Bloggings: January 10, 2008
Editor's note: Here are the latest entries from Greg Siskind's blog.
January 09, 2008
ANTI-IMMIGRANTS DEALT MAJOR BLOW WITH MCCAIN WIN IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
January 08, 2008
While the GOP race is still wide open, one thing is clear - the anti-immigration message of Mike Huckabee, Fred Thompson, Mitt Romney, Duncan Hunter and Ron Paul did not resonate with voters enough to get them to change who they supported. Pro-immigration candidates Hilary Clinton and John McCain won the Democratic and Republican primaries. Exit polls showed that voters did not make immigration their top priority so the expected pay off from trying to make immigration a wedge issue did not happen. The question now is whether voters in other states will send the same message.
MAJOR CONSERVATIVE COLUMNIST REVERSES COURSE ON IMMIGRATION REFORM
January 07, 2008
With the New Hampshire primary very likely to mean a resurgence for the McCain campaign, expect to see conservatives start to soften the rhetoric on immigration. Here's a prime example. The National Review's Victor David Hansen has been a leading anti-immigration proponent. But he's now taking a different tone.
KANSAS AND MISSOURI LEGISLATORS PROPOSE BILLS TO PUNISH EMPLOYERS OF UNAUTHORIZED WORKERS
January 06, 2008
The trend continues. The Kansas bill would go after business licenses or employers hiring unauthorized immigrants and fine landlords for renting to those workers. The Missouri bill imposes a host of measures similar to Oklahoma and also fines employers for hiring unauthorized workers. Fining employers and going after landlords are dicey from a constitutional viewpoint so look for litigation. Going after business licenses is probably easier to defend given IRCA's specific language on employer sanctions.
IMMIGRANT OF THE DAY: LEONARD BLAVATNIK
Here's an All-American rags to riches story. "Len" Blavatnik emigrated to the US from the former Soviet Union as a refugee in 1978 at 21 years of age with not a dollar to his name. He managed to get in to Harvard Business School and then partnered with a few school friends to create Access Industries, Inc. and started buying stakes in Russian companies when that economy started opening up. He merged one company in to British Petroleum. He's now worth over $7 billion dollars and serves on the board of Warner Music.
OFF TO CES
January 03, 2008
Every January I trade my immigration lawyer hat for that of tech writer. Yes, I'm off to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the Super Bowl of gadgetry, where I'll be checking out the latest wonders from the world's electronics manufacturers. I always follow CES up with articles geared toward law office technology and will start things off with blogging on my favorite finds. I'll try and post an immigration item here and there, but it's gonna be light this week.
H-2B VISAS USED UP
So much for telling employers to do it the legal way. According to USCIS, the non-immigrant guest worker visa available to employers to bring in lower skilled seasonal and short term visas is officially gone until October of this year. Green cards for these workers are backlogged seven years. Yet the antis tell employers that they just want them to do it the legal way. There IS NO legal way. People who say employers should just do it the legal way are either poorly informed or deliberately trying to mislead.
THE ACCELERATING DECLINE IN AMERICA'S HIGH-SKILLED WORKFORCE: IMPLICATIONS FOR IMMIGRATION POLICY
Here's an interesting new book from Jacob Funk Kirkegaard warning of the dilemma America faces as our skilled workers are retiring faster than they're being replaced and our immigration policies won't keep up with the demographic changes. Here's the gist of the book's conclusions:
to economic prominence on the shoulders of the most highly skilled workforce in
the world. However, during the last 30 years, skill levels in the US workforce
have stagnated. Americans aged 25–34 today do not possess higher skills than do
their baby boomer parents. So when American baby boomers retire, they will take
as many skills with them as their children will bring into the US workforce.
While their parents may have been “the brightest kids on the global trading
block” when they entered the workforce, Americans entering the workforce today
barely make the global top ten. America is no longer a skill-abundant country
compared with an increasing share of the rest of the world. As a result, in the
coming decade, America could face broad and substantial skill
Successful implementation of education policies will produce
more high-skilled Americans only in the long term. In the short to medium term,
America will increasingly need foreign high-skilled workers and will therefore
have to reform its high-skilled immigration policies and procedures not only to
welcome the best and the brightest but also to make it easier for them to
Meanwhile, as America debates the merits of immigration reform,
other rich countries, such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, France, and
Germany, have rapidly revamped their high-skilled immigration systems, turning
the United States into only one of many destinations for high-skilled
immigrants. Moreover, traditional origin countries of high-skilled emigrants to
the United States, such as China and India, have actively begun luring their
nationals back with special offers.
