The new bulletin is here. Here are the highlights:
Family 1st - Advancement of worldwide, China and India numbers by two weeks to 1 May 2002. Mexico moves up a week to 15 September 1992 and the Philippines moves up a month to 1 May 1993.
Family 2A - Worldwide, India, China and the Philippines numbers advance five weeks to 8 February 2004. Mexico jumps ten weeks to 15 July 2001
Family 2B - Worldwide, India and China numbers advance one month to 15 January 2000. No movement for Mexico and stuck at 22 April 1992. The Philippines advance five weeks to 15 June 1997.
Family 3rd - One week advance for Worldwide, India and China to 1 July 2002. No movement for Mexico and stuck at 15 September 1992. One week advance for the Philippines to 8 May 1991.
Family 4th - Worldwide numbers advance three weeks to 15 November 1997. China moves five weeks to 8 June 1997. India advances four weeks to 22 July 1997. Mexico moves one week forward to 22 January 1995. The Philippines moves up to weeks to 22 March 1986.
Employment 1st - All categories remain current.
Employment 2nd - Worldwide, Mexico and the Philippines remain current. India moves forward two months to 1 June 2003. China moves forward two months to 1 June 2004.
Employment 3rd skilled/professional workers - Worldwide and Filipino numbers move up five months to 1 May 2005. China jumps forward four months to 1 February 2002. India moves up three months to 1 October 2001. Mexico advances two months to 1 September 2002.
Employment 3rd unskilled - All numbers advance two weeks to 15 January 2003.
Employment 4th - The "other religious workers" category is listed as unavailable probably because Congress had not extended the category when the numbers were set. I presume the category will be current against next month.
EB-5 remains current.
Whether John McCain really meant it or was just trying to sway right wing anti-immigrant Republicans when he said he would no longer support his immigration reform bill, Hispanics are not giving him the benefit of the doubt.
Hi Folks - I'm speaking at the annual meeting of the International Bar Association in Buenos Aires, Argentina this week. I'll be blogging, but not as much as usual. In the mean time, I'll be thinking of you as I chow down gnocci and dulce de leche (but not together).
As Barack Obama continues to enjoy a wide lead in national opinion polls, a number of news organizations report that the Democrat is already planning for the transition including planning appointments and legislative strategy. While some may think this is presumptuous, it's actually incredibly responsible given the frightenting situation in the world right now. The new President will face enormous challenges and the more time spent preparing for the change in leadership, the better.
A great debate has been going on for some time within the Democratic Party regarding the timing of efforts to reform the immigration system. The party has reached general consensus that reform is needed and they agree on most of the details. But fear of anti-immigration groups and too many anti-immigrant Republicans were enough to block a bill. Some have even suggested that immigration reform be put off until 2012, the beginning of a second term for the new President.
It is time to put reticence aside and aggresively purse reform.
The first of the two problems I noted above has largely been addressed. There has been a dramatic altering in the place of immigration in public opinion over the last 12 months. Immigration is now only considered the most important issue facing America by less than 1% of the American public compared to 12% last year. The issue was the second most important issue in the minds of Americans in mid-2007 and today it is not even on the top 10 list. And this is very typical for America. During most periods, immigration is generally favored and not considered a pressing problem. The anti-immigrant frenzy of the last couple of years has echoed similar periods in US history and such brief periods are always followed by a return to normalcy.
In short, even if anti-immigant groups can work the phones and faxes, the Democrats and pro-immgration Republicans should know that public opinion is not behind these efforts. Pro-immigration groups need to be strong in making this point to individual members of Congress and present hard evidence to back up the claim.
As for the number of pro-immigrant members of Congress, there are more and more predictions that the Democrats will achieve substantially higher majorities in both Houses of Congress - possible as many as 60 Senate seats and more than 250 seats in the House of Representatives. These are large enough majorities to readily overcome minority opposition.
The time for pro-immigration groups to begin pushing for a rapid approval of a comprehensive immigration reform bll is NOW. Congress should avoid the temptation to simply re-start long and drawn out hearings on the topic. They have held extensive hearings and debated at an extreme length the subject of immigration reform over the past several years and more talk is not going to produce a better result. Senator Obama needs to include immigration reform in his agenda for the first 100 days of his Administration and he should honor Senator McCain and Senator Kennedy by starting with their 2006 bill in the negotiation. Years of work have gone in to drafting that bill and there is no reason to re-invent the wheel.
