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  1. Does Immigration Reform Have a Chance in 2014? By Roger Algase


    Does immigration reform have any chance in 2014? One of the best comments I have run across on this question is a November 12 article on TPM DC by Sahil Kapur called GOP Nixes Immigration Reform In 2013 - and Probably 2014 too.

    (Sorry, I do not have a link - I suggest using Google to access this excellent article.)

    Kapur's view is pessimistic, but appears to be closely anchored in reality. He writes:

    "Even if they found the time, voting on immigration in 2014 would be painful for House GOP leaders, revealing profound splits within the party over an extremely emotional issue. There's no indication that Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), who likes party unity and has little control of his conference as it is, has the appetite for this, particularly when there's no consensus among Republicans on how to move forward."

    Kapur continues:

    "House GOP leaders have been slowly dimming the chances of passing immigration reform, cautious to make sure that pro-reformers couldn't pinpoint one moment at
    scious or not, which the GOP scuttled it. The approach, conscious or not, has been to gradually lower expectations so that no single moment guarantees doom for the cause. But taken together, what emerges is a picture of a House Republican conference that sinply doesn't - and never did - have the appetite for broad reforms to help immigrants, especially without papers." (Emphasis added.)

    And what does Kapur see as the root of the problem? Nothing new here, but at the same time, impossible to overlook or wish away:

    "The broad coalitions for immigration reform - business, labor, tech, evangelicals, Hispanics - mean nothing to the Tea Party base, which is dead set against legalizing immigrants living in the US illegally and sees cultural diversification as an existential threat to the country. These voters still call the shots among House Republicans, most of whom are in safe, gerrymandered districts and worry more about right wing primary challengers than general elections."
    (Emphasis added.)

    Has anything changed in the month since this article appeared? True, Boehner has hired Rebecca Tallent, a pro-reform advocate and former McCain immigration staffer. (See my December 4 Immigration Daily Post).

    But Tallent, far from being a reform firebrand, is herself a cautious pragmatist who wrote in the Christian Science Monitor last month that House Republicans still need to be sold on the merits of reform. See Immigration reform: the politics of the possible (November 6)

    www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Common-Ground/2013/1106/Immigration-reform-the-politics-of-the-possible

    No doubt Tallent will use all her talents to accomplish this to the best of her ability. Optimistically, she concludes that there may still be a chance for reform before the 2014 elections.

    But in the light of the above political realities, and her own statement that reform is not a big concern in the districts of many of the House Republicans who will need to be convinced, passing immigration reform next year will be anything but easy.

    Updated 12-12-2013 at 05:18 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  2. Global Mobility Book: AUSTRALIA by Maria Jockel

    [This is an Excerpt from the Global Mobility Book. You can find more about the book and purchase it here.]

    SUMMARY
    As a nation of some 22 million people, Australia's Migration Program is part of "nation building". Only Australian citizens have the right to enter Australia at any time without restriction. All non- citizens must have a temporary or permanent visa to enter and remain in Australia. Permanent visa holders, if they are overseas, must have a visa to re-enter Australia.

    LEGAL SYSTEM
    Australia's immigration law, legislative and regulatory framework
    Australia's immigration laws are highly codified, complex and subject to frequent and ongoing change. The Migration Act 1958 (Commonwealth) contains the structure for controlling the entry, stay and departure of non- citizens. The Migration Regulations 1994 (Commonwealth) are subordinate legislation that set out the requirements for entry to Australia and related matters and the requirements of entry through the operation of a visa system that acts as a screening process to manage the movement of non-citizens across Australia's borders.
    The legislative framework consists of over 3,000 pages. It is underpinned by layers of regulation and sub-delegated legislation (Ministerial Directions, Legislative Instruments and such like). There are 140 visa categories and nine bridging visa categories.
    The Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship is the authority given the statutory discretion and decision-making powers under the regulatory scheme. It is entitled to adopt policy guidelines governing the exercise of that discretion.
    The Department's policy documents contain detailed and extensive guidelines for its officers on all aspects of the legislative and regulatory scheme. These guidelines are over 16,000 pages and are subject to ongoing change.
    The Department receives over 13,000 applications each day worldwide. In the financial year
    2011-2012, it raised revenue from visa fees of about $1.17 billion.
    Immigration law is a specialization of Australia?s administrative law. Yet, most Registered Migration Agents (RMA?s) are not lawyers. Nonetheless, they are able to provide advice and assistance in respect of a legislative scheme, which is second only to the complexity of the Australian Taxation Act legislative scheme.

