May 19, 2007
AAJC on Senate Compromise
Asian American Advocates Deeply Concerned About Provisions in Senate Proposal to Cut Family Immigration Categories: “AAJC Urges Senators to Defend Family Immigration”
(May 17) Washington, D.C. – Today, the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC) expressed concern about a compromise proposal offered by Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) that does not fully address the need for workable comprehensive immigration reform. Under this plan, there is a legalization program with a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. However, the adult children and sibling categories of the family-based immigration system would be effectively eliminated and replaced with an untested merit-based system, there is no path to permanency for temporary workers and non-citizens will receive inadequate due process protections.
“The close door negotiations produced a flawed bill that will end America’s historic commitment to the full reunification of families,” said Karen K. Narasaki, president and executive director of AAJC. “The proposed system is inconsistent with deeply held American values and these elements of the agreement must be addressed in order to win the support of the Asian American community.”
Stewart Kwoh, executive director of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, added, “This bill does not respect family values. It unfairly invalidates family-based visa applications submitted after May 2005 and eliminates the ability of U.S. citizens to sponsor their adult children and siblings. We believe these provisions, if enacted into law, will result in an increase in undocumented immigration, because families will not stop trying to be together.”
The proposal would not eliminate the ability of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents to sponsor their spouses and minor children. However, it does set an arbitrary and unrealistic cap on the number of visas available for U.S. citizens to bring in their parents. An estimated 90,000 visas per year will be cut to 40,000.
“This proposal compromises the ability of millions of American citizens to reunite with their adult children and siblings, and will undermine the most important ingredient in creating healthy communities,” said Gen Fujioka, program director for the Asian Law Caucus in San Francisco. “Families are the source of our social, cultural, and economic vitality. The Senate proposal makes it more difficult for talented and hardworking immigration to put down roots in the United States.”
“The proposal further undermines the due process rights of non-citizens.” said Tuyet Le, executive director of the Asian American Institute. “In addition, the proposed new temporary worker program may actually increase undocumented immigration by denying these individuals a path to citizenship and a legal way to join the communities they come here to build.”
The proposal would not allow immigrants waiting in the legalization process to bring in family members who are not already here. The 12 million undocumented would have to go through a 13 to 15 year process to become legal permanent residents before being able to permanently bring in even their spouse or minor child.
“Although the proposal includes a legalization program that provides a path to citizenship, AAJC has strong reservations regarding the workability of what these immigrants will be required to do,” said George C. Wu, AAJC’s National Asian Pacific American Bar Association Partners Community Law Fellow.
“With the process moving forward, we are committed to working with Senators who respect this nation’s tradition of family reunification and who want workable and fair solutions to this nation’s immigration problems,” continued Narasaki. “We will continue to work to improve this bill, but if the needs of current and future American families are not met, we will have to oppose it.”
President Bush Praises Senators Who Put Together Compromise Immigration Reform Bill
In his Saturday radio address from Crawford, Texas, President Bush praised senators of both parties for delivering a potential deal to overhaul U.S. immigration policy. As the N.Y. Times (here) put it, "[t]he president used his radio address to tout the deal and build momentum for it, without expressly lobbying lawmakers to vote for it."
May 18, 2007
The Challenge Facing President Bush
In a special to the Washington Post, Dan Froomkin (here) has a thoughtful analysis of the political challenges of the immigration reform bill, which is being attacked from the left and the right.
The latest on the status of the bill can be found here.
Immigration Reform DOA?
There is lots of mixed news about suport for the immigration reform bill unveiled by the Senate today. Immigration law expert Peter Spiro on Opinio Juris (here) offers his "hunch" that immigration reform is dead. In his view, "[i]t looks too much like the 1986 deal, coupling an amnesty with enhanced enforcement, the latter of which of course utterly failed." Any thoughts? Let's hear from you all.
KEY PLAYER IN IMMIGRATION NEGOTIATIONS VOICES HIS OBJECTIONS TO DEAL Sen. Menendez says he can not sign onto agreement announced today
U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), a key negotiator in closed door Senate meetings on immigration reform, today voiced his objections to the agreement announced. Menendez said he could not support the limitations in the family reunification program, the temporary nature of the worker program, and the unrealistically high fees that undocumented immigrants would have to pay. "There are certain issues where too much bend would create an impractical and ineffective immigration system," said Menendez. "Unfortunately, that is what I believe will occur under the agreement announced earlier this afternoon. "I for one cannot settle for something that isn't responsible, or something that creates a bigger problem than already exists. It doesn't have to be perfect, but it does have to be fair, humane, and practical."
