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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

RELIGIOUS RIGHT LEADER APOLOGIZES OVER GAY IMMIGRATION RIGHTS REMARK

Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.

As Congress gets closer to considering the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), some of the critics of the bill are getting nasty. The bill would allow gay couples to sponsor partners to immigrate as immediate relatives, just as married straight couples can. Sponsored by Jerry Nadler (D-NY) in the House and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the UAFA has been introduced several times over the last few years, but has not moved very far up the legislative ladder. But as more and more states are recognizing same sex marriages and civil unions and public recognition of the rights of same sex couples increases, the chances of UAFA's passage are improving.



A story on UAFA by a student journalist at the esteemed Northwestern University School of Journalism has created a stir because of an inflammatory statement made by Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council in his interview with reporter Sirena Rubinoff. Sprigg told Rubinoff

I would much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than to import them into the United States because we believe homosexuality is destructive to society.

The story was picked up on the blog of the The Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan who linked to the blog of Chris Crain, a prominent DC journalist (who, incidentally, was a friend of mine in college).



Rachel Tiven, the director of Immigration Equality, a national human rights group advocating for same sex couple immigration rights, issued the following statement after Crain reported on the statement:

Unfortunately, the Family Research Council's preference to export
lesbian, gay, bisexual and trangender (LGBT) Americans prevails. This
policy continues to separate people who love each other, but of course
Mr. Sprigg's group doesn't care about that. 

I hope, however,
that the Family Research Council realizes that when we 'export
homosexuals' we also export talented men and women who have made
incredible contributions to this country and its economy - THAT is
'destructive to society'.   LGBT Americans who are forced into exile
from this country are researchers for companies like GE and Pfizer,
nurses in the Midwest, teachers in our inner cities and sons and
daughters of aging parents who depend on them for care.

The
Family Research Council might not care about our families but current
immigration laws are 'destructive' to America and I hope that is
something they do care about.
 



Sullivan reports that Sprigg has now issued an apology over the export remark, though he re-stated FRC's opposition to the bill.



I've endorsed this bill several times in the past and urge Congress to ensure that America joins the 19 other highly developed countries which have passed similar legislation.

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Comments

  1. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    Crazy Christians.
  2. fabrizio's Avatar
    I do not have a problem with the hegemony that certain groups care to have on our collective morality.
    But given all the shortcomings in coherence, these same groups should not charge against those who trust and believe in the ability of our adult civil collective consciousness to act in the recognition of the contribution to the collective wallet that all american families take part of.
    Especially when is a binational couple that enriches the flavors of the food we eat in the restaurants, or the colors of the clothes we wear on the streets, and we could go on in examples.
    While all that the haters seems to be able to bring against an initiative such as the one offered by the UAFA, is the import/export of lives, which is probably the way they view the adhesion to their cult/religion, which is demeaning to all americans born, not born and soon to be!



  3. R. Lawson's Avatar
    "Crazy Christians."

    Greg - for Christ sakes (no pun intended) will you put an end to this guy's inflamatory remarks? Swap the word "Christians" with "Jews" or "Muslims" and then tell me that is still appropriate.

    The FRC does not represent every Christian in this country - yet he makes blanket statements like that. Unbelieveable.
  4. beta_mle's Avatar
    You know, it seems that freedom of speech is guaranteed to everybody, except christians. All people are free to try to influence the public discourse in their country, except christians. It is okay for all people to try to influence their political representatives, except christians. People can refer to christians in disparaging ways, but when a christian expreses his religous opinion, people try to shut him up.

    The nature of democratic society almost requires that there be different opinions, and tension between opinions is to be expected. When a christian expresses his opinion, and is yelled and embarrassed into apologizing, this is wrong. If anybody else but a christian had said something like that, the response would have been different. In all our discourse, we have to be fair, and this intolerance of christians is not fair.
  5. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    Beta - I agree about freedom of speech, but this was an example of hate speech. If anyone who leads a major organization like the FRC said we should deport all of the nation's blacks, Jews, etc. there would be outrage. An apology - especially the half-hearted one offered here - would be rightly deemed inadequate. People can say what they like - this is America, after all. But that doesn't mean they are immune from criticism.

    Roy - I understand your beef with L & W. Probably a poor choice of words, but I suspect he was griping about extremism as opposed to attacking Christians per se. My guess is he was complaining more about the "crazy" part than the "Christian" part. I'll let him offer his own explanation.
  6. R. Lawson's Avatar
    FYI - I am in no way condoning the FRC in what they said by condemning what L&W said. I think both statements are absurd.

