It's official. The provision in the Immigration and Nationality Act barring HIV+ individuals from traveling to the US is officially no longer. However, HHS still has discretion to include HIV on the list of communicable diseases that can bar travel. Hopefully, they'll get the message that this ban should be ended.
On Thursday, the House Immigration Subcommittee will be marking up three key bills:
1. H.R. 6020 - Soldiers' bill (makes a number of changes to improve immigration processing for members of the armed services).
2. H.R. 5882 - recaptures employment-based visas lost due to USCIS delays
3. H.R. 5924 - allocates a reserve of green cards for nurses
Hopefully, I'll have some good news to report tomorrow.
And by a fairly wide margin - 407-2 (one of the two being maverick GOP Congressman Ron Paul). Basically, E-Verify gets five more years. Note, however, that the Senate has not extended and they've got about a month before they take off until after the inauguration of the next President.
Here's the bill text:
To evaluate and extend the basic pilot program for
employment eligibility confirmation and to ensure the protection of
Social Security beneficiaries.
To evaluate and extend the basic pilot program for employment eligibility confirmation and to ensure the protection of Social Security beneficiaries.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
This Act may be cited as the `Employee Verification Amendment Act of 2008'.
Section 401(b) of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (8 U.S.C. 1324a note) is amended by striking `11-year period' and inserting `16-year period'.
(a) Funding Under Agreement- Effective for fiscal years beginning on or after October 1, 2008, the Commissioner of Social Security and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall enter into and maintain an agreement which shall--
(1) provide funds to the Commissioner for the full costs of the responsibilities of the Commissioner under section 404 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (8 U.S.C. 1324a note), including (but not limited to)--
(A) acquiring, installing, and maintaining technological equipment and systems necessary for the fulfillment of the responsibilities of the Commissioner under such section 404, but only that portion of such costs that are attributable exclusively to such responsibilities; and
(B) responding to individuals who contest a tentative nonconfirmation provided by the basic pilot confirmation system established under such section;
(2) provide such funds quarterly in advance of the applicable quarter based on estimating methodology agreed to by the Commissioner and the Secretary (except in such instances where the delayed enactment of an annual appropriation may preclude such quarterly payments); and
(3) require an annual accounting and reconciliation of the actual costs incurred and the funds provided under the agreement, which shall be reviewed by the Office of Inspector General of the Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.
(b) Continuation of Employment Verification in Absence of Timely Agreement- In any case in which the agreement required under subsection (a) for any fiscal year beginning on or after October 1, 2008, has not been reached as of October 1 of such fiscal year, the latest agreement between the Commissioner and the Secretary of Homeland Security providing for funding to cover the costs of the responsibilities of the Commissioner under section 404 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (8 U.S.C. 1324a note) shall be deemed in effect on an interim basis for such fiscal year until such time as an agreement required under subsection (a) is subsequently reached, except that the terms of such interim agreement shall be modified by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to adjust for inflation and any increase or decrease in the volume of requests under the basic pilot confirmation system. In any case in which an interim agreement applies for any fiscal year under this subsection, the Commissioner and the Secretary shall, not later than October 1 of such fiscal year, notify the Committee on Ways and Means, the Committee on the Judiciary, and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Finance, the Committee on the Judiciary, and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate of the failure to reach the agreement required under subsection (a) for such fiscal year. Until such time as the agreement required under subsection (a) has been reached for such fiscal year, the Commissioner and the Secretary shall, not later than the end of each 90-day period after October 1 of such fiscal year, notify such Committees of the status of negotiations between the Commissioner and the Secretary in order to reach such an agreement.
(a) In General- As soon as practicable after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General of the United States shall conduct a study regarding erroneous tentative nonconfirmations under the basic pilot confirmation system established under section 404(a) of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (8 U.S.C. 1324a note).
(b) Matters To Be Studied- In the study required under subsection (a), the Comptroller General shall determine and analyze--
(1) the causes of erroneous tentative nonconfirmations under the basic pilot confirmation system;
(2) the processes by which such erroneous tentative nonconfirmations are remedied; and
(3) the effect of such erroneous tentative nonconfirmations on individuals, employers, and Federal agencies.
(c) Report- Not later than 2 years after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General shall submit the results of the study required under subsection (a) to the Committee on Ways and Means and the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Finance and the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate.
(a) In General- Not later than 2 years after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit to the Committees on the Judiciary of the United States House of Representatives and the Senate a report containing the Comptroller General's analysis of the effects of the basic pilot program described in section 403(a) of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (8 U.S.C. 1324a note) on small entities (as defined in section 601 of title 5, United States Code). The report shall detail--
(1) the costs of compliance with such program on small entities;
(2) a description and an estimate of the number of small entities enrolled and participating in such program or an explanation of why no such estimate is available;
(3) the projected reporting, recordkeeping and other compliance requirements of such program on small entities;
(4) factors that impact small entities' enrollment and participation in such program, including access to appropriate technology, geography, entity size, and class of entity; and
(5) the steps, if any, the Secretary of Homeland Security has taken to minimize the economic impact of participating in such program on small entities.
