By Moni Basu, CNN
(CNN) - Here's something to consider as Congress debates overhauling America's immigration system: For the first time since at least 1850, immigrants will be the primary driver of U.S. population.
Births have been the leading cause of population growth since the U.S. Census Bureau began collecting data in 1850. That may change within the next 14 years.
The population growth shifts could happen as early as 2027 or as late as 2038, depending, of course, on the numbers of international arrivals over the next few years.
Not that immigration levels are at their highest, cautioned Thomas Mesenbourg, the Census Bureau's senior adviser. The rates were much higher during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
"This projected milestone reflects the mix of our nation's declining fertility rates, the aging of the baby boomer population and continued immigration," Mesenbourg said.
The Census Bureau issued three projections of population growth shifts based on different immigration levels. A high immigration projection showed that the nation's non-white population would jump from 37% in 2012 to 58.8% in 2060. Hispanics would make up 29.9% of the population, compared with 17% in 2012, and Asians would climb from 5.1% to 9%.
Non-Latino whites are projected to no longer be a majority by 2046, even if immigration levels stay the same.
By Mariano Castillo, CNN
(CNN) - Known for his outspoken, unapologetic support of migrants in Mexico, the Rev. Alejandro Solalinde is bringing his message to the United States.
The priest is part of a caravan of migrants and their supporters traveling from Los Angeles to Washington to push for immigration reform.
In Mexico, Solalinde has criticized the government, and even the Catholic Church, saying that both can be more compassionate to migrants. His views are shaped by the years he has spent leading a migrant shelter in Oaxaca that offers support to Central Americans who embark on the dangerous route north by clinging to trains.
A number of threats last year led to his leaving his post, located in Ixtepec, in the southern state of Oaxaca, but he has since returned.
"I don't know how to live with fear," Solalinde told CNN.
Immigration issues must be tackled both at the source and the destination of the migrants, he said.FULL STORY
By Cindy Y. Rodriguez, CNN
(CNN) - Is it possible to trademark the name of a holiday? The Walt Disney Company was interested in doing so.
On May 1, the entertainment giant filed an application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to secure the phrase "Día de los Muertos," or "Day of the Dead," across multiple platforms. Disney subsidiary Pixar is releasing a film - for time being called "The Untitled Pixar Movie About Dia de los Muertos" - this fall.
Here's the problem - Día de los Muertos is a traditional holiday celebrated on November 1 and 2 in Mexico and across Latin America. People honor the lives of lost family members or friends by building altars, holding processions, decorating gravesites and placing offerings for loved ones. Over the years, the holiday has gained a foothold in the United States, too.
Disney hoped to secure the rights to the title "Day of the Dead" and such themed merchandise as fruit preserves, fruit-based snacks, toys, games, clothing, footwear, backpacks, clocks and jewelry.
But the Latino community raised a ruckus about the application on social media.FULL STORY
By Cindy Y. Rodriguez, CNN
(CNN) - Gustavo Arellano is not politically correct in his "Ask a Mexican" column. He calls Cinco de Mayo "Gringo de Mayo" and regularly plays on stereotypes Americans have of Mexicans.
But he answers readers' questions with enough gusto and satiric flare that many might forget they are being educated on Mexican customs, immigration and labor issues. What began as a spoof in 2004, is now one of OC Weekly’s most popular columns, appearing in 39 cities across the U.S., with a weekly circulation of over 2 million.
In addition, Arellano is now regarded as “perhaps the greatest (and only) living scholar of Mexican-American fast-food." He shares that knowledge in his new book, "Taco USA:How Mexican Food Conquered America." It tells the story of how Mexican food transformed the way Americans eat as it has entered popular culture, unlike any other "ethnic" food.
Gustavo Arellano spoke to CNN about Mexican food in the United States, what Mexican dish he hopes Americans co-opt next, and why he thinks celebrating Cinco de Mayo is silly. FULL POST
By Alan Silverleib, CNN Congressional Producer
Washington (CNN) - Partisan tempers flared at a Senate immigration hearing on Monday as top Democrats accused opponents of comprehensive reform legislation of using last week's Boston Marathon bombings to slow or even derail the bill.
"Last week, opponents of comprehensive immigration reform began to exploit the Boston marathon bombing," said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont.
"I urge restraint in that regard. ... Let no one be so cruel as to try to use the heinous attacks of these two young men last week to derail the dreams and futures of millions of hard-working people," Leahy added.
