Not everyone deserves to be in America. Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk has managed to evade justice for two decades. He finally had his US citizenship stripped and was about to be deported this week and now his removal has been stayed again by the courts. Why? Because Demjanjuk is arguing that being deported to Germany at this late stage in his life is akin to torture. Oh, please.
Woohoo!! This is wonderful news and many of you may remember my blogging on this several times in the past. 60 Minutes did a great story on this late last year. The long and short of it is that the 6th Circuit has held that a surviving spouse still is an immediate relative under the Immigration and Nationality Act. Congrats to immigration lawyer Cathy Shibley who argued the case.
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Gulati was in the news today because President Obama has decided to help make the case for the US to get the 2018 or 2022 World Cup. The location for those two Cups will be announced shortly after next year's World Cup in South Africa. The US last hosted the World Cup in 1994 and despite the fact that the sport is not as popular here as the rest of the world, the event was seen as a major success and attracted more attendees than any other World Cup before or since. On a personal note, I attended the Russia-Brazil match in Stanford Stadium while my wife and I were honeymooning. That was also the week of the O.J. Simpson Bronco chase. It's amazing what you remember :-).
Today I honor Canadian-born John MacDougall as the fourth living immigrant inductee in to this year's National Inventor Hall of Fame. MacDougall invented a process of "ion bombardment" that is a critical technology used in circuitry in today's computers. According to the Hall of Fame:
John Macdougall is one of the inventors of the first commercially viable method of ion implantation, a process that changes the conductivity of areas of a silicon wafer -- or “dopes” them -- by bombarding them with ionized atoms. When the wafer is heated, each implanted atom replaces a silicon atom. This permits very precise construction of different areas of conductivity. When linked together, these form the components of an integrated circuit.
Macdougall and his colleagues built an ion implantation machine from scratch at Sprague Electric Co., which was one of the major investors in MOSTEK, a start-up integrated circuit manufacturer. MOSTEK’s leadership recognized the importance of ion implantation and had a commercial-scale, automated machine – probably the world’s first—built by Accelerators Inc. in Texas, and installed first in their Massachusetts facility and later in their Texas plant. MOSTEK had invested everything in the ion bombardment process. If the products that resulted had failed, the company would have as well. Today, ion implantation is the dominant doping method in the production of integrated circuits.
Born in Sussex, New Brunswick, Canada, Macdougall received a B.Sc. from the University of New Brunswick in 1962 and a Ph.D. from McMaster University in 1966. He has been employed by Sprague Electric and its successor company Allegro Microsystems throughout his career.
The New York Times reports today that two major unions - the AFL-CIO and Win For Change - have agreed to support comprehensive immigration reform legislative efforts, something that should give a big boost to the President as he seeks to move an immigration bill through Congress. This will be particularly important for certain Democrats in both Houses of Congress who bolted from their party the last time because of objections from the AFL-CIO.
But the unions did not give their unequivocal support. They are opposing the third major pillar of reform - a strategy to deal with the future flow of immigrants through the establishment of a guest worker program. And that is an absolutely critical component of a plan, according to the US Chamber of Commerce, the country's best known federation of business owners. Instead, the unions are proposing establishment of a commission that they say will be independent and de-politicized and which will make recommendations on the size and rules for work visas. The Chamber is opposed to this plan, though I am somewhat hopeful that there may be an opening for a compromise approach that allows for a potential future guestworker program when unemployment is back to its normal much lower level.
April 13, 2009
States around the country have been changing their drivers license rules to ensure that illegally present immigrants are not getting drivers licenses. Whether that is good or bad is certainly open to debate. But one of the unintended consequences of these changes is that many legal immigrants are having trouble getting drivers licenses either because the new laws are poorly written or because department of motor vehicle officials are not very knowledgeable about the immigration laws they are supposed to be interpreting.
My good friend Paul Parsons sent me this note about a case in Texas that shows how ridiculous the situation is. I recently had a similar case in Texas and have heard similar reports in many other places:
My client, Coleman Fung, was recently denied a Texas drivers license.
