IMMIGRATION -- April 22, 2013 at 3:08 PM ET
Undocumented Individuals 'Deeply Rooted' in U.S. Communities, Former INS Chief Says
Former INS Commissioner Doris Meissner describes the makeup of the 11 million undocumented people currently living in the U.S.
An agreement between labor groups and lawmakers seems to have set the stage for the unveiling last week of a bipartisan plan to reform the country's immigration policy as well as develop a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented individuals currently residing in the U.S.
The input from industry seemed key to developing the plan because a shortage in the labor industry is what initially to led to the flow of people in the 1970s from other countries into immigration hub states such as New York, Texas and California. By the 1990s, new residents were making their home in the Midwestern states of Kansas and Iowa and also, South Carolina, says Doris Meissner, senior fellow and director of the Immigration Policy Program at the Migration Policy Institute.
"There haven't been the same number of younger people coming into those labor markets as might have been the case before. That has coincided with jobs having moved to some of those areas -- some manufacturing, food processing, meat packing, big growth in the service economy. So there has been a demand for workers."
In a conversation with PBS NewsHour's Kwame Holman, Meissner, who served as the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service Commissioner from 1993 to 2000, describes how these workers have become "deeply rooted" into American communities.
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