Chamber, Vehicle And Vote - There are three questions standing between DREAM and its enactment: Which chamber votes first? What vehicle will be used for the bill? Are there enough votes to pass the bill? We comment on these below, along with why this is important to all those affected by immigration benefits, particularly employment-based immigration benefits.
First, lets look at the order of the votes in the chambers: If it is the intention of the Democratic leadership to merely make a statement, the Senate can go first. If it is the intention of the Democratic leadership to actually enact legislation, the House may have to go first. The record demonstrates this - when the leadership was serious about passing the health care and climate change bills, the House took the lead, since the Democrats enjoyed a near-super-majority in that chamber, and a mere majority is sufficient for passage. However, tough votes are always on a razor's edge in the Senate, where a super-majority is always needed for cloture. Moreover, the passage of a bill by the House creates momentum for it to be passed in the Senate.
Next, lets look at the possible vehicles for DREAM: In the House, the Republican minority will try to defeat DREAM with the limited options offered to them through House rules. It is advantageous to DREAM proponents to choose a vehicle for the DREAM Act which can ensure quick passage, instead of having to deal with amendments and other parliamentary maneuvers the would be in order should DREAM be offered as a stand-alone bill on the House floor. The House Democratic leadership could bring the Haitian Orphan bill to the floor and offer DREAM as an amendment to that bill. This would would forestall Republican options and make possible swift passage. As the Senate has already passed the Haitian Orphan bill, it could take the amended bill the House passes and vote on it directly. The other option for the Senate would be to offer DREAM as an amendment to the military appropriations bill. This is not a likely option because "Don't Ask Don't Tell" is already an organic part of the military appropriations bill, and the combined defections due to DADT and DREAM will likely sink both provisions. The Senate's work on both DADT and DREAM, both priorities of the President and the Congressional majority, will be complicated should DREAM be taken up through the military appropriations bill. While the Senate could, as Majority Leader Reid has stated, take up DREAM as a stand-alone on the Senate floor, House passage of the Haitian Orphan bill would simplify the Senate's work.
Next, lets look at the votes, and begin with the votes in the House: With House Democrats still enjoying a large majority and with Speaker Pelosi's proven and superb whipping ability, Democrats have the power to pass virtually any bill in the House. They may have to compromise to ensure passage, and perhaps compromise a lot, but the the House Democratic leadership possesses the wherewithal to ensure passage of DREAM. Failure to ensure passage can only be interpreted as a deliberate decision by the House Democratic leadership to abandon immigrants. If the House does not pass DREAM now, Democrats will cede the immigration issue entirely to the Republicans in the next Congress, who will cast it as one of internal enforcement and border security. To retain credibility on immigration, House Democrats need to show some results, or at least an attempt to obtain results. So far the historic House majority in the 111th Congress has produced nothing on immigration - not even hot air. If Democrats expect this to be a winning strategy, they are conceding the immigrant vote to the Republicans, as witnessed by the 7 new Hispanic Republicans who will join the 112th Congress.
Finally, lets look at the big issue (and in some sense the only issue): Are there 60 votes in the Senate to pass DREAM? Even though Republican Sen. Lugar is DREAM's co-sponsor and steadfast supporter, there are likely to be several Democratic defections in the Senate and votes of at least five Republican Senators will be needed to pass this bill. The best place to see the list of crucial Senators for the DREAM vote is from the anti-immigrationists' whip count, here they are:
Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Sam Brownback (R-Kansas), Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan), Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri), Max Baucus (D-Montana), Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska), Kay Hagan (R-North Carolina), Kent Conrad (D-North Dakota), Lindsay Graham (R-South Carolina), and Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia)
The battle for DREAM will set the tone for all immigration battles over the next Congress and perhaps beyond. If DREAM is enacted now, there will be a chance to get modest immigration benefits acceptable to some Republicans in the 112th Congress such as more EB numbers, nurse relief, more H1B numbers, etc. Failure to pass DREAM now removes any incentive for the Republicans to co-operate with the Democrats on passing any immigration benefits, since the steps of a million immigrant students marching towards citizenship would be silenced by failure. Not only would the incoming House Republican majority be emboldened to jettison any immigration benefits by DREAM's failure, the bogeyman of no immigration benefits post 9/11 will not have been exorcised. We urge you to email and fax and call the Senators in the list above and get as many other people as you can to do the same.
Article: The Dust Begins To Settle On The Republican Win Of Control Of The House And Its Deep Cut Into the Democratic Majority In The Senate by Micheal E. Hill
Article: The Fight Book: Chapter I-H1B: Part G, H, I by Rami Fakhoury
Article: Dispelling DREAM Act Myths by Mary Giovagnoli et. al for the Immigration Policy Center
News: USCIS Issues Memo On Response To Ombudsman's 2010 Annual Report
News: DHS Reports On Estimates Of Legal Permanent Resident Population In 2009
Focus: The Consular Posts Book
The Table of Contents for "The Consular Posts Book" is as follows:
PART I. MAJOR CONSULAR POSTS
A chapter each on - Argentina - Buenos Aires; Armenia - Yerevan; Australia - Sydney; Brazil - Sao Paulo; Canada -Toronto; China - Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shanghai; Colombia - Bogota; France - Paris; Germany - Frankfurt, and Munich; Haiti - Port au Prince; India - Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, and New Delhi; Jamaica - Kingston; Nigeria - Lagos; Philippines - Manila; Taiwan - Taipei; Trinidad and Tobago - Port of Spain; United Kingdom - London; Vietnam - Ho Chi Minh City.
PART II. THEORY AND PRACTICE
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: New Attorney Vulnerabilities in International Practice
Chapter 3: Trade and Immigration Tightening? NAFTA, WTO, GATS Soup to Nuts
Chapter 4: Tips for Avoiding B-1/B-2 Visa Denials and Correcting other Refusal Issues with the Consul
Chapter 5: The Visa Waiver Program (VWP): Not As Simple and Easy As It Looks
Chapter 6: Non-Immigrant Classes and Their U.S. Tax Obligations
Chapter 7: E-1/E-2 Treaty Traders and Treaty Investors
Chapter 8: The Consular Role in L-1 Blanket Petitions
Chapter 9: H-1B "Dependent Employees": From Labeling to Lawbreaking
Chapter 10: Temporary Assignment of H-1B Employees to Client Work Sites
Chapter 11: State Department Name-Checks and Security Advisory Opinions (SAOs)
Chapter 12: ICE Data-Mining and Federal Benefits Fraud Task Forces - Send In the Marines: Best Practices to Survive Audits and Task Forces
Chapter 13: What to do if Your Client's Visa is Denied: Visa Office Advisory Opinions
Chapter 14: A Template for Attorney Risk-Assessment
PART III. THE CONSULAR POSTS RESOURCES ON CD-ROM
For contributor bios, more info, and to order, please see: http://www.ilw.com/books/ConsularPosts.shtm. Or for fax, please see: http://www.ilw.com/books/ConsularPosts.pdf
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