(b) Direct and Indirect Effects- The report shall cover, and treat separately, direct effects (such as wages, time, and fees spent on compliance) and indirect effects (such as the effect on cash flow, sales, and competitiveness).
(c) Specific Contents- The report shall provide specific and separate details with respect to--
(1) small businesses (as defined in section 601 of title 5, United States Code) with fewer than 50 employees; and
(2) small entities operating in States that have mandated use of the basic pilot program.
The National Foundation for American Policy has issued a report criticizing the massive, confusing, anti-business waste of taxpayer dollars that is the permanent labor certification process.The report notes that Congress never intended for a system like we have, the Labor Department's process has no connection to economic reality and the program that exists has been "badly mismanaged." The report's conclusion -
The Department of Labor’s labor certification system adds a significant dead weight cost to the operations of many of America’s most innovative companies, diverting energy and resources that employers could better utilize on innovations that could create more jobs and wealth in the United States, concludes the analysis. The study recommends that Congress largely remove the Department of Labor from the process by exempting many highly educated foreign nationals from labor certification, as proposed in a Senate-passed bill in 2006. Absent that, labor certification requirements could be satisfied by employers showing a) they pay the immigrant the same or more than a comparable American and b) they engage in recruitment typical to their industry.
The study concludes the Department of Labor, given its actions, has shown no interest in proposing or operating a simple system, since it would reduce the role and influence of Labor Department employees. “It increasingly appears that the process maintained by the Department of Labor and the Department’s battles against employers and their attorneys is not about protecting jobs for U.S. workers but jobs for employees at the U.S. Department of Labor,” said NFAP’s Stuart Anderson.
Anyone who has ever gone through this process, knows the process is truly mind-boggling. Hopefully, policymakers will pay heed to the report's findings and consider making reforms.
NFAP report on labor certification process - Free Legal Forms
And if so, why?
The Center for Immigration Studies, the anti-immigrant center that generates studies for FAIR and other anti-immigrant groups, has released a report claiming that the number of people illegally present in the US has declined by nearly 1,300,000 over the last year, a decline the group believes is about 11%. The report credits tougher enforcement measures for the decrease.
In the mean time, pro-immigrant groups are firing back disputing the reports findings and arguing that even if they are true, the declines would be related to the downturn in the US economy. As the economy contracts, the demand for foreign workers should decline as well.
The American Immigration Law Foundation issued a statement criticizing the CIS report:
“CIS implies that the illegal immigrant population could drop to half of what it is now within the next five years if only presidential candidates keep silent about the details of comprehensive immigration reform, taxpayers continue to pour billions of dollars into enforcement, and the U.S. economic recession persists—according to CIS, reducing illegal immigration apparently comes with a cruel price tag.
Most researchers agree that undocumented immigration to the United States is driven largely by economics. Yet, in a new report entitled Homeward Bound: Recent Immigration Enforcement and the Decline in the Illegal Alien Population, CIS dubiously claims that undocumented immigrants decide where to live and work based more on the politics of immigration enforcement than the economics of their own survival. CIS concludes that the recent decline in the “likely illegal population” (which it defines as less-educated, foreign-born Hispanics age 18 to 40) is largely the result of new immigration-enforcement efforts rather than the downturn of the U.S. economy, including job losses in the construction sector that had been absorbing many less-skilled Hispanic immigrants.
The persuasiveness of CIS’ argument is undermined not only by an absence of hard data, but by the faulty logic and contradictory statements of the report itself. The authors report confidently about a population that is nearly impossible to accurately measure. They admit they did not include data about any population other than Hispanics. They provide no evidence for their assertion that the immigration debate in Congress last summer spurred an increase in undocumented immigration.
CIS provides no real solutions to the nation’s immigration problems. They insult thoughtful Americans when they seemingly hope for continued unemployment and recession, promote harsh enforcement measures that separate families and destroy communities, and suggest that politicians should not even talk about real solutions. By requiring undocumented immigrants to come forward, legalize their status, and learn English, we would strengthen the rule of law and turn undocumented immigrants into taxpayers. The U.S. must enact a practical, fair, and reasonable solution that includes smart enforcement measures.”
I didn't know that was the name of a judo competitor either. I've been to one Olympics in my life (Atlanta 1996) and one of the two events I saw was judo. I tried to study up on the sport, though I didn't really get the rules down. But it definitely was fun to watch.
