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  1. Will America - and Russia - close their doors to non-European skilled immigrants, in keepting with the White Nationalist agenda? Part 1. Roger Algase

    Russia and the US are two of the largest, if not the two largest, magnets for immigrants in the world today, and they share a number of common issues in their approaches to immigration policy. Both countries are facing questions as to whether their native-born populations are growing fast enough to sustain economic growth, and both are also dealing with a major illegal immigration problem.

    As a result, in both countries there have been proposals which could result in mass incarceration or deportation of unauthorized immigrants, as discussed in my December 14 Immigration Daily post.

    At the same time, both countries have been making efforts to attract needed skilled and professional immigrants, not only from Europe, which was the once the major source of immigrants for both countries, but from more diverse parts of the world.

    In the US, as is well known, there are presently a number of visa programs aimed at attracting highly educated skilled. professional and entrepreneurial workers, such as H-1B, L-1, E-1, E-2 and O-1 temporary employment visas, and Labor Certification, Extraordinary Ability,International Transferee and National Interest Waiver green cards (not to leave out EB-5, of course)!

    For the past half century, ever since the 1965 immigration reform law replaced the "Nordics" only "national origin" immigration quotas of the 1924 Johnson-Reed Immigration Act, immigration to the US has been, at least in theory, open to immigrants from all over the world, without discrimination as to race, color or religion.

    There can be no doubt that this landmark law, arguably the most important single immigration statute in America's entire history, has made a major change in the face - and demographics of the US over the past fifty years. For one of the best and most comprehensive available discussions of the background of this transformative law, see:

    Migration Information Source:

    The Geopolitical Origins of the U.S. Immigration Act of 1965.

    http://migrationpolicy.org/article/g...ation-act-1965

    While Russia has become a magnet for large scale immigration much more recently than the US, beginning in the 1990's after the fall of the Soviet Union, that country is also in the midst of making attempts to widen its appeal to skilled and professional immigrants from outside Europe, especially from the former Soviet republics of Central Asia.

    The most comprehensive study of the measures that Russia, under President Vladimir Putin, has been taking to open up its immigration system to skilled and professional workers from outside Europe, is available from an independent, Paris and Brussels-based research organization known as ifri- Russia/NIS Center ("ifri").

    In January, 2016, ifri published a report by a Russian scholar, Lyubov Bisson (see her biography in the introduction to the report) entitled:

    Russia's Immigration Policy: New Challenges and Tools

    This report should be required reading for anyone interested in topic of immigration in Russia today. Unfortunately, I do not have a direct link. However, this article can easily be found on Google by typing in the above title.

    The following are some highlights of the report as they relate to skilled and professional immigration policy in Russia today.

    Bisson writes about the new Russian "Blue Card's" effect in increasing the number of skilled workers in the country as follows:

    "The trend in the number of highly qualified workers attracted to work in Russia shows progressive improvement: in 2013, more than 20,000 work permits were granted to them, twice as many as in the previous year. If combined with permits for qualified specialists, the number is even higher. The term 'qualified'specialist' covers workers in more than sixty different professions: artists, directors and people employed in theater, cinema annd television: various types of engineers, including those in aviation, programmers, [newspaper] correspondents, as well as company directors. The list is updated annually by the Ministry of Labour. 55,484 work permits were handed out to highly qualified and qualified foreign specialists in 2012..."

    The parallels with the H-1B definition of "specialty occupation" as well with other US visa categories such as O-1, L-1, E and I visas are clear.

    But not every observer of Russian immigration policy is happy about the influx of skilled foreign workers, any more than every person or group seeking to influence America's immigration system is happy with this country's openness (such as it is) to skilled foreign workers from every part of the world.

    And at least in some quarters with respect to both countries, the reason for this opposition is not due to any lack of qualifications on the part of the skilled foreign workers involved, but because of their ethnicity or non-European national origins.

    To be continued in Part 2.

    In the meantime, in the Christmas - and the American - spirit of good will to all people, regardless of race, color or religion, I wish all readers a very Happy Holiday.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    algaselex@gmail.com

    Updated 12-23-2016 at 07:29 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  2. Court order stops New York City from destroying ID records of almost 1m immigrants, increasing deportation (and police atate) fears. Roger Algase

    In a move that could make it easier for the incoming federal administration to deport almost a million unauthorized immigrants who have New York City issued ID's, a New York judge has ordered the City to stop the planned destruction of their information records pending a hearing.

