Research Roundup

A number of new immigration-related reports were released this week:
  • While some analysts have tried to blame the rise of new immigrants for the increasing percentage of the population without health insurance, new analysis by the Economic Policy Institute shows that lack of coverage has been increasing just as fast among native-born people as immigrants.

  • Adding to other evidence that undocumented immigrants pay their share of taxes, the Iowa Policy Project has a new report¬†finding that undocumented immigrants pay about 80% of the taxes paid by legal residents but get far fewer public services since they are barred from Medicaid, Social Security and many other programs. Better enforcement of employers’ withholding of income taxes would increase the tax share paid by such immigrants.

  • Workplace raids by federal immigration officials are increasingly traumatizing the children of immigrants, often leading to the separation of parents from their children (who are usually American citizens), according to a new Urban Institute report, Paying the Price: The Impact of Immigration Raids on America’s Children. More heartening, community members and organizations often reached out to care for children abandoned by these reckless federal raids that had little provision for the consequences on these children.

A new Common Cause study of a recent vote-by-mail election in Denver found that mail-in voting procedures decreased the disparity in voting rates between Latino and other voters. While Latino voting was 14% below overall voting rates in polling place elections in May 2005, Latino precincts had only 3% lower turnout in an all mail election in May 2007.

Tobacco manufacturers and retailers gave $96 million to state-level candidates, committees and ballot measures in the 2005 and 2006 election cycles, a new study by the National Institute on Money in State Politics finds, yet the industry lost many legislative battles in 2007 and five of seven ballot measure campaigns in 2006.

Three quarters of Americans believe smarter development and public transportation are better solutions to congestion than building new roads, according to a new survey by Smart Growth America and the National Association of Realtors. An overwhelming 84% of the public opposes privatization of public roads and highways.

If 15% of electricity energy was required to come from renewable sources by 2020, consumers would see $13-18 billion in lower electricity bills and reductions in global warming pollution equal to taking 13.7 to 20.6 million cars off the road, according to analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists. 

As part of launching the new Spotlight on Poverty Opportunity, which is working to inject the issue of childhood poverty into Presidential debates, new polling shows that one-half (50%) of likely voters believe that "the hunger problem in the United States is getting worse," an increase from 38% in 2002, and 54%, do not believe that "political candidates have spent an adequate amount of time discussing hunger and poverty issues." 

In A Child's Day 2004, the Census Bureau presents detailed data on children's lives, highlighting that parents are increasing limits on children's television viewing, but as many in one in five children live in dangerous neighborhoods where parents keep them indoors out of fear.