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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

WASHINGTON TIMES' DINAN WRITES ABOUT MY "SCENARIO" FOR DEMOCRATS AND IMMIGRATION REFORM

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Stephen Dinan, the Washington Times reporter that regularly writes about immigration issues for his newspaper, has published a column discussing my post advising the Democrats to bring back immigration reform this year. I had a separate post advising McCain and the Republicans.



Dinan expresses some doubt:


It's an intriguing scenario, though it doesn't strike me as working out
as easily as he puts it. In the first place, McCain has had to shift
somewhat, embracing both an enforcement-first position that his own campaign manager says is now the consensus of the party. It would be impossible for McCain to back away from that now.




Second, it wasn't just Republicans that killed the bill. More than a
dozen Democratic senators were happy to have a chance to vote against
it, and on the House side, plenty of conservative-leaning Democrats
will be begging their leaders not to go Siskind's recommended route.



Still, given that McCain has said he still supports the bill he wrote
with Sen. Ted Kennedy -- yet also says that bill is dead -- Democrats
must be at least a little tempted to prove him wrong and bring it back,
just to see what he does.



I'd just note a couple of things. First, the Democrats may not care that McCain could oppose the bill. If McCain opposes it, then he can be labeled a flip-flopper and it will be a powerful reminder to Hispanics that McCain is not their friend. Presumably, a certain segment of evangelical Christians and far right Republicans will choose not to vote on Election Day. If McCain also can't win the 40% of the Hispanic vote that President Bush secured, he's going to have trouble finding a place to make up for all of those lost votes.



Second, House Democrats have apparently made a major concession over the last few days and appear willing to pursue a five year non-immigrant visa for unauthorized immigrants with no path to a green card or citizenship. In short, no "amnesty" (or at least that would be the argument since some of the antis will treat anything short of permanent exile as unacceptable). This concession could very well be enough to bring along a number of new supporters of the bill.

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Comments

  1. hmm's Avatar
    "House Democrats have apparently made a major concession over the last few days and appear willing to pursue a five year non-immigrant visa for unauthorized immigrants with no path to a green card or citizenship."

    To me this sound like a much more reasonable proposition. Why on earth unauthorized immigrants should be treated better than those on J-1 visa, which gives no path to green card? Major changes are best to be done in smaller steps, so that if things go wrong the government could always backtrack. And the first step is to legalize unauthorized immigrants. After they are all accounted for, one can decide what to do about them. Why decide in advance? The argument that unauthorized immigrants will choose to stay unauthorized unless they are promised a path to green card strikes me as silly. With Arizona style enforement staying in the shadow will be hard.
  2. indianGuy's Avatar
    I happen to think that in case Obama is the nominee, McCain can afford to move more right on immigration. The relationships among blacks and hispanics are tense to say the least. A very large percentage of hispanics will never ever vote for a black candidate. So, if McCain moves more to the right on immigration, that will be a great opportunity to marginalize the hispanic votes - something the democrats have done all along with the blacks. I still think that hispanics will go for McCain and not Obama even if McCain maintains his current position and votes against amnesty bills saying he wants border security first. Many hispanics will never vote for a black candidate. This is a great opportunity for McCain I think.

    Nobody needs 40% hispanic votes to win. 80% of these hispanic votes are in California, New York, and New Jersey - states McCain does not need to win. Only Florida is important. But cuban hispanics dominate there. So, McCain should go there and tell them that he will deport fence-jumpers but support cubans fleeing from Cuba on humanitarian grounds and basically continue republican party's long-standing relationship with cuban americans. I think McCain will carry Florida. I really do. McCain campaign needs to run just like the last Bush campaign and win exactly the same states as Bush did. And may be try to pick up a state like Pennsylvanya or something. Pick a conservative VP like Newt or somebody. That's an winning formula.
  3. L's Avatar
    For daily kos crowd its all about getting a big vote block. These are extreme left people who oppose any guest worker programs that get workers here legally.
  4. USC's Avatar
    "I still think that hispanics will go for McCain and not Obama even if McCain maintains his current position and votes against amnesty bills saying he wants border security first. Many hispanics will never vote for a black candidate."

