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Arizona Talks – Immigration | Policy Talk

November 10, 2021 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

A nation of immigrants? Reception and Policy Talk

Join Arizona Talks on Wednesday, November 10th at Greenwood Brewing for a  discussion on Immigration – as we dive into the debate on immigration in America. What are the biggest challenges to immigration reform? What are the major disagreements on reform? What can citizens do now?

The Issue

The United States has long been considered a nation of immigrants. However, the laws and attitudes on immigration have historically been both welcoming and exclusionary.

Did you know that the USA has more immigrants than any other country in the world? More than 40 million people living here were born in another country – accounting for about one-fifth of the world’s migrants. The population of immigrants is also very diverse with just about every country in the world represented among U.S. immigrants.

The Pew Research Center estimates that most immigrants (77%) are in the country legally, while almost a quarter are unauthorized. In 2017, 45% were naturalized U.S. citizens. This includes about 700,000 DACA recipients nationwide, and over 23,000 in Arizona, according to the most recent data from USCIS.

With a significant influx of migrants at the U.S. southern border and new priorities under the Biden-Harris administration, immigration policy is at the forefront of the national conversation.

The battle over immigration reform Immigration has been a hot button issue since the founding of the nation. It is fair to say that a majority of people want immigration.

According to Gallup, When asked their views on whether immigration was a good thing or a bad thing for the country, 76% said it was a good thing. That was also a record high for Gallup. Two-thirds of those who identified immigration as the most important problem also said immigration was a good thing for the country.

Yet, it seems like we are living in a time of great partisanship, where the extremes are driving the political conversation. Can we identify, What are the biggest challenges to immigration reform? What are the major disagreements on reform? What can citizens do now?

“We can’t go on forever with 11 million people living in this country in the shadows in an illegal status. We cannot forever have children who were born here – who were brought here by their parents when they were small children to live in the shadows, as well… What’s changed, honestly, is that there is a new appreciation on both sides of the aisle, maybe more importantly on the Republican side, that we need to enact a comprehensive immigration reform bill.” – John McCain


Rep. Leo Biasiucci, R-Lake Havasu City, and 23 other legislators wrote to Gov Ducey to condemn the border crisis. “We are witnessing a surge like we have never experienced before,” the coalition wrote. “In April of this year, you took the lead and asked President Biden for resources to assist in the influx of illegal immigrants. To this day, the Biden-Harris administration continues to ignore the safety of our citizens and has allowed the nation’s border to be overrun.”


President Joe Biden said, “You know, 11 million people live in the shadows. I believe they’re already American citizens. These people are just waiting, waiting for a chance to contribute fully. And by that standard, 11 million undocumented aliens are already Americans, in my view.”


“The Biden administration can and should correct this perception and work to deter individuals from making this dangerous journey and sending their children to do so,” Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said during a visit to the U.S.-Mexico border recently, blasting the Democrat and his administration for being “totally divorced from the reality on the ground.”



Public Policy – Now, new legislative action at the state and federal levels are putting this issue in the national spotlight:

  • Current refugee crisis at the border: Thousands of Haitian migrants have appeared at the US-Mexico border seeking to cross the Rio Grande and find refuge in the US. Human rights activists are condemning images of US border agents, mounted on horseback, trying to head off migrants almost as if they’re herding cattle. At the same time, conservative lawmakers are accusing the Biden administration of failing to head off another crisis at the border and the distressing images of the massive migrant camp in Del Rio, Texas, back up that idea.


  • Comprehensive immigration reform: Congress has not passed anything even approaching comprehensive immigration legislation since 1965, nor has it opened a pathway to citizenship for undocumented Americans since a very brief one-time amnesty in 1986. Numerous organizations are putting in funding, time, and political capital to make this happen.


  • AZ 2022 ballot on instate tuition: at the ballot: The bi-partisan effort led by two state Republicans could repeal a 15-year-old ban on in-state tuition for undocumented high school graduates. Arizona voters in 2022 will decide whether in-state tuition can be provided to all students who attend and graduate from an Arizona high school, regardless of their immigration status. The effort was led by two state Republicans but is being called a bi-partisan effort, and it could repeal a 15-year-old ban in Arizona on in-state tuition for undocumented high school graduates.


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