Controversy over Immigration Reform
There is much percolating about the Senate's compromise immigration reform proposal. Although I have not yet seen it, news stories report that the bill is nearly 400 pages. The L.A. Times reports (here) that the compromise immigration plan is "the best prospect for congressional action on the explosive issue this year — perhaps for several years to come" but is suffering "attacks from both left and right" that could end in a "stalemate" over immigration refom.
"This is far from over," Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Simi Valley) said, criticizing as "amnesty, amnesty and amnesty" the provision that provides illegal immigrant workers with a path to legal standing and citizenship.
Among Democrats, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada expressed "serious concerns about some aspects of this proposal, including the structure of the temporary worker program and undue limitations on family immigration." Reid's statement was referring to parts of the measure that would set out conditions for temporarily letting foreign workers enter the United States, and to changes in the provisions that permit legal immigrants to bring family members into the country.
P.S. Careen Shannon of Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy reports that there's no actual bill text available yet, but the Judiciary Committee has produced a section-by-section summary. Download briefsectionbysection_51707.doc There could be some changes in the final text.
P.S.S. Here is an unverified version of the bill posted on the Immprof listserve. Download immigration_consolidated_05.17.2007 FINAL.doc
Immigrant of the Day
Madeleine Korbel Albright (born Marie Jana Korbelová, IPA on May 15, 1937) was the first woman to become United States Secretary of State. She was nominated by President Bill Clinton on December 5, 1996 and was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate.
Albright was born Marie Jana Korbelová in Prague, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic), and raised in the Roman Catholic Church by her parents, who had converted to Catholicism from Judaism in order to escape persecution. In 1939 the Korbel family fled to London after Bohemia and Moravia were annexed by Germany. That may have saved her life, as many of her Jewish relatives in Czechoslovakia were killed in the Holocaust, including three of her grandparents. She and her parents fled again when the Communists assumed power over Czechoslovakia, moving to the United States of America in 1948. Once settled there, Josef became the founding dean of the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver. Korbel later taught future Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Intlawgrrls (here) noted Albright's birthday on May 15.
A Book on Migration and Identity
In Migrations and Other Stories (Arte Publico 2007), Lisa Hernández in an award-winning debut collection of short stories explores issues of identity. Past and present are interwoven in this award-winning collection of 11 stories dealing with migration across geographical and cultural boundaries. Set in California and Mexico, the characters in these stories struggle with all that life throws their way, including abusive boyfriends, separation from loved ones, and unfaithful spouses, all in an uneasy search for a balance between a Mexican past and a Mexican-American future. With vivid brushstrokes, Hernández paints a collage of Latinas who work vigorously to overcome drastic situations. Themes of survival, identity, and cultural conflict are woven through the stories in this intriguing and entertaining collection, the winner of the University of California-Irvine’s Chicano / Latino Literary Prize.
The author, LISA HERNÁNDEZ, is a native of Pasadena, California, where she lives with her husband and daughter. She teaches English at Los Angeles Community College and coordinates literacy programs for the Los Angeles Unified School District. Migrations and Other Stories is her first published book.
For reviews and ordering information, click here.
DREAM Act Congressional Hearing May 18
At 9:00 a.m. EST. a congressional hearing on "The Future Undocumented Immigrant Students" will be broadcast live on CSPAN3 TV and online at http://www.c-span.org/watch/index.asp?Cat=TV&Code=CS. You can also read the testimonies of the witnesses for tomorrow's hearing at http://judiciary.house.gov/oversight.aspx?ID=3212141 The hearing is before the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law.
DHS on Immigration Reform
The Department of Homeland Security released the following press release on the immigration reform compromise hammered out in the Senate. The Bush administration is on board:
Today, Administration Officials and A Bipartisan Group of Senators Reached Agreement on Comprehensive Immigration Reform Legislation. The proposal includes:
· Putting Border Security And Enforcement First: Border security and worksite-enforcement benchmarks must be met before other elements of the proposal are implemented.
· Providing Tools For Employers To Verify The Eligibility Of The Workers They Hire: Employers will be required to verify the work eligibility of all employees using an employment eligibility verification system, while all workers will be required to present stronger and more verifiable identification documents. Tough new anti-fraud measures will be implemented and stiff penalties imposed on employers who break the law.
