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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy


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The Bowles-Simpson Deficit Reduction Commission released it's preliminary recommendations this week for closing the government's massive budget deficit. The report will contain a lot of controversial cuts and tax increases and given the fiscal crisis in which the country finds itself, the effort is commendable.

While a lot of great ideas are listed in the preview, there are certainly some where more thought is needed. Some budget cuts may bring short term gains, but end up costing the public more in the long run. The same is true for tax increases.

One proposal that caused me immediate worry is the elimination of the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Delta Regional Authority. I live in a state that is under the jurisdiction of both agencies (the ARC in eastern Tennessee and the DRA in the west part of the state). There is serious poverty in both areas and these two agencies have done commendable work promoting economic development in two of the country's most underdeveloped regions. The relatively small investment taxpayers make comes with a big payoff in terms of jobs created and tax revenue generated.

Both agencies also realized many years ago that economic development in poor communities is stifled when a town lacks doctors and patients have to travel long distances to get basic health care. That's why they both have active J-1 waiver programs where doctors willing to spend three or more years in a medically underserved community can be sponsored to remain in the US after their training years are over. These programs cost little compared to the benefits they provide and they disproportionately benefit poor people.

I hope that as Congress considers the proposal's recommendations, that there be an opportunity to take a careful look at each recommendation before deciding to accept the idea.

By the way, here's a press release from the DRA making the case for its importance:

"The Delta Regional Authority recognizes the important mission of the Commission as it looks at deficit reduction concepts; however, I strongly question the Commission's recommendation to eliminate the Authority," DRA Chairman Chris Masingill stated today. Continuing, Chairman Masingill said, "The Authority is doing its part to improve the economy of the region and reducing the nation's budget deficit - through our strong record of job creation and retention."

"The Authority's local and regional investments are returning taxpayer dollars, and are improving the region's economy and its communities. I will personally go anywhere - before any panel - to make the case for our region and the Authority. I am eager to engage in the conversation. I am confident of the Authority's market-proven work record," Chairman Masingill said.

"The Delta Regional Authority serves as an economic multiplier for the 8-state Delta Region," said Chairman Masingill.  "We will continue to exist and play an important role in the nation's economic recovery because the Authority is in the business of growing and retaining jobs, and the best way to reduce the deficit and spur the economy is to put people back to work."

"By creating the Delta Regional Authority, bipartisan Congressional partners, solidified the national commitment to uplifting the Delta Region.  This unique economic development organization has produced real results with clear outcomes.  In less than a decade, the Authority has invested nearly $86.2 million into more than 600 projects leveraging $1.4 Billion in private-sector investment, producing an overall 22 to 1 return on taxpayer dollars." 

"Together with our partners, the Authority is creating/retaining approximately 19,000 jobs, and we are bringing new water and/or sewer services to more than 43,000 families.   An independent report from USDA's Economic Research Service found that per capita income grew more rapidly in counties where the DRA had the greatest investment.  Each additional dollar of DRA spending per capita results in a $15 increase in personal income - and this means real money in the pockets of our families." 

"Not only do we generate more income for our families, but we do it with transparent policies that are accountable to taxpayers, as proven by nine clean independent audits showing tangible results."

"The Authority knows the economic pulse of the region, as we work hand-in-hand with local leaders, governors and other federal agencies.  Together, we have shown consistent progress with our leverage, our outcomes and our reduction of duplication and fragmentation."


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  1. George Chell's Avatar
    Let us not forget the role Alan Simpson played in the fiscal disaster. In the 1980s Senator Simpson, despite evidence to the contrary insisted that if we reduced skilled immigration, Americans would get the jobs. However, what happened was jobs began migrating to the prospective went to countries such as Singapore. Millions of jobs were lost and as a result, tax revenues declined as did the SS revenues. We would not be in this predicament has Simpson and his fellow clown in the House Congressman Romano Mazolli had not pushed forward with their restrctive immigration bill. The bill was never enacted into law and was killed in the late 1980s...however, the damage was already done and US started to loose tax revenues. Sad to say, none in congress have learned anything from the Simpson-Mazolli fiasco! And it is a disgrace that this man, Alan Simpson, is leading the deficit reduction commission.
  2. My 2 cents's Avatar
    Well it's shows that Obama is not the harbinger of hope & change needed at Washington.
  3. My 2 cents's Avatar
    By the way where is the December 2010 visa bulletin?
  4. SG's Avatar
    Who cares about the visa bulletin anymore. Same thing..the visa bulletin of 2020 will have moved by a month or two going by the current pace.