    If L&W meant to say "Crazy FRC" then I would be OK with that - it's OK to condemn a group for what they have said specifically. I am critical of both Isreali and Palestinean policy at times - but that doesn't mean that condemnation should be extended to Jews or Muslims in general.

    I'll wait for an explanation, if one is coming.
  7. R. Lawson's Avatar
    http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Careers/Lawyer-L1-Visas-Used-to-Dodge-H1B-Regulations/

    Greg - are you aligned with VisaNow?

    They say that the L1 is being used (wrongly) to avoid H-1b regulations.

    The top sponsors of the L1 are - you guessed it - Indian offshoring firms. The L1 prohibits outplacement of workers so I am not sure how they can be using the program in a legal way. This is another example of why we need to have audits - trust but verify.

    Anyways, I think Durbin/Grassley closes the L1 loopholes so that is another thing that will be fixed if that legislation is passed since prevailing wage laws will be extended to that visa.
  8. fabrizio's Avatar
    The "Crazy Christians" expression, although of a sour taste for most "Decent Christian", is rather appropriate considering that FRC has a Christian affiliation that transcends the spiritual into a more financial-marketing-lobby-politiquing. The Values behind which "Decent Christians" are far from the hating tones of the remarks and position that have influenced and to these days still are influencing, not only the public opinion, but it is hindering on the basic social-economic lives of real families, immigration included, thus leaving room for misunderstanding in more places than the political interventions as well as everyday violence under the same images, which the "Crazy Christians" highjacked, and used to justify their own self hating actions, at the expenses of a group of citizens.
    That is the reason why some Christians are called crazy. Because some Crazies are Calling themselves Christians.

  9. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    A tough anti-job-shop L-1 was passed in 2004. As I've said many times before, enforce existing laws first before imposing draconian new ones.

    DIVISION J--OTHER MATTERS


    Title IV--L-1 Visa and H-1B Visa Reform Act


    TITLE IV--VISA REFORM

    SEC. 401. SHORT TITLE.


    This title may be cited as the `L-1 Visa and H-1B Visa Reform Act'.


    Subtitle A--L-1 Visa Reform


    SEC. 411. SHORT TITLE.

    This subtitle may be cited as the 'L-1 Visa (Intracompany Transferee) Reform Act of 2004".

    SEC. 412. NONIMMIGRANT L-1 VISA CATEGORY.

    (a) IN GENERAL- Section 214(c)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1184(c)(2)) is amended by adding at the end the following:


    "(F) An alien who will serve in a capacity involving specialized knowledge with respect to an employer for purposes of section 101(a)(15)(L) and will be stationed primarily at the worksite of an employer other than the petitioning employer or its affiliate, subsidiary, or parent shall not be eligible for classification under section 101(a)(15)(L) if--

    "(i) the alien will be controlled and supervised principally by such unaffiliated employer; or


    "(ii) the placement of the alien at the worksite of the unaffiliated employer is essentially an arrangement to provide labor for hire for the unaffiliated employer, rather than a placement in connection with the provision of a product or service for which specialized knowledge specific to the petitioning employer is necessary.'.


    (b) APPLICABILITY- The amendment made by subsection (a) shall apply to petitions filed on or after the effective date of this subtitle, whether for initial, extended, or amended classification.

    SEC. 413. REQUIREMENT FOR PRIOR CONTINUOUS EMPLOYMENT FOR CERTAIN INTRACOMPANY TRANSFEREES.

    (a) IN GENERAL- Section 214(c)(2)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1184(c)(2)(A)) is amended by striking the last sentence (relating to reduction of the 1-year period of continuous employment abroad to 6 months).


    (b) APPLICABILITY- The amendment made by subsection (a) shall apply only to petitions for initial classification filed on or after the effective date of this subtitle.


    SEC. 414. MAINTENANCE OF STATISTICS BY THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY.


    (a) IN GENERAL- The Department of Homeland Security shall maintain statistics regarding petitions filed, approved, extended, and amended with respect to nonimmigrants described in section 101(a)(15)(L) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(L)), including the number of such nonimmigrants who are classified on the basis of specialized knowledge and the number of nonimmigrants who are classified on the basis of specialized knowledge in order to work primarily at offsite locations.


    (b) APPLICABILITY- Subsection (a) shall apply to petitions filed on or after the effective date of this subtitle.


    SEC. 415. INSPECTOR GENERAL REPORT ON L VISA PROGRAM.


    Not later than 6 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security shall, consistent with the authority granted the Department under section 428 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 236), examine and report to the Committees on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives and the Senate on the vulnerabilities and potential abuses in the visa program carried out under section 214(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1184(c)) with respect to nonimmigrants described in section 101(a)(15)(L) of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(L)).


