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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

Bloggings: February 28, 2008

by Greg Siskind

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

February 26, 2008

CONGRATS VANDY!

My alma mater Vanderbilt University just knocked off #1 University of Tennessee in a great basketball game settled at the buzzer. Go Dores!

IMMIGRATION MYTH #41: IMMIGRATION BRINGS CRIME

Myth #41 is repeated so often that people just assume its a given. Quite the opposite is true, however. Study after study has shown that immigrants commit fewer crimes than their American-born counterparts. Check out the latest one from the Public Policy Institute of California. The report shows, among other things, that foreign-born Californians are only one-tenth as likely to commit a crime as their US-born counterparts.

MPI EXPLAINS THE SURGE IN NATURALIZATION APPLICATIONS

The Migration Policy Institute crunches the numbers and tells us more about what we know - that the wait for citizenship applications is getting longer and longer. According to MPI, the number of citizenship applications filed in fiscal year 2007 (1.3 million) was 2.2 times the number received in 2005. There are three reasons for the surge:

1. Successful citizenship campaigns launched around the US
2. Anti-Immigration rhetoric coming from politicians
3. Summer surge prior to filing fee increase

Lest people think this increase in citizenship applications is not important, consider that the number of new citizens who will naturalize between the 2004 and 2008 elections exceeds President Bush's margin of victory in the 2004 election. And while immigrants certainly don't all vote the same way after they naturalize, polling this year shows an unusual shift to the Democrats strictly on the basis of the party's perceived softer stance on immigration. Some studies are showing Hispanic voters, for example, have moved from 40% support for the GOP in 2004 to just 10% today.

Hopefully, John McCain is watching this data closely and will seek to keep his party from falling over a cliff. He needs to be bold in proclaiming his pro-immigration position and not run from it. Time to lead, John, and not be led.

VISA WAIVER BENEFITS COMING SOON FOR CZECH CITIZENS

Beginning this fall, citizens of the Czech Republic should be able to use the Visa Waiver Program to travel to the US for up to 90 days at a time without the need for a visitor visa.

February 25, 2008
IMMIGRANT OF THE DAY: YAEL NAIM

Naim The new MacBook Air is pretty cool. But when I first saw the commercial for the ultra-thin new Apple laptop, the song playing in the background caught my attention. The artist is French-Israeli Yael Naim and Steve Jobs personally chose the song for the commercial. Naim's song theme song has become a hit and has debuted in the Top 10 this past week on Billboard's Hot 100.

THE GOVERNMENT THAT COULDN'T SHOOT STRAIGHT

Michigan is paying a steep price because of cheap political theatrics on the part of two state leaders who thought being anti-immigration is the gift that keeps on giving. Now the taxpayers of the state will be paying a steep price for a long time as the state tries to repair its reputation as being an inviting place for international companies and top talent. Hopefully, Michigan voters will send a message to its leaders that playing games that damage the economic competitiveness of the state will result in being removed from office.

February 24, 2008
FOREIGN ACTORS SWEEP THE OSCARS

Well, Lou Dobbs will probably call on a boycott of movies. But if there was ever a testament to the fact that Americans are not insular and xenophobic, it's the fact that the most American of institutions - Hollywood - reflects the globalization of this country. I'm not a film historian, but I don't believe there has ever been another year when the winners of Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress all went to foreign performers. Here are international recipients of this year's Academy Awards:

Javier Bardem - Spain - Best Supporting Actor - No Country for Old Men
Alexandra Byrne - UK - Costume Design - The Golden Age
Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo - Italy - Art Direction - Sweeney Todd
Didier Lavergne - France - and Jan Archibald - UK - Makeup - La Vie en Rose
Philippe Pollet-Villard - France - Live Action Short Film - Le Mozart des Pickpockets
Suzie Templeton and Hugh Welshman - UK - Animated Short Film - Peter and the Wolf
Stefan Ruzowitzky - Austria - Best Foreign Language Film - The Counterfeiters
Tilda Swinton - UK - Best Supporting Actress - Michael Clayton
Marion Cotillard - France - Best Actress - La Vie en Rose
Glenn Hansard - Ireland and Marketa Irglova - Czech - Best Song - Once
Dario Marianelli - Italy - Best Score - Atonement
Daniel Day-Lewis - UK - Best Actor - There Will Be Blood

[Update: I learned this morning that a foreign sweep of the actors categories happened in 1964. Live and learn].

DESPITE WORLD TOURISM BOOM, US STILL BELOW 9/11 LEVELS

The Travel Industry Association has released Department of Commerce data showing the country is welcoming fewer tourists than we were before the September 11th attacks despite the fact that tourism around the world has skyrocketed in the last few years. The TIA is urging Congress to pass the Travel Promotion Act to promote US tourism overseas at no cost to American taxpayers.

A NATIONAL SHAME

Soldiers risking their lives in Iraq were promised that they would go to the front of the line and quickly be naturalized as a token of our country's appreciation for their tremendous sacrifice. But the New York Times reports today that this promise is not being kept.

IMMIGRANT OF THE DAY: CATE BLANCHETT - ACTRESS

Blanchett_1 Cate Blanchett has her primarily home in her native Australia, but she's regularly working in the US working. And working. And working. Tonight she has a chance to do what has never been done - win two Academy Awards in acting categories in a single year. She's up for best actress for Elizabeth: The Golden Age and for best supporting actress in the Bob Dylan biopic I'm Not There (she plays Bob Dylan believe it or not). She won an Academy Blanchett_2 Award for playing Katherine Hepburn in the Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator. She's been nominated two other times as well. She already has two movies completed that will be released later this year. One of them is the new Indiana Jones movie which I'm really eager to see.