    The Role of the Department
    The Department has responsibility for the administration of the legislation scheme and the Government's policy under the direction of the Minister of Immigration and Citizenship. It manages, administers and provides advice on migration and humanitarian policy, border control and security, Australian citizenship, multicultural affairs and settlement services. In addition to issuing visas to those entitled to lawfully enter Australia, it has a significant budget to prevent and deter non-compliance with immigration law. The Department has over 7,000 staff working at about 14 locations in Australia. It has offices in some
    60 countries, which are usually attached to an Australian Embassy, Consulate or
    High Commission.
    Australia's Migration Program
    The Australian Government determines the size and composition of Australia's Migration Program. The Migration Program focuses on Skilled, Business, Family and Humanitarian outcomes. For the year 2012-13, the Migration Program will provide for 190,000 places with a particular focus on the Permanent Skilled Migration Program. The Migration Program increasingly aims to meet Australia's population and skilled labour force needs, given the ageing of the Australian population, zero population growth and declining workforce participation.

    VISAS
    The Migration Regulations 1994 lists the visa subclasses which are divided into Permanent, Temporary, Bridging, Protection, Refugee and Humanitarian classes. The classes consist of a number of visa subclasses.
    Schedule 1 of the Migration Regulations 1994 sets out how a non-citizen must apply for a visa of a particular class. This includes the fees, the forms and the documentary evidence to support the visa application.

    Temporary Visa
    There are a number of temporary entry visas for skilled persons who will benefit Australia by contributing to the economic development of the Australian community.
    On 24 November 2012, the Subclass 457 Business (Long Stay) Temporary Visa Program became known as the Subclass 457 (Temporary Work (Skilled)) Visa. It enables Australian and overseas businesses to sponsor skilled overseas workers to work in Australia for that business on a temporary basis for up to four years. The principles governing the entry of temporary residents are based on the premises that the employment of Australian residents is a first priority; temporary residents should not result in a financial cost to the Australian community and the temporary residents should eventually be replaced by people recruited and trained locally and that the terms and conditions of employment provided to the temporary residents must be no less favorable than those provided to an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident to perform work in an equivalent position in that business's workplace.
    The subclass 457 visa is demand-driven. It may either continue to increase in response to industry demands; may stabilize or reduce in number.

    Subclass 457 Standard Business Sponsorship Requirements
    There are three main steps in the approval process for an overseas skilled worker as set out below.

    Sponsorship Application
    The employer must lodge a sponsorship application and demonstrate that it is of good standing, it has a strong record of, or commitment, to, employing local labour and non-discriminatory employment practices; and it meets the training benchmark as part of its commitment to the ongoing training of their Australian citizen and permanent resident staff.

    Nomination Application
    The employer must lodge a nomination application which meets the following requirements:
    The nominated position the company is seeking to fill must be on the
    Consolidated
    Skilled Occupation List (CSOL);
    The base salary must meet or exceed the Temporary Skilled Migration Income
    Threshold
    (TSMIT) which is currently $51,400 gross per annum in addition to superannuation for a
    38 hour week;
    The Market Salary Rate must be met for that position, namely the terms and conditions of employment of the subclass 457 applicant cannot be less favorable than those provided to Australian staff for the same position at the same
    workplace;


    The position must meet the minimum skills threshold for that occupation. Details of the person nominated to fill the position must be provided.

    Visa Application
    The person nominated to fill the position must lodge a visa application and demonstrate that they have the skills relevant to the nominated position; establish that he or she is offered employment at the relevant Market Salary Rate (which cannot be below the current TSMIT of $51,400 per annum). If necessary, the foreign national must provide evidence that he or she has vocational English and provide skills assessment, if required.

    Sponsorship Obligations of Approved Sponsors
    Once a sponsorship is approved, as the approved standard business sponsor, the employer must meet its sponsorship obligations relating to sponsored workers who hold subclass 457 visas....

    [This is an Excerpt from the Global Mobility Book. You can find more about the book and purchase it here.]

    Updated 12-11-2013 at 03:17 PM by Tglobal

  3. AN ACCOUNT OF IMMIGRATION REFORM

    by , 12-11-2013 at 02:40 PM (Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration)
    by Chris Musillo

    MU Law's Maria Schneider was recently published in the Cincinnati Bar Association’s (CBA) Report. Ms. Schneider’s article, An Account of Immigration Reform, was featured on the cover of this month’s issue of the Report and concerns comprehensive immigration reform.