    The New York Times reports on December 21 that in response to a lawsuit brought by two Republican members of the State Assembly from Staten Island, State Supreme Court Judge Philip G. Minardo has ordered the destruction of these records, which was planned for December 31, to be postponed pending a hearing on whether such destruction should be prohibited.

    http://nytimes.com/2016/12/21/nyregi...les.html?rref=

    The NY Times story explains that the ID's were issued over the past two years under a program called IDNYC, which has been popular with unauthorized immigrants who need government-issued ID's but who are unable to obtain drivers' licenses or social security cards.

    As the article also points out, retaining personal information relating to the applicants, who are not asked about their immigration status when they apply for the ID, could damage the credibility of New York City agencies and law enforcement with immigrant communities, whose members rely on the confidentiality of the personal information which is provided by the applicants for the ID's.

    The two plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Castorina v. De Blasio, Ronald Castorina Jr. and Nicole Malliotakis, contend that the lawsuit is "not about immigration", though it is hard to see how maintaining information that could directly lead to the deportation of up to a million people could be unrelated to immigration.

    However, Mr. Castorina and Ms. Malliotakis, who have also filed a freedom of information request, that was denied by New York City, to obtain the records of all IDNYC cardholders, (which could obviously lead to large scale intimidation and fear in New York's immigrant communities) claimed that the records should be made public in order to prevent "fraud or money laundering" (!).

    However, just as is the case with the attempts of Republican legislators in a number of states, with the help of Trump adviser Kris Kobach, to pass laws disenfranchising minority voters under the pretext of preventing virtually non-existent "voter fraud", the plaintiffs in the above lawsuit did not cite any actual instance of alleged fraud or money laundering under the above program - many of whose users live in homeless shelters and are unlikely to have very much money to "launder".

    The attempt to preserve these confidential personal records for possible use as a weapon of harassment and fear, if not actual deportation, against almost a million immigrants in New York City, also gives rise to a larger issue - one which affects not only immigrants but also American citizens as well:

    How much personal, private or confidential information relating to the lifestyles, political opinions and religious beliefs of ordinary Americans will governmental authorities at all levels have available to use in order to browbeat, intimidate, or terrify them into following the orders and dictates of a new administration led by an incoming president who, during and after his campaign, did not become known for tolerating opinions or expression of views different from his own; and who still has left open the possibility that he may seek to register US citizens who belong to a religion he opposes and, that he may ban immigrants who belong to that religion from coming to the United States? See:

    http://www.nationofchange.org/2016/1...tanding-behind

    Who else may be required to register in or be banned from entering the United States for holding views or adhering to beliefs that the new administration doesn't like?

    In this connection, one can note reports that the Trump administration may be planning to purge federal employees who support environmental causes.

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/donald...climate-232424

    Could there one day soon be a similar purge of federal employees who were involved with pro-immigrant programs (such as, perhaps, DACA), or who may have unpopular religious views or affiliations?

    In this connection, see President Richard Nixon's attempt to find out which Jews were working for the federal government's Bureau of Labor Statistics (which now publishes the Occupational Outlook Handbook - OOH -that is so important in connection with H-1B petitions):

    http://www.govexec.com/federal-news/...t-nixon/91001/

    Could the Castorina v. De Blasio lawsuit, while ostensibly being aimed mainly at immigrants, be the gateway to a police state controlling the lives, and thoughts, of the American people as well?

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 12-22-2016 at 12:38 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  3. Will America and Russia continue to accept skilled immigrants from diverse parts of the world despite nationalist opposition? Part 1. Roger Algase

    Update: December 23. The following comment has been rewritten and now appears, in revised form and under a different title, in the December 23 issue of Immigration Daily.

    I refer readers to that issue in order to see the latest version.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law


    The US and Russia are the world's two largest nations terms of immigration flows and both have programs in place to attract skilled and professional workers who can benefit the economy and society. The US, of course has skilled and professional worker programs such as H-1B, O-1 and L-1 "nonimmigrant" visas, as well as green cards based on labor certification, extraordinary ability, and national interest waivers - to name only some of the avenues to permanent residence available.

    While H-1B and the permanent residence programs mentioned above are all subject to annual limits, including (except for H-1B) per country quotas which have been the subject of much discussion and debate as to their fairness and utility, it has been a fundamental principle of America's immigration system for the past half century, ever since the landmark immigration reform law of 1965, that skilled and professional immigration should be based primarily on merit and need, without discrimination against any group of immigrants based race, color, religion or national origin.

    It is also so well-known and obvious that extensive discussion is not necessary, that prior to 1965, all immigration to the US (other than from the Western Hemisphere), was subject to a "national origins" quota system which heavily favored immigrants from the "Nordic" countries of western Europe, and virtually barred entry from Southern and Eastern Europe (few if any Jews, Italians or Poles need apply, please), the Middle East and Africa - immigration from Asia already having been barred by other racially discriminatory statutes or treaties.