Why is it so important to act now? First, unemployment will inevitably rise over the next year due to the financial crisis. And if world history and the history of our country are an indicator, many will inevitably start to blame immigrants and other minorities for our troubles. I hope this does not happen, but it is not a far-fetched fear. Better to deal with immigration when cooler heads are prevailing.
Second, Democrats are not likely to have as many members of Congress after the 2010 elections. For most of our recent history, a new President's party almost always loses seats in the first mid-term election. That means the prospects for immigration reform are not going to improve for as long as four more years. A President has a unique opportunity to pass significant legislation during the "honeymoon" of the first few months of his or her term in office, particularly when his party controls both houses in Congress. If Senator Obama is emphatic that immigration reform be in his initial legislative agenda, it has a real chance of passing.
Finally, if Senator Obama is reluctant to publicly commit to this, members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus should be vocal in demanding it. Hispanic voters are going to be a critical part of an Obama win and they are within their rights to expect a return on the investment of their support for the candidate. Recent public opinion polls are showing the Hispanics are giving McCain less than half of what they offered President Bush. This change ALONE will likely be the reason Senator Obama wins key battleground states like Nevada, Colorado, Florida and New Mexico.
I specifically call on Senator Menendez to push Senator Obama to make the commitment NOW to put immigration reform on his First 100 Days legislative agenda. After the election, he won't have the same kind of clout on this issue unless the CHC is willing to use its numbers to block the rest of the new President's legislative agenda if he ignores immigration.
It will never be easier to pass immigration reform than the first 100 days of an Obama Administration and the time to start working to make sure that the Senator is committed to this is right now. There is an enormous opportunity and we cannot afford to waste it.
Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff commented yesterday on a crime and security agreement reached with the Slovak government:
So before I turn it over to the Minister, I want to emphasize that we remain committed to Visa Waiver Program expansion at the earliest opportunity. That, of course, is enabled by two things: our allies doing their part, just as the Republic -- Slovak Republic has done today, and our doing our part, which we are, of course, carrying out by implementing our Electronic System for Travel Authorization. So I look forward to a day hopefully in the not-too-distant future where we can welcome Slovaks into visa-free travel, as we also hope to do with a number of other countries.
While the number of Visa Waiver countries has been stuck at around 27 for several years, recent announcemnts suggest that the number could expand significantly in the coming months with the inclusion of a number of Eastern European countries as well as Israel.
After three debates involving the Obama-Biden and McCain-Palin candidates, the one subject that has not come up is immigration. And I don't think it is a coincidence. Public opinion polls are showing the issue has dropped dramatically on the list of important subjects for Americans. And this is a good thing since people can make intelligent choices when they are not being whipped in to a frenzy on the issue. Immigration is now about where it has historically been in terms of the public's attention to the subject and this will hopefully send the message to Congress that it is time to get back to business and attend to modernizing the immigration system as needed. The paralysis we've seen over the last two years needs to come to an end.
I've been reporting on this for a little while. DHS is now reporting that the number of apprehensions near the US-Mexico has fallen substantially - 78% - since this time last year. The government believes that fewer people are attempting to cross since enforcement resources have been increasing, not decreasing. The combination of more enforcement and fewer jobs in the US are likely causing this phenomenon.
Osamu Shimomura, a Japanese-born professor emeritus at Boston University, is the winner of the Nobel Prize in chemistry. The prize, awarded today, honors Professor Shimomura for discovering green fluorescent protein, or GFP, which allows researchers to develop methods for observing the behavior of proteins in living cells. Congratulations Professor Shimomura!
The Phoenix Business Journal is reporting that there has been a surge in tips being filed with the Phoenix Sheriff's office against employers allegedly hiring illegally present immigrants.
In the mean time, the Arizona Republic newspaper reports that a rash of immigration raids by the sheriff against employers in Chandler and the East Valley will have a chilling effect and drive employers out of the area.
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