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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

Bloggings On Immigration Law And Policy

by Greg Siskind

Editor's note: Here are the latest entries from Greg Siskind's blog.

July 08, 2009

SESSIONS AMENDMENT PASSES

Senator Schumer attempted to table the amendment which would permanently reauthorize the E-Verify program and codify the contractor rule (see post below). That effort failed by a 44 to 53 margin and the amendment then passed by voice vote. The underlying bill already had a three year extension for E-Verify.

This is not the end of the story. The House version will likely have different language and then the two chambers must agree in conference on final language. So the fight goes on.

WHITE HOUSE MAKES DECISIONS ON E-VERIFY AND NO-MATCH RULES

In short, the E-Verify federal contractor rule lives and the no-match rule dies.

The E-Verify contractor rule and the no-match rules were released in the tail end of the Bush Administration. The E-Verify rule would require most major federal contractors to use E-Verify in order to qualify for their contracts. The no-match rule covered situations where employers received letters from the Social Security Administration notifying them that employees social security numbers do not match their names. The rule outlined specific procedures for employers to follow after receiving such letters and the penalty for not following the procedures is a potential finding of knowingly hiring unauthorized workers.

Both rules have been blocked from implementation due to litigation. The Obama Administration needed to determine whether it wished to fight for either or both rules and today's press release from Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano made clear that the Administration will only fight for the contractor rule. A key sticking point in the litigation has been whether the rule's application of E-Verify to existing employees of a contractor should be permitted or whether only new employees should be put through the system. I have been told by insiders that a compromise on this issue was near, but this press release does not indicate whether a deal has been struck with the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

The press release says the White House is seeking implementation of the contractor rule beginning on September 8th.

IMMIGRANT OF THE DAY: OMID KORDESTANI - IT PIONEER

Omid Iranian-born Omid Kordestani was Google's 12th employee and he is one of the key executives who has turned the firm in to one of the world's most successful companies. I just read an interesting article about Kordestani where he credits his immigrant background for much of his success and urges America's young people to adapt an immigrant mindset:

“To keep an edge, I must think and act like an immigrant.

There is a special optimism and drive that I benefited from and continue to rely on that I want all of you to find.

Immigrants are inherently dreamers and fighters”

We're an immigrant country and its those immigrant roots that give us a competitive edge.

URGENT ACTION ALERT - CALL CONGRESS NOW

A message Rick Stolz at ReformImmigrationFORAmerica.org:

I know this is very short notice, but I am writing to ask you to make a phone call before 10:30 EST today. We just learned last night that an important vote is likely to happen in the Senate this morning. Here is what's going on:

The Senate is considering (and will likely vote on) the Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2010 (H.R. 2892). The purpose of this Act is to fund Homeland Security through September 2010. Yesterday, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) introduced an amendment "To make the pilot program for employment eligibility confirmation for aliens permanent and to improve verification of immigration status of employees."1 In other words, to make the flawed E-Verify2 program permanent.

In effect, the Sessions Amendment will make the Homeland Security appropriations process a referendum on immigration. By sneaking this into an appropriations bill, immigration opponents in the Senate are hoping to undermine momentum toward real and comprehensive immigration reform.

Please call your Senators now and tell them: "I OPPOSE the Sessions amendment (#1371) to make E-verify permanent and mandatory for federal contractors because it undercuts workers, business, and the economy. I SUPPORT having a real debate about immigration issues and the only way for that to happen is by starting comprehensive immigration reform this year."

Click here to get your Senators' names and phone numbers:
http://hq-salsa.wiredforchange.com/o/5691/getLocal.jsp?zip=&zip4=&state=TN

If you'd like to know more about how the Sessions Amendment will undercut workers, businesses, and the economy, please take a moment to read this fact sheet that we put together:
http://salsa.wiredforchange.com/o/5691/content.jsp?content_KEY=2665

Thanks for helping stop this dangerous Amendment on short notice. Your call will really make a BIG difference.

-- Rich Stolz, ReformImmigrationFORAmerica.org

COUNCIL OF FOREIGN RELATIONS: QUOTAS ON SKILLED IMMIGRANTS HURTING NATION'S SECURITY

From the Washington Post:

A bipartisan task force will recommend today that the United States overhaul its immigration system in response to national security concerns, saying that the country should end strict quotas on work-based immigrant visas to maintain its scientific, technological and military edge.

"The continued failure to devise and implement a sound and sustainable immigration policy threatens to weaken America's economy, to jeopardize its diplomacy, and to imperil its national security," concluded an independent Council on Foreign Relations panel, co-chaired by former Florida governor Jeb Bush (R) and former Clinton White House chief of staff Thomas V. "Mack" McLarty III.

"In the global competition to attract highly talented immigrants, the United States must ensure that it remains the destination of first choice," the group concluded, such as by minimizing restrictions on scientific collaboration and permitting broader recruitment of newcomers who bolster U.S. military capabilities. "America's long-term security depends on maintaining its place as a world leader in science and technology."

The panel also recommended "earned legalization, not amnesty" for an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants now living in the United States, requiring those who wish to stay to work, pay taxes, learn English, pass background checks, pay fines and wait their turn behind legal immigrants.

What I like about this report is that it directly targets those who say we need protectionist immigration policies to help American workers. This report serves as a reminder that efforts to protect a relatively small (but vocal) group of workers (that's you, Programmers Guild and nursing unions) hurts the country as a whole and threatens our long term economic interests. Hopefully, Jeb Bush's involvement with this effort will sway some Republicans who are sitting on the fence.

The report can be found here.

GERMAN COURT DETERMINES DEMJANJUK DEPORTATION FROM US WAS PROPER

John Demjanjuk's efforts to avoid a war crimes trial were dealt another blow yesterday as a German court refused to entertain a motion that his deportation from the US violated his human rights.
KRISPY KREME THE LATEST TARGET OF DHS I-9 INVESTIGATION

This proves they're serious! If Secretary Napolitano wanted to show the average American that her agency is serious about cracking down on employers' lax compliance with immigration laws, she couldn't have chosen a more loved company than donut maker Krispy Kreme.
July 07, 2009

REMINDER: TELECONFERENCE TOMORROW (7/8) ON STUDENT VISA ISSUES

Tomorrow afternoon we'll have the fourth program in our free teleconference series. We'll be covering student visa issues and will have guests Connie Burk, a nationally known international student adviser at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center and Arda Beskardes, an immigration lawyer and former international student adviser.

And, as always, Ari the Answer Man will lead us in a discussion of your questions.

To register for the call, click here.

July 06, 2009

IMMIGRATION REFORM - IF OBAMA WANTS IT TO HAPPEN, IT'S GONNA HAPPEN

At least that's what an analysis by the folks at CQ Politics suggests. Obama has a 92% success rate in getting bills he supports through Congress - one of the highest rates ever recorded.