    Though there was a dispute at the time of adoption about whether the 1965 immigration reform law was intended to have this result or not, there can be no question that since its enactment, immigration to the US, including immigration by skilled and professional workers, has been open to qualified immigrants from all parts of the world.

    For one of many excellent available summaries of the background and effect of what might arguably be the single most important statute in America's entire immigration history, see the following 2015 article by the Migration Policy Institute:

    http://migrationpolicy.org/article/g...ation-act-1965

    Russia also, especially since 2012, has made a special effort, which has received far less attention than it deserves among US immigration specialists, given that country's size and influence in world affairs, to attract skilled and professional immigrants.

    One of the most recent and comprehensive studies, if not the single most comprehensive and scholarly study of this issue available on the Internet at present, of Russia's current policies in attracting skilled and professional immigrants is a January 2016 article entitled Russia's Immigration Policy: New Challenges and Tools, by Lyubov Bisson.

    Ms. Bisson's biography at the beginning of the article shows that she is a research fellow at the Department of European Integration Studies, Institute of Europe, at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow.

    I will begin with an outline of these programs, as described in the above article, which is published (in English translation from the Russian) by the Ifri Russia NIS Center, an independent, non-governmental, non-profit research center based in Paris and Brussels.

    See: ISBN: 978-2-36567-514-7

    (Sorry, I do not have a direct link available. This article can easily be accessed through Google.)

    To be continued.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

    Updated 12-23-2016 at 07:28 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  4. Will President Trump follow President Putin's lead in welcoming more legal immigrants who can benefit the economy and society? Roger Algase

    In view of the anticipated warming in relations between the US and Russia after America's new president takes office on January 20, 2017, it would be instructive to examine whether the new US administration might look to Russia for some cues or ideas on immigration policy.

    This is of interest particularly in the light of a lengthy and comprehensive proposal, discussed in detail below, which Russian President Vladimir Putin issued three and a half years ago, on June 13, 2013 concerning measures needed to attract more legal immigrants to Russia in order to benefit that country's economy and society.

    According to the Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI - see my Immigration Daily post for December 14), Russian experts believe that:

    "...a full scale rejection of migrants could lead to an economic collapse."

    http://rapsinews.com/legislation_pub...268590432.html

    Moreover, it would be logical to expect America's incoming president to look to President Putin for suggestions about immigration policy in view of the growing post election friendship between the Russia and the US, based on mutual admiration and support between these two presidents:

    http://www.npr.org/2016/12/16/505890...n-the-election

    There are many indications that both countries' presidents have similar views on a number of important policy issues that are related to immigration in a larger sense, such as the roles of presidential power and democratic institutions:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/09/us...utin.html?_r=0

    and

    http://www.newsweek.com/putin-and-tr...asparov-436556

    as well as on economic policy:

    http://www.newsweek.com/2016/09/09/v...mp-493946.html

    the right to free speech:

    http://thefederalist.com/2016/02/29/...-donald-trump/

    and other fundamental human rights according to international law

    http://www.businessinsider.com/syria...-putin-2016-11

    With regard to immigration policy specifically, the US and Russia are also both large, ethnically diverse countries, with substantial immigrant populations and an aging base of native born citizens.

    In addition to their expanding immigrant populations, in large part from Latin America and South and East Asia in the US, and from Central Asia in the case of Russia, there are also widely perceived needs for skilled and entrepreneurial immigrants.

    However, in both countries, there are also influential nativist movements which are seeking to reduce all immigration.

    As will be shown in my next post on the topic of legal immigration policy, while America's incoming president had the enthusiastic support of this nativist movement in his election campaign and has appointed at least two figures associated with this movement, Senator Jeff Ssssions and Breitbart News chief Stephen Bannon, to high positions in his coming administration. Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, has come under criticism from his own "Alt-Right" for being too much of a moderate on immigration.

    In my December 14 Immigration Daily Post, I discussed some possible or actual similarities that might exist between Vladimir Putin's announced policies and those of the incoming US president with regard to immigration enforcement.

    These include proposals such as Putin's plan announced nearly four years ago to build more than 80 illegal immigrant detention centers located near major cities throughout Russia, compared with the plan of America's incoming new chief executive to deport up to 3 million "criminals aliens" (most of whom might turn out to be immigrants who may have have been been charged with, but not actually convicted of, any crime).

    But what about legal immigration? Here, we can find what may be a very significant difference, if not a chasm, between the long standing restrictionist rhetoric of US anti-immigrant organizations such as FAIR, Numbers USA and Center for Immigration Studies which was echoed in our incoming new president's August 31 Phoenix, Arizona immigration address, and the much more welcoming, immigrant friendly proposals that Russia's President Putin announced on June 13, 2013.

