Last week I reported on a news story I had run across dated January 22, 2013, the day after Mitt Romney's inauguration as 45th president of the United States. I have since come across another story, dated one week later. I am reprinting it here in full:
"CONGRESS FINALLY TAKES UP IMMIGRATION REFORM
Washington, January 29, 2013
After four years in which the previous president, Barack Obama, and a Democratic-controlled Senate did nothing to introduce a comprehensive immigration reform bill, President Mitt Romney and leaders of the Republican-controlled Congress have announced that they are moving quickly to make immigration reform a top priority. Senator Charles Grassley (R. Iowa), the new chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committe, announcd today that he has begun consultations with Attorney-General Designate Kris Kobach and Representative Lamar Smith (R. Texas), the president's nominee to head the Department of Homeland Security, to introduce a complete overhaul of the current dysfunctional immigration system.
In keeping with the president's directive that comprehensive immigration reform should be discussed 'only behind closed doors', no details have been released about the proposals, but this newspaper has obtained reports from staff members who do not wish their names to be revealed that the reform bill will very likely contain the following main features:
1) A drastic reduction in family immigration quotas, in order to reduce or eliminate 'chain immigration',
2) Elimination of the diversity green card lottery in its present form and replacement by one limited to persons born in countries 'adversely affected' by the immigration system since 1965. It is rumored that most or all of the countries on the adversely affected list will be in Western Europe, with half the immigrant visas reserved for people born in Ireland,
3) Summary deportation proceedings to replace the current system of hearings before an immigration judge. There will be an exception to summary deportation only for people who have been in the US illegally for more than 25 years, are not practicing Muslims or members of any Muslim organization, are certified by a system of community boards to be created under the new proposed law, and who are willing to pay a $10,000 application fee (an amount specifically proposed by the president, who said that this was a fair sum of money to bet on what a judge would decide) to obtain a formal hearing before the immigration court. 'Prosecutorial Discretion' will be eliminated entirely.
In a separate move, Senator Grassley also announced that he is introducing a bill dealing with H-1B and L-1 visas, all of which will require a labor certification based on a full test of the US job market, similar to the one now required for most employment-based green cards. All current H-1B and L-1 visa holders will also be required, under his proposal, to obtain labor certifications within a reasonable time (6-12 months) in order to void having their visas revoked and being summarily deported.
All of the above proposals are expected to pass easily in the new, overwhelmingly Republican-dominated Congress, including the filibuster-proof Senate. Senator Grassley, in a brief statement, said:
'For far too long, America's immigration system has been designed to benefit immigrants. Now, it is time to have a system which benefits Americans.'
President Romney, when asked about the reform proposals, stated: 'I think they are absolutely marvelous, just what I have always said this country needs.'
When a journalist asked him whether this conflicted with his previous statement that every foreign science and math graduate of a US university should have an automatic H-1B visa stapled on to his or her graduation certificate, the president said: 'There is no conflict at all. I always believed that this was right for the people of Massachusetts. I never said it would work in any other state. Besides, I am now the President of the United States of America. Don't I have the right to press the reset button?'"
Roger Algase is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been practicing business immigration law in New York City for more than 20 years.