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Bloggings: March 6, 2008

by Greg Siskind

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

March 04, 2008


The Utah Legislature has sent SB 81, an immigration bill, to the Governor who is expected to sign it in to law. The bill will do the following:

1. Sheriffs in Utah will need to determine the citizenship status of persons charged with felonies and will notify DHS of people whose legal status cannot be verified;

2. Unauthorized immigrants may not get liquor licenses.

3. Limits the production of identification documents to government agencies and such documents may only be issed to US citizens, nationals, or green card holders. Exception is made for people in nonimmigrant status, asylees, refugees, TPS holders and pending adjustment applicants. These applicants can only get identification documents valid only for the duration of time the person is authorized to be in the US. University IDs are not included in the new law.

4. Government agencies must verify their employees through E-Verify.

5. Businesses that contract with government agencies must begin using E-Verify by July 1, 2009.

6.Government agencies shall verify the legal status of recipients of public benefits

7. The Utah Attorney General is directed to negotiate a state-level 287(g) agreement between the state's law enforcement officials and DHS for enforcing immigration laws

8. Under Utah law, transporting or harboring unauthorized immigrants for commercial advantage is a felony (exception for humanitarian assistance


The last anti-immigration candidate in the GOP presidential race, Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, conceded and endorsed John McCain after the latest round of primary contests went for McCain.

March 03, 2008

Taslima Today's immigrant of the day does not have a long career. In fact, she's just twelve years old. But Bangladeshi immigrant Farah Taslima has certainly made an important contribution to the country. One of her pieces was performed by members of the New York Philharmonic during their historic musical diplomacy tour of North Korea last month.

March 02, 2008

The Times has a really interesting story this morning giving a historic overview of anti-immigrant movements in past generations and how none of them - even ones much larger than today - actually altered elections. One interesting passage may explain why Americans are not buying in to the rhetoric:

Mr. Rauchway, the historian, argues that the ultimate failure of anti-immigrant politics is part of a larger failure of class-based politics in the United States. Running against the rich — or the poor — has rarely worked in this country. Instead, immigrant-bashing has been most successful when it tapped into broader racial fears, as it did in both the 1850s and the 1920s. Notably, the economy was booming in the ’20s.

“As it becomes less and less acceptable to be racist,” Mr. Rauchway said, “immigration is not going to be as politically effective.”

Polling data supports this argument. In a New York Times/CBS News poll conducted last May — in the midst of the debate over the immigration bill — 57 percent of respondents said that most recent immigrants contributed to this country, up from 34 percent when the question was asked in 1986. Only 28 percent in last year’s poll said that most immigrants caused problems, down from 44 percent in 1986. The Gallup Poll also shows increasing sympathy for immigrants.

March 01, 2008

This is not really immigration news, but my favorite professor from law school and the one who had a lot of influence in my choosing to go in to immigration law has just been traded to Harvard Law School after decades at the University of Chicago. Professor Cass Sunstein taught me administrative law and environmental law. He talked me in to trying out environmental law at the beginning of my career, but it was my administrative law course with him that eventually led me to make immigration law a career and for that I'm very thankful.

Professor Sunstein is one of a handful of law professors known by the national media and his opinion pieces are regularly published by the nation's leading newspapers. He started out graduating from Harvard Law School and going on to clerk for the great US Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and then went on to become of of the University of Chicago faculty's legendary professors. In recent years, he's led efforts to developed modern constitutions for new democracies in Eastern Europe.

The news of Professor Sunstein's move is considered so important in the law school world that the American Bar Association Journal wrote a feature story on it. Harvard's Law School Dean Ellen Kagen sums up how important this is in their press release announcing the move:

"Cass Sunstein is the preeminent legal scholar of our time -- the most wide-ranging, the most prolific, the most cited, and the most influential," said Kagan. "His work in any one of the fields he pursues -- administrative law and policy, constitutional law and theory, behavioral economics and law, environmental law, to name a non-exhaustive few -- would put him in the very front ranks of legal scholars; the combination is singular and breathtaking. He has a gift for framing and discussing issues in ways that invariably gain traction and make progress. And perhaps best of all, this individual superstar is also the consummate team player -- a person whose passion for reasoned intellectual inquiry is contagious and who raises the level of everyone around him. If I could add only one person to the faculty, Cass would be that person, and I am thrilled beyond measure to announce his appointment."

Good luck, Professor Sunstein!

February 29, 2008

If John McCain becomes President, he will be the first one born in another country. Yes, you read that correctly. John McCain was born in Panama. More precisely, he was born in the Panama Canal Zone in a US Navy hospital to a US citizen mother and father (his dad was in the US Navy stationed there). According to Ted Olsen, the nation's Solicitor General, that makes McCain eligible to be President (which is the correct view, in my opinion). There is a provision in the Constitution limiting the presidency to natural born citizens and this is usually incorrectly interpreted as meaning you have to be born in the US. That's not really true. Naturalized citizens cannot become President, but anyone entitled to claim citizenship at birth should be eligible.

So McCain is not really an immigrant in the technical sense since his parents are both Americans and he was a citizen at his birth. But maybe this explains why he shows empathy with immigrants and I'm sure he wouldn't mind the honor of being named today's Immigrant of the Day.


Are you kidding me?

Dobbs was airing an incredible report last night actually insinuating that the people complaining about hate speech emanating from his show are actually the real bigots when he made this little doosy of a statement. I knew this was a lie, but how to convince readers that I'm not just being mean to old Lou? Then I remembered that CNN makes transcripts of all of its shows available online. So after two nights of pouring through transcripts (with some help from Google Advanced Search), I found the following:

Total number of stories discussing legal immigration topics (non-immigrant visas, immigrant visas, asylum): 98

Total stories with a positive statement about legal immigration: 2

Total stories with negative statements about legal immigration by Dobbs or one of his show's "reporters": 96

You can judge for yourself. I've prepared a memorandum linking to each one of these stories so people can make there own determination. Does the coverage look pro-legal-immigration to you?

[UPDATE: I've reorganized the list in alphabetical order. Originally, I grouped the stories by visa category, but some people were not reading past the first few sheets and assumed all the stories were about H-1Bs. Now you can more easily see that Mr. Dobbs is equal opportunity when it comes to bashing legal immigration programs]

[UPDATE: I've found several more stories where Dobbs attacks family "chain migration" saying, among other things, that the amount of family immigration has been "explosive"]

Download Dobbs.pdf

February 28, 2008

So you thought only unauthorized immigrants are deported? Surprise - US citizens are sometimes shipped out of the US mistakenly. ICE officers often assume people are lying and mentally challenged individuals guilty of looking foreign and not being able to communicate well enough to overcome a stereotype. All good citizens carry a passport or birth certificate on them so these people are really asking for it, aren't they? </sarcasm off>.

I've blogged about Pedro Guzman before. Now his family is helping him to fight back. Good luck, Pedro.


This is a very important proposal that would permanently extend the Conrad 30 J-1 waiver program for doctors working in medically underserved areas. This vital program expires in June and it is vital that Congress pass an extension bill soon. The bill would also create an H-1B cap exemption for certain doctors that work in underserved areas as well as rewarding the service with an exemption from employment-based green card caps. The bill number is S.2672 and I am attaching it here -  Download s.2672.pdf .

February 27, 2008

The mission flip-flop, but don't seem too flippity-floppity.