A Point System For US
We commend the Senate for doing the right thing for the
country. Debating S. 1348 on the Senate floor is a formal recognition by Congress that our country's policy
on immigration is distinctly different from and unrelated to our country's policy on terrorism. A commitment to a point
system is a recognition by Congress that our country needs an immigration
policy, not an immigrant policy. Congress is sub silentio accepting that our
policy over the last 42 years was wrong, and needs to be amended.
The Kennedy-Kyl coalition behind S. 1348 has agreed to five pillars which
form the core of their internal agreement, and have agreed to defend each
one of these five together. Either we will have CIR with all these five
points, or we will not have CIR at all in this Congress. The five pillars
are: two on enforcement - border enhancements and employment verification; two on benefits - legalization and a guest worker program; one on citizenship - English/civics training/requirements.
The point system is tied with an umbilical cord to legalization. Advocates
have to realize that under the Kennedy-Kyl compromise, the point system is
the framework for anything that they seek to accomplish. To fight the point
system at this stage in the Senate is akin to holding back the tides.
In a surprising development, opposition to the bill stems most loudly not from the
anti-immigrationists, but family-immigration advocates, and centers on the
elimination of the family-based categories in favor of a point system. What
is apparently lost on some is that the point system also eliminates
all the employment based categories. A point system, properly
structured, will ensure prompt immigration of many who would face delays of
a decade or more under the current family system. The surprising thing, in
our view, is that Congress is not proposing to apply the point system
retroactively to the entire family and employment backlogs. We remain
convinced that the one non-negotiable position that advocates ought to hold
is that the biological family (spouses and minor children) should be
sacrosanct (for all, LPRs, USCs, guest workers, etc), and under no
circumstances should any extended family member (parent, siblings, adult
children) of any category (LPRs, USCs, etc) receive more favorable treatment
than members of the biological family. Opposition to the biological family
unit would be immoral.
Advocates who are concerned about family categories should focus on
accomplishing their ends within a point system. Surely, that's what the
process of floor amendment is for. This point applies even more forcefully
to advocates of employment based immigration. Most employment immigration
attorneys have been waiting with baited breath for CIR since they had been
repeatedly assured that SKIL would be part of CIR. We believe that SKIL has
been left out only because SKIL, as originally written, applied only within
the context of employment based categories, not a point system. If SKIL were
redrafted now, and presented as a floor amendment within the context of a
point system, we believe there are sufficient votes for SKIL to once again
become part of CIR.
Post-CIR, we see a glorious future ahead for
immigration, and thus for the bar. Fasten your seat belts for the ride.
Reminder: The Deadline Is Tuesday, May 22nd For PERM with Joel Stewart.
We welcome readers to share their opinion and ideas with us by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Greg Siskind provides a section by section summary of S.1348, comparing as much as possible to S.2611 and STRIVE and highlighting key differences.
White House Dispels Immigration Myths Related To CIR
The White House released a press release on the 10 key myths about the border security and immigration reform agreement.
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On May 19, 2007, Kristina Rost, partner at Maged & Rost, PC was honored as Outstanding Immigration Lawyer by the Brazilian Immigrant Center in Boston, Massachusetts. www.magedrost.com
Readers are welcome to share their comments, email: email@example.com (300-words or fewer preferred). Many letters to the Editor refer to past correspondence, available in our archives.
I am saddened, but not surprised, at the opposition to the current compromise proposal. I would have hoped that immigration attorneys, immigration advocates and immigrants themselves would have seen that this bill provides at least some hope for forward movement, after years of dead-ends and rhetoric. And yet it appears that most of the strongest opposition to the bill is coming not from 'nativists' and 'restrictionists' but, rather, those of us who claim to be advocates for a humane and realistic immigration policy. It is reasonable that some of the family-based categories be eliminated and that the nuclear family (spouses and minor children) be preserved in order to ensure that employment-based applicants are given the possibility to immigrate. It is also reasonable that our government place a premium on skills, even though the point system delineated in the bill may be unworkable in its current incarnation. There is nothing draconian in a law that attempts to balance compassion and retribution, family reunification and national security. To quote those great philosophers the Rolling Stones "You can't always get what you want...but you get what you need." We want a perfect bill; we need a workable solution. This might be our only chance to get it.
Christine Flowers, Esq.
There is a much better first step that mirrors the current deal but without 700 pages of Rube Goldberg. Eliminate the 3/10 year bar, which is an anomaly created by the floor amendment of a one term Congressman, and raise the quotas. Raising quotas not do-able? Add numbers from the eliminated lottery and family preferences. Take parents out of immediate relatives. Don't count dependants against the numerical limitatiuons. Ask the Secretary of Labor to add constructions workers and other shortage occupations to Schedule A, even if for only a year. Move up the registry date. Hire new consular officers with increased fees. All of this might take a few pages, and continue existing law.
David Funke, Esq.
Thanks to David Murray's letter (05/22/07 ID) for pointing out the havoc that would result at US CIS if the "Not-so-Great Compromise" were to become law..I believe he's absolutely right when he says that CIS will be expected to process all the 12 (plus?) million applications that may result without additional personnel or resources. As a retired Border Patrol Agent, I also have no confidence that the enforcement provisions of the "compromise" will be enforced. If an alien fails to pay his/her fine, if they fail to "touch back", or if they fail to comply with any of the other provisions of the "compromise", who's going to go get them? There are already about 600,000 "absconders" in this country, illegal aliens who have been ordered deported and the number is rising. US ICE, who will be primarily responsible for enforcement of the "compromise" in the interior of the country, is swamped now. I was around for the 1986 amnesty and can state from experience that it wasn't enforced. Why should anyone believe that the law will be enforced this time?
Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky has been quoted recently as criticizing the proposed immigration reform bill with the claim that it would "reward lawbreakers" with "a large-scale get-out-of-jail-free pass." What nonsense. No one believes that America is going to imprison twelve million undocumented aliens, or can afford to do so. Better to recognize that one purpose of the legislation is to issue "get out of hell" passes -- because banishment from their longstanding homes, jobs and families is a virtual hell for many of the people we deport. And there's nothing "free" about those passes. I would think conservatives should support "get out of hell" provisions in our immigration laws -- at least for everyone but Al Qaeda members.
Jonathan Robert Nelson
New York City, NY
I agree with Robert Yang's letter (5/22/07 ID). The points raised were highly recommendable.
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