Morality, FB2A, And The Bishops
Today's Featured Article "Strange No More: The Bishops Finally Endorse
Marriage In Immigration Law" is by Paul Donnelly who was press secretary
for the House Immigration Subcommittee chair in 1990, and Communications
Director for the Jordan Commission throughout the mid-1990s. As a
participant in the back-room discussions which shaped IMMACT90 and IIRIRA,
he takes us behind the scenes to show us how our nation ended up with the
ridiculous concept of the Family-Based 2A (FB2A) quota which separates
nuclear families - spouses and little children. Among his points:
- Every sibling admitted is somebody’s wife or child, who does not get admitted. I love my five brothers and four sisters, but I LIVE with my wife and son: and there isn’t a culture on earth which does not recognize that the obligation between husbands and wives, parents and small children, is vastly more morally important in every way than any other filial responsibility. Period.
- And yet – no faith-based group stood up for immigrant marriages. Not one – not the Catholic Bishops, nor the Family Research Council, the Christian Coalition: as in 1990, no family group spoke up for the moral priority of marriage in immigration law at a key moment of a legislative battle. Indeed, the Christian Coalition played a key role in defeating the House version of the Commission’s proposal in the spring of 1996.
- It is an enduring mystery of immigration lobbying why faith-based groups don’t communicate more forcefully, indeed communicate at all, how many spouses of legal permanent residents are also the mothers of U.S. citizens, and yet remain illegal aliens.
- Marriage is marriage. It is unclear why the Catholic bishops of Mexico and the United States would make a moral distinction between the marriages of Mexican-Americans, and those of green card holders who marry someone born in China or India.
- It is simply immoral and unAmerican, but perhaps most of all impractical, to expect that husbands and wives and small children will live for long in different countries.
We believe that the limitation of a quota for FB2A is immoral, the nuclear
family should never be separated, and entries of nuclear families should
never be subject to any quota. In order to achieve this goal, it may be
necessary, politically, to do away with all the other family-based quotas
in toto, and abolish them entirely, along with the diversity lottery, and
also freeze refugee admissions for many years (since most family entrants come to our shores to pursue economic opportunity, they should enter under employment-based quotas, and not family-based quotas). However painful these steps
might be, the moral argument against the FB2A is sufficient to justify
taking extreme steps. We hope Congress will take action on this
urgently needed moral measure.
Editor's Note: Immigration Daily's 2/12/03 issue was sent out late due to a technical error.
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Strange No More: The Bishops Finally Endorse Marriage In Immigration Law
Paul Donnelly writes "It is simply immoral and unAmerican, but perhaps most of all impractical, to expect that husbands and wives and small children will live for long in different countries."
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Immigration Law News
DOL Invites Prospective H-1B Technical Skills Training Grants Applicants To Attend March Conferences
The Department of Labor invites prospective H-1B Technical Skills Training Grants applicants to attend a series of conferences in March 2003.
Office Of Refugee Resettlement Consultation On Various Refugee Matters
The US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement issued State Letter #03 -01, an informal summary of proceedings at the December 16-17, 2002 ORR Mid-Term Consultation. Click here for the write-up discussing agenda matters, including: unaccompanied alien minors program.
Texas Conviction Is Felony For Sentencing Purposes Based On Conviction, Not Actual Sentence Served
In US v. Rivera-Perez, No. 02-50619 (5th Cir. Feb. 12, 2003), the court said that Defendant's Texas conviction for attempted indecency with a minor by exposure was a "felony" for purposes of USSG 2L1.2(b)(1) if, by the terms of the criminal statute, a conviction exposed a defendant to a sentence of imprisonment of more than one year, regardless of whether the Defendant was sentenced for a misdemeanor.
Withholding Of Removal Denied Where Petitioner Fails To Show Past Persecuition
In Tsevegmid v. Ashcroft, No. 02-9525 (10th Cir. Feb. 11, 2003), the court said that a reasonable adjudicator would not be compelled to reject the Immigration judge's findings that Petitioner had not shown past persecution in Mongolia because he had not linked the attack on his person to political motives, and that there was no probability of future prosecution.
