Local governments are bearing too much of the cost of increasing immigration in terms of providing for public health and safety, promoting economic development and maintaining community cohesion, according to a report issued Monday by the Washington-based International City/County Management Association (ICMA). ICMA plans to present the 40-page report, "Immigration Reform: An Intergovernmental Imperative," to President-elect Barack Obama in an effort to encourage new national immigration reform that will relieve the pressure on cities and counties.

The report advocates that the roles of federal and local governments in immigration policy be clarified, so that local governments receive needed resources for immigrant integration and the federal government retains responsibility for enforcing immigration law. Based on a 2008 survey of more than 500 professional local government administrators, the report lists four principles that should guide the creation of a comprehensive immigration strategy: Overhauling immigration policy to reflect current economic and social realities using appropriate enforcement; controlling immigration on a national level and integrating immigrants on a local level; urging federal officials to show concern for the impact on communities when conducting immigration enforcement activities; and equitably redistributing resources generated by immigrants. "The recommendations outlined in the policy paper are derived from the struggles that our jurisdictions are facing right now," said Patrick Urich, chairman of ICMA's Governmental Affairs and Policy Committee, in a statement.

View the report as a PDF.