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Bloggings: October 11, 2007

by Greg Siskind

Editor's note: Here are the latest entries from Greg Siskind's blog.

October 09, 2007

TESTIMONY POSTPONED

Due to the death of Congresswoman Davis (R-VA) and the holding of her funeral Thursday, the House Immigration Subcommittee hearing at which I was to testify has been postponed. No date yet, but it still will likely take place this month.

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October 08, 2007

IMMIGRANTS OF THE DAY: OLIVER SMITHIES - NOBEL PRIZE WINNER IN MEDICINE

A few readers made the timely suggestion to include the two newest Nobel Prize winners as our immigrants of the day. British-born Dr. Oliver Smithies won the medicine prize for his pioneering work manipulating genes in mice. He shared the prize with Italian-born Mario Capecchi (he presumably was a US citizen at birth by virtue of his birth to a US citizen) and Sir Martin Evans of the United Kingdom. The New York Times describes the work that led to the prize.

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October 06, 2007

IMMIGRANT OF THE DAY: SETH ROGAN - ACTOR

Canadian actor Seth Rogan is one of the leading actors in Hollywood today thanks to roles in films like "The Forth Year Old Virgin," "Knocked Up" and "Superbad". Rogen is also a talented comedic writer having penned "Superbad". He's set to appear in six films at the moment including one he is writing. And if you watched Saturday Live this evening, he was the host.

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October 05, 2007

US UNEMPLOYMENT RATE STILL SHOWS FULL EMPLOYMENT

Why am I blogging about this subject? Because one of the most common arguments made by anti-immigrants is that immigrants are taking jobs from Americans. Economists accept that 0% unemployment is impossible since the market is not perfect and people don't have the ability to instantly identify suitable employment even if jobs are available. They also accept that an unemployment rate that is too low is dangerous for an economy because a severe worker shortage can drive inflation.

Economists look for a "sweet spot" called a NAIRU - the non-accelerating inflation rate of employment. This is essentially the measure of full employment in an economy. Unemployment greater than this number means too many people are suffering and the economy is probably in or heading in to recession. Unemployment lower than that number means you risk setting off inflation.

 

Right now the US is on the inflation side of the equation. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the NAIRU for the United States is 5.2%. This morning the US government released September's unemployment rate showing that despite fears of an economic slowdown, unemployment is still at a healthy 4.7%, up just one-tenth of a percent over last month and below what economists were expecting. Unemployment in the professions, including IT, health care and education is significantly below the national unemployment rate, by the way. And the unemployment rate in the US is one of the lowest in the developed world.

So when you hear complaints about people being displaced by foreign workers, remember the big picture. Certain folks with a vested interested in keeping workers in their field in short supply (and who could care less about inflation or other collateral damage caused by artificially preserving this shortage of workers) keep pushing this myth. They'll try and tell you that the numbers lie. Don't believe them.

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IMMIGRANT OF THE DAY: ANDREW SULLIVAN - POLITICAL COMMENTATOR

British-born Andrew Sullivan is a well-known libertarian-conservative political pundit who has become known for his previous column in Time Magazine and his current one in Atlantic Monthly, his frequent television appearances (such as regular stops on Bill Maher's Real Time on HBO) and his very popular blog, The Daily Dish.

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GUEST BLOGGING

Hi folks - Next week I'm leaving first to testify in DC and then to speak at a conference in Singapore. I'm going to do my best to keep up with the blog during my ten days out of the office, but thought this might be an opportunity for some of you readers to try your hand at posting yourself.  I'm happy to preserve your anonymity by allowing you to blog under your handle rather than real name so don't worry about that. If you're interested, send me an email at gsiskind@visalaw.com.

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October 04, 2007

I'M TESTIFYING IN CONGRESS NEXT THURSDAY

Just a heads up that I'll be testifying in a hearing to be held next Thursday at the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law regarding Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee's Save America Comprehensive Immigration Act of 2007.

Download RevisedSaveAmericabill.pdf

I'm going to be speaking on Title II of the bill which creates a Board of Visa Appeals to review consular denials in immigrant visa cases. For anyone interested in attending, the hearing will be at 10:00 am at the House Rayburn building in room 2237. C-SPAN makes hearings available on the web. I'm doubting the hearing will be on television, but I have no information on that.