· Creating A Temporary Worker Program: To relieve pressure on the border and provide a lawful way to meet the needs of our economy, the proposal creates a temporary worker program to fill jobs Americans are not doing. To ensure this program is truly "temporary," workers will be limited to three two-year terms, with at least a year spent outside the United States between each term. Temporary workers will be allowed to bring immediate family members only if they have the financial ability to support them and they are covered by health insurance.
· No Amnesty For Illegal Immigrants: Illegal immigrants who come out of the shadows will be given probationary status. Once the border security and enforcement benchmarks are met, they must pass a background check, remain employed, maintain a clean criminal record, pay a $1,000 fine, and receive a counterfeit-proof biometric card to apply for a work visa or "Z visa." Some years later, these Z visa holders will be eligible to apply for a green card, but only after paying an additional $4,000 fine; completing accelerated English requirements; getting in line while the current backlog clears; returning to their home country to file their green card application; and demonstrating merit under the merit-based system.
· Strengthening The Assimilation Of New Immigrants: The proposal declares that English is the language of the United States and calls on the United States Government to preserve and enhance it, as well as enacting accelerated English requirements for many immigrants. In addition, the DHS Office of Citizenship will be expanded to include coordinating assimilation efforts in its mission, and the Education Secretary will make an English instruction program freely available over the Internet.
· Establishing A Merit System For Future Immigration: The proposal establishes a new merit-based system to select future immigrants based on the skills and attributes they will bring to the United States. Under the merit-based system, future immigrants applying for permanent residency in the U.S. will be assigned points for skills, education, and other attributes that further our national interest including: ability to speak English; level of schooling, including added points for training in science, math, and technology; job offer in a specialty or high-demand field; employer endorsement; and family ties to the U.S.
· Ending Chain Migration: The immigration system would be reformed to better balance the importance of family connections with the economic needs of our country by replacing the current system, where nearly two-thirds of green cards are awarded to relatives of U.S. citizens, with a system in which future family immigration will focus on the nuclear family and parents.
· Clearing The Family Backlog In Eight Years: Millions of family members of U.S. citizens now wait years in line for a green card, with some waits estimated at as long as 30 years. Family members who have applied legally and have lawfully waited their turn in line will receive their green card within eight years. Putting Border Security and Enforcement First Border Security And Worksite Enforcement Benchmarks Must Be Met Before A Temporary Worker Program Is Implemented. These benchmarks include: · Miles of fence constructed. · Number of Border Patrol Agents hired. · "Catch and Return" continues at the border. · Employment Eligibility Verification System ready to process all new hires. The Proposal Establishes New Penalties For Border Crimes And Gives The Border Patrol Additional Tools To Stop Illegal Border Crossings. Through the deployment of additional Border Patrol agents with supporting equipment, the construction of additional fencing and vehicle barriers in targeted areas, and the development of a proper mix of sensors, radar, and cameras, the proposal establishes a true commitment to securing our borders.
Providing Tools for Employers to Verify the Eligibility of the Workers They Hire Employers Will Be Required To Verify The Work Eligibility Of All Employees, While All Workers Will Be Required To Present Stronger And More Verifiable Identification Documents. Tough new anti-fraud measures will be implemented and stiff penalties imposed on employers who break the law.
· The Employment Eligibility Verification System will allow for real-time verification of employee photos and documents.
· The Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration will be able to share "no-match" information to ensure that illegal immigrants cannot use the Social Security information of Americans to pose as legal workers.
· Employer audits will serve as an additional check on employer compliance with the system. Creating a Temporary Worker Program To Relieve Pressure On The Border And Provide A Lawful Channel To Meet The Needs Of Our Economy, The Proposal Creates A Temporary Worker Program. The program allows workers to enter the country to fill jobs that Americans are not doing. The temporary worker program: · Protects American workers by requiring U.S. employers to advertise the job in the United States at a competitive wage before hiring a temporary worker.
· Provides additional labor protections for temporary worker program participants.
· Allows temporary workers to enter the United States to work for three two-year terms, with at least a year spent outside the United States between each term.
· Sets a cap of 400,000 on the temporary worker program, which can be adjusted up or down in the future depending on demand.
· Requires temporary workers who want to bring their immediate family to show that they have the financial means to support them and that they are covered by health insurance.
