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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy


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Well, depending on who you listen to, immigration reform is going nowhere or it will be one of the first things taken up by the new Congress.


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  1. Nitin's Avatar
    Hello Greg,
    I am feeling gloomy about prospects for immigration reform. It will be hard to push this in the context of a prolonged downturn. I am dusting off my plans of returning to friendlier shores. Thanks for your efforts -
  2. Another voice's Avatar
    I think Immigration reform will happen sooner rather than later. It will be a part of the economic recovery in order to sell it easier to the American people, but at the same time they do not talk to much openly about it because it does not make sense to get people worked up about it. Once they decide on it they probably will just go at it with out beating too much around the bush giving the antis less time to organize.
  3. George Chell's Avatar
    By the time they get around it, most illegals would have left the country!
  4. Lea's Avatar
    I feel hopeful thee only place for info i rely on its hands down yours, you give it like it is even though its not the news we want to hear at times.On like some reports its just a bunch of personal attacks and not reporting the facts. This shows that its coming from the heart and we all appreciate the wonderful job and service you give.
  5. Sid's Avatar
    AV, what do you think they tried in 2007? They wrote up hundreds of pages of nonsense behind closed doors and expected no one to find out. In a downturn people are more likely to pay attention to details.

    I seriously doubt that anything is going to happen before 2010. Due to the current economic downturn, the compassion argument is out of the window. Obama has to make the sale based on the economic benefits of CIR.
  6. Another voice's Avatar

    Over the course of the past few weeks, a group of bloggers including Citizen Orange, Imagine 2050, Damn Mexicans and Valleywag have reported incidents of anti-immigrant action, carried out by Clarion Capitol Hedge Fund Manager and member of Facebook's Board of Directors, Peter Thiel. According to the bloggers, Thiel recently donated $1 million to the anti-immigrant group NumbersUSA ,and one of Thiel's closest associates and former business partner, Rob Morrow, has donated $1000 to the group. The bloggers claim that a source within Clarion Capitol leaked the news. While some sources have disputed these allegations, Thiel has refused to publicly address the issue.

    Southern Poverty Law Center (SLPC) identified NumbersUSA as one of six core organizations in the anti-immigration movement. Founded by John Tanton and directed by Roy Beck, who has written extensively on environmental and financial issues, NumbersUSA is the most calculating of the anti-immigration groups, offering information on the relationship between immigration and the environment. Regardless of apparent environmental sympathies, NumbersUSA supported Federation for American Immigration Reform and the American Immigration Control Foundation--SPLC-designated hate groups--in their immigrant-bashing billboard campaign. Beck has also been the Washington, DC editor of The Social Contract, a quarterly journal that has published articles by "white nationalists" such as Samuel Francis, who was fired from the conservativeWashington Times after writing a racially inflammatory column, and James Lubinskas, a contributing editor to the racist American Renaissance magazine.

    If Facebook's Peter Thiel has donated to NumbersUSA, then his presence on the Facebook Board of Directors should be reconsidered. If Thiel has not donated to discriminatory organizations, then he and Facebook should publicly clear the record.

    Here are some of the things that you can do to hold Thiel and Facebook accountable:

    1. Invite Friends to the Grassroots Page on Facebook

    Invite friends to the grassroots page on Facebook that was launched in response to these reports. As of December 1, 2,000 people had joined the Facebook campaign. Help spread the word. Invite all of your friends on Facebook to learn more about Thiel and to join this group.

    2. Opt Out Of Facebook Advertising

    Halt Facebook's accumulation of members' money by opting out of the Facebook social advertising scheme until Thiel comes clean about his association with NumbersUSA. You can opt out of social ads by following this set of commands: click "settings"? "privacy settings"? "news feed and wall"? "social ads," and redefining your options from there.

    To disable all ads, you can install an ad blocker onto your Internet browser. On Mozilla, you can use this platform to block advertising for Facebook and other applications.

    3. Get More Involved

    If you are interested in becoming more involved with this and other anti-hate campaigns, subscribe to the We Can Stop The Hate action list. To read more about the surge of hate and violence in the immigration debate, visit

    Read more about the grassroots campaign on Facebook.

    Thank you for all that you do!
  7. Another voice's Avatar
    Sid the 2007 congress looks nothing like the one is about to be inaugurated on January 20th, people because of the past debate know the details on the issue enough. Off course Obama will have to outline the benefits of CIR, there are a few strong ones that can help him make the economic case.

    Like the US will need more tax payers to share the burden of the bailouts.

    The US can extend the life of SS and Medicaid with more people paying into the system.

    Immigrants can buy a house once they know they will not be deported and help take out a few houses off the market.

    The baby boomers are not getting any younger and the US will still need people to take over those jobs once the economy turns around.

    Immigrants can help the auto industry buying a car once they are able to get a DL.

    I am sure there are plenty more arguments.

  8. good guy's Avatar
    Due to worsening conditions of the economy many people who are working in this country using work visas are starting to face or are already facing complicated immigration situations and therefore, it is very likely that many will also soon become illegal. If my understanding of the CIR is correct these people will not benefit even if CIR is passed.

    These folks have been contributing to the US economy and paying Social Security and Medicare taxes from their paycheck every month and will not be able to receive any aid from the Government when are layed off. The impact of loosing these folks would be immediately seen in loss of revenue in both the public and private sector.

    As the Congress these days is busy "bailing out" every Tom Dick and Harry they should also bail out workers on work visa.
    As things stand today its difficult to believe that the Congress is going to act fast on CIR (even though few days ago Senator Reid predicted that it would be easy to pass CIR than the Health Care reform ), I am not fully convinced that its going to happen. The Congress already has so many priorities in the pipe that CIR is likely to take back seat. With high unemployment in the US, the CIR is likely to face rough opposition from the people as well as from the critics in the Congress and the Sentate.