Mr. Fung appeared at a Department of Public Safety Office in Austin in February of 2009 to apply for a Texas drivers license. He had recently moved to Texas from New York. He presented his unexpired New York drivers license and his valid U.S. passport. The DPS official noticed that
Mr. Fung's passport indicated he was born in Hong Kong and advised him that new DPS rules require them to see his Certificate of Naturalization before issuing him a drivers license. He also presented his original Social Security card.
My client advised the official that the DPS website indicated that a valid U.S. passport was sufficient. This woman told Mr. Fung that the DPS had not yet updated their website to indicate that a U.S. passport is not sufficient proof of U.S. citizenship. Mr. Fung politely asked if he could discuss this with a DPS Supervisor. He was then allowed to discuss this problem with a uniformed DPS official. That officer confirmed that a U.S. passport for a person born outside the U.S. was not sufficient proof of U.S. citizenship for issuance of a drivers license.
Mr. Fung still does not have his Texas drivers license. His Certificate of Naturalization was lost about twenty years ago. The DPS has no training nor expertise in determining citizenship or immigration status of applicants for drivers licenses. They should focus on their mission of public safety and allow the Department of Homeland Security's trained immigration officers to determine immigration and citizenship status of individuals.
Mr Fung immigrated to the U.S. thirty years ago at the age of sixteen. He became a U.S. citizen around 1987 when he was twenty-four. Please note that Mr. Fung: earned a Bachelors degree in Engineering from the University of California at Berkley; earned a Masters degree in Engineering from Stanford University; served honorably in the U.S. Army for three years (in Germany and at Ft. Dix, New Jersey); is the Founder and Chairman of a software firm that employs over 700 people worldwide (approximately 350 within the U.S); and is active on behalf of many charitable foundations including supporting veterans' housing, pre-schools for children in Laos, and summer school for low income high school students at Berkeley (to name only a few).
Mr. Fung is willing to testify about why he believes the new DPS rules should be rescinded. - Paul Parsons
April 11, 2009
The New York Times profiles how our nonsensical immigration policy has forced one of Google's rising stars to live in Canada. The part of the story interviewing Kim Berry of the Programmers Guild is really telling. Those who really understand why America has succeeded for generations and has produced the world's leading companies know that workers are not fungible. But that's what the Programmers Guild and Mr. Berry would have you believe. If you buy in to Mr. Berry's argument, then we need to kill the H-1B visa and American companies need to limit their searching to just American employees. But if you believe America's future leadership in the world economy depends on our ability to attract the best talent, then you should be very, very worried.
I would tell Mr. Berry that American companies are like major league sports teams. How many fans of the New York Yankees or the Chicago Cubs would be content if those teams only recruited from the Bronx or the north side of Chicago? If you want to win, you hire top scouts who will scour the world for the best talent. The same is true for Google, Sun or Intel. Of course, each of these companies was founded by immigrants. The odds are 50-50 that Mr. Berry's company was also founded by an immigrant (maybe that's why he refuses to name his employer).
April 10, 2009
Dutch-born Dov Frohman-Bentchkowsky is one of the father's of "flash" memory, a critical technology in computing. He's our third 2009 inductee in to the Inventors Hall of Fame and his contribution is described as follows:
Dov Frohman-Bentchkowsky invented a computer chip that could be erased by exposing it to ultraviolet light, then have new data written onto it. Before Frohman’s erasable programmable read only memory chip, or EPROM, memory chips were either “volatile,” meaning that they would lose their contents if they lost power, or “read only,” meaning that they were stable without power but could only be encoded at the factory – an expensive and time-consuming process. Frohman’s EPROM combined the best of both concepts, providing nonvolatile erasable memory.
In the 1970s, Frohman’s employer Intel paired his EPROM invention with their new microprocessors to develop the foundations for personal computing. Today’s complex electronic devices -- our cell phones, digital cameras, MP3 players, and computers – all rely on a form of nonvolatile memory (mainly “Flash” memories) to store their operating systems.
