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Immigration Daily December 18, 2008
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Unconventional Wisdom

The conventional wisdom on a number of issues may no longer be true:

  • Conventional Wisdom: The incoming Obama administration's priorities will guide Congress as it goes about making laws in 2009 and 2010. Fact: Congress has its own ideas for legislation. While Congress will pay close attention to the incoming Obama administration's priorities, especially in the first 100 days, ultimately it is Congress that makes law, not the President. And Congress's ideas of good policy may well diverge from the administration's. We are seeing some signs that Congress may well be more aggressive in the near term on immigration than the Administration (this is not an issue of intention, merely an issue of implementation, since the incoming team is understandably tied up in personnel issues).
  • Conventional Wisdom: Rahm Emmanuel's appointment as Chief of Staff at the White House portends trouble for immigration given the fact that he was the key person responsible for the failure to get CIR off the ground in the House in the 110th Congress. Fact: Rahm Emmanuel at the White House may well be immigration's best friend. As chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Mr. Emmanuel's goal was to help elect as many House Democrats as possible which, by the lay of the political land, were largely in purple, moderate districts where immigration could have proven a weapon for the Republicans. Mr. Emmanuel's new job, by contrast, is to help elect just one Democrat - Mr. Obama in 2012. Immigration here could well be a weapon against the Republicans, in helping sway critical states in the Southwest and Southeast.
  • Conventional Wisdom: Republican votes and Blue Dog votes will be necessary to win any broad immigration legislation, like CIR. Fact: Democrats will control a 58% majority in the new Senate, and a 59% majority in the new House. No more than a very small handful (5 or so) Republican votes will be needed or available to pass CIR. This is in marked contrast to the entire period from the 1980s to now, where all the major immigration acts were passed with either significant or crucial Republican support (the same general analysis as above also goes for the Blue Dogs). One of the consequences of the composition of the new Congress is that employment based immigration has significantly fewer friends than before, a fact that may prove fatal to more than one major employment based immigration program (in particular, we would not be too surprised to see proposals to temporarily eliminate the H1B visa in light of the economic downturn).
  • Conventional Wisdom: CIR must include three legs - legalization, massive new enforcement, massive guest worker programs. Fact: The composition of the new Democratic caucus, especially in the House, argues strongly against the old ideas of what CIR should look like. This is the most liberal (or leftist) Democratic caucus since the 1970s, it's leanings on many matters, including immigration, will likely surprise many in the immigration community who have gotten accustomed to centrist approaches to benefits and enforcement. In particular, we believe that the guest worker component of CIR is either completely gone, or close to gone (the House immigration sub-committee chair, Ms. Lofgren, is out-of-sync with the new Democratic caucus on employment based immigration). What we may be seeing is a replay of the 1980s, when Congress first confronted the past - legalization and enforcement in IRCA in 1986, and only four years later, in 1990, came around to the future - expanded immigration flows, both temporary and permanent. The new CIR may be nothing more than a giant new IRCA. Expanded immigration flows may well have to wait for a future Congress, just like two decades ago (the difference this time is that expanded immigration flows will likely focus on low-skilled workers and high-skilled workers equally, whereas in IMMACT'90 Congress forgot about low-skilled workers).
All the above point to three conclusions: (1) there will be an aggressive move, quite early in the new year, for significant immigration benefits legislation, which, for the lack of a better term, we are calling CIR; (2) the signs point to this move being led by Congress, and not the Administration; (3) the bills to be marked up may omit new guest worker programs, and perhaps even significantly restrict existing guest worker programs, such as the H1B program. There appears to be plenty of excitement ahead, fasten your seat belts.

We welcome readers to share their opinion and ideas with us by writing to


Consular Posts Book Ed. Rami Fakhoury

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Adjusting To The New World Of Portability Recruiting: Career-Flexibility For Long-Delayed Immigration Cases
Angelo A. Paparelli and Kwang-yi Ger Gale write " Employers seeking foreign workers with coveted degrees and skill-sets now must surmount ever higher hurdles crafted by immigration bureaucrats who never had to make a payroll."

The Nation Is Not A House
Donald J. Boudreaux for the Foundation For Economic Education writes " Opponents of the freedom to move frequently analogize a nation to a house. "You lock your house, don't you?" these anti-immigrationists askimplying that what makes sense for a home makes equally good sense for a nation."

Bloggings On Immigration Law And Policy
Greg Siskind shares the latest entries as of December 9, 2008 on his immigration law and policy blog.

To submit an Article for consideration, write to


CIS Ombudsman Study Recommends Digitized Photograph To Accompany New N-550 Form
The CIS Ombudsman released its study and corrresponding recommendations on naturalization oath ceremonies, which included the suggestion to implement plans to digitally produce the photograph on the Certificates Of Naturalization (Form N-550).

DHS Publishes Interim Rule Amending I-9 Regulations
DHS published notice in the Federal Register amending its regulations governing the types of acceptable identity and employment authorization documents and receipts that employees may present to their employers for completion of the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.