    The English version of these proposals, appearing on the official Kremlin website, has the title:

    President of the Russian Federation approved the Concept of the state migration policy for the period up to 2025

    (In Russian: Prezident utverdyil Konseptsyoo gosydarstvennyoi migratsionnoi politiki Rossiiskoi Federatsii na period do 2025 goda)

    http://kremlin.ru/events/president/news/15635


    (If the above link comes up in Russian, click on Google "translate" or go to the following page and click on the link provided there):

    https://www.gfmd.org/pfp/ppd/2487


    Highlights of these proposals are as follows:

    "11. Migration of the Russian Federation Legislation does not fully comply with current and future needs of economic, social and demographic development, the interests of employers and Russian society as a whole. It is focused on attracting temporary foreign workers and does not contain any measures to facilitate the move to a permanent place of residence, adaptation and integration of migrants."
    (Emphasis added.)

    ...

    "13. ...there are no programs to attract a permanent place of residence of migrants in the country with the demand [for immigrants with] professional, educational, economic, demographic, socio-cultural and other characteristics that can successfully adopt and...integrate into Russian society. Difficulties in obtaining a temporary residence permit complicate the process of obtaining citizenship for the majority of law-abiding immigrants." (Emphasis added.)

    "14. The system of temporary migrant workers and determin[ing] the need for foreign labor needs to be improved...The current quota system is not perfect and requires excessive [lengthy] consideration of employer's applications and does not provide [for] the attraction of foreign workers for jobs in accordance with the stated needs of the employer."

    ...

    "17. Important elements of the state migration policy of the Russian Federation [should be] creating conditions for the adaptation and integration of migrants [and] protection of their rights and freedoms...Solving these problems is difficult [because of] undue difficulties in maintaining permanent resident status in the Russian Federation as well as the unresolved legal status of foreign citizens. As a direct result of the lack of state programs of adaptation and integration of migrants is the [sic] isolation from the host society and increase in negative attitudes toward immigrants."
    (Emphasis added.)

    Putin's above proposal is not only aimed at attracting qualified foreign workers, rather than putting unnecessary obstacles and barriers in their way, but also shows concern for fulfilling humanitarian obligations to refugees and displaced persons:

    "18. The need for state assistance in settling [and] housing internally displaced persons, improvement of the procedure for granting refugee status and temporary asylum for humanitarian reasons. In the 1990's...the Russian Federation received...1.5 million people [with the status of refugees or internally displaced people], but still legislatively fixed [sic] social obligations to them are not fully met."

    (The above paragraph does not specify how many, if any, of the millions of refugees or internally displaced persons who are fleeing from the Russian-backed Assad regime in Syria Putin is planning to accept into Russia.)

    Putin's proposal then continues in the above essentially immigrant-friendly vein as follows:

    "19. The experience of countries with an active immigration policy shows that migration processes accelerate socio-economic development and ensure the growth of the population's welfare. To realize the positive potential inherent in migration processes, the entire management system of the Russian Federation should be modernized." ​ (Emphasis added.)

    Certainly, the United States has to be counted among the counties with "an active immigration policy" that President Putin was referring to when he issued the above proposal almost four years ago.

    Nor is there any reason to believe that Putin's interest in following developments in the United States in any less now than it was then.

    http://www.politico.com/story/2016/1...nal-law-232787

    However, while Trump may be avidly following President Putin's lead on a variety of other issues, and there are also similar approaches between the two leaders regarding enforcement of the laws against illegal immigration, when it comes to attracting or admitting qualified, law-abiding legal immigrants to the United States, Trump gives every indication of heading on a path leading in the opposite direction from Putin's.

    This was evident from the strongly restrictionist tone of Trump's August 31 immigration manifesto, with its antipathy and suspicion toward all immigrants, as well as the president-elect's appointment of the head of Breitbart News, Stephen Bannon, to be his senior policy adviser.

    Just as some Russian extreme right wingers have attacked President Vladimir Putin for allegedly being too open to immigration from Central Asian countries, Bannon's Breitbart News, especially, has advocated undoing the half century of racial equality in our legal immigration system that America has had since the monumental immigration reform law of 1965 was enacted.

    Both of these developments will be discussed in further detail in my next post on this topic.
    _____________________________
    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 35 years, he has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants from diverse parts of the world obtain work visas and green cards.

    Roger believes that America's economy, society and democracy will benefit from continuing to attract qualified legal immigrants to the US from every part of the world, without discrimination or exclusion based on ethnic background, religion or national origin, and in keeping with our immigration laws and principles during the past half century.

