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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

WILL 2009 BE DIFFERENT FOR CIR?

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My friend Tamar Jacoby has an excellent editorial in today's Los Angeles Times providing an overview of the current political landscape for comprehensive immigration reform:

The problem: Left and right not only frame their arguments differently,
they also disagree on matters of substance. Most significantly, unions
question whether the country needs reform that creates more visas for
immigrant workers to enter the country in the future, while employers
who hire foreigners say they can't sustain their businesses without
them.

The question for the months ahead: Will these differences
undo the reform movement, or will left and right find ways to
compromise, broadening their base and expanding their power?

Here's
the other big question: How strong are the anti-immigrant activists who
dominated the debate last time -- talk radio and CNN's Lou Dobbs and
their inflamed, angry followers. In fact, as poll after poll showed,
these naysayers represented a relatively small segment of Americans --
no more than 20% to 25%. But they were loud and well-organized, and
they managed to generate doubts about reform among a much larger group
of uncertain, ambivalent voters.

Dobbs and former Colorado
congressman Tom Tancredo are already ratcheting up their anti-immigrant
rhetoric, and the recession may help them. But it's also possible that
things will play out differently, that some of the far-right's anger is
spent, and that the doubts won't catch on as they did last time among
the broader public. Voters are anxious and self-absorbed, but as
Obama's election and continued popularity show, voters want things
fixed. They want Washington to act boldly, to tackle hard problems, to
make the compromises necessary to pass fundamental reforms. And
immigration may well benefit from the new can-do, reformist mood.

Will
it be immigration deja vu in 2009? It could be -- the same old stale
debate or an equally uncompromising one. But enough has already changed
that it could be different this time around. Who knows, this time, we
as a nation might even get to "yes."

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  1. Another voice's Avatar
    Sounds like the same issues, same players and same old dilemma!!!
    It's Immigration....we can't seem to want to get our arms around it, there will never be a right time for this if the economy its in a boom because is good, if in a bust because its bad, politicians have to come to grips with this, if the dems do not deliver on CIR, then the Hispanic vote will not be there for them.
  2. Geroge Chell's Avatar
    They have to push it through when the unemployment falls.
  3. B.H.O's Avatar
    CIR2009 will be tackled mid this year (Aug).

    There are going to be some major compromises that will take place, particularly regarding the legal immigrants, but all will work, out satisfying both sides to some degree.

    Obama will sign it into a law by November 2009.
  4. Jack's Avatar
    'populist resentments will curdle into xenophobia, creating pressure to seal the border rather than craft a way for newcomers to come here to work legally'

    Typical Tamar. Anyone who doesn't want to completely turn immigration policy over to private, not public, interests to 'craft' a scheme for unlimited 'newcomers' (AKA 'temporary guest workers') is implied to be a xenophobe. I love the way she casually drops smears like that into all her articles. Frank Sharry is a clumsy hack by comparison.


    "Does he or she like people who look like us, or not?"

    There she goes again...


    'How strong are the anti-immigrant activists who dominated the debate last time -- talk radio and CNN's Lou Dobbs and their inflamed, angry followers.'

    Man, she's good. What a pro--literally:

    'Tamar Jacoby is president of ImmigrationWorks USA, a national federation of employers advocating immigration reform.'
  5. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    Jack - You must not have read the same article I did. Tamar is one of the realists in immigration circles and your characterization is really off, in my opinion.
  6. Jack's Avatar
    Greg, my comments are about her writing style. Others can write an article that really isn't much different substantively but she can call the opposition, e.g. 'yahoos' while somehow maintaining a more level-headed tone than the typical immigration advocate. Outwardly cheerful, she can hit below the belt with more subtlety than the ham-fisted competition. It's an art to get digs and cheap shots at your opponent through to the reader while not drawing too much attention to yourself or coming off over the top.

    I agree that this article, a political analysis, is based on lots of facts and is realistic in that it doesn't assume a particular outcome but I don't consider Tamar a realist. She was (still is?) associated with a think tank of a stated ideological viewpoint (libertarianism) which fairly or not isn't considered the most realistic political philosophy. Based on what I've read of her, ideologically she is either a true believing Julian Simon style 'cornucopian' or just does not consider the real world limits and implications of 'more is always better'. Whether she fully believes in 'unlimited growth' or not, I get the feeling as a matter of faith she believes that the gross U.S. economy should be as large as possible and if that is furthered by means of population growth (including immigration), we should automatically pursue that course to the maximum (as opposed to some optimum level). I am more of a Malthusian and always found the rosy Simon ideal too fantastical to buy into and was more convinced by the ecological economists.
  7. Rachel's Avatar
    This is so sad. Illegals are being rewarded whereas Legals will be screwed again. There is absolutely no consideration for the huge EB backlogs however everyone's gaga over the illegals. I guess all the Legals should lose their documents and become illegals. Extremely unfair and disappointing. Seems to confirm my ambivalence about the existence of a fair and just God in this world. What's the use of having laws when those who break them are rewarded and those who follow them are screwed.
  8. Geroge Chell's Avatar
    "This is so sad. Illegals are being rewarded whereas Legals will be screwed again. There is absolutely no consideration for the huge EB backlogs however everyone's gaga over the illegals."

