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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

How the White House and Senate Immigration Proposals Differ

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The media has been focusing on how the Administration's immigration proposal differs from the one proposed Monday by the Gang of Eight's. And that's probably to the liking of everyone. The media loves to focus on conflict. Pro-immigration Republicans get to sound like they are not simply following the marching orders of the President. And the White House keeps immigration reform moving forward. If the Senate bill ultimately gets to President Obama's desk, he WILL sign it. And history will give him the credit.

So where are the differences? The Washington Post has a good run down. The most talked about is the President creating a path to citizenship at the outset rather than after benchmarks are reached. The White House proposal also deals with same sex couples, but doesn't have a special path to citizenship for agricultural workers. There are other provisions that made it in to one summary and not the other, but that doesn't mean there are actual policy differences. The immigration reform bill is likely going to be over 1000 pages and a lot of items are not likely included in the summary because they are small items or because they simply were not on the radar screen of either the Senate group or the White House. For example, the Senate proposal doesn't have much to say on skilled workers or on ending per country limits. But they're likely going to incorporate the I-Squared bill introduced yesterday which has a lot of reforms in those areas.

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  1. Rusten Hurd's Avatar
    I think one of the keys that is not talked about much is Obama's proposal to temporarily increase annual visa numbers by an unspecified amount and create a visa for entrepreneurs as well as expand visa opportunities for investors. The latter two are massive changes that would help the US economy through stimulation of investment. I understand the focus on undocumented immigrants and a solution for them but I hope along with that passage of solutions for our legal immigration system will also be pushed through.
  2. Backlogged's Avatar
    The post talks about "Reduce backlogs in family and employment visas" but there is no specific on recapture of unused visa for Family IV.Also is there any proposal for making the spouses of Perm Residents as "Immediate Relatives" or outside of the numerical quotas?
  3. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    A sensible proposal is to exclude people who lived and worked in the US from the quotas altogether. When the quotas were originally thought up, they were meant to limit actual immigration - as in people moving from other countries, not quasi-immigration, aka limited adjustment of status for those in the US.
  4. Another Voice's Avatar
    Both are starting points in a legislative negotiation, neither side will get everything they want but both sides want to give themselves as much leverage...the Repuks can't seem like the party of NO over and over in a public negotiation specially because the only reason they are doing this is to clean their image with Latinos and be able to compete for votes. The differences will get worked out as the bill moves thru commette and the floor of both houses.
  5. SR's Avatar
    As such, the proposals hardly go the distance with respect to EB. Increasing the H1B quota helps only the companies and immigration lawyers besides adding to the people waiting in line. Retrogression is not addressed at all. Perhaps these issues will come up once someone like Zoe Lofgren gets involved. Also, while I am not a physician, I find it incredible that the case for physicians undergoing residency and fellowship training on H1B finds no mention under STEM! It is much harder to obtain those residency spots (USMLE Steps 1,2 and 3, competitive interviews etc.) than it is to get admitted to some MS program at University of Timbuktu. And of course, the US certainly needs as many qualified physicians as it can get.
  6. S's Avatar
    Obamas proposal is bad for legal employment based immigration. He does not propose anything resolve future flows of unskilled or skilled labor.
  7. George Chell's Avatar
    The legislation needs to remove Section 214(b) which has been giving too much power to consular officers most of whom are neither trained nor qualified to make that decision. If this is done, it will help quite a bit.
  8. Another Voice's Avatar
    I agree with you George that part definitely needs a fix.....
  9. SR's Avatar
    It is unfortunate that the actual number of EB GCs issued annually gets drowned in the rhetoric of "we admit a million people legally every year"!! Heck, if only the quota were a fraction of a million, there wouldn't be any EB issues at all. Someone needs to bring out the current number of annual EB based GCs in the media.
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