Wow, a third article on this topic in two days. Michael Gerson of the Washington Post reports:
In politics, some acts are so emblematic and potent that they cannot be undone for decades -- as when Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Goldwater was no racist; his constitutional objections were sincere. Members of the Republican Party actually voted for the Civil Rights Act in higher percentages than Democrats. But all of this was overwhelmed by the symbolism of the moment. In his autobiography,
Colin Powell says that after the Goldwater vote, he went to his car and affixed a Lyndon Johnson bumper sticker, as did many other African Americans. Now Republicans seem to be repeating history with Hispanic Americans. Some in the party seem pleased. They should be terrified.
Thanks to Drew at Immigrants List for the link.
This story in New Jersey caught my attention. Police depend on people in the community to report crimes and give tips to aid in crime prevention and detection. So what happens when you make people too afraid to cooperate with the police? We're all less safe when criminals know that witnesses won't come forward.
Businessweek has a lengthy article discussing the IV rally and the evolution of the legal immigrant grassroots movement. Favorite quote:
Still, Kapoor's group is not to be taken lightly. Immigration Voice has evolved quickly from a small Internet community set up for skilled workers to share ideas and experiences into a well-organized political force (BusinessWeek, 7/19/07). Over the summer the group organized a series of events modeled after the nonviolent protests of Mahatma Gandhi and won reversal of a key U.S. State Dept. decision (BusinessWeek, 7/17/07). Now, Kapoor and other top members are in regular contact with elected officials and heads of government agencies such as the Homeland Security Dept.
Thanks go to reader Skilled Immigrant for this link.
Many, many folks came in from across the country to make the case on behalf of hundreds of thousands of others that skilled immigrants are vital to the American economy and we should have an immigration system that lives up to America's place in the world. Attending a political rally is not an easy choice to make particularly if you are new to a country. But there is nothing more American than expressing your views on public policy to our legislators. As one who loves to be involved in the legislative process, I hope all of the attendees have caught the grassroots activism "bug" and will work in the years to come not just on immigration issues, but all sorts of matters of importance to their communities. America will be better off because of it.
I'm at the airport on my way home. A hearty congratulations to Immigration Voice on a magnificent event. You definitely made your point and I'm looking forward to seeing the fruits of this effort.
The Senate is set to vote to add the DREAM Act to the Department of Defense appropriations bill this week. Why that bill? Because one of the paths to permanent residency for young folks is through military service. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE call your Senators and urge them to support DREAM. Here's an action alert from the National Immigration Law Center:
SENATE LIKELY TO VOTE ON DREAM ACT THIS WEEK!
***IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED***
Monday, September 17, 2007
Today, Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Richard Lugar (R-IN) will introduce the DREAM Act as an amendment to H.R. 1585, the Department of Defense authorization bill, which returns to the Senate floor for debate this morning. You may remember that the Department of Defense authorization bill was debated in mid-July but was pulled for reasons unrelated to the DREAM Act.
The DREAM Act would provide a 6-year path to permanent residence and eventual citizenship for individuals brought to the U.S. years ago as undocumented children if they graduate from high school and continue on to college or military service.
This may be the best chance this year for the DREAM Act to become law (although most likely it will not be the last opportunity). If the amendment passes, the DREAM Act would stand an excellent chance of becoming law this year. The amendment will need 60 votes to pass.
We do not yet know when the vote will be, and it is possible that procedural obstacles could prevent one from occurring at all. But regardless, it is imperative for all DREAM Act supporters to call your Senators and click here to send an e-mail message to them today, and again tomorrow, and again every day until the vote occurs. You can find your Senators' phone numbers here.
This time, even more than the last time the amendment was set for consideration, anti-immigrant groups have come out swinging by spreading falsehoods about the DREAM Act in an attempt to inflame their base to intimidate Senators like they did in the Senate debate about immigration reform. But DREAM Act supporters are passionate too. We can and must fight back and match their intensity.
CALL BOTH OF YOUR SENATORS AND TELL THEM
"PLEASE VOTE FOR
DREAM ACT AMENDMENT TO THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION BILL
SO THAT IMMIGRANT STUDENTS BROUGHT HERE AS CHILDREN
CAN REALIZE THEIR POTENTIAL"
Your Senators' phone
numbers are online at:
I'm in DC and will be attending the Immigration Voice rally today. If you're there, come say hello.