For America to regain its leadership
in global talent, it must urgently reform its high-skilled immigration programs,
particularly the H-1B temporary work visa and legal permanent resident (green
card) programs. The two programs play a substantial role in bringing in foreign
high-skilled workers and permanently keeping them here and could play an even
bigger role as demand for high-skilled workers in the US economy
This study verifies that concerns for the plight of American
high-skilled workers in the face of significant inflows of foreign high-skilled
workers are unfounded. Kirkegaard investigates empirically the labor-market
situation faced by US software workers—the group that is usually depicted in the
US media as facing the greatest risks from globalization—and reveals that these
occupations enjoy full employment at record levels in today’s US economy.
New firm-level data on L-1 (intracompany transferees) and H-1B usage for
2006 show that a dozen Indian information technology (IT) companies are the top
petitioners for these visas. Several US IT companies are also heavy users of the
two visa programs. Beyond the top ten, a very broad range of US and
multinational companies, as well as US public institutions from different
sectors of the US economy, account for the demand for foreign high-skilled
workers on temporary work visas. Data on visa issuance reveal that Indian
nationals dominate both the H-1B and L-1 visa categories.
permanent resident (green card) program is important predominantly as a tool to
maintain rather than expand the existing high-skilled workforce in the United
States. More than 90 percent of the green cards are issued via adjustment of
status (e.g., from H-1B temporary worker to legal permanent resident) requested
for high-skilled foreigners already residing and most likely employed in the
United States. But national bottlenecks in the current green card system (e.g.,
per-country limits for countries such as India and China, long waiting periods,
and costly and time-consuming application process) may force many employed
high-skilled workers to leave the United States once their temporary visas
Based on these findings, Kirkegaard offers a coherent package of
proposals to reform the US high-skilled immigration system in a manner that
enjoys broad political support:
• drop the Department of Labor (DOL) Foreign Labor Certification
(i.e., obtaining DOL's approval for hiring foreign workers) for high-skilled
green card recipient categories E-2 (professionals holding advanced degrees or
persons of exceptional ability) and E-3 (skilled workers, professionals with
bachelors’ degree, and unskilled workers);
• exempt green card recipient
categories E-1 (priority workers), E-2, and E-3 from the annual per-country
• drop the DOL Labor Foreign Labor Certification for
• increase and target enforcement of prevailing wages in
intensive users of H-1B visas;
• abolish the annual congressional cap of
65,000 for H-1B visas;
• abolish the annual 20,000 congressional cap and
grant automatic H-1B visas to interested foreign master's and doctoral graduates
from US universities;
• restrict the share of foreign high-skilled
workers that a single business entity over a certain size can employ on
temporary work visas—including both H-1B and L-1—to a sensible level of maybe 50
• strike a bilateral immigration agreement with India and
create a new visa category for workers in the IT services/software sector; and
• regularly publish official firm-level immigration data and detailed
data on the characteristics of all high-skilled immigrants.
IMMIGRANT OF THE DAY: ARIANNA HUFFINGTON - PUNDIT/BLOGGER
On this official beginning day of the presidential election cycle, why not include a political pundit for the Immigrant of the Day. Whether you're left or right, you probably agree that Arianna Huffington is someone who is prominent in the Washington political talking head community. The Greek-born proprietor of the Huffington Post has a quick wit and is a favorite on the political talk show circuit (especially on Bill Maher's Real Time on HBO).
WHO WON'T BE PARTICIPATING IN TODAY'S IOWA CAUCUSES
While the excitement builds today in Iowa in 2008's first major test for the presidential election, one group of folks will have to sit out the voting. I'm talking about the 1.4 million naturalization applicants waiting on USCIS to complete processing on their cases. While I am sure there are a couple of candidates in the race who would be chipper if all of these people were sworn in as citizens the day after the election next November, there is no legitimate reason why people should have to wait an average of 18 months after paying $600+ to get a USCIS examiner to look at the application. Let's just hope that the situation is improved by the time the November elections roll around.