017 that history is shaping a new American identity. Our keyboards are portals into what we need to know.
* This article does not provide information for immigrants on how to adjust their status or where to get help.
Pew Hispanic Center–http://www.pewhispanic.org
Pew Research Center Fact Tank–http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/.
National Council of State Legislatures report– http://www.ncsl.org/research/immigration/report-on-2017-state-immigration-laws-january-june.aspx.
The Daily Yonder– http://www.dailyyonder.com.