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    by , 05-06-2008 at 11:21 AM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    The Social Security Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee heard from a variety of witnesses today on the the impact of E-Verify. The testimony is now online.

    by , 05-06-2008 at 09:00 AM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    Some of you may remember in March my comments on the ridiculous claim that Lou Dobbs now makes that he only opposes illegal immigration and is a champion for those who want to come to the US legally. As one who has watched Dobbs' show regularly for years, I knew this was a bunch of malarkey. But how to prove it?

    And then it came to me. The great thing about the Internet (and the terrible thing as well in some cases) is that everything lives forever in cyberspace. I went to and found that the network publishes transcripts for all of its shows and has them all posted for at least the last six years. I did an exhaustive search of all of the transcripts for Dobbs' show and found more than 100 episodes where legal immigration - non-immigrant visas, green cards and asylum topics - were discussed as opposed to the typical bashing of illegal immigration. And guess what, with one possible exception, every show had something nasty to say about a legal immigration category. I inventoried all of the transcripts and put up links to each story so people could take a look for themselves at each report.

    Yesterday I was boarding a plane when I got a call from my assistant telling me that Mr. Dobbs' show had called asking me to be a guest. I had no idea why and while I was planning on declining (I don't think pro-immigration people should be appearing on the show for a variety of reasons), I was curious about why I was being invited. According to the show producer, I was being invited to discuss research on my blog and the show's coverage of immigration. While the chance to get to debate Mr. Dobbs might be fun, I politely declined the invitation. Despite the fact that some folks in the anti camp think I'm just a greedy immigration lawyer and appearing on the Dobbs show would probably be very good for business, I decided to go with my gut instinct.

    Then this morning I learned about why I probably got the call from the Dobbs folks. A colleague congratulated me on being mentioned in yesterday's Wall Street Journal in a letter submitted by Douglas Rivlin:

    It's the Welcome That Has Changed
    May 5, 2008; Page A14

    Pope Benedict's visit to the U.S. scratched a nerve with the deportation-only immigration lobby that is revealing. B.J. Khalifah's letter of April 25
    says that the difference between today's immigrants and the Irish,
    Polish, and Italian immigrants of yesteryear is that the latter came
    legally. The immigrants haven't changed, but the welcome has. Unless
    you were Chinese, black, or had tuberculosis, you were relatively
    assured that you would pass the test at Ellis Island. Now we allow for
    just 5,000 low-skilled workers annually to come on permanent employment
    visas and scratch our heads when people go around our system, not
    through it.

    Fred Medero's letter the same day claims that
    deportation advocates Tom Tancredo and talk-show host Lou Dobbs are
    opposed only to illegal immigration. Research by attorney Greg Siskind
    suggests that of 96 times Lou Dobbs talked about legal immigration on
    his nightly CNN show, dating back to 2001, 92 times he painted legal
    immigration in a negative light. Rep. Tancredo is a proponent of
    eliminating legal immigration altogether, thereby guaranteeing a high
    level of illegal immigration in an expanding economy with a retiring
    baby-boom generation.

    Immigration happens. We are a nation of mutts from all
    over the world and we put together the greatest country on the planet.
    We should have a legal regime to regulate immigration in a 21st-century
    economy. Until we do, Pope Benedict is right that we should respect the
    humanity and dignity of individuals and families who are forced to come
    illegally because legal avenues are practically non-existent or take
    decades to access.

    Douglas G. Rivlin

    Director of Communication

    National Immigration Forum

    WashingtonWell, that was kind of cool (though Mr. Rivlin was being generous - I believe there was only one non-negative story and it was basically a neutral mention of the O-1 visa category). And given that the National Immigration Forum is a really great organization, even better. And it explained why Dobbs' folks wanted to talk. But then the best part happened. Apparently, while I was on the airplane last night, Dobbs' "news" show aired and the host gave one of his famous holier-than-thou rebuttals to the Rivlin letter. Here's the transcript from CNN.comOBBS: The pro-amnesty lobby at it again, telling all-out lies about my
    position on illegal immigration and our border security crisis. The
    latest example of the pro-illegal aliens' movements' lies coming in a
    letter to the "Wall Street Journal" today. Douglas Rivlin, director of
    communication for the National Immigration Forum, says quote, "research
    by attorney Greg Siskind suggests that 96 times Lou Dobbs talked about
    legal immigration on his nightly CNN show, dating back to 2001, 92
    times he painted legal immigration in a negative light."

    Well, Mr. Rivlin, here's a little research you might add to your own.
    The vast majority of Greg Siskind's analysis is based on my justified
    criticism of abuses in the system for temporary work visas,
    specifically H1B visas in nearly every case, not legal immigration. As
    for other cases cited by Mr. Siskind, who, by the way is, as you might
    guess, an immigration lawyer, we highlighted legitimate concerns about
    chain migration, terrorism, fraudulent asylum applications, as well.

