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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

CIR Bill Introduced by Dems

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.

This has already been noted in the comments, but I did want to comment on the new comprehensive immigration reform bill introduced by Senator Menendez and other Democrats. I usually only post summaries and extensive comments on bills I feel have a significant chance of advancing and this one really has no possibility of moving anytime soon. If it serves any functions, I would mention two. First, there is the political dimension. Pro-immigration voters should be reminded that the Democrats in Congress are promoting this kind of bill while the GOP is completely focused on E-Verify and enforcement. That's important right now especially given the criticism that has been leveled against the President mainly by members of his own party who question his genuine commitment to solving immigration problems.

Another important function of the bill is to serve as a marker showing the current thinking of Democrats. There are new ideas in the bill and whether we get comprehensive reform or piecemeal bills, many of the ideas in the Menendez bill are likely to be incorporated. For example, I've been working with several other immigration lawyers and health care experts assisting Hill staff on new provisions for physician immigration designed to do more to encourage physicians to locate in severe physician shortage areas. There is a decent chance a physician immigration bill will move on its own this year and you can expect that bill to look similar to what you see in the Menendez bill.

So while it is hard to get too enthusiastic about this bill given the current political environment, I am pleased to see it introduced. But as I've said here before (and in disagreement with other pro-immigration voices), I do not believe holding out for comprehensive immigration reform is a wise move. A comprehensive bill has too many provisions that become deal killers and easy targets for the antis. There are just too many provisions that give easy excuses for less than courageous members of Congress to vote no. Perhaps when we one day have a less partisan environment a big solution which represents genuine bargaining between the parties can be achieved. For now, we have real problems that need fixing and which can be addressed with smaller measures that a majority of Congress can support. We should be focusing on those types of bills.

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  1. Waitingforgc's Avatar
    Totally agree! Here is what congress/president can do.

    Stop Dreamer's deportation
    Re-capture unused visa
    Increase H1-B's
    Physician/nursing relief act

    List goes on, but I think this would really be good start.
  2. Rajani's Avatar
    Hi Greg

    Will anyone advocate for a bill that include Nurses to be eligible for H1B visa since all new surveys shows shortage of Nurse. Do you think of any chance of getting the nurse bill moving with physician's bill


  3. Jim's Avatar
    Totally agree with Greg and agree with Waitingforgc except for increasing H1Bs. I rather increase visas for GCs across the board and let what would-be H1B worker qualify for a GC (if it needs another visa category, so be it)

    Just too many negatives for the H1B temporary worker program.Also, the US needs to attract people and keep them in the US permanently.
  4. JoeF's Avatar

    Since the H1 quota is staying wide open for a long time nowadays, there isn't much need to increase the quota. And the last time they increased the quota, they conveniently "forgot" to add a corresponding increase of the GC numbers, which is a major reason for the current GC backlogs.
    So, addressing the GC backlog is currently more pressing than increasing the H1 quota.
  5. George Chell in Singapore's Avatar
    It may not pass, but it is keeping the pressure on the positive side and would prevent any negative bills from gaining any traction if the antis are forced to waste their time fighting these bills.
  6. gg's Avatar

    Bill would freeze Obama admin's power to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants
    By Jordy Yager - 06/25/11 05:05 PM ET

    The Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee is crafting a bill that would temporarily freeze the Obama administration's power to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants.

    The measure is in response to a memo issued by the head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) last week that approved a broader breadth of discretion for agency officials when considering whether to deport someone through the Secure Communities program.

    Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), who is sponsoring the legislation, blasted the memo. He said that under the new guidelines ICE agents could defer the deportations of "millions of deportable illegal and criminal immigrants."

    "The Obama administration cannot continue to pick and choose which laws it will enforce," said Smith in a statement. "It is outrageous that they have put illegal immigrants and their liberal political base ahead of the American people."

    Smith's bill is expected to be introduced soon, according to a committee aide.

    The ICE memo comes in the wake of recent attempts by President Obama to push forward with a revamping of the country's immigration laws. Republicans on Capitol Hill have broadly indicated their opposition to the Democrat-led efforts, with some calling for a more secure U.S.-Mexico border before immigration talks can begin. Immigration reform is widely regarded as having little chance of passing in the divided 112th Congress.

    The Secure Communities program allows for ICE to check the immigration status of people arrested by law enforcement agencies throughout the country by sharing a fingerprint database. Critics of the program say that it focuses on deporting people for minor offenses, such as traffic violations, and in some cases breaks families apart.

    Under the guidelines set forward by the ICE memo, agents could opt to defer on a case-by-case basis the deportation of people in the country illegally who have committed minor crimes or have extraordinary circumstances, such as students who would have been able to gain legal status under the DREAM Act, which stalled in the last Congress.

    The 7,000-member ICE labor union has stated its opposition to the memo and issued a unanimous vote of no-confidence of ICE Director John Morton.

    On Tuesday Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Education Secretary Arne Duncan are scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee at a hearing on the DREAM Act.

    Realizing the dim prospects to pass the DREAM Act in this Congress, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) asked Obama last month to delay the deportation of certain illegal immigrants, such as students who have been in the U.S. for at least five years and do not have criminal histories.


  7. Jack's Avatar

    "Menendez suggested that undocumented migrants who fail to register with authorities or who don't meet the eligibility criteria would face deportation."

    Sure they would. It's funny when anti-enforcement zealots and demagogues insincerely talk tough. Last week these people had nothing but horrible things to say about mandatory E-Verify. 54% failure rate! A burden so heavy it will destroy businesses! This week it's an integral part of the "total solution". Which is it, guys?

    Read more:
  8. Jack's Avatar
    "There are new ideas in the bill"

    Would you please let us know what those ideas are? Thanks.
  9. George Chell in Singapore's Avatar
    Whether successful or not, it forces antis to play defense unlike in the UK!
  10. Another Voice's Avatar
    CIR or piecemeal at this stage anything would be would but I think in the end it ALL circles back to the same thing....The debate over the 12 million undocumented immigrants. No politician wants touch it with a 10 ft pole, the dems want the political prize of the Latino vote but lack the guts to get this done, the Repuks know that this battle is lost and will do anything to sabotage the chance of the dems to get the Latino vote. In order to get support from the dems to some of the piecemeal legislation they will tie it to this part and around we go in the circle to nowhere....
  11. Jim's Avatar
    "Which is it, guys?"

    As much as there are hardliners,inflexible people unwilling to compromise those kind of people exists too on the other side of the fense.

    Just on this blog you know w/c ones are not willing to compromise.

    Truth is piece-meal immigration reforms will not pass w/o E-verify and similar "enforcement" bills nor E-verify pass on it's own as well w/o the DREAM Act and other piece-meal immigration bills attached to it.

    Each side needs to compromise. Cut off hardliners and inflexibles one each side.
  12. Another Voice's Avatar
    "Each side needs to compromise. Cut off hardliners and inflexibles one each side."

    The problem is not with the posters at this blog but with the DC politicians that ARE on the extremes. In the end they are the decision makers and compromise seems to be a dirty word for both parties which leaves everyone with the status quo.
  13. Another Voice's Avatar
    Federal Judge Thrash just granted the injunction on the GA "your papers please law".
  14. Another Voice's Avatar
    Judge blocks part of Ga. immigration law
    Federal judge grants request that stops enforcement from taking effect.
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