Born in Amsterdam, The Netherlands and educated at the Israel Institute of Technology and the University of California at Berkeley, Frohman began his career at Fairchild Semiconductor in 1965. He moved to Intel in 1969 and soon established Intel design and fabrication facilities in Israel. Frohman retired from Intel in 2001.
Thanks to reader Jim for sending this link from the Wall Street Journal. Rahm Emanuel, the President's Chief of Staff, is now acting as one of the loudest advocates for immigration reform in the Obama Administration. Why is this important? Because Emanuel, when he was a leader in the House of Representatives, was a vocal critic of the Democrats pursuing immigration reform and he previously was quoted as saying the Democrats should not take up immigration until a second presidential term.
Emanuel is one of the most influential voices in the Administration and if he is on board, that will no doubt provide a tremendous boost to efforts to get the bill passed. He's a man that doesn't lose very often.
April 09, 2009
The major news is that the EB-3 category is now unavailable. That this was going to happen was noted in last month's Visa Bulletin so hopefully those of you able to file adjustment applications in March did so.
Here is the summary of the changes:
Family 1st - Advancement of worldwide, China and India numbers by five weeks to 22 AUG 2002. Mexico remains stalled (again) at 8 OCT 1992. The Philippines advances two weeks to 1 AUG 1993.
Family 2A - Worldwide, India, China and the Philippines numbers advance seven weeks to 08 OCT 2004. Mexico jumps four months to 1 APR 2002.
Family 2B - Worldwide, India and China numbers advance ten weeks to 15 NOV 2000. Mexico is still stuck at 1 MAY 1992. The Philippines advances two weeks to 01 FEB 1998.
Family 3rd - Worldwide, India and China advanced two weeks to 08 SEP 2000. Mexico is stalled at 22 OCT 1992. And there was a one week advance for the Philippines to 22 JUN 1991.
Family 4th - Worldwide numbers and India advance seven weeks to 08 JUN 1998. China moves ten weeks to 22 MAR 1998. Mexico moves three weeks forward to 01 MAY 1995. The Philippines moved two weeks to 08 JUL 1986.
Employment 1st - All categories remain current.
Employment 2nd - Worldwide, Mexico and the Philippines remain current. India remains stalled at 15 FEB 2004. China remains stalled at 15 FEB 2005.
Employment 3rd skilled/professional workers –As noted last month, this category is unavailable and it is not clear yet when it will again be available.
Employment 4th – All categories remain current.
Employment 5th – All categories remain current.
April 09, 2009
Julia Preston of the New York Times reports in a front page story this morning that the White House is keeping its promise and will push hard for immigration reform this year. According to the story:
Mr. Obama will frame the new effort — likely to rouse passions on all sides of the highly divisive issue — as “policy reform that controls immigration and makes it an orderly system,” said the official, Cecilia Muñoz, deputy assistant to the president and director of intergovernmental affairs in the White House.
Mr. Obama plans to speak publicly about the issue in May, administration officials said, and over the summer he will convene working groups, including lawmakers from both parties and a range of immigration groups, to begin discussing possible legislation for as early as this fall.
Of course, despite pronouncements by some legislators that the fight for reform will not be difficult, the reality is that immigration bills ALL have difficulty moving and pro-immigration advocates will have to fight hard and be willing to compromise if this opportunity is not to be squandered.
April 08, 2009
Yesterday, an election was held to fill the seat in the US House of Representatives of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel. Democratic Mike Quiqley easily defeated Republican Rosanna Pulido. What I found amazing is that the GOP actually nominated Ms. Pulido. She is the founder of the Illinois Minuteman Project and a former field coordinator for the Fedeation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).
I'll let that sit for a second.
Quigly won by a margin of 70 to 24 percent. But what I find amazing is that the GOP still is going back to this loser issue and they are cementing the views of America's Hispanics as an anti-immigrant/anti-Latino party thus ensuring that they will continue to shrink into a regional party only able to win in the whitest, most conservative districts.
Sources are telling me that the H-1B cap was not hit during the initial five day filing period. This is the first time in several years the cap has not been hit immediately after it opened. I'll pass on more details as I learn them.
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