Bloggings: May 25, 2007
Editor's note: Here are the latest entries from Greg Siskind's blog.
May 23, 2007
The number of Y visas will be limited to 200,000 per year and will not grow based on demand. So we know the business community will be begging for more in future years and illegal immigration will be a problem again in the future. Our wise Congress.....
Senators Levin (D-MI) and Obama (D-IL) are introducing an amendment that will do the following:
Senator Akaka (D-HI) is introducing an amendment to the Senate bill that would exempt from green card caps children of certain Filipino World War II veterans. Currently, Filipino children of US citizens can wait years and sponsoring veterans are in their 80s and 90s.
In light of the recent controversy surrounding a massive ICE
o Require ICE to afford access to state social service agencies to screen and interview detainees. A majority of the problems in these raids arose from the fact that the people were too scared or intimidated to provide information to ICE agents. Social service agencies are also better equipped to handle child and family needs.
o ICE must also give sufficient notice to these state agencies so they can arrange for representatives who speak the detainees’ first language fluently and for any other services that may be needed.
o To the extent that space is available aliens that are being detained should be to be placed in detention within the jurisdiction of the local ICE field office. Previously detainees, many of them mothers, have been shipped off to facilities hundreds of miles away from their families to await a determination of their status.
o If it is determined that an alien has humanitarian grounds for release including but not limited to those with medical conditions that require special attention, pregnant women, nursing mothers, parents who are the sole caretakers of their minor children or elderly relatives, parents who function as the primary contact between the family and those outside the home due to language barriers, parents who are needed to support their spouses in caring for sick or special needs children, parents whose spouses are ill or otherwise unable to be sole caretaker, and minors, within 72 hours of their apprehension, if they are not subject to mandatory detention, they shall be released on their own recognizance, on minimum bond or placed in the Intensive Supervision Appearance Program (ISAP). This gives ICE the ability to track the alien but also allows families to be reunited and aliens to receive medical and social services.
o ICE must also provide a toll free number for families to use after a raid, to report their relationship to a detainee or for more information about the status of their loved one.
o In cases of raids with the apprehension of 50 or more aliens ICE must also allow the aliens access to legal orientation presentations provided by independent, non-governmental agencies through the Legal Orientation program. This program cuts down on confusion and allows the detainees to fully appreciate their rights.
Claire McCaskill (D-MO) is introducing an amendment to the Senate bill that would toughen provisions Title III regarding bans on federal contracts, grants or cooperative agreements for employer who are repeat violators of rules barring the hiring of illegal immigrants. Under the bill currently being debated, employers are subject to "up to" a two-year ban and the Administraor of General Services to waive it.
The McCaskill amendment would ban repeat violators for five years.
May 22, 2007
Senator Obama (D-IL) is to seek a sunset provision that will force Congress to revisit the wisdom of the point system in five years and decide to retain it or return to the family and employment immigration system we have now.
Senator Menendez (D-NJ) will seek an amendment to give more weight to family relationships in the point system proposal. Senator Menendez's office released the following description of the language:
Senators Menendez and Obama will be offering an amendment to modify the new point system in the immigration bill to take into account family as part of this new experiment in social engineering.
Rio GrandeCurrently, the substitute amendment would not give points
for extended family connections unless a minimum of 55 points is met in the
other categories (such as employment, education, English and civics), awards
various family categories with different point levels, and only rewards people
who played by the rules and filed their green card application on or after May
2005 with 2 points. So much for family values not stopping at the
The Menendez and Obama amendment would remove the arbitrary minimum threshold, treat each category the same by awarding 10 points, and increases the “on or after May 2005” points to 5. This would bring the Maximum Points possible for the Extended Family category to 15.
Senator Lieberman plans on introducing the Secure and Safe Detention and Asylum Act as an amendment to the Senate immigration bill currently being debated on the Senate floor. The amendment would do the following:
A summary of the bill can be found here - Download secure_and_safe_detention_and_asylum.doc
Senator Feinstein (D-CA) has been promoting legislation to offer
special protections to unaccompanied children who are in immigration
proceedings in the
Enactment of S. 844 would ensure that these children are treated humanely while in federal custody, provide for a more orderly and expeditious repatriation of children to their country of nationality or habitual residence when no relief is available and their repatriation is appropriate, and help those who are entitled to relief obtain such relief. In addition, S. 844 would facilitate legal representation of such children in their immigration proceedings, at no expense to the government, thereby helping expedite the resolution of their immigration status. The measure also would give ORR the discretion to appoint child advocates for children to ensure that their interests are properly considered as they navigate our country’s complex immigration system and make modest, yet important, reforms in the Special Immigrant Juvenile provisions of the law.
Here is the text - Download unaccompanied_minors_amdt_to_cir.PDF
One of the toughest criticisms of the Senate bill is that family green card applicants who filed cases after May 1, 2005 in one of the four eliminated family categories will see their cases denied. Not only is it fundamentally unfair to have accepted applications and given people hope that they would eventually be reunited with family members if they were only patient, but the Senate bill doesn't even give people the courtesy of a refund of their filing fees (and forget about the lawyer fees). More than 800,000 people fit in this group.
Senators Obama (D-IL) and Menendez (D-NJ) will offer an amendment that will move that date up to January 1, 2007, the same date as the cutoff for the legalization program. 110,000 green cards will be added a year to ensure that processing these additional applicants won't delay the green card phase of the legalization program beyond the targeted eight years.
