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Posted at 8:00 AM ET, 11/30/2010

Cuccinelli team headed to Supreme Court Wednesday

By Rosalind S. Helderman
Rosalind S. Helderman

Top lawyers for Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli will be making oral arguments before the United State Supreme Court on Wednesday.

No, it's not about health care--not yet, at least.

Instead, Virginia Solicitor General E. Duncan Getchell will argue for the commonwealth in a complicated procedural case that will determine when state agencies can access the federal court system.

Here's the issue: typically, the only way a state can get sued in federal court is by another state or by the federal government. A 1908 suit also gives citizens the right to sue states for violation of their federal rights by suing specific state officials. That's how citizens sue and argue state laws violate their civil rights--by actually suing individuals, such as the governor or the attorney general.

In this instance, a state agency that uses federal funds to advocate for people with disabilities is seeking access to documents compiled during an investigation of the deaths of two people and the injuries of a third at a state hospital. The records of the panel are considered confidential by state law and not released.

The Virginia Office of Protection and Advocacy has sued several state officials seeking access to the documents. Virginia's lawyers have argued the lawsuit basically amounts to the state suing itself and should not be allowed in federal court.

The Eastern District of Virginia found for the state agency--known as VOPA. That ruling was overturned by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. Now, the Supreme Court will hear the case on Wednesday.

If the Supreme Court finds for VOPA, the case will be remanded to the district court level to consider the substance of VOPA's suit--its quest to get records from the state. If the Supreme Court finds for Virginia, the agency's leaders will have to decide whether to try to file suit in state court instead.

It will be Getchell's second time arguing before the nation's highest court--his first while working for Cuccinelli. (He was formerly the head of appellate litigation for McGuire Woods.)

But it could be some good practice for him though: President Obama's Solicitor General has joined the suit and will argue on VOPA's behalf against Virginia.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | November 30, 2010; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli, Rosalind Helderman  
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How illegal immigrants are helping Social Security
By Edward Schumacher-Matos
Friday, September 3, 2010;
The contributions by unauthorized immigrants to Social Security — essentially, to the retirement income of everyday Americans — are much larger than previously known, raising questions about the efforts in many states and among Republicans in Congress to force these workers out. In response to a research inquiry for a book I am writing on the economics of immigration, Stephen C. Goss, the chief actuary of the Social Security Administration and someone who enjoys bipartisan support for his straightforwardness, said that by 2007, the Social Security trust fund had received a net benefit of somewhere between $120 billion and $240 billion from unauthorized immigrants. That represented an astounding 5.4 percent to 10.7 percent of the trust fund’s total assets of $2.24 trillion that year. The cumulative contribution is surely higher now. Unauthorized immigrants paid a net contribution of $12 billion in 2007 alone, Goss said. Previous estimates circulating publicly and in Congress had placed the annual contributions at roughly half of Goss’s 2007 figure and listed the cumulative benefit on the order of $50 billion.
The Social Security trust fund faces a solvency crisis that would be even more pressing were it not for these payments.
“If for example we had not had other-than-legal immigrants in the country over the past,” Goss e-mailed me, “then these numbers suggest that we would have entered persistent shortfall of tax revenue to cover starting 2009, or six years earlier than estimated under the 2010 Trustees Report.” Americans are faced with the difficult choice of cutting pensions, delaying the retirement age or raising taxes if we want to maintain the solvency of what has been the centerpiece of social welfare for ordinary Americans since the 1930s.

Posted by: whytobeashamed | December 5, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

New data released this week by the U.S. Census Bureau highlights the rapidly growing
economic power of Latino-owned businesses in the United States. According to the
Bureau’s 2007 Survey of Business Owners, there were 2.3 million Latino-owned
businesses in the country as of 2007, which generated $345.2 billion in sales and
employed 1.9 million people. Moreover, the number of Latino-owned businesses grew
by 43.7 percent between 2002 and 2007, which was more than twice the national average.
In other words, the Latino community tends to be highly entrepreneurial, and the
businesses which Latinos create sustain large numbers of jobs.

While Latino-owned businesses accounted for 8.3 percent of all nonfarm businesses
in the United States as a whole in 2007, they comprised a much higher share of
businesses in many states and cities. For instance:
Latino-owned businesses were 23.6 percent of all businesses in New Mexico, 22.4
percent in Florida, 20.7 percent in Texas, 16.5 percent in California, and 10.7
percent in Arizona as of 2007.
Latino-owned businesses were 59.8 percent of all businesses in El Paso (Texas),
39.4 percent in San Antonio (Texas), 23.3 percent in Houston (Texas), 23.1 percent
in Albuquerque (New Mexico), and 21.0 percent in Los Angeles (California) as of 2007.
Given that the majority of Latinos are immigrants or the children of immigrants,
their entrepreneurial contributions to the U.S. economy should be an integral part
of the debate over the economics of immigration. Yet the role that Latino-owned
businesses play in growing the economy and creating jobs is often overlooked. As the
new census data illustrates, however, the entrepreneurship of the Latino community is
a powerful economic force which can not be ignored. Even though the recent recession
has undoubtedly hit the Latino business community hard, the fact remains that, without
Latino businesses, the United States would have a smaller economy and fewer jobs.
This is a basic economic truth which many nativist groups seem unable to grasp.