    Aren't you the same Rachel who complained about H1B a couple of weeks ago? If so, why the change of heart?
  9. Legal-immigrant's Avatar
    "Aren't you the same Rachel who complained about H1B a couple of weeks ago? If so, why the change of heart?"

    Its called divide-and-conquer
  10. Rachel's Avatar
    I never complained about H1Bs. However being concerned about the rampant fraud and abuse in the program is a perfectly legitimate concern and doesn't exclude me from the discussion. Show me one post of mine which was inflammatory. You seem to have the typical desi mentality of getting emotional over being pragmatic thereby excluding anyone trying to be objective from the discussion. You know nothing about me so please sir/madam, try not to prejudge. And Mr George Chell, you too. Thank you very much.
  11. Rachel's Avatar
    In addition, how does divide and conquer apply here? Do you, as a legal immigrant, consider yourself in the same boat as an illegal immigrant? In that case, you truly deserve the CIR and no sympathy. Sorry to say that but your words prove that you do not have the self esteem or pride which goes with having followed all the rules. I do have empathy for many illegals but breaking the law isn't really an excuse, is it? Also, where does it stop? God forbid, but if someone causes anything negative to you or your loved ones, wouldn't you press charges? So how are illegals different?
  12. Jim's Avatar
    In my opinion, America deserves the CIR. Deserving in a positive connotation and not on a negative way.

    It should be clear to antis, however that this is not an instant path to Citizenship. There are several pre-conditions attached and these pre-conditions are more than fair and arguably not all will be able to pass all of it or even try at all. Those who choose and meets all pre-conditions, will also take years before they are given anything as it was REPEATEDLY EMPHASIZED that those undergoing the legal process will be given the priority and those who will be going through the "path to citizenship" will have to go to the back of the line.

    This must be the reasons why legal immigrants and 61% of Americans (and increasing) find it more than fair.

    This adds up to the argument that it is not practical (and almost impossible)to deport all illegals and it is better off that they be legalized and just make sure the legal immigration system is made efficient so that the cycle don't keep repeating itself and to make sure that ICE would concentrate on employers employing illegals rather than raiding families.

    Once the incentives are gone the cycle will stop.

    CIR will bring the illegals out of the shadows and will be given a choice of either, meeting all pre-conditions or just go back home voluntarily.

  13. Legal and in pain's Avatar
    Jim, here is a different perspective on your proposed approach. If illegals are legalized in any way which is perceived as soft, then it will encourage future illegal immigration. Just look at the result of the amnesties offered in 1986, 1996 and 2000. We are still paying the price for those? How about trying to enforce the laws and make the employers pay stiff penalties so the illegals will self-deport? Do you know how Mexico treats its illegals?

    Also, the legal employment based immigrants under the EB3 category are still paying the price for the amnesty offered in 2000. Tons of illegals who were eligible for amnesty were allowed to file under the EB3 category (245i) thus really getting in the middle of the line. Do you know how much heartburn and pain it has caused "LEGAL" immigrants when they see the priority processing dates stuck in the dark ages? So if we go by typical human behavior, offering an amnesty for breaking the law will only encourage more who will do the same. It's too tempting to do that instead of following the rules and patiently waiting for one's turn. Thanks.
  14. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    "It's too tempting to do that instead of following the rules and patiently waiting for one's turn."

    You realize you are talking about people who where here in 2000 - and probably long before that too. That's 9 years ago. Now you tell me that they never had to wait.