  5. USC's Avatar
    "By the way where is the December 2010 visa bulletin?"

  6. USC's Avatar

    This has got to be the worst bulletin in a while:


    No movement on any FB, EB category except F2A moves ahead two months.


    As per India with following exceptions:

    EB3 moves forward one month.

  7. Jim's Avatar
    This needs to be debated and discussed intently as it will affect multiple generations. I just hope no one party tries to do what the GOP did with the HCR debates/discussions.

    Both camps seems to have some issues with it. That maybe a good sign, though that it's on a right track.

    This is definitely not for he lameduck session. :-)

    Extending the Bush tax cuts, the budget, appropriation bills and immigration should be the priority for the lameduck and they better get all those done ASAP.
  8. USC's Avatar
    The French should demand that the USA return the Statue of liberty and re-gift it to Canada:

    "When I took this portfolio, I expected some of the backlash that's occurred in other parts of the world," said Jennifer Howard, Manitoba's minister of immigration. "But I have yet to have people come up to me and say, 'I want fewer immigrants.' I hear, 'How can we bring in more?'"

    Well done, Manitoba!!

  9. George Chell's Avatar
    "Friendly Manitoba," so the sign said when I first went to the University of Manitoba to get my Masters degree back in 1980! Around that time, Senator Alan Simpson was already rattling the cage. 280,000 per year immigrants was a bit too much he said, we need to cap the numbers at 150,000. In short, his goal was to roll back the 1965 Act. He also wanted to stop foreign students from getting employment in the country. Had Alan "Simpletion" Simpson and Romano "Moron" Mazolli succeeded we would now be another Ireland or Greece..thankfully they did not.

    The problem is not that the welcome doors are shutting everywhere. It is not. However, everyone wants a one way street. As I explained Aussies want to live, work and overcrowd Singapore, but they dont want to afford the same opportunity to the Singaporeans. Singaporeans (the people) dont like foreigners, but they like foreign investment. They also want to work abroad. 70% of the Singaporean people want the number of foreign workers in their country, but among that 70%, 90% say that other countries should loosen immigration laws to let them in..plain greed and selfishness...and if they dont they complain. Luckily Singapore has an authoritarian regime, and they dont listen to the people if the interests of the economy is not served. You cannot have foreign corporations provide 80% of your employment and dictate terms to them, just like America cannot claim sovereignty in reality when we are running up huge debt to other countries! Moreover Singapore's talent is maxed out. 95% graduate from High School unlike the US where only 70% do. A staggering 60% of Singaporeans have college degrees and they all have jobs. The country has the highest percentage of millionaires in the world. And yet the well salaried want more. The antis over there say that if there is a shortage keep paying the existing workers more. ie., if the MNEs are paying someone a million, they should pay them two or three million and keep bidding up the prices, the bottom line be damned...all comes to greed and selfishness plain and simple. The disgraceful behavior of Singapore fans after their women won the world ping pong tournament epitomizes this attitude...they are not real Singaporean the fans protested, they are Team China 2! This will never happen in America, whatever one may say about our attitudes.

    Then we have the Brits, who have put qa cap of 400 people per country on average. No American entertainer will be allowed to work in the UK in the future. However, we allow Brit entertainers to work in this country and even give them an exceptionally talented visa. Should we continue this policy. The Hollywood execs say that American talent is available but they are minorities...Asian Americans, mostly...and the American public wants to see only white people on TV...if this is true, should we encourage this nonsense! Wouldn't the purpose of those visas be better served through bringing more scientists and researchers into the country.
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