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Immigrant families and their commumtIes have experienced extraordinary pressures since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. A number of law enforcement initiatives have targeted Arab and Muslim immigrants in particular, but many others, such as the efforts by the current Administration to enlist state and local police in the routine enforcement of immigration laws, have swept more broadly. A weak economy has left many employees, especially vulnerable low-wage immigrant workers, unable to resist employer demands for lower pay, longer hours, and other reductions in the terms and conditions of employment. The erosion of the social safety net for non-citizens, occasioned by 1996 reforms to the federal welfare statutes and the subsequent state and local implementation of these changes, have greatly restricted access to public benefits for even legal immigrants, leaving little to fall back on should an immigrant wage-earner lose her job. The prospect of a broad amnesty for undocumented immigrants in the United States, however, remains remote.
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