Posted by: whytobeashamed | December 5, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Not surprisingly, America's biggest failure is a lack of understanding about the profound
benefits of immigration. Immigration is this country's great "free lunch" and it represents
a significant transfer of wealth from the rest of the world to the U.S. By way of example,
think of an immigrant — even an unskilled one - coming to the U.S. at age 18. As any parent
knows, the cost of producing an 18-year-old is significant (clothing, shelter and
rudimentary education). Based on my research, the cost is approximately $150,000 to produce
even a menial laborer in the United States. Obviously, the more skilled the worker, the
greater the cost and value. An Indian with a degree from the prestigious Indian Institute
of Technology is probably worth closer to $1 million. Given this data and immigration patterns,
the total transfer of wealth from the rest of the world to the U.S. is approximately $300 billion
per annum.
Our lack of understanding is borne out by the fact that America's current account calculation
does not add the net benefits from immigration. In its simplest terms, America's current account
is equal to our trade balance (currently a deficit) plus inflows and outflows of capital. But,
this calculation only recognizes a flow of financial capital. The constant flow of semiskilled
and skilled workers into the U.S. is a tremendous inflow of human capital. If taken into account,
America's current account deficit would decline from about $600 billion per annum to $300 billion -
a significant improvement.
The value of immigration is accentuated when comparing America's demographics with those of
the rest of the developed world. Largely due to healthy immigration, America will have a
population for the remainder of this century, standing alone among major developed nations.
Japan and Europe will see their populations decline over the decades to come. More ominously,
China - due to its one-child policy - will see its population age and decline by the middle
part of this century, calling into question whether China will modernize before it ages. It
remains to be seen whether a nation can remain a world leader with a declining population.
Recent history has no precedent. The precedent set during the late Middle Ages - when Europe's
population declined - provides a dismal omen.

Posted by: whytobeashamed | December 5, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Non-citizens, for their part, contributed $28.9 billion, or eight percent of Arizona’s
economic output, resulting in 278,000 full-time equivalent jobs. Their output included
$10 billion in labor income, and $3.3 billion in other property income. The state tax
revenues resulting from this economic activity were approximately $1.08 billion.
They also looked at what would happen if the illegal workers were removed from the
Agriculture: A fifteen percent workforce reduction in the agriculture sector would
result in direct losses of 3,300 full-time-equivalent jobs, and losses of $600.9
million in output including lost labor income of $198.6 million, and lost other
income of $116.1 million. The lost direct state tax revenue would be approximately
$24.8 million. Construction: A fifteen percent workforce reduction in the construction
sector would result in direct losses of 55,700 full-time-equivalent jobs, and $6.56 billion
in output including lost labor income of $2.59 billion and $450.5 million in other lost income.
The direct lost state tax revenue would be approximately $269.2 million. Manufacturing: A ten
percent reduction in the manufacturing workforce would result in direct losses of 12,300
full-time-equivalent jobs, and $3.77 billion in output including lost labor income of
$740.8 million, and lost other income of $286.1 million. The lost direct state tax revenue
would be approximately $104.4 million. Service industries: In the service sectors analyzed,
a sixteen percent reduction in the labor force would translate to direct losses of 54,000
full-time equivalent-jobs, and lost output of $2.48 billion including reduced labor income
of $901.3 million, and reductions in other income of $273.0 million. The lost direct state
tax revenue would be approximately $156.9 million.
I hope Governor Napolitano is realizing what a mistake she made pandering to the bigots.

The study concluded that the state of Arizona took in tax revenue of $1.64 billion from
immigrant workers while the amount the state spent on immigrants was approximately $1.41
billion leaving a net benefit of $222.6 million to the state coffers. But that is only
what they contribute to Arizona’s revenue. They also pay national income taxes and social
security taxes.

Posted by: whytobeashamed | December 5, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Boycott Over Arizona Immigrant Law Cost $141 Million, Study Says
By Ashley Lutz - Nov 18, 2010 10:02 AM ET

A business boycott of Arizona over its immigration law may have cost the state’s economy as much as $141 million, a Washington-based policy group estimated.

Convention bookings for July and August fell 35 percent from a year earlier, cutting lodging revenue by $45 million, the Center for American Progress said in a report today. Lost spending on food, beverages, entertainment, local transportation and retail goods brought the total cost to $141 million, the report said.

The boycott is aimed at an Arizona law requiring police officers to determine the immigration status of people stopped for questioning. The state’s credit may be affected if the boycott harms tourism, Moody’s Investors Service said in May. In July, Moody’s cut the state one level to Aa3, its fourth-highest credit rank, citing “economic and financial weakness.”

“This significant hit to direct visitor spending could not come at a worse economic time for Arizona,” said the report by the policy group founded by former Clinton administration chief of staff John Podesta in 2003. The center describes itself as a critic of conservative values and a supporter of the progressive movement.

Tourists spent $16.6 billion last year in Arizona, where the travel industry supports 157,000 jobs, the state Office of Tourism said July 15.

Posted by: whytobeashamed | December 5, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

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