Help Wanted: Immigration Attorneys
Washington, DC- USCIS Office of Chief Counsel (OCC) seeks experienced attorneys with 3+ years demonstrated experience in immigration law for the Adjudications Law Division (ALD). The attorneys will serve as advisors to the Chief of the ALD, the Chief Counsel, and to USCIS and other Departmental components on issues relating to U.S. immigration laws. Applicants must possess a JD degree, be an active member of the bar (any jurisdiction), and have 3+ years of post-J.D. experience in immigration law. For more info, key in Job Announcement Number: COU-CIS-2008-0013 at Submit a resume, cover letter + (2) writing samples to: Claudia Salem, Acting Chief, Adjudications Law Division at Please make sure to note in email subject header that you are applying for the Experienced Attorney Position, ALD, at USCIS. Must be received by 5pm, ET, Friday, December 19, 2008. Position is at the GS-13-GS-15 levels. This job is being filled by an alternative hiring process and is not in the competitive civil service. No relocation reimbursement available.

Immigration Law Certificate
Master the complex and ever changing maze of immigration policies and regulations with the Immigration Law Studies Certificate Program offered by CUNY's School of Professional Studies. This graduate-level certificate program, consisting of (3) three-credit classes, offers students who complete it a comprehensive understanding of the laws, regulations, and processes surrounding the status of immigrants in the US, including family and employment-based immigration and deportation defense. It is designed for individuals working in law firms, companies, government agencies and nonprofit organizations where they interact with immigrants and immigrant legal concerns on a regular basis and would therefore benefit from greater knowledge of the laws and regulations surrounding immigration. Beginning this spring, the program is also being offered online. For more information on class schedules, tuition and fees, course applications and to register, see here.

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Minnesota Catholics To Observe 'Immigration Sunday'
Calling for "compassionate dialogue" on immigration reform, the Minnesota Catholic Conference announced that Jan. 4 will be "Immigration Sunday" in the state's parishes.

Oregon DMV To Begin Verifying Immigration In 2009
The Oregon Department of Transportation said its DMV offices will begin verifying immigration status for driver's license applications or identification cards on Jan. 1 at its offices around the state.

U.S. Seeks To Wipe Out Immigration Fraud
Iturregui said that only two groups - attorneys in good standing with the State Bar Association and accredited representatives authorized by the Board of Immigration Appeals - may provide legal advice and represent people before the agency.

Obama To Inherit Legal Battle Over DHS's No-Match Rule
Media reports indicate that in making his decision, Breyer observed that the incoming Obama Administration might want to take another look at the rule.


Readers can share their professional announcements (100-words or fewer at no charge), email: Readers interested in learning about featuring your event or conference in Immigration Daily, see here. To feature your newsletter in Immigration Daily, see here.

Honors And Awards - Maryland Super Lawyers
Edward Neufville, III, Esq. has been named by Maryland Super Lawyers magazine as one of the top up and coming immigration attorneys in Maryland for 2009. The magazine's Rising Stars list features only 2.5% of the outstanding lawyers in the State of Maryland who are under 40 years of age and have practiced law for less than 10 years.


Readers are welcome to share their comments, email: (300-words or fewer preferred). Many letters to the Editor refer to past correspondence, available in our archives.

Dear Editor:
I must take extreme exception to the ideas that are expressed (12/17/08 ID comment). Specifically, I refer to both the "Santa Arrives Late" comment, and the "Moderation and Immigration Reform" article. Both propose that after everything that we have been through in the struggle to achieve a full and complete CIR, that we settle for a piecemeal approach in the name of expediency. This is the wrong idea at precisely the wrong time. We now have the momentum and political will to achieve almost everything that a true CIR would encompass. The ideas expressed above would snatch a considerable defeat from the jaws of victory. Frank Sharry, among others, has suggested that most of CIR is achievable within the first year of Obama's first term. He advocates the possible exception of increasing immigration numbers, but insists on everything else in our last CIR bill, and he is 100% correct. Sen. Martinez, (Dem. NJ), stood his ground and voted against partial CIR last year, because he understood that if we achieved a few of the CIR crumbs, the full coalition for reform would crumble, and CIR would be "back burnered" for years, if at all. Sure, it would be easy to get the crumbs described in these comments, but we should have the backbone to get what this country deserves. This piecemeal approach is the cowards victory. I say that we should get what we really need, because we can, and we should. Do not be mislead. The easy partial approach is easy for a reason. It is insufficient, and it is a trap. We would be foolish to walk into this trap. Let us show resolve and get a full CIR. It can be done. We just have to have the will to make it happen.

Robert Gittelson

An Important disclaimer! The information provided on this page is not legal advice. Transmission of this information is not intended to create, and receipt by you does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Readers must not act upon any information without first seeking advice from a qualified attorney. Copyright 1995- American Immigration LLC, ILW.COM. Send correspondence and articles to Letters and articles may be edited and may be published and otherwise used in any medium. The views expressed in letters and articles do not necessarily represent the views of ILW.COM.

Publisher:  Sam Udani    Legal Editor:  Michele Kim                        ISSN:   1930-062X