Sayaka Matsumoto will certainly be someone to keep an eye on in Beijing. The Japanese born judoka has been training since she was six and has been a US national champion seven times, but this is her first Olympics. She's a student at Berkeley who has taken off the last three semesters to get ready for the Games. Good luck, Sayaka.
On September 30th, one of the major religious worker green card categories expires. Cases not adjudicated by that date will automatically be voided and applicants with pending adjustment applications could have their petitions denied and instantly be considered illegally present in the US. In past years when a sunset was approaching on this category, the old INS would expedite processing. Hopefully, they'll do so again. Here's a letter from a number of different religious communities urging they do so again:
Religious Organizations Urge USCIS to Expedite Religious Worker petitions - Free Legal Forms
Gee, the late night talk show host jokes can literally write themselves with this one. ICE has announced a brilliant new program to "encourage" illegally present immigrants to report for deportation.
Here's ICE head Julie Myers description of the grand plan:
Myers told the network that "Operation Scheduled Departure" will allow illegal immigrants without criminal records a chance to literally "self-deport" by turning themselves in to her agents.
She said the idea derived from a common complaint voiced by immigrant detainees: If given the opportunity, they'd rather just go home than be holed up in immigration prisons.
Under the new program, those still walking free will have the chance to walk into ICE offices, be processed and get a few weeks to arrange their affairs, pack their belongings and ship out of the country without being detained.
The American Immigration Lawyers Association had its own take on the announcement.
Of course, if someone wants to leave the country, there's an easier way. It's called Greyhound.
Thanks, by the way, to reader Nitin for the post suggestion.
La Punta, Peru native Giuseppe Lanzone immigrated as a teenager with his family after his mother secured a work visa opportunity in Virginia. Lanzone's story is not unusual. A lot of children whose parents come to the US to work are able to prosper in our very welcoming country.
Giuseppe will make his Olympic debut in Beijing. But he's got some wind at his back, something which doesn't hurt in the sport of rowing. He and his three teammates just won a Bronze medal at the 2008 rowing World Cup in Lucerne. Giuseppe is also one of Team USA's blogging athletes. You can learn a little about him here.
He's a recently naturalized US citizen despite his having been in the US for more than a decade. NBC has an amusing account of the rush to get sworn in:
After graduating college, Lanzone returned to Peru for a couple of months, as he hadn't spent significant time there since he left at age 15. When he returned to the U.S., he showed up at Princeton to train with the national team. While he was aiming to make the world championship team in 2006, Lanzone had other things to worry about as well, namely, the status of his citizenship. He made the worlds' team, but needed a U.S. passport in order to compete. Two days before the crew left for Eton, Great Britain, Lanzone got a call from his high school coach, Jim Mitchell, who told him he had to get to Washington D.C. that afternoon because his citizenship had gone through. "It takes about three-and-a-half hours to get to D.C. from Princeton," Lanzone said. "I got there in two hours and forty-five minutes." Changing in the parking lot, Lanzone had his interview and took the test, passing with a perfect score. "I was sworn in the next morning, they gave me my passport, and I drove back to Princeton for practice that afternoon."
Giuseppe was a bit of a fashion model on the Today Show a few months back. You can see him modeling the Team USA's Closing Ceremonies outfit and being congratulated on his US citizenship by Ann Curry.
All three of the bills I told you about earlier in the week have moved through the House Immigration Subcommittee. Next up is the full Judiciary Committee markup.
The odds of the bills passing are still long, but hopefully a final push will get them through before Congress adjourns for the election.
If some of the politicians who proudly espouse their religious faith actually looked to their faith to help guide them on immigration policy, how different things might be today. A new book on immigration and the Christian faith discusses what the Old and New Testaments have to say on the issue. The book is Christians at the Border by M. Daniel Carroll.
OK, Chris Liwski is not just representing America's immigrants in Beijing. The Canadian-born rower will be representing America's lawyers as well. As far as I know, he's the only lawyer competing as an Olympic athlete. The 2007 Boston University Law School grad is currently clerking remotely for Johnson & Johnson. Presumably, he has other distractions right now (like the pursuit of a gold medal).
That Liwski was able to win bronze and gold medals at the 2006 and 2007 world championships is incredibly impressive in and of itself. That he could do it while he was a law student is just amazing. Before the law degree, by the way, he went abroad and earned a master's degree in environmental policy at Oxford.
Good luck Chris from all of your fellow attorneys here in America!
Three-time national team member Susan Francia makes her Olympic debut in Beijing, rowing in the eight. The collegiate All-American has won two consecutive world titles in the eight in 2006 and 2007. At the 2007 World Cups she won gold in the eight in Lucerne and bronze in the pair in Linz. She has also won the eight at the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston three times, most recently in 2007.
Francia earned a bachelors degree in criminology from the University of Pennsylvania four years ago and has been training full time for Beijing ever since. Good luck Susan!
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