He said the bill crafted by the bipartisan "Gang of Eight" would "serve to strengthen our national security by allowing us to focus our border security and enforcement efforts against those who would do us harm."
"A nation as strong as ours can welcome the oppressed and persecuted without making compromises in our security," he said. "We are capable of vigilance in our pursuit of these values, and we have seen the tremendous work that the local law enforcement as well as the federal law enforcement have done in the Boston area, and I am so proud of them."FULL STORY
By Halimah Abdullah, CNN
Washington (CNN) - Opponents of a bipartisan Senate effort to reform the nation's immigration policies calculate that dragging out debate by offering so-called "poison pill" amendments designed to tank support and stoking conservative ire on the airwaves will derail the proposal.
It is a strategy that stymied the immigration overhaul efforts of 2007.
Legislative aides and the bill's supporters worry that with days running out in the congressional calendar and a heavy plate of issues before lawmakers, efforts to overhaul the nation's immigration system could get sidelined.
The so-called "Gang of Eight" senators who have labored for months, largely in secret, are expected to discuss their proposal at a press conference on Thursday.
But the pushback has already begun.
"It seems pretty clear that they are pursuing a strategy of trying to draw this out as long as possible because this bill has to get done as quickly as possible," said Deepak Bhargava, executive director of the Center for Community Change, which advocates for low-income communities.
"It's a ploy to try and throw sand in the gears and I suspect there will be a long list of poison pill amendments that will be offered through committee," Bhargava said.FULL STORY
(CNN) - A bipartisan group of senators formally filed legislation early Wednesday calling for border security as the cornerstone of immigration reform. The bill also would prevent undocumented immigrants from reaching full legal resident status until after the government takes steps to keep unauthorized workers from getting jobs in the United States. Read the bill.
Editor's note: Angela M. Kelley is vice president for immigration policy and advocacy at the Center for American Progress, a progressive research and policy institute.
(CNN) - Working diligently for over four months, a bipartisan group of senators - the so-called Gang of Eight – has accomplished a remarkable feat: They have produced an immigration bill that is pragmatic, creative and forward looking. The bill, introduced early Wednesday, is - like any big piece of legislation - a compromise.
Stakeholders will find parts they love and parts they loathe.
First, the parts to love: The senators have largely navigated a dizzyingly complex arena - U.S. immigration policy - in ways that while not perfect, would substantially improve the dysfunctional status quo.
Among other things, the bill would bring the nation's 11.1 million undocumented immigrants out of the shadows and put them on a road to citizenship. It would increase and streamline border security, mandate a national employment verification system and eliminate the visa backlogs that have caused decades-long family separations. And it would promote economic competitiveness by revamping employment-based immigration so that business can bring in needed workers while still protecting the wages and jobs of American workers.
It is a remarkable starting point but with several crucial missed opportunities.FULL STORY
By Ben Brumfield, CNN
(CNN) - The border with Mexico must be secure.
This requirement is the cornerstone of an immigration reform bill a bipartisan group of senators are to file on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. There will be no path to legal residency for migrants without it.
Undocumented immigrants may also not reach the status of fully legal residents under the proposed legislation, until the Department of Homeland Security has implemented measures to prevent "unauthorized workers from obtaining employment in the United States."
The bill drafted by the "Gang of Eight" senators stipulates that the security of "high risk border sectors along the Southern border" must be verified, before most undocumented immigrants can access pathways to legal residency laid out in the proposed legislation.
The bill makes exceptions for those eligible for the DREAM Act, law-abiding immigrants who arrived in the United States as minors and completed high school in the country. It also includes allowances for certain agricultural laborers.FULL STORY
Editor's note: Ruben Navarrette is a CNN contributor and a nationally syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group. Follow him on Twitter: @rubennavarrette.
By Ruben Navarrette, CNN Contributor
San Diego (CNN) - Every gang needs a leader. And what has become undeniably clear in recent days is that the de facto leader of the Gang of Eight is Marco Rubio.
The Florida lawmaker, and potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate, appeared on seven Sunday talk shows, discussing - in English and Spanish - the specifics of a comprehensive immigration reform bill that he hammered out with three other Senate Republicans and four Senate Democrats. The legislation is expected to be formally unveiled on Tuesday.
This means that, by Wednesday, just about everyone will be angry. Conservatives will declare the provisions of the bill too lenient, while Hispanics will condemn them as too punitive. Welcome to the immigration debate.FULL STORY