With President Obama affirming his support for CIR at a meeting with a bipartisan, bicameral group of legislators at the White House yesterday, here’s our look at the map of the legislative landscape ahead, from now to the statute.
The primary question is House-first, or Senate-first? The general rule that the Democratic leadership appears to be following for all major legislation is to go Senate first, partly because Senate cloture votes are the hardest legislative votes to win, and also because there is a better chance of getting bills to skew in a more liberal direction if the more liberal chamber (the House) were to go last. However, as we see with the Climate Change bill, Speaker Pelosi is willing to go House first where issues she deems of importance are involved.
The main reason given by the House Democratic leadership for moving Senate-first on immigration is that an immigration benefits bill would involve the loss of so many “Blue Dog” Democrats as to be a lost cause on the House floor. We don’t buy this line of argument. As we see it, Speaker Pelosi and her team have sufficient votes to move pretty much any bill she wants on pretty much any subject. However, her power is not unlimited, and she must prioritize her battles. Which she has. On her priority list, climate change, health care reform and the budget are ahead of immigration. The House Democratic leadership will arm-twist Blue Dogs, rural Dems, conservative Dems, and every other species of Democrat on those three issues to get the votes needed. However, immigrants must wait their turn in line (if any political capital remains at that point to strong-arm recalcitrant Democrats).
All of the above is to some degree academic now, since pretty much the entire Democratic leadership in both chambers have come out solidly for CIR in the last few days. Leaders of both chambers have strongly suggested that they have the votes, and, given sufficient Presidential prodding, will make the time, for CIR. Unlike the other “Top Three” priorities, immigration reform is only controversial, not complicated. Climate change, health care reform and the President’s budget are both controversial AND complicated, needing oodles more time from legislators.
The only fly in the ointment at this stage is Rahm Emmanuel, the wet-hen-in-chief, who is still suggesting that the votes for CIR are not there. Well, without the White House’s active help, the votes will not be there. Just as the President is on the phone with lawmakers for climate change, just as he is holding townhall meeting after townhall meeting for healthcare, he will have to take to the airwaves for immigration too. It is, after all, on his agenda, and will be, as he well knows, for his political interests. CIR also happens to be terrific for the country, by the by.
We believe that we will see the Senate-first approach for immigration. We also believe that considerable horse-trading will be necessary to secure the votes needed. The results are likely to be something that, on first glance, will appear ugly to most. The true beauty of the new statute will only reveal itself over time, and perhaps the first to see it will be the bar, albeit even this will have to await enactment. We encourage the immigration bar to get behind those working in the trenches on CIR, and urge them god speed.
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Bloggings On The H-1B Visa
Anthony F. Siliato and Scott R. Malyk write "What is needed is recognition not only by Secretary Clinton but, more importantly, by members of Congress that the reason the H-1B cap has not yet been reached is a direct result of market conditions."
Bloggings on Dysfunctional Government
Angelo A. Paparelli writes "Have companies and families all of a sudden become less qualified en masse for immigration benefits than in prior years?"
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DOJ Announces 3 Attorneys Convicted Of Asylum Fraud
Acting US Attorney Lawrence G. Brown announced that a federal jury returned verdicts today convicting three attorneys and two interpreters of a long-running scheme to defraud the INS and its successor agency, CIS, by filing hundreds of false asylum claims from early 2000 through late 2004.
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Republicans Focus on Guest Workers in Immigration Debate
President Obama told a bipartisan group of lawmakers on Thursday that Congress should begin debating a comprehensive immigration plan by year's end or early next year ...
An Immigration Compromise?
The economic crisis seems to have pushed the immigration debate to the wayside--even though lifting restrictions on foreign workers could arguably be a big stimulus in itself.
Fairness Sought In Immigration Debate
As President Barack Obama and lawmakers in Washington began the discussion on immigration reform Thursday, Greensboro faith leaders also gathered to urge fairness and a humane approach.
Obama Should Not Pursue Immigration Reform This Year
America needs to reform its immigration policies. But not this year.
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I do not intend to engage in any further argument with Honza Prchal's letters. Reasonable people can respectfully disagree over what measures are best in order to combat discrimination, which both of our letters obviously regard as evil. However, since Mr. Prchal's letter mentions the American consulate in Sao Paulo, I will relate an experience I had with that post only three or four years ago. My client had been easily approved for H-1B classification by USCIS and was expecting routine approval for his visa in Sao Paulo. There was no question of any issue arising that could have disqualified him for an H-1B visa. Nevertheless, at his interview, he was told that his visa would be denied for lack of evidence of "non-immigrant intent", i. e. intention to return ultimately to Brazil. As every US consular officer and immigration lawyer knows, ''non-immigrant intent" is not required for an H-1B visa. When I contacted the consulate, they denied that anyone has said this to the client, and blamed the "misunderstanding" on his English, which he spoke fluently, Still, the visa was not issued. Finally, an American executive from the sponsor, who was a native English speaker, made the trip to Sao Paulo to stop by the consulate to find out what was going on. When he arrived, the officer in charge asked him why his company had hired a foreigner instead of an American, even though the company was under no legal obligation to offer the position to an American. Eventually, after many phone calls and intervention from Washington, the visa was issued, but it is hard to imagine how the parties involved could have received worse treatment even in Guangzhou. Is it asking too much for consular officers, wherever they are, simply to follow the law, which is already complex and restrictive enough?
Roger Algase, Esq.
New York, NY
The temporary worker red card solution won't work and can be used to virtually enslave foreign workers by confining them at specific employers who can abuse and underpay them. The most sensible immigration reform is by abolishing all family immigration and change it into merits and skills based system altogether. We can't continue to accept elderly, sick, disabled, uneducated and non English speaking relatives of US citizens or residents for the sake that they have familial ties with their Americans' sponsors. They will like to come here to collect public welfare and become public burden. Foreign parents of US citizens or residents can be sponsored for long term temporary resident visas instead renewable each year as long as the sponsors can show the proof the government their parents have current medical insurance and willing to pay their living expenses without taking up any employments. Siblings of US citizens should apply based on their merits. And we must make sure that all immigrants are English proficient, of good moral characters, self sufficient and educated, in their productive age and have jobs offered in the US or have means to self support themselves by showing any willing sponsors or personal emergency funds and most importantly they should accept our concept of democracy, equal rights and separation of religion and state. If they want and dream to establish mini theocracy here, they should stay home then for good, because we already have enough extremists, bigots and fanatics of our own.
I think the 500 students should be pleased they were allowed to attend public schools in the US (see 06/25/09 ID comment). And no one is calling for a ban on their attendance in college. That being said, in-state tuition rates must be reserved for the children of citizens only. Students with no legal presence in the US, along with students from other states, should pay out of state rates.
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