IV had an amazing day on the Hill yesterday with 140 separate appointments with members of Congress. Several members of the House including Keith Ellison and Joe Wilson attended IV's reception last night. I'll be posting photos shortly.
Jerry Yang was born YŠng Zhžyuan in Taiwan and immigrated to the US at the age of ten in 1978. Yang was like many immigrant kids who arrive speaking no English and in a remarkably short period of time not only master the language but go on to remarkable achievement. Yang came to America knowing just a single English word and within three years was enrolled in college-leve AP English.
Yang went on to Stanford where he co-created with fellow student David Filo what was to become Yahoo!, a directory of web sites. I remember what he was up to because at the beginning of Yahoo! in 1995, my visalaw.com web site was one of only a few law firms linked in the directory.
Of course Yahoo! has gone on to become one of the mega-web companies and is a force to be reckoned with in the online world. And Yang has gone on to become a billionaire and one of the richest men in the United States.
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has issued a report summarizing the most recent research on the supply of physicians in the country. The report analyzes state reports as well as reports on particular specialties and there seems to be no good news anywhere in the physician supply area. The AAMC has traditionally been conservative on the question of the physician shortage, but in recent years has been calling for a substantial increase in medical school slots.
The National Postdoctoral Association is an organization founded in 2003 to represent the interests of the thousands of postdoctoral research scientists and engineers and US immigration policy is of obvious interest to the organization since the institutions employing postdocs are facing talent shortages like nearly every other sector employing skilled workers and professionals in the US.
ILW.com published this week a report from Alyson Reed, the NPA's executive director, laying out the case for a number of key changes to US immigration policy including the following:
a) Eliminate the "intent to return" requirement currently attached to J-1 non-immigrant visas;
b) Facilitate the ease of obtaining a new visa in the same category as the previous visa for International Postdoctoral Researchers if they travel to their home country;
c) Raise the cap on H1-B visas for International Postdoctoral Researchers who have U.S. and/or foreign advanced degrees;
d) Enhance enforcement of Department of Labor laws regarding prevailing wages as required by the H-1B non-immigrant classification;
e) Allow spouses of International Postdoctoral Researchers to work in the U.S.;
f) Establish a new non-immigrant classification specifically for non-immigrant International Postdoctoral Research Scholars.
Ms. Reed sums up the need for reform nicely in her conclusion stating:
International Postdoctoral Researchers represent 50-72% of the pool of postdoctoral researchers in the U.S and produce more peer-reviewed publications than U.S. Postdoctoral Researchers.This robust research productivity is at stake and could be lost, unless an outdated legislative framework is remedied. It is critical that our leaders in Congress recognize the importance of this unique set of individuals and work to create legislation that encourages the best and brightest to continue to come to the U.S. The NPA is committed to working with the leaders of the federal government to achieve this goal.
There is a pair of dueling and very interesting editorials in this morning's Des Moines Register debating this question. James Ho is a former US Supreme Court Clerk (that's, without a doubt, the most prestigious position any law student can land) as well as a Bush Administration official and chief counsel to Senator John Cornyn (R-TX). I met him a few years back doing some immigration advocacy work in Washington. He's also a fellow graduate of the University of Chicago Law School. He has written extensively of late on the subject of birthright citizenship and is writing in defense of the argument (his is the opinion piece on the left.
On the other side (on the right hand side of the page) is John Eastman, a dean at Chapman University School of Law in Orange County, California.
The newspaper weighs in as well. Some of the comments are pretty lively as well.
Warning: I have said in the past that the use of the term "anchor baby" is offensive and if commentators use that term, I will delete the post. Keep the comments civil.
They're posted at the House Immigration Subcommittee web site.
No witnesses announced yet, but the hearing is scheduled for September 20th.
Wow, not a great way to pick up votes from that crucial once reliably Republican Cuban-American voting bloc in Florida. Thompson apparently told a South Carolina audience in June in reference to immigration from Cuba
"I don't imagine they're coming here to bring greetings from Castro. We're living in the era of the suitcase bomb."