You Dont Have To Be An American Citizen To Be An American Hero
An opinion piece in USA Today discusses the brave Canadian immigrant who
subdued the shoe-bomber terrorist Richard Reid and his facing no
immigration options to remain in the US urging readers to fax the INS "just
to remind them you don't have to be an American citizen to be an American
Intel Made Possible By Immigrants
In an opinion piece on CNET.COM, attorney Ronald Zisman says "If you have
any doubts about the contribution of foreign workers to the U.S. economy,
let me mention a few names: Andy Grove, Les Vadasz, Dov Frohman, Federico
Faggin, Masatoshi Shima, Jean-Claude Cornet, Vinod Dham and Avtar Saini.
Citizens from Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, France and India, all were
instrumental in creating a $20-billion-dollar company. I'm sure you can
guess the name."
US Army Recruiter's Family Destroyed By Immigration Law
The San Antononio Express-News reports on the destruction of the family of
a US Army recruiter by the immigration laws.
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Letters to the Editor
Space flight has become routine enough so that few of us take the time to
impressed by the feat of strapping folks in a small cabin on to several
thousand pounds of explosives, catapulting them beyond the atmosphere, and
bringing them back to earth safely. For many of us, it is only the
media coverage of disaster that puts the space program back into our
On board the Columbia when it disintegrated on re-entry was the first
Indian-American woman in space--Kalpana Chawla. The disaster ended a
remarkable story of immigration, but like space flight itself, the
remarkable stories of immigrants are routine in this nation of immigrants.
Ms. Chawla's family (on her father's side) barely survived the violence
accompanied the partitioning of India and Pakistan. Penniless after forced
migration, her father scratched out a living in a small town in the North
India. Eventually, he became a successful businessman with not much time
for his youngest daughter. Ms. Chawla graduated top of her class from
Punjab University and wanted to continue her studies in the US, but her
father was not available to grant his permission for her to go to the US
to study. When her father finally did visit her at her university, it was
just five days before enrollment for Fall classes at the University of
Texas, where Ms. Chawla had been accepted for a master's program in
aeronautical engineering. She got her father's blessing, but she didn't
have a passport or a visa. All that was arranged in time to get her
enrolled in the US.
One wonders what would have happened if she was making her entry to the
today? This woman, who became a hero in the US and India, had enough
determination to graduate at the top of her class in a male-dominated
came to the US to continue her studies, and flew twice on the space
shuttle. Would she have had her determination snuffed out by an
bureaucracy that now views foreign students with suspicion and mistrust?
National Immigration Forum
In response to Ali Alexander's very scathing view of immigrants, I must suggest some form of ignorance permiates this mans mind and heart. Is it truly necessary that the obvious be pointed out? We are all very aware that not all immigrants can manage to live on the resources they are supplied by their less than honest employers. Lets just get real about immigration, it exists and will not go away. Without immigration and undocumented aliens, the US would not function remotely close to the manner in which it is accustomed. As for California being in debt, perhaps a view to the Federal government spending may be somewhat more appealing to him. Point in fact: since 9/11, the government of the US has ramped spending into the trillions, depleting medicare and social security resources which at the end of the day will affect every American. With some form of understanding and compassion, this immigration stalemate could be solved. However, the issue is far too emotional for some who chose to overlook the fact that every person that is working illegally, is doing so for an employer supplying him/her a job (the obvious again: at a much lower rate of pay and without any benefits or retirement plans). Now, I wonder who is really at fault regarding the debt problems created by illegals? Take into consideration that the individual States and the INS continue to encourage the employers to utilize these aliens regardless of enforcement or lack thereof. That said, I believe the concept of ILW.COM was to discuss pertinent laws and how they affect practices and practitioners, not which immigrants have burdened the USA.
I have been following Ali Alexander's tirade of misinformation, and his sanctimonious ranting and bigoted opinion in ILW.COM letters to the editor
for quite some time now, and finally feel the need to reply because he has
now gone too far with his opinion. It appears from Mr. Alexander's letters that he feels that the
ills of America are borne on the backs of illegal immigrants and that in
particular, the budget crisis in the State of California, with a population
of more than fifty million people, and as a state of nearly 50 million people
(and only an estimated 2 million illegal), having the sixth largest gross
domestic product in the world, is the fault of illegal immigration. In
fact, sad as it may be, California owes its economic success, in large part, to the strong backs and high work ethics of Mexican
illegals, who are routinely taken advantage of by unscrupulous farm owners and
Mr. Alexander most likely does not live in California, most likely has
met an illegal alien, at least none form whom he has had the respect of
human decency. While blaming the ills of America on illegal aliens - a
quantum leap in ignorance, he fails to recognize that it is greedy
politicians who cannot manage their way out of a wet paper bag, much less
run a democratic government, and greedy, unconscionable corporate
executives, living in ten multi-million dollar houses scattered throughout
the world, who are to blame for the mess America is in - not illegal
immigrants who have no voice in the system.