· Recognizes the unique needs of agriculture by establishing a separate seasonal agriculture component under the temporary worker program. No Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants Illegal Immigrants Who Come Out Of The Shadows Will Be Given Probationary Status. To maintain their probationary status, they must pass a background check, remain employed, and maintain a clean criminal record. Illegal Immigrants Who Fulfill Their Probationary Requirements Can Apply For A Z Card, Which Will Enable Them To Live, Work, And Travel Freely. Z card holders will be required to pay a $1,000 fine, meet accelerated English and civics requirements, remain employed, and renew their visa every four years. Z Card Holders Will Have An Opportunity To Apply For A Green Card, But Only After: · Paying an additional $4,000 fine, · Applying at the back of the line and waiting until the current backlog is cleared, · Returning to their home country to file their green card application, and · Demonstrating merit under the merit-based system. Strengthening the Assimilation Of New Immigrants The Proposal Declares That English Is The Language Of The United States And Calls On The United States Government To Preserve And Enhance It, As Well As Enacting Accelerated English Requirements For Some Immigrants. The success of our country depends upon helping newcomers assimilate into our society and embrace our common identity as Americans – our shared ideals, an appreciation of our history, and an ability to speak and write the English language. Therefore, the Secretary of Education is directed to make an English instruction program freely available over the Internet. The DHS Office of Citizenship is expanded to include coordinating assimilation efforts in its mission, and additional funding is authorized for the Office. Establishing a Merit System for Future Immigration The Proposal Establishes A New Merit-Based System To Select Future Immigrants Based On The Skills And Attributes They Will Bring To The United States. A merit system is used by many other countries. Ø Under The Merit System, Future Immigrants Applying For Permanent Residency In The United States Will Be Assigned Points For Skills, Education, Employment Background And Other Attributes That Further Our National Interest. These skills include: · Ability to speak English. · Level of schooling, including added points for training in science, math, and technology. · Job offer in a high-demand field. · Work experience in the United States. · Employer endorsement. · Family ties to the United States. Ending Chain Migration In Place Of The Current System Where Nearly Two-Thirds Of Green Cards Are Awarded To Relatives Of U.S. Citizens, Our Immigration System Will Be Reformed To Better Balance The Importance Of Family Connections With The Economic Needs Of Our Country. · Visas for parents of U.S. citizens are capped, while green cards for the siblings and adult children of U.S. citizens and green card holders are eliminated. · A new Parents Visitor visa is created to ensure that parents are allowed to visit their children in the United States regularly and for extended periods of time. · The Diversity Lottery Program, which grants 50,000 green cards per year through random chance, is ended. · These rebalanced green cards are used to clear the Family Backlog in eight years and then applied to the new Merit System for future immigration once the backlog is cleared. Clearing the Family Backlog within Eight Years Family Members Who Have Applied Legally, And Lawfully Waited Their Turn In Line, Will Receive Their Green Card Within The Next Eight Years. Today, millions of family members of U.S. citizens wait years in line for a green card, with some waits estimated at as long as 30 years.
May 17, 2007
SEIU statement on immigration
The Service Employees International Union has issued a statement in response to the Senate's proposed immigration bill. A link to the statement is here. In brief, the SEIU acknowledges progress on the immigration issue, but is critical of the proposals for a guestworker program, the touchback provisions, and the replacement of family sponsored immigrant visas with a point system.
In "Mexifornia, Five Years Later" (here), Victor Davis Hanson, an emeritus classics professor from fresno State, reprises the fears that he raised in his book Mexifornia (2003), which called for dramatically reduced immigration because Mexican immigration was transforming California into, to use his word, Mexifornia. For those who can stomach Hanson's "the sky is falling" approach, check it outs.
Deportation and Drugs
A few days back, IntLawgrrls (here) has a troubling blog story about the drugging of immigrants by the Department of Homeland Security. Sedation was used to make deportation go more smoothly.
I am just a simple country law professor but what is this world coming to?
Law Library Of Congress Global Legal Monitor: Immigration And Nationality Law
Rubens Medina of the Law Library Of Congress (here) tracks recent immigration-related legal developments around the world. It is interesting to see what is going on around the world -- and how it compares with the U.S. -- when it comes to immigration.
Breaking News on Immigration Reform!
The Associated Press (here) reports that Key senators and the White House reached agreement Thursday on an immigration overhaul that would grant quick legal status to millions of illegal immigrants already in the U.S. and fortify the border. The plan would create a temporary worker program to bring new arrivals to the U.S. A separate program would cover agricultural workers. New high-tech enforcement measures also would be instituted to verify that workers are here legally. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., said he expects Bush to endorse the agreement. The accord sets the stage for what promises to be a bruising battle next week in the Senate on one of Bush's top non-war priorities. The key breakthrough came when negotiators struck a bargain on a so-called ``point system'' that would for the first time prioritize immigrants' education and skill level over family connections in deciding how to award green cards. Rumor has it that key civil rights groups soon will oppose the compromise because of the "key breakthrough." Stay tuned!
