tv [untitled] December 28, 2010 12:00pm-12:30pm PST
commissioner hill. >> here. >> commissioner mccarthy. >> present. >> commissioner perez is excused. >> thank you. good evening. i am the chair of the immigrant rights commission. on behalf of the immigrant rights commission, i would like to welcome everyone to this symposium. four members of the public, the immigrant rights commission represents the voices of the san francisco immigrant communities. we are responsible for advising the mayor and the board of supervisors on any matters related to the well-being and
concerns. the commission meets regularly on the second monday of every month beginning at 5:30 p.m. at city hall. in april of 2009, we have the joint hearing with the human rights commission to listen to the first 10 testimonies from san francisco residents. the purpose of tonight symposium is for the commission and for the rest of the city family to hear from national experts on comprehensive immigration reform, and to obtain guidance on how local governments, commissions, and community organizations can weigh in on the comprehensive immigration reform debate. tonight's information will be used to guide the commission's work and to help shape our
recommendations on behalf of the city immigrant community. i would like to introduce our presenters for tonight's symposium. the office of assembly man is here. thank you. the northern california chapter of the immigrants lawyers association. the commission would also like to thank our symposium partners. the asian american justice center from washington, d.c. the center for state and local government law. the chief justice earl warren institute. the consulate general of mexico. the quality federation.
-- equality federation. the national center for lesbian rights. san francisco chamber of commerce. the san francisco department of children, youth, and their families. san francisco department on the status of women. san francisco zero divided foundation. we would like to thank the city department heads that are here. the department of status of women. the human rights commission, and our own director, the office of civic engagement and immigrant
affairs. you have an opportunity later in the meeting for public comment. please indicate if you would like to speak or write down your questions and return the cards to staff members. i would like to introduce an outstanding leader who has worked hard to bring the diverse segments of the san francisco community together to reach a common ground. since coming into office in january of 2009, he has brought thoughtful leadership to our city. we're pleased to welcome the president of the san francisco board of supervisors. thank you. [applause] >> good evening. i am pleased to be with all of you today. i want to think the immigrant rights commission and all of the many partners here to talk about a very important topic.
13 years ago, i lived in washington, d.c.. i worked for the senate judiciary committee during the last debate about immigration reform won the 1996 piece of legislation that we will hopefully overturned was passed. it was a fairly dark time in washington, d.c. the republicans controlled washington at that time. at least on the senate and house side. there are many things that immigration advocates were not able to get done. i moved here for many of the reasons that i think we're all here in san francisco. we're a city of compehensive immigration refoimmigrants. we know that san francisco was built on the backs of immigrant labor. we also know that for the past 10 years on so, it has been fairly dark nationwide for our
immigrant community. we've had a new record number of rates belief had a tremendous backlog of applications of legal immigrants that are trying to become citizens. there have been countless stories of constitutional and civil rights violated of many of our family members and friends. i used to be an immigrant rights attorney. i can tell you firsthand that i would visit the ins detention center and see individuals who had been beaten by ice agents. this conversation cannot be more timely and more important with the new administration and a new recognition and importance of building an immigrants rights movement. hopefully we will soon get healthcare reform behind us.
hopefully the next question that our nation grapples with is how do we tell you the constitutional and civil rights that all individuals must have. hopefully we will be able to some they put as an outdated statement the fact that there is some consideration to the concept that certain human beings are illegal. on behalf of the city and county of san francisco, i want to welcome you for taking part in this important conversation. obviously, the next person i would like to introduce is someone who has been a tremendous champion for many segments of our society, especially individuals and communities that have been marginalized. he has been fighting for immigrants for your entire life.
certainly at every step during his political career. we have had a really empowered immigrants rights movement here. we are trying to extend that statewide. tom has been trying to put out the message that as we can do here in san francisco, living among tolerance, we can hopefully do around the country. i apologize. i need to leave. i have to go to another commission to talk about some legislation. i know you are in very able hands with him. [applause] >> good evening. thank you very much. it's an honor to be here. i want to commence the commission. i always championed the commission when i was on the board of supervisors.
