And the tightrope walk continues. Is McCain pro-immigration this week or the enforcer?
I'm not sure if this is supposed to be humorous or not. But this rant is so over the top, I had to laugh. WARNING: If profanity offends you, don't click on the link.
New Census data is showing rapid growth in Hispanic populations in a number of key states.
Click the link for this immigration-themed political cartoon (hat tip to Dan Kowalski at Bender's).
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson has said he has seen significant improvement in security along the US-Mexico border. The Governor's statement is important because a key reason immigration reform was blocked last year is because many felt that enforcement should be addressed before any kind or legalization program was introduced. Over the last year, there have been significant changes. The number of deportations is up dramatically, there are anecdotal reports of large numbers of illegally present immigrants returning home (including a substantial drop in remittances), the amount of money being put in to enforcement efforts is up significantly, the number of employer arrests has skyrocketed, and so on. For those who claim that the government is doing nothing on enforcement, the recent facts certainly paint a different story.
The cynic in me says that most folks who argue enforcement first are really against immigration all together and they will never state their satisfaction that we are adequately enforcing the laws. So I don't know that the progress were seeing even matters as far as eventually getting them to agree to reform legislation. What I would like to see is for the enforcement first advocates to agree that meeting certain benchmarks is enough. Otherwise, we'll argue for years over when to move forward to the next step of immigration reform.
I don't know that this is particularly unusual - raids happen every day across the US - but I did think it interesting that even Hawaii relies on the labor of illegally present immigrants. If there aren't enough Americans to work in Hawaii - Hawaii! - what more evidence do you need that we need immigration reform?
Michael Dougherty will fill the position recently vacated by Prakash Khatri, the long-serving previous ombudsman. Dougherty's bio can be found here.
One of the debates that has raged in the pro-immigration community over the last few years has been whether immigration should be fixed in a comprehensive way and attempt to pass one bill that fixes as many problems as possible or to try and make incremental changes. The comprehensive camp had carried the day for the last few years and smaller proposals were pushed aside. When immigration reform failed last year, initially there was no appetite for any legislation - big or small. Now it appears the incrementalists are having a little success. Unless Democratic leaders decide to take up another comprehensive bill this year - something I've suggested would deliver political dividends - look for the incremental approach until at least after the presidential election.
John Roberts is a familiar figure to most news junkies around the country. The Canadian-born broadcast journalist worked at CBS News from 1992 to early 2006 and frequently anchored the network's news broadcasts. He now anchors the daily American Morning program and is a frequent substitute on AC 360, Anderson Cooper's nightly news show. Roberts has gained distinction over the years for his war coverage including being embedded with units in the second Iraq war and the Israel-Lebanon conflict of 2006. He's also covered many of the major stories of the last two decades.
Congress is going to have to decide on whether it wants to extend the E-Verify system. The authorization for the electronic employment verification system expires in November.
CNN reports on how jaguars and other endangered animals are facing new threats as a result of the construction of a border wall. [This is a link to a video download of Rusty Dornan's story].
Hopefully the media attention will translate in to action by ICE to clean up its act. This is the link to today's Washington Post story. The Post reported the story jointly with CBS' 60 Minutes and I've just seen the powerful story reported by correspondent Scott Pelley.
Wow. Up to 700 workers were arrested at Agriprocessors in Iowa, the nation's largest Kosher meat processing facility and one of the largest Kosher meat processing plants in the world. Whether DHS realizes it or not, this will have an immediate and substantial impact on the country's Jewish community. The plant is in Iowa, but the meat is shipped to Jewish communities across the country. Kosher meat is already considerably more expensive than regular meat and this will no doubt lead to an immediate shortage and substantial increase in prices.
Air pollution increases the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) -- dangerous blood clots in the veins -- even at pollution levels the EPA deems "acceptable."
Harvard researcher Andrea Baccarelli, MD, PhD, and colleagues in Italy studied 870 people diagnosed with DVT from 1995 to 2005. They compared their particulate air pollution exposure in the year before their diagnosis to that of 1,210 matched people without DVT.
They found that DVT risk goes up 70% for every 10 microgram-per-cubic-meterrise in particulate air pollution above 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air (the lowest pollution level measured in the study).
Several good immigration bills continue to be held up by an inability to agree on the question of incremental versus comprehensive improvements to the immigration system, according to a panel that spoke to the Heritage Foundation yesterday.
On the H-1B question, Republican Immigration Subcommittee Counsel George Fishman, someone who I usually disagree with on most immigration issues, had some interesting points to make on the subject:
Although Smith's brief "emergency" H-1B bill doesn't propose new checks on the system, Fishman said his boss is aware of concerns about their abuse and wants to strike a balance. On the one hand, high-tech companies like Microsoft and Google prize H-1B visas because they say those work permits allow them to fill gaps in their operations for which there is a shortage of qualified Americans. On the other hand, some American programmers say abuse of the system has displaced American workers and depressed their wages.
There's truth to both perspectives, Fishman said, adding that the Department of Labor isn't as well-equipped to fight suspected fraud in the H-1B program as it could be. Part of the reason, he said, is that the system is based on "attestations" from employers that they're hiring employees with the proper qualifications and at the requisite wage levels, and the Labor Department "has to wait around for some to complain" before it opens an investigation, Fishman said.
"The H-1B program can and usually does operate to the benefit of both American high-tech companies and American workers," he said. "It is the job of Congress to ensure that it always does."
I've said many times in this blog that the laws necessary to address abuses that occur from time to time with H-1B employers are already in place. If abuses are occurring without check, it is either the fault of a Labor Department that simply doesn't care, a Labor Department that is incompetent, or a Labor Department that lacks the resources to do the job (or a combination of all three). If more money is needed to help the Labor Department better enforce the laws on the books, then that needs to be addressed by Congress.
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