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Immigration Daily December 29, 2008
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CIR And H1Bs

The New Year will begin with Democrats dominating the Hill in numbers last seen several decades ago. Furthermore, with Dixiecrats no longer the power they were in the 1960s and 1970s, the Democratic caucus tilts evermore to the left. We examine below two implications of this new left wing ascendancy on immigration matters in the 111th Congress.

  • CIR Redefined: Comprehensive Immigration Reform as formulated for almost a decade, and as delineated in McCain-Kennedy and Kennedy-Kyl, has three parts: Legalization, Enforcement, Increased legal channels. Lets see what each of these meant and how that meaning will change in the 111th Congress. Legalization includes some way to bring into legal status the vast majority of the undocumented population, frequently in mixed-status families (with undocumented, LPRs and USCs), it also includes DREAM. This part of CIR remains unchanged in the new Congress. Enforcement includes massive border expenditure, massively increased enforcement in the interior especially against errant employers and an employment card (a de facto national ID card). This part of CIR remains largely unchanged, however there will be less emphasis on border security and more emphasis on anti-employer measures. Increased legal channels has two sub parts - increased permanent immigration quotas for both family-based and employment-based (particularly large increases for employment-based) and increased temporary employment-based immigration quotas for both skilled and unskilled workers (massive numbers for the unskilled). This part of CIR will be changed almost beyond recognition. Increases in permanent numbers will likely be postponed for the distant future, those legalized may have to wait for a decade or two before naturalizing. This will have the unintended effect of exacerbating the waiting times for employment-based immigration from India, China, Mexico and Phillipines, with EB3 for India and China becoming essentially extinct until Congress returns to this issue. The biggest change will likely be in temporary employment-based immigration. Gone is the hope for increased H1B numbers, gone also is the idea that CIR will address the single-most dysfunctional part of our immigration system - a lack of legal channels for unskilled workers. The original draft of McCain-Kennedy made provisions for 400,000 temporary unskilled visas per year, the Senate cut it in half before passing McCain-Kennedy to the House which refused to even discuss it. The left-wing 111th Congress is unlikely to make any provisions at all for temporary employment numbers, especially in the midst of a severe economic recession. One exception will be that CIR will still include AgJOBS, which will likely be the only sop to increased legal channels once promised under the CIR banner.
  • Impact on H1Bs: The new Congress is likely to be more unfriendly on H1Bs than any post-IMMACT Congress. This is true for several reasons - firstly, H1Bs have been the single most criticized part of employment immigration in the last decade; secondly, in the middle of a severe economic recession, cutting H1B numbers, or even suspending or eliminating the H1B program, may be a way for Congress to deflect criticism for legalization (by implying that legalizing helps US workers in the unionized sector, and cutting the H1B program helps US workers in the tech and skilled sectors); thirdly, Congress can easily do all the above without in any way endangering those in H1B status currently in the US, since Congressional action would likely be directed against future H1B flows. In fact, Congress might well free the current H1B workers from their employers by legislating unlimited portability at the H1B stage without requiring a new petition to USCIS. This point is particularly important since success for CIR might well hinge on the active assistance of the community which would benefit from such portability. ImmigrationVoice is the only pro-immigration lobby with a record of success in sending faxes/calls to Congress in numbers even remotely approaching the anti-immigration side. In the larger view of all immigration benefits, asking employers in the middle of a severe recession to do without new H1Bs for a couple of years is a small price to pay for legalizing millions of the undocumented. In any event, we believe that those hoping for increased H1B numbers from the 111th Congress will be disappointed.
With Democrats controlling 58% of the membership in the new Senate and 59% in the new House, immigration politics are about to be changed to a great degree. Stay tuned to Immigration Daily for the latest.

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


New 2008-2009 Edition For Immigration Practice By Robert C. Divine

Immigration Practice by Robert C. Divine & R. Blake Chisam is an invaluable supplement to Kurzban's with a different approach. It is also useful to newer practitioners and paralegals in view of its easy to understand and practical style. For more info, see here. To order by fax, see here.


Immigrants Of The Day: Jacqueline Rebecca Louise de Rothschild of France, Anita Pallenberg of Italy, and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala of Germany
Kevin R. Johnson recounts the stories of notable immigrants.

To submit an Article for consideration, write to


Complaint Filed Against Mandatory E-Verify
In Chamber of Commerce v. Chertoff (8:08-cv-03444-AW, D.C., DC, complaint filed 12/23/08), the plaintiffs allege that the mandatory E-Verify regulations promulgated at 73 Fed. Reg. 67,651 violate IIRIRAs express statutory prohibition against requiring "any person or other entity to participate in a pilot program".


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A New Era of Hope for Comprehensive Immigration Reform
An opinion piece in says "The New Year and the new Congress and Administration hold great promise for progress on immigration reform."

Fox Gives Racist, Out of Control Cop His Own TV Show
An opinion piece at says "It's becoming clear that the self-proclaimed "America's Toughest Sheriff" and his over-the-top, media-grabbing immigration-enforcement methods are harmful to the people of Maricopa County and that local anti-immigrant policies are no substitute for comprehensive and substantive immigration reform at the national level."

South Texas rancher given Bush pardon
An article in the Houston Chronicle says "A South Texas rancher got a good-news phone call Tuesday about a presidential pardon that wipes away a felony conviction for hiring undocumented workers to harvest his watermelons 16 years ago."

Polish Community Shocked by Treatment of Polish Citizens at U.S. Border
An article in says "This year ends with an unpleasant intervention by Polands diplomatic staff at the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw."


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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:
If the millions of undocumented immigrants are brought to the mainstream they will have a chance to help the economy in a many ways : -when they become qualified... they can pay taxes.... and back taxes for that matter. Think of how much their taxes and fines will add to the federal coffers.. they should be qualified to hold drivers licences , buy cars, rent homes or buy homes whichever thay can afford.. they will be encouraged to use the banking system... apply for credit cards.. and purchase freely like life insurance... health insurance... the economy will surely benefit from the increased financial transactions of these group.. give them the chance to help.... please forward this ideas to capitol hill...

josephine padama

Dear Editor:
While the ID letters of 12/24/08 self righteously and hypocritically pose as more humane and caring and label restrictionists as "mean Mr. Grinch" and "hate" mongers, the opposite is true as Tom Barry pointed out in his article: "Both Sides Of Immigration Debate Retrench" (12/23/08 - ID). The "restrictionists" concern is for all Americans including recent citizens while entry enthusiasts narrowly, foolishly and selfishly restrict their empathy to non-citizens, regardless of the negative effects of excessive entry. It would appear that the latter are the true restrictionists! Arnold the Governator has said that illegal alien sanctuary CA is on the verge of going broke in as little as two months and begs US for a bailout. AZ and other border states also have severe budget, crime and social problems. Open border and CIR advocates and illegal sympathizers are contributing to the devolution of America. Americans are not blind to the many problems we have here, but much of this can be attributed to forgetting traditional America and its concerns and substituting self-serving positions, the same kind of advocacy that entry enthusiasts promote. As we celebrate Christmas, it is well to remember that Jesus, Joseph and Mary were not illegal aliens and honored the laws rather than broke them.

Jim Roberts

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