Thompson claims he was referring to Cuban spies, not immigrants. Now he's railing against the Hilary Clinton campaign saying that they have fanned the flames of the gaffe for political gain.
ICE is now going after egg farmers in its broadening war on the American farmer. I've mentioned my theory that this is all part of an effort by the White House to let Congress know that inaction has consequences. A tough lesson, of course, since real lives are affected and we may be thrown in to a massive recession if the lesson is not learned quickly enough. By the way, do you think it's a coincidence that these raids are happening in states and districts with the biggest anti-immigration members of Congress. Whose that Senator from Iowa again that had a few things to say about immigration during the CIR debate from last spring?
OK, I haven't had an Outrage of the Day in a while. But it's been a rare period where I haven't had anything that interesting and new to get my blood boiling.
But here's another case of serious problems at an immigration detention center. This one is in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was connected to a jail. It was run by a private corporation. There's sexual misconduct allegations. Malnutrition. Retaliation for whistleblowing. Rampant theft. There's apparently another inmate death - this time a Korean woman who was repeatedly denied requests for medical treatment. The problems are apparently so serious that ICE has evacuated all of the detainees and moved them to other locations.
There are a lot of troubling questions -
- Why do we have immigration detention centers housed at jails? These are people being held on non-criminal immigration charges and are awaiting deportation proceedings. Many of the inmates, by the way are children.
- Do we need to rethink the propriety of having private corporations - the lowest bidders in most cases - running our immigration detention facilities? I've written on this blog of numerous instances in the last few weeks of problems at privately run facilities.
- Why is ICE holding back information on the specific allegations?
Serious questions. The public is owed some answers.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, traditionally the most pro-immigration of the federal circuits, has issued an opinion that could make many immigrants potentially removable. The court held that while a drunk driving conviction was not a moral turpitude offense (which could result in deportation), a conviction for driving drunk while lacking a drivers license would be a moral turpitude offense. Now that it is getting increasingly difficult to obtain a driver's license, the odds of a drunk driving conviction resulting in deportation will increase.
On a personal note, I have to say I'm pretty intolerant of drunk driving and don't have a lot of sympathy for people who put everyone's lives around them in danger unnecessarily. While I don't generally take a deportation lightly, particularly when it breaks up a family, hopefully this case will send a powerful message that driving drunk will ruin your chances of ever becoming an American.
Elie Wiesel's life began peacefully, but as with every Jew in Europe, it was torn apart by the terror of the Nazi Holocaust. He was deported from his native Romania to the Auschwitz Concentration Camp, the site of more than a million murders in the half decade of its existence. His mother, father and one of his three sisters were murdered. After the war, Elie and his two surviving sisters were placed in a French orphanage. For ten years, he was unwilling to speak or write about his experience, but he was persuaded by his friend Francois Mauriac, a Nobel Literature Prize winner, to write about the war as a form of therapy.
Wiesel immigrated to the US in 1955 and became a citizen within a few years. In 1958, he wrote Night, the first of 40 books. He has also been a well known activist around the world in matters relating to genocide and spearheaded the creation of the Smithsonian's Holocaust Museum in Washington. He has been recognized for his work including being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 and being granted honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth in 2006. He . His profile in the US recently rose again when Oprah Winfrey selected Night as her book club selection instantly bringing the half century title to the top of the bestseller list, something it did not achieve in its initial publication. His recent visit back to Auschwitz with Oprah Winfrey brought awareness of genocide in the world to millions of Americans and he was provided a platform for raising awareness of genocide in Darfur, a subject that has recently been taking up much of his attention.
Last week I reported on unions suing to stop the no match letter rule. Now another union is taking on Immigration and Customs Enforcement to force them to tone down the rough handling in their work site raids. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
Union president Joseph Hansen said workers were handcuffed and held for hours and denied access to phones, bathrooms, legal counsel and their families.
"What happened to the Swift workers ... is absolutely an outrage," Hansen said Tuesday.
