Bloggings On Immigration Law And Policy
by Greg Siskind
Editor's note: Here are the latest entries from Greg Siskind's blog.
November 27, 2009
READING TEA LEAVES: IS THE PUBLIC READY FOR REFORM?
The Pew folks have a thorough and balanced article analyzing the polling data and running through the history and have concluded that immigration reform will be tough but the polling data still shows a public that is supportive.
SCAMWATCH: MARRIAGE FRAUD SCHEME BROKEN UP IN CHICAGO
The AP reports that prosecutors have secured indictments against ten people in Chicago including five traffic court employees.
THE DEMS DILEMMA: TO BRING OR NOT BRING REPUBLICANS IN TO IMMIGRATION REFORM PROCESS
Roll Call has an interesting analysis of this. Some Democrats believe that they have the votes and they can use immigration reform to brand their party as the true home for the country's Hispanic voters only if they leave the GOP out of the process. And most in the GOP will probably be fine with this except the small number that understand just how dangerous it is for the future of the GOP to be branded the anti-immigrant party.
MISSOURI FORCED TO COMPENSATE STATE CONTRACTOR TARGETED IN IMMIGRATION STING
States that decide they should be getting in to the immigration enforcement business might take note. From the AP:
IMMIGRATION HUMOR: PLYMOUTH WALL
Thanks go to Dan Kowalski at Bender's for spotting this.
PROS' POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEES OUTRAISING ANTIS
LOU DOBBS: THE IMMIGRANT'S FRIEND
Wow, I almost fell out of my chair when readers posted this news item in the comments:
All I could think of when I read this is the looks of bewilderment that must be showing up on the faces of antis all over the country one by one as they read this stunning news. If there was ever a sign that CIR might happen, this is it.
CONTRERAS NAMED NEW CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES OMBUDSMAN
DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano has named January Contreras to fill that spot. Ms. Contreras comes to the office with a unique advantage. She already has a great working relationship with Secretary Napolitano and will no doubt have her ear when it matters. She currently serves Secretary Napolitano as a senior adviser at DHS and also worked closely with her in Arizona where she led the state's health department. She also has a background as a lawyer which is always helpful for this type of position. And she served on the board of the state's Hispanic bar association so she no doubt is in tune with the many issues confronting immigrants as they work their way through the legal process.
I wish Ombudsman Contreras well in her new position.
ANTIS TARGETING MODERATE REPUBLICANS
Former Congressman JD Hayworth is considering a Republican primary challenge against John McCain for his Senate seat. Hayworth was one of the most anti-immigrant members of Congress and was defeated by a pro-immigration Democrat. Now Hayworth intends to use immigration as the wedge issue to defeat McCain. And he might win the nomination if you believe recent polling. Except that he will likely lose a general election for the same reason he lost in 2006. The hardcore anti-immigrant base in the GOP has the power to knock off moderate, pro-immigration Republicans in primary races. But they end up with candidates that can't win a general election. Arizona's Senate seat should have been safe for the GOP next year. Instead, if Hayworth wins the Democrats stand a great chance of picking up the seat.
DOBBS CONSIDERING RUN FOR SENATE
Media sources are reporting that former CNN anchor Lou Dobbs is considering taking his $8 million severance package and using the funds to finance a run for the Senate against NJ Democratic Senator Bob Menendez. Menendez’s office issued a statement this week regarding the speculation:
[UPDATE] Apparently, Lou has bigger ambitions.
IMMIGRANTS MORE LIKELY TO SUPPORT BANS ON SMOKING
Interesting. I guess as I’m in Europe all week and see smokers everywhere, I’ve been working under the assumption that smoking is much more prominent outside the US and immigrants would therefore be more likely to be smokers. But apparently immigrants to the US are coming in bigger numbers from countries where smoking is less prominent. From the AP:
The strongest American advocates for smoking bans in public venues are the newest Americans, one study said. Immigrants and their children were most likely to approve of smoke-free spaces, according to an analysis of data from the U.S. Census' Current Population Survey from 1995-2002. Over those years, 75.7 percent of foreign-born U.S. residents supported a smoking ban in at least four different types of public space, while 59.1 percent of U.S.-born Americans with U.S.-born parents did so. Of the total population, 61.6 percent said they would support a ban in at least four of the six public venues listed, which included bars, restaurants, offices, hospitals, and indoors sports venues and shopping malls.The report can be found at http://ajph.aphapublications.org/.