    In the article Ms. Schneider outlines several groups vying for priority consideration in a reformed immigration system and questions which of these groups should be given preference for entering the US. She concludes by asking the key question: Who gets in?

    Read the Musillo Unkenholt Healthcare and Immigration Law Blog at www.musillo.com or www.ilw.com. You can also visit us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  4. Judiciary Committee Hearing on Asylum Abuse: Some Questions for Rep. Goodlatte

    Judiciary Committee Hearing on Asylum Abuse: Some Questions for Rep. Goodlatte and for Asylum Advocates

    Lately, I've been worrying that asylum might become a victim of its own success. Thanks to lawyers pushing the law, the number and categories of people eligible for asylum has increased pretty dramatically: Victims of FGM and domestic violence, LGBT individuals, certain victims of crimes. This is a good thing, as many lives have been saved. But it has started to attract the attention of immigrant restrictionists, who think the asylum system is too generous. Could the tide be shifting? Might we be on the verge of a backlash?
    The Romans aren't all that popular this time of year.

    There's precedent for such fear dating back to antiquity. When the Roman Empire conquered Greece, the various city-states had a well-developed system of temple asylum. In short, if you were a slave fleeing abuse, you could go for protection to a Greek temple. Over time, the types of people who could claim protection in Greek temples expanded, so that basically anyone, including rebels and common criminals, could find refuge in a temple. The law-and-order Romans would have none of it. In 14 AD, Emperor Tiberius ordered the temples to produce evidence of their right to offer asylum. Most temples could not do so, and so Tiberius's little bureaucratic maneuver essentially ended asylum in the Greek city-states. So much for the history lesson.


    Late last month, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), and Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) announced that they would be holding hearings on asylum and credible fear "abuse" by people arriving in the U.S. via Mexico. The press announcement does not sound promising:


    Itís outrageous that members of Mexican drug cartels and others involved in illicit activity are so easily able to exploit our asylum laws and live in the U.S. virtually undetected. Our asylum laws are in place to help individuals who are facing truly serious persecution in their countries. However, dangerous criminals are gaming the system by claiming they have a Ďcredible fearí of persecution when often theyíve been the perpetrators of violence themselves. Their claims almost always get rubberstamped by the Obama Administration and once these individuals are in the U.S., the illegal activity doesnít stop.


    Unfortunately, it appears the Obama Administration is compromising our national security and the safety of our communities for its political agenda. The House Judiciary Committee plans to hold a hearing soon to closely examine this egregious abuse to see what can be done to put an end to it.

    Over the last couple months, I've written pretty extensively about the influx of asylum seekers at the border, and there certainly seem to be issues that require attention. That's why it's disappointing to see such an overtly political description of the upcoming hearings. Hopefully, the hearings themselves will be more constructive (yes, for some reason, I am feeling unusually optimistic - maybe its The Season).


    Not that anyone has asked, but I thought I would raise some issues that the Committee might explore:


    - We need accurate statistics about who is seeking asylum and why
    : It is very difficult to know who seeks asylum, who receives it, who receives other relief, and who is denied. One problem is that the two agencies that track asylum cases--DOJ and DHS--use different metrics for calculating their numbers. Another problem is that there are no stats available on people who receive Withholding of Removal and Torture Convention relief (two benefits that are similar, though inferior, to asylum). Congress should mandate better record keeping on asylum cases: Where do asylum seekers come from? What is the basis for their grants or denials? How many are detained? How many leave of their own volition after receiving a denial? How many are deported? How many cases are re-opened for fraud or due to criminal convictions? Such information will allow us to improve our policy-making and will hopefully lead to a better and more secure system.


    - We need to make some decisions about how to treat asylum applicants at the borders
    : There has been a significant increase in asylum applicants arriving at our Southern border. Currently, most are detained and--if they pass a credible fear interview--they are released with a date to return to Immigration Court. I have not seen specific examples of individuals who have entered the U.S. in this manner and then committed bad acts. But given the number of arrivals, the possibility for this to happen seems pretty high. So do we detain these asylum seekers until their cases are heard? Such an approach makes it much more difficult for them to prepare their asylum cases. It is also very expensive. Should each person be fitted with an ankle bracelet or some other tracking device? If we had more accurate data about asylum seekers, perhaps we could better answer these questions.


