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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

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  1. New Blog Location

    by , 04-03-2014 at 12:47 PM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    For new blog posts please see http://blog.ilw.com/gregsiskind.
  2. Chinese Applicants Dominating EB-5 Applicant Pool

    by , 03-30-2014 at 07:42 PM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    CNN Money reports on the popularity of the EB-5 program with Chinese nationals and the possibility that backlogs could soon develop for people from that country. 80% of EB-5 green cards are now going to Chinese nationals. As long as the program doesn't fill up, that's not a problem, but if the overall demand increases and there are more applications than the annual 10,000 allotment, China could start to see the kind of backlogs they face in a number of other employment-based green card categories.
  3. House Democrats Seek Discharge Petition on Immigration Reform Bill

    by , 03-26-2014 at 08:39 AM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi will introduce a discharge petition today to try and force a floor vote on HR 15, the bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill that resembles the Senate immigration bill passed last summer. If a majority of members of the House sign the petition, then the bill would come up for a vote on the House floor. Many believe that the bill would garner majority support if it came up for a vote there.

    But 20 to 25 Republicans would need to sign the discharge petition for it to work and most believe that even Republicans who support immigration reform efforts won't sign the petition. The reason - a discharge petition would be seen as a betrayal of Speaker Boehner.

    So why bother? For one, it serves as a reminder to the public and, in particular, to the country's Latino community, that there is a solution to the country's immigration mess on the table and Republicans are doing nothing on the issue. The Republicans have been repeating since the Senate passed its bill that it would do things the House way and pass piecemeal immigration bills. But there is little evidence anything is happening on the House side. No bills are being introduced and none of the ones that were passed by the Judiciary Committee last year are coming up for floor votes in the House anytime soon (except an extremely anti-immigrant measure to kill the ICE public advocate measure). Republicans are banking on the fact that they have time on the immigration issue and spending 100% of their time for the rest of the year bashing Obamacare is a smart strategy.

    Perhaps. But even if this short term goal helps in the 2014 midterm elections, they are probably dooming the chances of any of their candidates in 2016 as the Latino vote will be one to two million votes stronger and 1 to 2% greater as a portion of the electorate. The longer the Republicans take and the more reluctant they appear to deal with immigration reform, the worse the party's image will be with Latino voters. If Hilary Clinton or whoever is the Democratic nominee simply matches President Obama's 2012 percentage of Latino voters, assuming the rest of the electorate votes in a similar way, she will easily win the election.

    Many still believe Speaker Boehner will bring up immigration reform in the next one to two months now that the GOP primary season is largely over. That would be wise. As I pointed out in my post yesterday, there's no evidence that base GOP voters would stay home in November if he did this and he could begin to repair the damage to the GOP brand. But even if he brings up immigration reform, if the emphasis is all on enforcement and it appears that a legalization program is half-hearted and the GOP tries to reduce family immigration numbers, the party will see little benefit. Voting for immigration reform holding your nose is not the way to win back the hearts of pro-immigrant voters.
  4. TIME Magazine Poll: Immigration Reform Won't Hurt Republicans

    by , 03-25-2014 at 10:54 AM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    From Time:

    A new survey could ease Republican fears that proceeding with immigration reform would alienate GOP voters.

    The poll, conducted by Texas Republican firm Baselice & Associates and paid for by the Michael Bloomberg-sponsored pro-reform group Partnership for a New American Economy, found that there is no measurable drop in voter turnout when comparing the immigration positions of three Texas congressional Republicans. The poll focused on three districts with GOP incumbents: Rep. Sam Johnson, who is supportive of immigration reform, Rep. Lamar Smith, who is against it, and Rep. Kevin Brady, who is on the fence. Support of or opposition to immigration reform didn’t impact voter support at the polls, according to the survey.

    The results cut against Republican concerns that passing immigration reform will keep their base voters away from the polls this fall, and indicates that the economy and the health care reform law are the key issues driving voters.

    This poll is just the latest report warning mainstream GOP members that they should not buy the argument of extremists in the party trying to convince them that their views are widely held even with base GOP supporters. Even those opposing immigration reform in the GOP don't usually make it a litmus test for supporting a candidate. Those that do, according to many polls, amount to only a small number of individuals.
  5. Obama's Options for Dealing with Deportations

    by , 03-20-2014 at 05:12 PM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    As the Administration works to deflect the negative publicity associated with passing two million deportations since 2009 and after finally admitting that the White House DOES have options at it's disposal, many are now speculating what the President might do.

    But even before he acts, he has to weigh what any action might do as far as helping or hurting the prospects for immigration reform legislation passing in the House. Even though it's largely disingenuous, House members are blaming the President as being untrustworthy and therefore passing reform legislation that depends on the President to carry out new enforcement measures will have to wait. Of course, the main reason Republicans are interested in compromising on immigration reform is to repair the damage to their brand with Hispanic voters. So it seems rather odd that they want to continue to make headlines for pursuing policies that are as tough as possible on immigration. The more they push the "untrustworthy" line, the worse their image with Hispanics will get.

    So the President may try and hold off pro-immigration advocacy groups for a few more months to see if the House will act. The best window of opportunity is coming soon - probably April through July. After that, the fall campaigns will make getting major legislation passed more difficult. So the President could wait for a few months to give the Republicans a last chance before announcing big initiatives.

    Whether the President acts soon or waits several months, the next natural question is what his options actually are. There have been two helpful articles in the last few days worth a read. Elise Foley at Huffington Post has written this article. Nora Caplan-Bricker at The New Republic has written another.

    And there's also this leaked USCIS memo from a couple of years ago that lays out the options.

    The Administration has indicated they're not inclined to expand DACA which doesn't make a lot of sense to me. They seem to think there's a legal barrier, but if they've determined DACA is legal for one population, then I don't see why broadening it somewhat is a problem.

    Stay tuned...
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