As noted in my last post, I've gained some notoriety over the years because I was one of the first lawyers in the world with a web site. It was enough to land me on the cover of the ABA Journal a few years back. But something most people don't know about my Internet past is that I had the first law blog. Thanks to the Wayback Machine at archive.org, you can actually see what it looked like. I mention it because it rolled out ten years ago this month and I wanted to boast a bit (especially since I don't do a whole lot of self-promotion on this blog). The blog actually precedes the coining of the word "blog" which was invented by John Barger in December 1997.
As you can see by clicking the link above, the original Visalaw blog was my online journal tracking movement in Congress of key immigration legislation. The first bill I tracked was the extension of Section 245i of the Immigration and Nationality Act (which did, in fact, get extended). A year later, I was tracking a bill to raise the H-1B cap. I now write several blogs on a variety of subjects including health care immigration, fashion, arts and sports immigration, law office technology, and our firm's main blog.
The third edition of the bestselling ABA book I co-wrote with my friends Google executive Rick Klau and marketing guru Deborah McMurray is coming out soon. I wrote the original version of this book way back in 1996 when people were asking me why I would spend so much time writing content for my web site when so no one knew what the web even was. My web site www.visalaw.com, by the way, was the very first immigration law web site (and only the third law firm web site in the world), when it went online in June 1994.
In 1992, independent presidential candidate Ross Perot asked that question in a debate with Bill Clinton and George Bush to highlight what he believed would be a massive flow of jobs down to Mexico if the NAFTA free trade agreement passed. The irony is that protectionist immigration policies are starting to drive employers to ship jobs to both Mexico and Canada. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is now reporting on some of the employees that are headed to Microsoft's new Canada operation - the one they planned on putting in Washington State, but moved north when Congress failed to address the H-1B crisis. It's worth repeating that immigration SAVES American jobs.
I've been publicizing this young man's story and the broader need to pass the DREAM Act. Juan has written a letter to Immigrants List appealing for help in pressing the case in Congress. Please read Juan's letter and send an email to your member of Congress by following the link in the letter. The anti-immigrants are hard at work on the other side so your help is especially needed.Dear Immigrants' List Members, In the upcoming months there may come a chance for a pro-immigrant piece of legislation. Specifically, this legislation is called the DREAM Act. For those who donít know what it is, the DREAM Act would give conditional residence to undocumented students. The requirements include:
To send an email to your Representatives go to: http://www.immigrantslist.org/dream
Please do your part in helping these immigrant youth better their futures and this country. Ask the congressmen/women to support the DREAM Act and co-sponsor it as well. Sincerely,
Juan Gomez with Act on a Dream
Juan Gomez came to the US on a visa as a one-year-old. When his parents' application for political asylum was denied in 2003, the family stayed. Juan took 15 advanced-placement courses in high school, graduating 14th in a class of 800. He planned on attended college this fall, working two jobs to help pay tuition. In July, Juan & his family were arrested. Since then, Juan, his brother & friends have fought to pass the DREAM Act for the 65,000 other undocumented kids who graduate from high school each year.
A happy ending for at least one brave man who helped our country. Like or dislike the war in Iraq, simple humanity dictates we need to protect those who will likely be killed for helping America.
Sure there are many more jobs in the country than unemployed Americans. And sure the millions of unlawfully present immigrants are doing the backbreaking jobs Americans don't want to fill. And sure rounding up and deporting would come at an astronomical cost. But, darn it, they broke the law! Never mind what type of misery deporting all of them would inflict on the country. If we come up with any system short of permanent exile, we would be coddling lawbreakers.
Of course, that's what we're dealing with on the anti-immigration side. Common sense doesn't usually get you very far in discussions with them. So a new estimate from Immigration and Customs Enforcement that it would cost $100,000,000,000 to deport all of the immigrants from the US will likely be considered reasonable by the antis. It's money well spent if it proves a point, don't you think? What's a $100 billion? Several thousand new schools? Maybe a whole lot of prescription drugs for the elderly? Maybe some serious dough for anti-terrorism efforts? We don't need the money very much, do we? That pesky massive federal deficit will go away on its own, won't it?
Oh, and the impact on the economy isn't a factor in this cost. I'd figure you might want to multiply the $100 billion figure by ten or so if you want to see what the deportations cost the US economy in terms of slowed growth and inflation.
Greg Siskind 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.