    "Sorry to say that but your words prove that you do not have the self esteem or pride which goes with having followed all the rules. "

    Rachel, I have all the self-esteem in the world, this is exactly why I can afford some humbleness. You know, himpleness as in the the absence of an urgent desire to feel better then other people, not matter how abused and miserable those people are. The kind of stuff that makes you realize that we are all in this together, and that everyone has a right for pursuit of happiness. Both groups of immigrants have suffered enough, and instead of discussing who needs more punishment (your typical divide and conquer), I would rather discuss how we can help both groups. That's the only way to beat antis like you.
  15. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    "Do you know how much heartburn and pain it has caused "LEGAL" immigrants when they see the priority processing dates stuck in the dark ages? So if we go by typical human behavior, offering an amnesty for breaking the law will only encourage more who will do the same. "

    Are you encouraged? No, really, are you encouraged to become illegal to reap the benefits of a maybe amnesty? Do you realize that you are just shooting yourself in the foot by repeating nonsense like that? Think about it for 2 minutes - these people are not coming here in the search of amnesty. Would you like to live in the shaodows for 10 years for a maybe amnesty? Sorry, but I have to call BS when I see it.

    Now is the truth - people come or stay illegally for one and only one reason - they can't do it legally. Because of stupid quotas and admissibility bars. Did you know that out 140K EB visas wooping 5K go to "unskilled workers" - that's for the whole world. How do you think anyone can come legally under those quotas? It is the same system that made your life miserable that makes their intolerable. If you think you are immune for it, don't be so bold. A simple I-140 revokation can make you illegal in a nick of time. Do you think you would be better off then? Honestly...

    If you want to make the life of legal immigrants easier, you should join people who advocate drastically increasing EB quotas for everyone (read some testimonies from the congressional hearing last week). Antis do not want you to join them, this is why they will always tell you how good you are for following the laws, and you should not mix up with anything that has acronym CIR with it. They will play on your fears, on your frustrations, and will turn you from a reasonable being into a monster who only wants to hurt other miserable immigrants just to feel better. I truly hope, you have more sense then listening to people like Rachel (I would also encourage you to read her opinion from a couple of weeks ago on those horrible H1Bs, who are taking away America jobs by the million, pushing horrors on honest American worker - that's the kind people you are dealing with).
  16. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    "I never complained about H1Bs. However being concerned about the rampant fraud and abuse in the program is a perfectly legitimate concern and doesn't exclude me from the discussion. Show me one post of mine which was inflammatory."

    Rachel, you are either real ignorant, or you have issues with your head. I just want to remind you that unlike in Vegas, what you say on the internet, stays on the internet. For a long time.

    Now, let me quote you:
    "I understand you rely on immigrants (legal/illegal) for your living. But as an American citizen, how do you justify the long term damage done on your fellow Americans due to the H1B visa? Surely not everyone who is anti-H1B is a xenophobe. Aren't you concerned about possible anarchy and civil war as a result of millions of unemployed Americans?"
    http://blogs.ilw.com/gregsiskind/2009/04/proimmigration-specter-switching-parties.html#comments
  17. Another voice's Avatar
    Hispanics are the ethnic group that will be most benefited or impacted by CIR, to all of those questioning why CIR should help this group, you should consider that they are the biggest minority in the US and therefore they carry political weight, therefore the politicians want to help them. Like it or not and I am talking about the Legal Immigrant crying babies out there like RACHEL.....fair or not politicians will go for the people that give them the votes and as of now YOU CAN'T vote, unless you are Hispanic, you are in the minority of the minority( as they say beggars can't be choosers). I AGREE 100% as usual with all the points made by LNLW but then again we had these arguments from the same people on countless occasions from the same type of people.
  18. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    "This is so sad. Illegals are being rewarded whereas Legals will be screwed again. There is absolutely no consideration for the huge EB backlogs however everyone's gaga over the illegals. I guess all the Legals should lose their documents and become illegals. Extremely unfair and disappointing. Seems to confirm my ambivalence about the existence of a fair and just God in this world. What's the use of having laws when those who break them are rewarded and those who follow them are screwed."

    WOW! This is spoken like a true devil. Rachel, can you do it in wisper, too?
  19. Rachel's Avatar
    Legal and no longer waiting, I know what I wrote a few weeks ago but I don't see it as anti-H1B. You know that there is rampant abuse and fraud in the H1B program and it is hurting Americans and Legals alike. So how does that make me an anti? Also the context of my question to Greg was the widespread feeling that too many unemployed citizens might bring their anger to the wrong avenues. So to be clear, I am not an anti but I don't have to be blind to the abuse of the H1B program to show that I am objective. Please think whatever you think. I'm so glad that you are "no longer waiting".
  20. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    Yes, Rachel, you (and your policies) can't kick me out any more. Whether your comment was "anti-H1B", I would not rely on your opinion. I see no reason for Americans to be angry at H1Bs - there are 3 million open jobs in this country, so the unemployment problem has nothing to do with H1Bs, each of whom, by the way, keeps 2-3 less educated Americans employed through positive impact of H1Bs on the economy.
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