i remember when and this applingus applied. when you climb that ladder, it's important not to pull the lever up after you so the next person will not make up. was that close enough? it is very irish. politics and mighpoetry, my favorite. it is not the melting pot in the cliche way, the san francisco public schools, but it presents you with many opportunities to see what newcomers bring, to see the challenges they face. the institutions are not user friendly. i remember a principal not wanting to provide free breakfast to any kid that was undocumented. i remember we got notes from the principle that saidthis would be spoken on the play yard
-- said that no spanish would be spoken on the play yard. i turned to the community. the school district was not responding at that time. they got a moratorium on iq testing because it was so culturally biased. i think one of the questions was they showed a toboggan and asked what was a toboggan. if you did not have snow or a certain privileges in your live, you did not know what a toboggan is. we have come a long way, but we still have contradictions. we get attacked for the sanctuary city. the id cards in san francisco
and connecticut are very, very good. this is an issue that most elected do not want to deal with. in sacramento, it is not a user- friendly situation. people acknowledged that something has to be done, but then they run away from the. commissions such as this, cities such as san francisco, and basically the reality. sometimes i make a joke about immigration. we are here already. we are not going to go away. if you're worried that we have h1n1, then give us health care. i went to washington and ask what is going to happen with health care reform? you have to think of ways. you have to give us more funding for community clinics so people
will not be worried about getting deported and not be worried about getting health care. and not be worried about somehow being identified as a criminal. we have a lot of responsibility to all our brothers and sisters who made this country great. we cannot be intimidated. we are a productive people. i walked on the picket line the other day. almost everyone there had a different background. their children are here. yet they are still quibbling over whether or not they can get health care, and who cleans their toilets, and who makes their bets. there's a lot of class issues within the immigrant community. they need to be remedied as well. there are people in the immigrant community and we're very well educated.
they get very high-paying jobs. when it comes to other infrastructure jobs, we cheat people. we have a lot to do, but i'm always very helpful. if san francisco is anything, is a city of opportunity. i salute you. anytime you need anything, you can call me. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you. and thank you, president chu. before i go further, i would like to take care of a little more. i would like to recognize a few more people. harry it from the office of speaker pelosi. forgive me.
tonight's program. first we'll hear from one of the nation's leading legal scholars on the long-term economic impact of immigrant rights policy and reform. we will hear from a panel. after the panel discussion, we will have time to hear from the local elected officials. then we will open the meeting for public comments. if you would like to speak during the public comment section, please fill out a yellow card and return that to a member of our staff. i would like to introduce adrian, who has done amazing work for this commission. she's the executive director of the office of immigrant affairs would you introduce the speakers and panelists. thank you very much.
>> thank you, chair mccarthy. it's truly a pleasure to introduce tonight's keynote speaker. the professor is a highly respected legal scholar. he is an sbure, he is an author and an expert on immigration law. among his many leadership roles at stanford law school are director of the arthur and tony rock center for corporate governance, associate dean for executive education and special programs, co-director of the director college and if that wasn't enough, he is also co-founder of the open source corporate governance reporting system project. he is an overachiever. the professor is a frequent commentator on the long-term impact of immigration policy and reform and he has provided expert testimony to the u.s. senate and the house of representatives.
prior to joining stanford law, he was founding executive director of the immigration outreach center in phoenix, arizona. in his former life, he also launched and led several businesses including law logic group which is considered today to be an industry leader in technology and data security. so it's my pleasure to introduce the professor. [applause] >> wow, i am going to have my mom send my bio to you more often. very good. the panelists are in so many ways much more detailed and oriented and qualified than i am to speak to the specifics of immigration. i'm just the guy who speaks to economists, lawyers, and policymakers and then translates into human. i think that's why i have landed this particular role. what i'm going to try to do is frame the immigration debate. this is a fairly friendly
crowd. what i think i am going to ultimately achieve is to give you some ideas that get at the immigration issue and the potential and the need for reform in a way that is a little bit less traditional in that it's almost clinical. i'm going to try to present some economic arguments. i'm going to present some kind of structural social arguments and i'm going to worry you a little because to have the economist law professor opening with an analogy to a science fiction film. don't worry, it works out ok. some may have not seen this film. it's one of my favorites. it starred uma thurman and jude law. it's a near future in which individuals are gentically engineered and it's the story of two brothers. one is enneared to be terrific and great and wonderful and one is not. it's a story about their efforts to succeed. there is one part of the story
that resonates so well and is a strong metaphor for immigration and it's the following -- they would have a contest as adolescents and as adults they would swim out in the ocean, and the first one to turn back would lose. it was a simple contest. and in theory, in every possible way in theory, the engineered brother should have won. he was stronger, bigger, better, more fit. yet the older brother, the imperfect brother did not. there is this great line at the end where the younger brother turns to his brother and says why is it that you win? how do you win? that's the difference between you and me. when i'm swimming out, i'm not saving anything to come back and you are. and there is this notion, i think, that there is no gene for the human spirit. that's the punchline of the movie. it turns out if you look at the successful record of immigrants to the united states, whether skilled or unskilled, documented or undocumented, across the last 200 years and particularly in the last 25
years and with the great renaissance of data that we now have at our disposal to analyze more clearly the impact of all types of immigration from 1990 forward, we realize that immigrants, again, skilled and unskilled, lawful and undocumented, bring to the effort of community building and business building and economy building something that is moderately intangible for now. if we work at it for a few more years it will be tangible and we will be able to quantify part of it. it's something that represents itself in generational achievement both for those immigrants who arrive, who form small businesses at a rate which is disproportionately higher than native-born citizens, for their children that in turn achieve at a level that is higher on average than the children of native-born citizens, not to disparage those who come from the united states or come from long lines of families that come from the united states. we know we see this difference along the spectrum.