    - We must decide how to treat people fleeing persecution where that persecution is not based on a protected ground
    : Many people arriving at the Southern border face real harm from gangs, cartels, and criminals. Many others face serious harm due to sexual violence. Often, such people do not fall neatly into one of the five protected categories. Most will not qualify for lesser forms of relief, such as the Convention Against Torture. So what to do with them? Of course, we could simply deport them as we are not obligated by our international agreements to protect them. But sending innocent people to their deaths seems not in keeping with our national values (or any other notion of morality). Could something be done for such people without creating an incentive for everyone South of the border to come to the United States?


    - We need to plan ahead to deal with a potentially large refugee flow from Mexico
    : For years, we've been hearing discussion about the possibility of large refugee flows from Mexico due to the violence there. If this happens, our current asylum system will likely not handle the volume. Perhaps we need a contingency plan for how to deal with such refugees. Faced with refugee crises, other countries have created temporary camps for people, where they can stay until it is safe to return (though often that takes decades or longer, and then there is no where to return to). Maybe such a model would be appropriate if the situation in Mexico deteriorates further. Or maybe some type of TPS would be more appropriate. In any case, it seems to me that we can start thinking about this now, so that we are more prepared in case of a humanitarian disaster.


    There is obviously more to say about these topics, but--since it is the season of miracles--I continue to hope that the Judiciary Committee will address these and other important issues related to our asylum system.

    Originally posted on the Asylumist: www.Asylumist.com.
  5. More Anti-Immigrant Hate From Rep. Steve King. By Roger Algase


    Update: December 11, 12:21 pm:

    Politico reports that John Boehner has told Nancy Pelosi that immigration reform in the House will "have to wait until next year."

    See: Nancy Pelosi: Immigration reform on hold in House, December 11.

    This is not exactly a surprise, since the House is adjourning for the rest of the year this Friday. However, Politico also reports:

    "But Republicans have been apprehensive [about immigration reform], with the most conservative members opposed to anything legalizing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants."

    With all due respect to Politico's great reporting on immigration reform, the "pathway to citizenship" question is not what is really blocking reform. The real obstacle to reform is that the Republican right wing remains firmly opposed to legalization for 11 million brown immigrants, which Steve King and his supporters still insist on calling by the racially charged, degrading term "amnesty", as if this were still 2007 and the 2012 election had never taken place.

    The Tea Party and its followers have not given up on their "dream" (with a small "d", as in "delusion"), of deporting them all, down to the last man, woman and child. If we overlook this, we have Steve King to remind us.

    My original post follows:

    Representative Steve King (R-Iowa), who has already gained notoriety for comparing immigrants to dogs and calling DREAMERS "drug mules", is now continuing with his campaign of hate by saying that granting "amnesty" to immigrants in the country illegally would be equivalent, not only to giving a pass to a bank robber, but to letting him keep the money too.

    See Politico: King likens amnesty, bank robbery, December 10.

    dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=B9ECC462-1BCF-4FAD-96C1-5DB2DB7522E2

    According to Politico, King not only distrusts President Obama (surprise, surprise) whom King says has "set himself up for one-man rule", but also House Republican leaders such as Speaker John Boehner and Majority leader Eric Cantor. King doesn't believe that they are serious about refusing to go to conference with the Senate on its comprehensive reform bill.

    Predictably, King also calls Boehner's hiring of Senator John McCain's former immigration specialist Rebecca Tallent an "ominous sign"

    King, it seems, also does not have very high regard for the Christian values of charity and brotherly love when it comes to immigration reform.

    Politico quotes King as follows:

    "We might lose that debate in this country because of the sympathy factor, and its also added to by a lot of Christian groups who misread the scripture, and I'm happy to take on that debate with any one of these folks."

    King did not mention how he thinks Christianity is related to breaking up the families of 11 million people who present no danger to America, locking them up and throwing them out of the country.

    Nor did he explain how anti-immigrant hate fits in with the spirit of this Christmas holiday season. If Rep. King provides any further clarification on these points, I will be glad to share it with Immigration Daily readers.

    In the meantime, when we wonder why immigration reform hasn't been going anywhere in the House, it is useful to remember that Steve King is not without allies inside and outside Congress who share his bigoted views but may not be wiling to speak as openly as he has.

    But they are determined and will continue to fight until every last Latino, Asian and Caribbean unauthorized immigrant is deported, and our borders are sealed against new immigrants coming in through legal channels as well.


    Updated 12-11-2013 at 02:45 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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