THE CALCULUS ON IMMIGRATION REFORM
While many presume that the poor economic circumstances in the US will scuttle immigration reform in coming months, I’ve been repeating my observation that the White House and congressional leaders are more worried about not locking in Hispanic voters which shifted a substantial percentage of their votes to Democrats in the last few election cycles. Now a new report is showing that six of the eight states expected to gain congressional seats based on the 2010 census will do so because of Hispanic population shifts. According to the Deseret News in Salt Lake City:
'The states likely to gain political power following the 2010 Census are currently largely Republican dominated' and in most cases 'will owe this expanded power to Latinos who moved to their states,' says the study by the America's Voice Education Fund, an organization based in Washington, D.C., that advocates comprehensive immigration reform. 'Ironically, many members of the delegations who will benefit … have embraced policies that are hostile to Latinos and immigrants. It will be interesting to see how the 2010 Census impacts politicians' attitudes toward immigrants and Latinos who help them expand their powers in Congress,' the report said. The study projects that eight states will gain seats in the upcoming census — Texas (gaining four), Arizona (gaining two) and one each for Florida, Georgia, Nevada, Oregon, South Carolina and Utah. Each House seat gained also brings an extra vote in the Electoral College. 'Without Latino population growth, six of the eight states gaining representation would most likely not have achieved their current projected seats,' the study said. 'Only Georgia and Utah would have gained their new seats without Latino growth.'It is true that votes will likely be lost from some who see immigrants as contributing to job loss amongst Americans. But polling shows that most Americans consider immigration a low priority – not even a top ten issue. The hard core small minority (probably no more than 20 to 25% in my opinion) that have strong feelings on the subject are likely voting Republican anyway so going forward with immigration reform won’t alter the political equation. But Democrats have an opportunity to “lock down” gains among Hispanic voters and making them permanent members of the Democratic coalition. And as the America’s Voice report shows, the electoral power of Hispanics is increasing. And unlike the general public, Hispanic voters DO consider immigration policy a key issue when they consider for whom to vote. Failing to move immigration reform soon could create an opening for Republicans to claim that Democrats are not serious about immigration reform and just give lip service to the issue. The report can be found here.
WHITE HOUSE EMPLOYER COMPLIANCE CAMPAIGN GOES INTO OVERDRIVE
Immigration and Customs Enforcement Assistant Secretary John Morton announced today that the agency will inspect the I-9 records of approximately 1000 companies around the US, dwarfing the announcement in July that nearly 600 firms were being investigated. Only 500 firms were audited in 2008. This time the employers being targeted are firms involved with "critical infrastructure" projects.
ICE also released some interesting data showing the impact of its new enforcement initiatives:
LEARNING FROM THE ANTIS
I usually use this space's real estate to criticize the tactics of the antis. But I'll give them some credit for the extremely effective job they did during the first two rounds of immigration reform earlier this decade. That was largely because of a well organized grass roots effort that left the pro-immigrant forces in the dust. The Reform Immigration For America coalition has sought to help the pros get caught up. And they are starting to show real muscle. Last night, an estimated 60,000 people participated in 1000 house parties across the country where they listened in to a speech from Representative Luis Guttierez.
In the mean time, here in London, I spoke at the IBA Global Immigration Conference on a panel on skilled immigration along with lawyers from 8 other countries. My main takeaway is that our competitor countries are increasingly using their immigration systems to attract top immigrants and the US is falling behind.Skilled worker reforms will be a part of the comprehensive immigration reform (including liberalizing per country quotas, providing more visa opportunities for highly skilled immigrants, allowing adjustment applications to be submitted even if green card numbers are not available, etc.). So hopefully skilled immigration advocates will work on immigration reform efforts and not stay on the sidelines.
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 email@example.com
The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.