Roll Call reports that Immigration Subcommittee Chair Senator Schumer will deliver an address tomorrow outlining the major points of an immigration reform bill and Senator Cornyn, the ranking Republican on the Committee, is calling on President Obma to push to deal with the bill this year. Thank reader GG for the link.
Just a reminder that we'll be having one of our regular teleconferences later this week. Here are the details:
Thursday, June 25
4 pm Eastern/3 pm Central/2 pm/1 pm Pacific
Siskind Susser National Teleconference - General Q&A
We've received a wide array of immigration-related questions over the past few weeks. Your response has been so overwhelming that our next show will be devoted solely to answering the questions you've submitted.
Join us on June 25th as Greg Siskind, Lynn Susser and Ari the Immigration Answer Man answer your immigration questions.
June 21, 2009
My friend Angelo Paparelli writes about something that is probably on the minds of many immigration lawyers who've been practicing for more than a few years - will Congress and the President treat Iranian students in the US the same as we did for Chinese students 20 years ago when young people in that country rose up against an oppressive government?
Harken back to the fallout from the Chinese Communists' quelling of democracy with tanks and bloodshed in Tieneman Square. The Congress and the first President Bush took two-and-a-half years to protect the Chinese citizens who feared return to the Peoples Republic by passing the Chinese Student Protection Act of 1992. That law allowed a generation of primarily young Chinese to obtain permanent residence in the U.S., and probably contributed significantly to the decade of innovation and prosperity that followed. However President Obama decides to respond to events on the ground in Iran, the Congress should immediately hold hearings and speedily enact legislation, much like CSPA '92, that would allow the thousands of Iranian citizens now in the U.S. to apply for permanent residence.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton could also take a page from history by easing the standard for granting U.S. nonimmigrant visas to Iranians as State did when many pro-Western Iranians were fleeing Iran with the fall of the Shah. As memory serves, State instructed consular officers to apply the requirement that a visa applicant must intend to return to the person's country of residence by considering, in the case of Iranians, whether the person would be likely to return to Iran if and when the political instability there were to ease.
June 20, 2009
The United Food and Commercial Workers Union International, one of the country's major unions, was upset about how raids were conducted in 2006 at Swift meatpacking plants around the country. So they did something about it. They created a commission of experts to hold hearings about work site raids and this week they released their findings in a report entitled Raids on Workers: Destroying our Rights. According to the UCFW:
The report found several disturbing patterns:
The testimony the Commission received revealed several disturbing patterns:
- U.S. Citizens and Legal Permanent Residents detained for hours unable to leave even after establishing their status
- A lack of coordination by ICE with state and local labor and child welfare agencies
- Violations of the Fourth Amendment, which guards against unreasonable searches and seizures
- The use of massive amounts of taxpayer resources and personnel to administer civil warrants
- Repeated incidents of racial profiling and harassment
- The human toll of immigration enforcement, including family separation and children left without proper care
- Lasting economic and psychological devastation of communities and families in the aftermath of workplace and community raids
UCFW is not only hoping the report highlights problems with the raids, but sparks a discussion of the broader question of moving toward comprehensive immigration reform.
It's hard not to watch in amazement as protesters from across Iran are managing to get videos and pictures out to the world of their fight for liberty despite the fact that most journalists are barred from reporting. They are using communications technology as their weapon against the regime and the camera phone has been at the center of it all.
Two years ago I honored Philippe Kahn on this site as my immigrant of the day. Kahn, a French immigrant to the US, invented the camera phone in 1997 so that he could take pictures of his new child and easily send them to others. Philippe never imagined that his invention would play a critical role in one of the most important insurrections in recent times, but many of the great inventions have been used in ways the inventors didn't envision.
Hat's off to you Philippe for helping to change the world.
From an email from America's Voice:
“President Obama’s remarks today at the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast show, once again, that he has a sophisticated understanding of how the elements of comprehensive immigration reform work together to solve this problem. He gets that being both a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws is necessary to create a legal immigration regime that works.
While the President promised to enact reform during his presidency, he did not specify a timeline. This will no doubt fuel skeptics. They will say he will be unable or unwilling to move comprehensive immigration reform this year, despite his repeated promises to do so.
Next week, the President will meet with Congressional leaders on this important issue. We expect a real plan for action to emerge from that meeting. On June 25th, the President and leaders of both parties in both chambers of Congress must chart a course forward on comprehensive reform legislation this year.”
And White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says they don't think they've got the votes yet for immigration reform, a statement that contradicts recent pronouncements from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. (thanks to reader AJ for the link).
June 18, 2009
I received the following note from a reader and wanted to pass it on to all of you since this is a really important cause:
I was reading your blog and I wanted to let you know about a DREAM Act event happening next Tuesday. The United We Dream Coalition and Dreamactivist.org will be holding a National DREAM Act Graduation ceremony in Washington D.C. on June 23rd. The event will be attended by over 500 students from across the country. Also, representatives from Microsoft and College Board will be in attendance and will hand out Activism Awards to students who have proved outstanding leadership. Right after the Graduation ends, we will be visiting the offices of legislators to urge them to support the DREAM Act.
This is especially important to me because, if enacted, I would benefit from the DREAM Act. I'm an undocumented student who has been living in the US for the past 9 years. My parents brought me to this country when I was only 12 years old in search of a better future. Since then, its been a huge struggle to pay for my college education because Im forced to pay international tuition despite having been living in my county for 9 years and considering the U.S. my home. The DREAM Act is not only beneficial to students like me, but it is also beneficial to this country because we will have law-abiding tax payers entering the work force.
In addition to the National DREAM Act Graduation, many organizations from across the U.S. will also be holding their own Graduations in solidarity with the one in D.C. The events will be held in North Carolina, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Indiana, and California.
But the thing is, it is really important to get the word out about it. And your blog is an amazing tool for that. It would be really great if you could let your readers know about this event and the other events happening all over the country. Your help is extremely important in order to make the DREAM Act a reality this year.
You can visit http://www.dreamactivist.org/dream-graduations-coast-coast for more information about this event or e-mail me if you have any questions at all.
Thank you so much for your help and support!
Co-Founder of DreamACTivist.org
June 17, 2009
A report from the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund shows that hate crimes targeting Hispanics rose 40% from 2003 to 2007. The report can be found here. Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies, the think tank of the anti-immigration Federation for American Immigration Reform told the Washington Post:
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