    Your analysis is dead wrong. The Hispanic vote will break for Obama over McCain in a big way. The Hispanic vote is not just important in NY, CA & NJ it will also be a factor in many other states. It might well tip over states like NV, NM etc into the Democratic column.

    The Democrats do have a problem though. If the nominee is not Clinton, Obama may be unable to carry some of the states Gore/Kerry won. NJ comes to mind (folks there are flying Confederate flags). Can a Democrat win the Presidency without NJ?
  5. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    USC - I usually agree with much of what you write, but I think your analysis on New Jersey is really off. That's a state that has become quite clearly blue. Republicans used to be able to get elected to statewide office in New Jersey, but that's been over for some time. The GOP thought they might have a chance there in 2004 and sent Bush to campaign, but it was probably a head fake to force Kerry to waste time in the state. Bush never had a chance there.
  6. Another Voice's Avatar
    I do not think that the dems that are against "Amnesty" would control how this bill is brought up. The key about making this move is to beat the republicans(McCain), therefore the closest you make the bill to the Mccain/Kennedy bill the more you force McCain o run from it, therefore the provision for the 12 million having a path to citizenship is key for this to work right. That would assure the hispanic vote and force conservatives not to vote for McCain.
  7. Another Voice's Avatar
    I do not think that the dems that are against "Amnesty" would control how this bill is brought up. The key about making this move is to beat the republicans(McCain), therefore the closest you make the bill to the Mccain/Kennedy bill the more you force McCain o run from it, therefore the provision for the 12 million having a path to citizenship is key for this to work right. That would assure the hispanic vote and force conservatives not to vote for McCain.
  8. USC's Avatar
    "USC - I usually agree with much of what you write, but I think your analysis on New Jersey is really off. That's a state that has become quite clearly blue."

    I would be delighted to be proved wrong but I do worry about NJ.

    Furthermore, both the McCain and Obama campaigns should be concerned about the States their respective candidates have won. For instance, on Super Duper Tuesday while Clinton won the States she needs to win in the Fall, ie California, New York, New Jersey etc, McCain won these same states (he won't win these in the Fall) but lost in the ones he needs to win in the Fall. Similarly, Obama has been winning in States like Kansas, Utah, Idaho, N. Dakota etc. He has no chance of winning these in November
  9. USC's Avatar
    "USC - I usually agree with much of what you write, but I think your analysis on New Jersey is really off. That's a state that has become quite clearly blue."

    I would be delighted to be proved wrong but I do worry about NJ.

    Furthermore, both the McCain and Obama campaigns should be concerned about the States their respective candidates have won. For instance, on Super Duper Tuesday while Clinton won the States she needs to win in the Fall, ie California, New York, New Jersey etc, McCain won these same states (he won't win these in the Fall) but lost in the ones he needs to win in the Fall. Similarly, Obama has been winning in States like Kansas, Utah, Idaho, N. Dakota etc. He has no chance of winning these in November.
  10. Beppe's Avatar
    Second, House Democrats have apparently made a major concession over the last few days and appear willing to pursue a five year non-immigrant visa for unauthorized immigrants with no path to a green card or citizenship. In short, no "amnesty" (or at least that would be the argument since some of the antis will treat anything short of permanent exile as unacceptable). This concession could very well be enough to bring along a number of new supporters of the bill.

    Greg,
    what is your source on this?
  11. Sid's Avatar
    Posted by: hmm

    "To me this sound like a much more reasonable proposition. Why on earth unauthorized immigrants should be treated better than those on J-1 visa, which gives no path to green card? Major changes are best to be done in smaller steps, so that if things go wrong the government could always backtrack. And the first step is to legalize unauthorized immigrants. After they are all accounted for, one can decide what to do about them. Why decide in advance? The argument that unauthorized immigrants will choose to stay unauthorized unless they are promised a path to green card strikes me as silly. With Arizona style enforement staying in the shadow will be hard."