    Roger's email address is algaselex@gmail.com

    Updated 12-19-2016 at 11:05 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  5. Will President Trump Follow The Lead of Vladimir Putin or Hungary's Authoritarian Regime on Immigration Enforcement? Part 1. Roger Algase

    In view of recent news reports indicating that the connection between America's incoming president, Donald Trump, and Russia's dictator, President Vladimir Putin, may be even closer than previously thought, see:

    http://www.thehill.com/homenews/admi...roblem-deepens

    it is instructive to take a overview of Russia's immigration policies as a possible guide to what might be in store for immigrants in America under the Trump administration.

    While this may not necessarily be totally up to date, as it appeared in 2013, an article published by the Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI), which appears to be an authoritative, though evidently independent (judging from some of its criticism of Putin's policies - see below) source of information about legal developments in Russia, provides some useful insights into immigration policies in Vladimir Putin's Russia today.

    The article, dated August 19, 2013, is entitled: Russia's New Migration Policy

    http://rapsinews.com/legislation_pub...268590432.html

    According to RAPSI, there are three main elements to the "massive reforms" in immigration which were announced by Putin leading up to the 2013 elections.

    These are:

    1) Immigration document checks,

    2) A network of holding centers for immigrants awaiting deportation

    and

    3) Employer sanctions for those hiring immigrants illegally.

    RAPSI reports that with regard to the first feature, checking immigrants' legal documents:

    "Migrants in Russia are being subjected to legal checks on a mass scale in Moscow and other regions."

    Of course, America has already led the way in this advanced innovation, with Sheriff Joe Arpaio's raids and roundups of Latino immigrants under Arizona's SB 1070 law, before most of that law was thrown out by the US Supreme Court in 2012 (and Sheriff Joe himself was thrown out by the voters in this year's election).

    But Russia is already planning to so this nationwide. Certainly, Donald Trump would not want to let himself be outdone by Vladimir Putin.

    With regard to the second feature, RAPSI advises:

    "In a total of 81 cities, 83 holding centers for deportable migrants should start operating soon. One such center was already established in Moscow shortly after the police beating incident.

    This would, one could argue, represent a considerable humanitarian advance from the Soviet era, when people whom the government didn't want around in society were sent to a network of gulags in far off Siberia and other remote areas.

    Now, it appears, every major city in Russia will have its own immigrant detention center located close by. Perhaps President Trump, taking a cue from President Putin, might wish to make sure that each American city will have its own immigrant detention camp as well, rather than relying on just a handful of remote locations as is the case now.

    This would certainly be a boon to the private prison industry and would be consistent with Trump's promise to create more American jobs. It would also be a useful antidote to the Sanctuary Cities movement.

    The Trump administration might even want to consider making these immigrant detention camps into tourist attractions, so that people can see for themselves what happens to immigrants who violate our laws - and to Americans who help them - who might well usefully be sent to the camps themselves - after all, don't we have Senator Jeff Sessions as our incoming Attorney General, and is INA Section 274, which makes it a crime to "harbor" or "assist" an unauthorized immigrant, not already on the books and waiting to be enforced?

    Why should Vladimir Putin be allowed to win the prize for locking up the most immigrants (or immigrant-lovers too -see below)? Let's Make America Great Again!

    In a further example of how Russia may be adopting a "Made in America" immigration policy, but on a much larger scale, and in a throwback to measures that were initially proposed in Hazelton PA, and championed by Republican Congressman Lou Barletta (who was reportedly once under consideration by Trump for the Secretary of Labor Poat before Trump finally chose someone with a more immigrant friendly reputation - fast food CEO Andrew Puzder) RAPSI reports:

    "[Putin's] bill requires property owners to report any unregistered person living in the premises. In this case there is no distinction between foreigners and Russian nationals. The bill further permits the authorities to deport Russian nationals that are unregistered in the city they're presently residing in. For instance, if a man from the Dagestani capital of Makhachkala were to live and work in Moscow without proper registration, he could be placed in a deportation center pending being shipped back to Makhachkala, the place where he is properly registered.

    Quite possibly
    Russia might slide back to the notorious 'propiska' system of the Soviet times."

    To be continued in Part 2.
    __________________________
    Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 35 years, Roger has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants from diverse parts of the world obtain work visas and green cards.

    Roger believes that there is an unbreakable connection between protecting immigrants of all backgrounds and nationalities from discrimination and persecution, and preserving freedom and democracy for American citizens. His email address is algaselex@gmail.com


    Updated 12-13-2016 at 02:16 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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