The "Save" bill has a lot of excellent items in it and while a bill like this is not likely going to pass in the current environment, a lot of the ideas in the bill are important and will hopefully make their way in to future immigration legislative vehicles.

I'll post my testimony and details on watching the hearing later.

UPDATE: I've changed this post to reflect that I've just been notified that the hearing has been moved to 10:00 am from 2 pm.

UPDATE: I'm also told the room number has changed to Rayburn 2237.

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CHILD STARS OF KITE RUNNER MAY HAVE TO SEEK ASYLUM

A very interesting and sad story is taking place behind the scenes of the film version of the wonderful Khaled Hosseini book. The child who plays the victim in a rape scene is supposedly coming to the US for the film's premiere. One wonders whether it will be with the dual purpose of seeking political asylum.

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FARM BUREAU: HALF OF ALL FARM WORKERS IN US ARE ILLEGALLY HERE

Scary stuff. But ask Lou Dobbs and he'll tell you that there are plenty of Americans ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work in the fields. I say get ready for your antifreeze-coated Chinese lettuce. Of course, Lou wants to stop all imports from coming in to the US. So he can show us all how healthy the no food diet is.

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USCIS OMBUDSMAN TO HOLD HEARING ON RECEIPTING DELAYS

Many of you have had bitter complaints about delays in getting your receipts in green card and non-immigrant cases. Here's your chance to sound off and offer feedback on how to improve the system.

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REPORT: FOREIGN NURSES A KEY PART OF SOLVING SHORTAGE

The National Foundation For American Policy report confirms what we know. The real question is whether nursing organizations who put their organizations' financial interest in maintaining a shortage will succeed in thwarting ending the black out on nursing immigration. Does anyone else see the irony in barring nurses from immigrating to the US under non-immigrant or immigrant visas when their occupation probably has the most severe shortage of any in the country and where American lives are literally hanging in the balance?

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ICE MISTAKENLY RAIDS HOME OF US CITIZEN

And this is the SECOND time this has happened. Peggy - I hope you get some serious compensation. Unfortunately, I doubt you'll even get an apology. 

Peggy Delarosa-Delgado, a United States citizen, Long Island homeowner and mother of three, was fast asleep when someone banged at the door before 6 a.m. last Thursday.

 

Her son Christopher, 17, a high school senior, opened the door, and more than a dozen federal immigration agents and one Suffolk County police officer pushed past him, he said later.

Only after the agents had herded her other children into the living room, frightened her aunt and uncle, and drawn a gun on a family friend staying in the basement, Ms. Delarosa-Delgado said, did she awake to discover that her house in Huntington Station had been the mistaken target of a raid by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

It was not the first time. In the summer of 2006, she said, agents waving the same photo of a deportable immigrant named Miguel had stormed into her house before dawn. No Miguel has ever lived there, she said — at least not since she bought the place in 2003.

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NY TIMES: BAGHDAD OR NYC?

The Times editorial folks have some tough words regarding the ICE raids I mentioned yesterday.

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WP: NO MATCH RULE WILL BRING "BUREAUCRATIC CONFUSION ON AN EPIC SCALE"

The Washington Post editorial folks are warning that the President's piecemeal immigration strategy will be as unsuccessful as his comprehensive reform efforts:

At the heart of the administration's new strategy is a plan to use government data to identify undocumented workers who have provided their employers with fraudulent Social Security numbers to qualify for a job. On identifying these "no-match" employees, the government would alert employers, who would then have 90 days either to fire the workers in question or face hefty fines.

Simple, right? Wrong. For starters, the Social Security Administration's database is riddled with errors -- mistakes, misspellings, hyphenated names wrongly entered and so forth. According to the agency's own inspector general, these errors could affect 17.8 million records. That raises the probability of bureaucratic confusion on an epic scale. In targeting illegal immigrants, the government's dragnet is likely to sweep up huge numbers of citizens, both native-born and legal immigrants. Would employers facing large fines really fight to keep workers -- even perfectly legal ones -- whose documents were marred by a discrepancy?