Senate Compromised Reached with White House
Julie Davis of the Associated Press is now reporting that a compromise has been reached today (including legalization, guest workers, and cut back in family immigration):
Key senators in both parties announced agreement with the White House Thursday on an immigration overhaul that would grant quick legal status to millions of illegal immigrants already in the U.S. and fortify the border. Click here for full story.
Senate Close to a Compromise?
As we have been reporting, the Senate is working hard at reaching a deal on immigration reform. Jonathan Weisman of the Washington Post reports that a compromise is near:
Senate negotiators reached a tentative agreement yesterday on a broad overhaul of the nation's immigration laws that would offer virtually all of the nation's 12 million undocumented workers a route to legal status while shifting migration preferences away from the extended families of citizens toward more skilled and educated workers.
Under the tentative deal, undocumented workers who crossed into the country before Jan. 1 would be offered a temporary-residency permit while they await a new "Z Visa" that would allow them to live and work lawfully here. The head of an illegal-immigrant household would have eight years to return to his or her home country to apply for permanent legal residence for members of the household, but each Z Visa itself would be renewable indefinitely, as long as the holder passes a criminal background check, remains fully employed and pays a $5,000 fine, plus a paperwork-processing fee.
The U.S.-Mexico border is at the forefront of a growing debate over U.S. immigration and border security reform.
A separate, temporary-worker program would be established for 400,000 migrants a year. Each temporary work visa would be good for two years and could be renewed up to three times, as long as the worker leaves the country for a year between renewals.
To satisfy Republicans, those provisions would come in force only after the federal government implements tough new border controls and a crackdown on employers that hire illegal immigrants. Republicans are demanding 18,000 new Border Patrol agents, 370 miles of additional border fencing and an effective, electronic employee-verification system for the workplace. Click here for the rest of the story.
Latina/os as Foreigners Chapter 101
CNN's Allan Chernoff (here) reports on how some offensive parodies of Latinos, including stereotyping them as undocumented immigrants, have ignited controversy on campus (including the University of Deleware and Santa Clara University).
Immigrant of the Day: John Kenneth Galbraith
John Kenneth Galbraith (October 15, 1908–April 29, 2006) was an influential Canadian-American economist. He was a Keynesian and an institutionalist, a leading proponent of 20th-century American liberalism and progressivism. Galbraith was a prolific author who produced four dozen books and over a thousand articles on various subjects. Among his most famous works was a popular trilogy on economics, American Capitalism (1952), The Affluent Society (1958), and The New Industrial State (1967). He taught at Harvard University for many years. Galbraith was active in politics, serving in the administrations of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson; and among other roles served as U.S. ambassador to India under Kennedy. He was one of a few two-time recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He received one from President Truman in 1946 and another from President Bill Clinton in 2000.. He was also awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India's second highest civilian award, for his contributions to strengthening ties between India and the United States.. Galbraith was born to Canadians of Scottish descent, in Iona Station, Ontario, Canada and was raised in Dutton, Ontario. After initially studying agriculture, Galbraith graduated from the Ontario Agricultural College (then affiliated with the University of Toronto, and now the University of Guelph) with a B.Sc degree in 1931, and then received an M.Sc (1933) and Ph.D in Agricultural Economics (1934) from the University of California, Berkeley. In 1934, he also became a tutor at Harvard University. In 1937, he became a United States citizen (at a time when neither the US nor Canada contemplated dual citizenship), but he was honoured by his native country to his life's end and frequently adverted to his Canadian origins. Galbraith taught intermittently at Harvard in the period 1934 to 1939 From 1939 to 1940, he taught at Princeton University. From 1943 until 1948, he served as editor of Fortune magazine. In 1949, he was appointed professor of economics at Harvard.
Canada to Deny Work Permits to Foreign Strippers?
There is a rather odd story coming out of Canada. CNN (here) reports that the Canadian government will start denying work permits to foreign strippers to prevent them from being abused and to clamp down on human trafficking, Immigration Minister Diane Finley said on Wednesday. Laws will be changed to allow immigration officers to deny work permits to foreign strippers if authorities believe there is a strong possibility they could be subjected to humiliating and degrading treatment, including sexual exploitation. "This will prevent situations where temporary workers in Canada, including strippers, may be abused, exploited or possibly become victims of human trafficking," Finley said in a statement. In December 2004, the then-Liberal government scrapped a program that handed out temporary work permits to foreign-born exotic dancers.