    SEC. 416. ESTABLISHMENT OF TASK FORCE.


    (a) ESTABLISHMENT- Not later than 6 months after the date of enactment of this Act, there shall be established an L Visa Interagency Task Force that consists of representatives from the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the Department of State. The Secretaries of each Department and each relevant bureau of the Department of Homeland Security shall appoint designees to the L Visa Interagency Task Force. The L Visa Interagency Task Force shall consult with other agencies deemed a ppropriate.


    (b) REPORT- Not later than 6 months after the submission of the report by the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security in accordance with section 6, the L Visa Interagency Task Force shall report to the Committees on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives and the Senate on the efforts to implement the recommendations set forth by the Inspector General's report. The L Visa Interagency Task Force shall note specific areas of agreement and disagreement, and make recommendations to Congre ss on the findings of the Task Force, including any suggestions for legislation. The Task Force shall also review other additional issues as may be raised by the Inspector General's report or by the Task Force's own deliberations regarding the policies and purposes of the visa program relative to national goals and transnational commerce.


    SEC. 417. EFFECTIVE DATE.


    This subtitle and the amendments made by this subtitle shall take effect 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act.
  10. R. Lawson's Avatar
    I agree Greg that a reasonable L-1 law was passed prohibiting outplacement (afterall, who outplaces their managers). I still think a prevailing wage should be required for anyone here more than a few months. If a manager is coming here to close a deal or for a short business trip (a few weeks) then their current salary is fine. But if a manager is here for the long term they need to be paid prevailing wages.

    I find the numbers that the offshoring firms still bring in to be high - and I doubt these workers are in a management capacity - at least at the offshoring firms.

    I think enforcement of the L-1 law would be ideal; perhaps what is needed are frequent audits and using the tools they already have. For example, they can ban a company from using the visa if they are caught violating laws. If that was a real risk to companies, less companies would take the chance. As soon as a big one is slapped with a ban, the rest will get the message.
  11. R. Lawson's Avatar
    "SEC. 416. ESTABLISHMENT OF TASK FORCE."

    Did they ever release a report from that task force? There have been a number of GAO reports on the matter. I wonder what that one said, or if it was completed.
  12. R. Lawson's Avatar
    OK, I think I found it:

    http://www.dhs.gov/xoig/assets/katovrsght/OIG_06-22_Jan06.pdf
    The L-1 program is vulnerable in several respects.

    First, the program allows for the transfer of managers and executives, but adjudicators often find it difficult to be confident that a firm truly intends using an imported worker in such a capacity.

    Second, the program allows for the transfer of workers with "specialized knowledge," but the term is so broadly defined that adjudicators believe they have little choice but to approve almost all petitions.

    Third, the transfer of L-1 workers requires that the petitioning firm is doing business abroad, but adjudicators in the United States have little ability to evaluate the substantiality of the foreign operation.

    Fourth, the program encompasses petitioners who do not yet have, but are merely are in the process of establishing, their first U.S. office, and it also permits petitioners to transfer themselves to the United States. These two provisions, separately and in combination, represent "windows of opportunity" for some of the abuse that appears to be occurring.

    Our report contains three recommendations directed to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

    ...

    I'll paraphrase the recomendations (they can be found at the link above in full text)

    1) Station anti-fraud immigration officers at embassies and consolates that present the highest risk.

    2) Have ICE officers who are stationed in the home country to confirm the legitimacy of applications.

    3) Seek legislative clarity on: what a manager/executive staff is. Define "specialized knowledge". Criteria for foreign companies opening new offices in the US.

    Of these suggestions what has been done?
  13. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    Roy - This is a post about immigration equality for same sex couples. If you want to set the topics, please do so at your own blog.
  14. Brandon's Avatar
    I am glad he apologized. But not sure he went far enough. Greg, I am a new blogger looking for authority points so if you would link to me, I will to you. I think our sites are close enough in content for crossover readership.
  15. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    Hi Brandon - I like the blog and wish you well. ILW right now doesn't have a blog roll for me yet, but if I get one, I'll try and add you.
  16. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    The whole story reminded me of "Crazy Chritians", a fictional skit from the NBC show about an SNL-like cast.

    Roy, of course, for me to say "Crazy Christains" while referring to... well, crazy Christians is "inflammatory remarks", while Roy calling me a pervert and a pedofile is just a normal expression by a completely reasonable person.

    P.S. And please stop calling me a "guy". I'm a gal, thank you very much.
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