let me highlight a couple of points that i think make a big difference. realize we have a cohort population between 8 million and 11.5 million of individuals in the united states who are undocumented, who some say are illegal or not lawfully present. they are in a group that is cut off in part and formality from the main economy. this is unwise because immigrants, both skilled and unskilled, in this case, that 8 million to 11 million, provide the innovative engine in the economy in these relatively dark times. i'll address the issue of unemployment. but in these difficult economic times, they provide a certain component to the economy which allows us to innovate and grow at a rate that we otherwise would not. in short, immigrants of all types unaverage are net contributors to the economy, help the actual pie grow bigger, provide more of a pie to split among us all and in turn try to goose innovation in
a couple of unanticipated ways. so first, kind of three big points. immigrants are a net contributor to the economy. it is easy to be distracted by the fiscal analysis which is about tax revenues and expenditures. entire categories of people at a certain phase in their life and a certain period in their economy are net users of tax resources. as it happens since we're running a big federal deficit right now, we're all net users of resources. if you add us you will up together, we're not producing enough revenue to cover the expenses of the government. people that are older, children, those are categories of people who are net drains on the economy. that's a fiscal analysis, not an economic analysis. so point number one for your friends who are not persuaded that immigration is a good thing, get them off the fiscal analysis and ask them to focus on the economic analysis. that's a bigger picture analysis. yes, a child of 7 costs money because they attend school and no, they don't work. the last time i checked, that was a good thing.
later when they go on to do wonderful and innovative things, whether it's to be someone who coaches as an education, teaches, performs surgery, writes literature, whatever it is, they contribute if a net economic way. so over the life cycle of that individual, they have a net economic post-impact. and we know that immigrants on average consume fewer resources over their entire lifetime if -- and here is the big if which we disrupted the kind of magic formula in the last few years, if they're allowed to integrate fully and engage in the economy and society. if they are sidelined in any number of ways including deprivation and inability to get educational opportunities. they can't get into college because their status is in question. they can't get health insurance, these can disrupt that formula and kind of create a self-fulfilling prophesy of what we wanted to avoid.
there was an analysis on the 2008 march updates to the census data and demonstrated the second interesting point which is beyond this economic and fiscal analysis that immigrants provide an extraordinarily important component to the economy which is called heightened mobility of labor. most of us who are not immigrants, and particularly those of us who have recent purchased a house or have a mortgage, we can't move around as easily. it turns out that immigrants are able and willing to move to places with high demand for jobs and leave places with low demand for jobs. this is extremely important because as an economy tries to pick itself up off the ground, we know one of the catch 22's is that in certain areas, a business can get started if it can get at certain types of labor. it has to wait for that labor to show up. then it can't employ, say, for example, the architect to redesign the new restaurant that's going to open if it can't get the right people into the restaurant to hire and work there. this mobility of labor has been
radically changes in the united states because the housing collapse. people can't leave their homes. immigrants right now are more mobile than any other segment of society. they will probably in a technical sense be the lubrication, kind of great w.d.-40 that gets the gears of the economy again because they're able to move and to the third point, our disproportionately risk taking. it's interesting to me, one stat the rubber chicken dinner, i'm from arizona and i'm the son of a naturalized u.s. citizen. i'm sitting at a dinner, a fancy nice dinner. someone was going on how his vice presidents have to go through this rigorous outdoors thing where he sees the meddle of the man who i will promote or not promote depending on whether or not they screamed when they went down the category four rapids.
he said something disparaging of immigrants. i said, listen, i have a client who started off in investigate malla, taught sex education there. there are people in brown and black, they were shooting at her because they thought she was on the other side. she makes a run for it with her 2-year-old and she was six months pregnant. she made it through a country that is friendly to immigrants, that would be mexico. she makes it through mexico and she manages to defeat $11 billion worth of high-tech interception devices and systems. 2,000 people, lots of humvees, she makes her way into phoenix not speaking a word of english and manages, as it happens, this wasn't a serious crime, to procure documents which, by the way, i think fooled your h.r. person and she is probably working in your factory. if that isn't some sort of special outward bound exercise
that demonstrates the mettle of a person, i don't know what that is. well that, child that was is born here, will he or she be a u.s. citizen? yes, thank goodness. i want that in the united states here in phoenix to help us with the economy. that brings me to the third point and that is the notion of dynamic talent is a tricky concept in the united states. we don't know in modern economies what helps an economy continue to grow and to remain strong and to prosper as it inknow vates, particularly as the economy and the culture and the society becomes relatively well off. it is a known phenomena that it is hard for individuals who are relatively well off to take outsized risk and put everything on the line. back to my original story, if you think about the swimmers in the contest, in order for the