Here is a copy of the one pager describing the amendment. Download 052107May1CutoffAmendOnePager.doc
One of the pillars of the current immigration proposal is a guest worker program that will provide a legal way for employers to hire the workers they need in the future and not be forced to hire illegal immigrants in order to continue operating. For employers facing worker shortages who do not want to violate the law, the choice may come down to being trounced by foreign competitors, dramatically raise prices to cover the costs needed to entice workers from other employers, or simply closing shop and moving operations to an overseas location where workers are more readily available.
The first amendment to come up for a vote today on the Senate immigration bill would have eliminated the guest worker program from the bill. The Dorgan Amendment went down in defeat, but not without getting the votes of 31 Senators, most of whom were Democrats responding to pressure from labor unions who do not like the fact that guest workers must go home after two years and have no path to citizenship. The fear is that despite strict recruiting and wage requirements and a bar on guest workers in locations with higher than a 7% unemployment rate, these guest workers will drive down wages and steal jobs
But don't expect the same result tomorrow when a vote comes up on the Bingaman Amendment. That is a more moderate proposal that would cut the size of the guest worker program from 400,000 workers per year to 200,000 and remove the provision that would allow that number to grown. Senator Bingaman (D-NM) and his co-sponsor Diane Feinstein (D-CA) did not vote with Dorgan today on his amendment, but it is likely that all of the 31 Senators who voted yes on today's amendment will support their amendment tomorrow. The question is whether the sponsors can pick up an additional 17 votes.
Here is the text of the amendment - Download bingamanfeinstein_cap_amend_52107.pdf
Still lots of yada-yada with speechifying by various Senators. But real amendments are coming up. First will be a challenge to the Y visa. Senator Dorgan (D-ND) will seek to eliminate the whole guest worker program. Shortly after that, Senator Bingaman (D-NM) will seek to cut the guest worker program down to 200,000 from the 400,000 number under the current bill. I've yet to see the language of either amendment, but am working on it.
May 21, 2007
I know, this is shocking stuff. As a news junkie, one of my favorite blogs is
TVNewser, which probably provides better coverage of what goes on behind the scenes in television journalism than any other source on the net. They dish the dirt on everyone in television news including my fave Lou Dobbs.
Today they had this great post discussing how awkward it is for legitimate CNN news correspondents to appear on Dobbs' show to discuss the news. This post discusses how yesterday Andrea Koppel was dumbfounded at a ridiculous editorialized question Dobbs asked her. Legitimate journalists are not supposed to tell their opinions and Dobbs seems to assume that the reporters agree with his extreme views. The fact that CNN lets him get away with this night after night says a lot about how low the standards are on what used to be a premiere news organization.
The Senate has begun debate on the big immigration bill. I've
recorded my audio summary of the bill.
Whether you love or hate John McCain, you probably agree that the man is colorful. Over the weekend he allegedly blew up at fellow Senator John Cornyn of Texas used the "f" word to tell him what he thought of Cornyn's bailing on the immigration bill. Today, Fox News is reporting that McCain poked fun of anti-immigrant Romney's checkered history when it comes to hiring illegal aliens. Read and enjoy.
The Senate has decided to allow debate to continue on the immigration bill. The vote was 69-23 with eight not voting. The vote would have been more lopsided if the five presidential candidates from the Senate - Biden, Clinton, Dodd, McCain and Obama were in attendance. Presumably, Senators Kerry and Nelson of Florida would have voted with the Democrats as well.
Senator Reid also announced he would allow for a second week of debate which will allow time for votes on a number of new amendments.
There were a few surprises. Ben Nelson of
Finally, Senator Kennedy noted that the
first two amendments up tomorrow will relate to the guest worker program
outlined in Title IV of the bill. Senator Dorgan of
He is spending his time expresses his worries and indicated that he had not decided how to vote. The focus is on changing the bill to make it "worthy of the Senate." It sounds like unless some changes take place, some key Democrats may walk.
Phwehh!! I've been working on this since Friday night and now have read the Senate bill front to back and compared it to S.2611 passed by the Senate last year and also noted some of the differences with the House's STRIVE Act. I don't promise perfection here since speed was my main goal, but I think it's pretty good. If I made errors, please be kind and send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Colorado Democrat was one of the key negotiators with Kennedy.
Sessions is going on and on about how wonderful
I visited his office in March and his staff indicated they were
seriously thinking about voting with the President. Corker especially should be
sympathetic since he has his own checkered history of employing illegal
immigrants. I know because I've reviewed the INS files from the raid on his
construction company at a site in
It's Bob Corker of
I have to give Corker credit, however, since he's simply asking for more time to debate the measure. That's probably fair enough and a lot of the pro-immigration folks feel the same way.
But has Senator Sessions found anyone from north of the Mason-Dixon line to support his side?
I'm just saying... David Vitter of
No surprise here. These are two hard core anti-immigrant Republican Senators from
I'll be watching the Senate debate this week and trying as much as possible to update readers as votes occur and news break.
The first news item is that the debate has started on the floor and Senator Reid noted that Senator Bingaman will introduce an amendment today to halve the Y-1 guestworker program from 400,000 to 200,000.
May 18, 2007
One of my favorite television programs is ABC's Boston Legal.
This week, inspired by an actual drama going on right now in
Greg Siskind, Esq. is a partner in Siskind Susser's Memphis, Tennessee, office. After graduating magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University, he received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago. Mr. Siskind is a member of AILA, a board member of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and a member of the ABA, where he serves on the LPM Publishing Board as Marketing Vice Chairman. He is the author of several books, including the J Visa Guidebook and The Lawyer's Guide to Marketing on the Internet. Mr. Siskind practices all areas of immigration law, specializing in immigration matters of the health care and technology industries. He can be reached by email at email@example.com.
The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.