Mr. Ali's letters should get the facts straight. His misinformation reminds me of
same radical garbage that was spewed by anti-immigrant hate groups in San
Diego in the 1970's. It was proven not to be true then, and it is not true
David D. Murray, Esq.
Newport Beach, CA
Re: Mr. Greenspan's speech and your comments, there's a lot of ambiguity about immigration in Mr. Greenspan's speech--he makes no claim at advocating an immigration policy, quite the contrary. You've (not unexpectedly) interpreted the ambiguity in favor of massive increases in immigration. Here's another view:
First, Mr. Greenspan cited increases in productivity or immigration to provide for baby boomers. Productivity was up a high 4.7 percent last quarter. Substituting capital for (immigrant) labor contributes to increases in productivity, even in agriculture.
Second, Mr. Greenspan's comment on immigration does not say anything about the nature of the immigration. Will we get the expansion he believes we'll need from the massive importation of unskilled workers? Or is he speaking of skilled workers? Large numbers of unskilled workers certainly won't provide the tax revenues or create jobs the way skilled ones might. Is he saying we should accept illegal immigration, and de facto open borders, or attempt to regulate and choose the immigrants who will contribute to our economy? And, if Mr. Bush's plan to "totalize" social security with Mexico (or possibly other countries such as India in the future) goes through, won't that only aggravate the social security problems Mr. Greenspan's foretelling? Who will there be, under our present social security system, to support the immigrant labor as they age? Even more immigrants? Just how many immigrant workers, especially unskilled workers, would it take to support one immigrant retiree? It's a giant Ponzi scheme. As you can see, that simple word "immigration" raises a host of policy issues, including the basic one of determining how many immigrants are enough.
Finally, he's looking at the impact of immigration policy at the federal level (and only focusing on the revenue side of immigration, not the costs, at that). But we all know, or should know, that it's the states that are bearing the costs of our current immigration policy, and which will continue to do so, particularly with today's and the future federal deficit.
Re: Mr. Baer's letter, the executives of Enron may not be particularly interested in cheap labor (I didn't claim they were), but the executives of Tyson's sure seem to have been. Enough to possibly conspire to bring hundreds of illegal aliens into this country, or to look the other way while their subordinates did it. Fish stink from the head.
An Hispanic may well one day be President--if he or she is born here. So what. His/her parents should still be put in deportation proceedings if they are here illegally. Or does Dr. Baer prefer to see a country like Mexico, where the law is sold to the highest bidder and corruption is rampant? If Congress wants to change the law to allow the importation of unskilled labor, or legalize illegals, they have the power to do that--but public opinion, including mine, is very likely to penalize them for that. Particularly if we continue to have a jobless recovery and massive state and federal budget deficits. And particularly if it follows racist policies of favoring illegals from Mexico and Latin America, while denying equal treatment to Asians, Africans, and those from the Middle East. By the way, it is already possible to legally bring in seasonal workers under H2-A (no caps), but relatively few employers use it. Why? Because it requires oversight of their employment practices. Even if a "guest worker" program is enacted, there is no way it can succeed without strict enforcement of immigration laws--otherwise, employers will continue to prefer illegal workers who work cheaper and without oversight, just as they already do with H2-A.
Re: Justin's letter, contrary to Justin's interpretation, I am not holding today's immigrants to a higher standard than previous waves of immigration. I am holding them to the same standard: that they be able to support themselves without relying on government handouts. That they be able to pay for the medical care of themselves and their families--and that generally includes today having skills (including English) and/or the bargaining power to get insurance benefits and a decent wage from one's employer. Whether they want SUVs or not (and many of the Hispanic families in my neighborhood are as likely to own them as anyone else), or prefer to speak a language other than English in private, is up to them--as long as they pay their medical costs, and their share of their kids' schooling. But even to take orders at McDonald's requires enough English to be able to take orders and deal with customers, as well as with other employees. My local McDonald's, for example, has a number of Spanish-speaking employees, as well as some from Africa and elsewhere--how would you suggest they communicate among themselves, much less with customers, if they can't speak at least some English?