    For the record, I am absolutely supportive of legal immigration. In
    fact, I favor even higher levels of legal immigration when it suits
    public policy. Let me repeat -- we are the most welcoming nation in the
    world for immigrants and I've consistently called for an increase in
    legal immigration when warranted.

    And also for the record,
    we should point out that the National Immigration Forum is supported by
    groups such as -- are you ready -- the National Restaurant Association,
    the American Nursery and Landscape Association, and the U.S. Chamber of
    Commerce, all groups that we should point out, that have a vested
    interest in importing as much cheap labor into this country as
    possible, and by the way, the "Wall Street Journal" failed to note
    that. And, of course, that's understandable, too. I would just respond to Mr. Dobbs by turning the question back to him - where out of the years and years of your nightly coverage of immigration is there a single positive story on immigration? Yes, a large number of your stories on legal immigration had to do with H-1B visas, but that's what you chose to cover and the H-1B is the main legal immigration route for skilled workers. And there are numerous other subjects in the coverage as well, all of which are critical. If you really do think legal immigration may be good for the country, surely in your years of nightly coverage of the subject, you could have found a couple of minutes to say something nice. You say you consistently have called for an increase in legal immigration "when warranted." Except you've never actually mentioned when it's warranted. You are against family immigration and have called it "chain migration." You have attacked the employment-based green card system. You've targeted the most common work visas - the H-1B and L-1. You've attacked our asylum system as basically being the immigration strategy of choice for terrorists.

    You've got your nightly bully pulpit, Mr. Dobbs, with several hours each week to say exactly what you think with the depth you need. Yet you've had not a single report praising any aspect of legal immigration. And while you say you support more legal immigration "when appropriate" your coverage indicates that "appropriate" is only when a certain place freezes over.
  3. More FAQ's: Centralization in Atlanta

    by , 05-06-2008 at 04:33 AM (Joel Stewart on PERM Labor Certification)
    The New PERM BOOK II features a special section on FAQ's, with an introduction by Larry Rudnick. Mr. Rudnick deals with a question of law, whether operating instructions such as FAQ's have the force of law. While for many years we were taught that operating instructions do not have the force of law (compare the old TAG in the DOL regulations), changes have been taking place in administrative law principles, and Mr. Rudnick explains that FAQ's may constitute rule-making under certain circumstances. Attached to Mr. Rudnick's article are all the FAQ's to date, including new ones that were just issued.

    According to the latest round, starting on June 1st, only the Atlanta Center will work with PERM, while the Chicago Center will work with H-2A's and H-2B's. For those who are not sure which is which, H-2A's are agricultural temporary workers, including unskilled persons, and H-2B's are general workers in all other industries.

    The first issue under the new FAQ's has to do with the Notice of Filing. Formerly, Notice of Filings had to include the address of either the Chicago or Atlanta Processing Center. Now only the Atlanta Center will be listed on the NOF. During the transition period, either a Chicago or Atlanta address is permissible on the Notice of Filing, however, after June 1st, new Notice of Filings must contain the Atlanta Address. DOL has stated that listing both addresses will not constitute the basis for a denial.

    All PERM cases physically present in Chicago will be transferred to Atlanta on June 1st, and all applications mailed in must be sent to Atlanta starting on June 1st. It obviously behooves practitioners to avoid the mail-in confusion by sending their applications to Atlanta after June 1st, and not filing anything in Chicago for the rest of the month of May. It appears that applications filed in May will only be re-routed to Atlanta, with the possibility of being lost on the way.

    Responses to audits and motions to reconsideration should be filed with Atlanta if the audit or determination was made after April 15th. In addition, the DOL instructions indicate where they should be sent.

    Specialization in Atlanta should result in more even processing. In addition, the Atlanta Certifying Officer has always been burdened by H-2A agricultural worker applications, which constituted approximately 50% of all the H-2A's filed in the US. Now with Chicago bearing the burden to process H-2A's, Atlanta should be able to process PERM applications without seasonal delays associated with agriculture.

    You can view the original FAQ's at this site:

    by , 05-05-2008 at 11:28 AM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    Regular readers of this blog know that I've tried to call attention to the spate of deaths of immigrants in detention facilities around the US. I was very, very pleased to see prominent New York Times reporter Nina Bernstein cover this serious issue and that the Times gave her story a prominent above the fold spot on yesterday's front page. Definitely read the piece.
  5. Full Text of HR 5924

    The full text of HR 5924 has been published. To read a copy of the bill, go here.
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