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October 03, 2007

CAFFERTY: LOU DOBBS' CNN BOOKEND

Lou Dobbs gets all the glory for turning returning CNN into the anti-immigrant news network but give a little credit to Jack Cafferty who is doing his part as well.  Take this well reasoned little piece -- please!  Mr. Cafferty would like to lecture us on the finer points of the law. Today he's upset about the delay of the implementation of the new no match rule recently issued by the Department of Homeland Security:

Here's how the DHS program would work: If an employer finds out an employee's information doesn't match Social Security records and the employee can't clarify the issue within 90 days, the employer would have to fire that person or risk being prosecuted. In other words, if the employee obtained his job under false pretenses and was working for the company illegally, he would be fired. Seems simple enough, except when you have an activist judge intent on subverting the law.

Actually, Judge Breyer is concerned about DHS subverting the law.  Every federal agency is required to follow something called the Regulatory Flexibility Act before they can release a final regulation.  The RSA requires an agency to demonstrate that it has looked at the impact a regulation will have on small business and has drawn up the regulation in a manner designed to achieve the policy objectives with the least damage to the nation's businesses.  This is not mean that the no match regulation would not ultimately be issued.  But it does mean that DHS has to at least think through how they track the rules and implement them.  Did DHS do that in this case?  Not according to the Small Business Administration which last week issued a letter to Secretary Chertoff expressing concerns over justice issue.  If the DHS' own sister agency is questioning whether the law was violated, is it unreasonable for Judge Breyer to also be concerned?

Another major question regarding the new regulations is what to do when an innocent American is incorrectly identified and no match letter.  No match letters have been issued by the system security administration for several years.  This rule setting a 90 day clock to correct problems or forcing employers to terminate employees is what is new.  And what we've seen for the last several years is that the Social Security Administration has a terrible record when it comes to quickly correcting problems.  And that means that US citizens stand a significant risk of losing their jobs because the SSA is incapable of doing its job.  Mr. Cafferty -- would you like to explain to one of those citizens why everything is so simple? Have you dealt with the SSA? Were you completely satisfied with your service? They're about to issue 140,000 letters covering an average of ten workers per letter. Don't you worry how the agency will be able to deal with a million plus individuals? Even if only a small fraction need corrections, the agency will still be overwhelmed and getting the problem before the 90 day clock is up is simply not realistic.

Judge Breyer has delayed the start of enforcement for 10 more days while he examines the legality of the issue. Huh? This law has been on the books for a long time without challenge. What exactly is the problem here?

Actually, Mr. Cafferty, this is where it would help if you actually did some homework before commenting.  This law has NOT been on the books for a long time.  The regulation was issued August 14, 2007 to be precise.  It was set to take forced in mid-September.  A lawsuit was filed within hours of the regulation being issued in the court has acted with lightning speed to address the issues in the challenge. If you bothered to do any research (or asked a competent assistant to do the research for you), surely you would have not bothered to make this statement.

It's an absolute disgrace, and Judge Charles Breyer should be ashamed of himself.

Mr. Cafferty -- I don't expect you to show any shame. That's too much for which to hope.  But there was a day when CNN held itself out as a world-class journalistic organization.  Long gone are the days when nothing went on the air without at least some basic fact checking.  CNN's decline has been long and steep and the fact that the world's largest news network allows this type of trash to be aired or published under its own name is the real disgrace.

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THANK YOU FOR YOUR SACRIFICE…

but we're still going to destroy your family. Sorry, but any soldier deployed overseas deserves a "get a spouse out of deportation free" card. Not only do they deserve it, but do we really want our soldiers to have to be worrying about these kinds of issues rather than focusing on protecting us? I'm glad CNN quoted my friend Margaret Stock in the article. She's doing a great job bringing these problems to the attention of the media. US Navy Petty Officer Eduardo Gonzalez's wife Mildred, incidentally, has been in the US since she was five and they have a young child. She would be a good candidate for the DREAM Act. And Petty Officer Gonzalez, by the way, legalized himself a few years back after entering the country illegally as a child. So much for "they're coming to steal our jobs" or "they're coming to leach off our welfare system."

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VERY PROFESSIONAL

While I feel bad for many of the people swept up in an ICE, I understand ICE officials have a job to do. But that does not excuse the abusive and roughshod behavior that has been widely reported of late. Today there are reports in the NY Times and Newsday of "out of control" ICE officers in a raid in Nassau County, New York that bring shame to that agency and simply do not reflect American values. We're not a third rate dictatorship with unprofessional law enforcement officers terrorizing the country's residents. Just because the country is in an "enforcement mindset" does not give license to ICE officers to act without civility.

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About The Author

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 gsiskind@visalaw.com.


The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.


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