    I think the main reason behind the push towards green cards for illegals instead of legalizing them with some kind of non-immigrant visa is that they will then be forced to apply for LPR through the existing legal channels and the per country quotas there would ensure that people from high volume countries have absolutely no chance of getting GC's in their lifetimes. Basically, they would like to avoid the situation that we are in right now.
  12. hmm's Avatar
    Sid, I think the idea is to put unathorized immigrants on a non-dual-intent visa, like J-1, and then once they are legal, to look for further solutions. Right now the Government is not in control of who is and who is not in the country, and this is bad policy. I am not sure what the correct solution should be but it is well beyond the CIS capacity to handle 12+ million AOS applications, so the idea to let unauthorized immigrants apply for AOS all at once simply cannot work. The acceptable solution should involve all legal immigrants, not just those who happen to be out of status. Those legal immigrants China or India suffer from retrograssion as well, and they will never get a green card if 12 million new people are pumped into the system.

    Incidentally, I think that making people walk a longer path to a grean card is an appropriate panishment for fence-jumping or overstay. A one time fee of 5K is simply not enough, but getting more money from these people is not realistic. Having a green card has great economic value, and delaying it by a number of years while making people stand in line paying smaller fees along the way is a sensible way to cover government's cost as they arise. To make it economically meaningful unauthorized immigrants would have to stay in line for a long time, say $500/year sounds like a doable amount, and over 15-20 year it would add up to a meaningful amount. For example if you are out of status for < 1 year, your path is longer by 3 years. If the period of unauthorized stay is between 1 and 3 years, your path is longer by 10 years etc.

    Incidentally, my own path to a green card was almost 15 years (through F/J/H visa), and I was legal all the way so I do not think this is too cruel.





  13. hmm's Avatar
    I resent the idea that "oh we have a problem with unauthorized immigrants so let's open a back door for them". I suggest to first make them legal immigrants, and then open the front door a bit wider for all legal immigrants.
  14. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    Beppe - There have been a couple of reports in the news - Roll Call and The Hill. Plus, my own sources have given me additional details that are not appropriate to report.
  15. Another Voice's Avatar
    The whole point of doing this is to confront McCain with his own legislation, the no green card swap for a visa and no path towards citizenship is a presumption in the negotiation(which has not begun). The whole point of this is to make it a political grenade, therefore the closest to path of citizenship which is what Mccain/kenedy did the more effective it will be, otherwise what is the point of doing it. This has nothing to do with making it fair or anything like that, is a pure political play.
  16. AD's Avatar
    "The whole point of this is to make it a political grenade, therefore the closest to path of citizenship ..."

    Well, then why bother with a green card at all? Frame it such that anyone who can pass the citizenship test can walk in and get naturalized.

    I like this solution because it avoids fouling up the rest of the immigration system and firmly sets the cat amongst the pigeons. Sure, it will seriously affect naturalization proceedings, but then the people affected will have serious political power behind them so their complaints about delays will be heard.
  17. indianGuy's Avatar
    I support this 5 year visa program which provides no path to green cards and citizenship. I think most moderate republicans support this too. The economy needs these workers. This is a sensible approach.

    But the that ridiculuous immigration reform bill pushed by the hispanic lobby last year has totally resulted in a backlash from the public. I doubt that even this modest bill will pass.
  18. Another voice's Avatar
    "Well, then why bother with a green card at all? Frame it such that anyone who can pass the citizenship test can walk in and get naturalized."

    Because the point of doing this is to make McCain run from his own legislation which says: Learn english, pay back taxes, pay a fine and get in line. Republicans do not want this therefore by attacking this legislation they would be attacking their own candidate in the middle of the election. Either that or support the legislation in an effort to difuse the situation. Read Greg's blog posting on the issue, he is the one that actually brought this to everyone's atention as a possible political move by the dems.
  19. Another voice's Avatar
    "I support this 5 year visa program which provides no path to green cards and citizenship. I think most moderate republicans support this too. The economy needs these workers. This is a sensible approach"

    For this move it does not really matter if it is a sensible approach or not only what is going to give either party political gain.
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