    In the interim, I think the Congress should come up with a innovative bail out solution. In my view the Congress should allow all these workers who have been paying taxes for atleast 3 yrs to file for green cards directly with no employer involvement.

    - Thanks

  9. Jack's Avatar
    Based on a declining employment market, I think CIR (amnesty + increased levels of new foreign nationals + enforcement) is even less viable than usual. One of the three primary CIR components is increasing nonimmigrant visas. The effect of which is a direct increase in the supply of labor when demand is contracting--dramatically. John Trasvina says we need an immigration policy which 'serves the national interest'. Does it serve the national interest to give jobs to foreign nationals when there are already not nearly enough to go around for Americans?

    The 'out of the shadows' and 'deportation is impractical' rhetoric is inapplicable to nonimmigrant visas. This is about people not even here yet who would be brought in 'just to work' and thus the argument is dependent on an economic justification (immigration and immigrant visas also increase labor supply). Adding workers is traditionally sold by claiming we are at full employment, experiencing a worker shortage, etc. and thus it's a necessity to add workers. Relatively few people favor higher immigration so it helps to scare monger and make it sound indispensable with names like 'Essential Worker Coalition'. Even if the necessity argument fails to convince, you can still keep guest worker part of CIR so long as relatively few people think they're personally threatened by it.

    Today, maybe paid business group lobbyists can still make the economic necessity argument with a straight face but it won't pass the giggle test with the public. It could even offend them and any politician who embraces importing labor in the face of dire economic conditions could be bombarded with angry calls by people who are unemployed, underemployed, or employed but feeling insecure in their job or industry. That's a lot of people, a lot more than those who in 2007 shut down the phone lines based on opposition to amnesty (and those people haven't gone anywhere in the last year and a half). From the perspective of Democrats who have the wind at their backs due to the bad economy, why would you open the door to a populist charge that you're out of touch and siding with business' cheap labor wants at the expense of struggling families?

    I think the perception has been that guest worker, basically a sop to business, was a piece of cake for CIR proponents compared to amnesty. Sure, a few liberals opposed it on humanitarian grounds but they were not significant opposition and probably already in your party's pocket and unlikely to vote against you on this issue alone. In today's economic climate, jobs-based opposition could be much greater and if not stronger than anti-amnesty voices, much broader--and thus, unlike with amnesty, much harder to write off as unlikely to vote for you anyway in your next election. In the past, CIR has largely been about what it does for somebody else. Support for it requires a lack of perceived personal risk. Now it could be more about what it does against the interests of me and my family. I think in times of insecurity, the balance tilts toward self-interest.
  10. George Chell's Avatar
    "Today, maybe paid business group lobbyists can still make the economic necessity argument with a straight face but it won't pass the giggle test with the public. It could even offend them and any politician who embraces importing labor in the face of dire economic conditions could be bombarded with angry calls by people who are unemployed, underemployed, or employed but feeling insecure in their job or industry."

    Yes, however the consequence of doing nothing may well be that more and more jobs move abroad, driving the unemployment rate even higher.
  11. George Chell's Avatar
    One more thing..there wont be many illegals to give amnesty to when it is all said and done, and the only ones remaining would be the ones married to US citizens. Arizona is a case in point..they themselves think that they are on the way to becoming the Michigan of the next decade with no semblance of recovery expected until 2010, and it all began with Housing. At the time when the bigots of the Arizona Republican party were pushing for the draconian anti-illegal bill, Housing market was already beginning to go down, and at the time the 2007 bill was defeated in the Congress the rout had begun. More and more Hispanics, legal or otherwise were leaving Arizona and the flood continues. The Maricopa county Sheriff is making sure that it happens. Please read the attachment below and specifically the quotes. There is one way to reverse the housing crisis quickly...double the investor visas and get the billionaire Hong Kong Chinese to buy up the housing in Arizona like they did in Vancover during the 1980s and are doing so now in Beverly Hills and other locales in California. But, no self respecting Asian, billionaire or otherwise would want to live among the racists. Why would Mexicans want to come to a state that is trending economically towards Mexico?

    "Figuring at least 75 percent bought single-family homes, with an average of about 2.5 people per household, that would mean 40,000 added home sales per year.
    Dropping that population increase to 80,000 a year, fewer than 70 percent of whom could afford a home, the need would drop to less than 20,000 homes. And if the state's population growth is actually half of historical averages, which is what University of Arizona economist Marshall Vest has said, then just 10,000 homes are needed.
    "Well, we built more than 10,000 units this year," Pollack said, meaning there has been no reduction in the excess inventory of homes on the market that has driven prices sharply down.
    "So population is needed to absorb the excess supply.""

  12. George Chell's Avatar
    One error in the last recovery expected in Arizona until 2013 not 2010.
  13. 's Avatar
    These are extraoridnary times and I believe they need extraordinary solutions. Thats why in my earlier post I had suggested the bail out solution.

    I have spoken to a number of such workers on work visa's who are stuck due to one reason or another for no fault of theirs. I pitty especially those who are in different stages of their Green Card process are seeing their applications denied. Lets not forget that these workers have been living and contributing to tbe economy for over 3-5yrs on average and some special cases even more than 10yrs. These are hardworking people who played by the rules.

    I think there is an immediate need for an interim bail out solution for these workers. As I said in my earlier post, all workers on work visas who have paid taxes for atleast 3yrs should be allowed to file for their Green Cards directly on their own. It will be hypocritical on the part of any company to request for increase in H-1B quotas right now with state of economy as it is, without seeking a solution for the people who are already here first.

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