I have been reading many of Mr. Ali Alexander's letters and have always disagreed, but felt that he has expressed himself and his view quite well and respectably. However, his last letter in today's Immigration Daily is beginning to sound angry and losing the usual balanced approach. The branding of "these illegal aliens" without qualification or acknowledgment of differences in the group is troubling and borders on bigotry and stereotyping. I believe some undocumented immigrants, like some citizens, do take advantage of the system, but we should not propose a wholesale rejection of all citizens or all undocumented immigrants (innocent or not) for that reason. I understand that Mr. Alexander is attempting to propose that all undocumented immigrants be forced to return to their countries of origin, but unfairly and inaccurately painting them with such a broad brush does nothing to support his argument.
Now that Mr. Alexander has explained what Alan Greenspan didn't say and what he should have said in reference to immigrants and the US economy, I'll stick with Greenspan. I think Mr. Greenspan has a better grip on what drives America’s economy.
Theory is wonderful; economic models are just that - theories and models.
In reality, most areas of the country still need the additional labor provided by immigrants. The local unemployment rate where I live is in the low ranges of 3% - according to older economic models not enough to power growth.
Does everyone profit from the labor of immigrants? Greenspan said emphatically we do. Without them we could easily double our food bills.
Mr. Alexander's letter to the editor, I believe, said, "There is no such thing as a "labor shortage", only a shortage of workers at a price an employer is willing to pay." That's a labor shortage when you've got white collar workers to hire and chickens to cut.
I am somewhat disturbed by recent postings likening INS officers' behavior [during NSEERS registration] to that of Nazi activities and other fascist/non-democratic groups. I recall one or two espousing this rhetoric were ostensibly reputable immigration attorneys.
As is commonly known, the INS can be quite frustrating to stakeholders, the immigrant community and even its own employees at times as evidenced by unprofessional demeanors exhibited by a select few (certainly not a majority of INS officers, reasonable observers would agree).
However, the postings in question do not directly address individual instances by individual officers; had this been the case, the attorney might simply have reported this to an INS officer's superior instead of delving into spurious and spiteful rhetoric on ILW.COM.
What is most disturbing is that the postings seemed to indict, in ad homenym fashion, the registration process as a whole solely through portraying INS officers as goose-stepping thugs and not on the legal merits of registration, as might be expected of reasonable minded advocates normally posting thoughts on ILW.COM.
Perhaps this attorney might compare treatment of arriving aliens at foreign ports of entry (i.e, Frankfurt Am-Main, replete with German shephards and Mp-5 submachine gun treatment or Karchi Int'l..) with that of those in the US. No comparison, I assure you.
I write in response to Justin's letter to the Editor and his rather postmodern attack on Ali Alexander
for referring tangentially to "proper" Spanish. Mr.
Alexander's comment apparently bothered a number of readers who do not seem
to understand that English, particularly American English, is a peasant
language for which rules were never formally encoded and for which proper
usage is the result of informal consensus (and even in English, class
distinctions are made regularly based on how one speaks, as when the Dixie
Chicks disparage country singers who do not use their accents ironically).
This is not the case for most languages.
In English there is no universal standard and each distinct form of
speech is a dialect. Dialects exist in other languages but there are
generally standard forms of speaking. Even in Spanish, there are proper
ways to speak and improper ones. Often the rules of grammar depend on whom
one is speaking to. In my first language, Czech, there are three such
forms, written or formal Czech, which closely resembles the 16th Century
prose of Jan Hus and is used to write or speak before an audience, polite
Czech, used with elders, in professional settings and so forth, and spoken
Czech which is how people talk to friends and family. Within 10 minutes of
conversation, it is possible to peg a person's degree of education down to
the year based on his ability to chose the correct form. While Czech is
admittedly extreme in this regard, most widely used languages are more like
this than like English. If Justin doubts this I encourage him to live a few
years in a foreign country that does not use much English.
As for Justin's other point about multilingual ballots, proof of
citizenship is not generally required of people trying to vote. Even if it
were, in many local governments, US citizenship is not a requirement to
local citizenship. The unlamented (at least by most of our readership)
Congressman Bob Dornan would still be a member of the House were the
restriction enforced (he lsot by a handful of votes shown to be less than
the number of non-citizens who voted against him). When so many foreign
countries insist on English as a second or third language for practical
reasons, primarily the dominance of American culture, I fail to see why
Justin has a problem with insisting on it here. Someone who does not speak
English will generally be a second class citizen of the world, much less of
the overwhelmingly mono-lingual US.
Honza J. F. Prchal
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