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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

NOT EVERYONE DESERVES THE RIGHT TO IMMIGRATE

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When we fill out an I-485 application to adjust status for our clients, there are a number of questions that I have never, ever had to answer in the affirmative. And thank goodness. Have you ever engaged in political assassination? A hijacking?  Killed someone on account of their race or religion? And then there's the Nazi question. We know a number of them hid their pasts and made it in to the US. The late Simon Weisenthal achieved fame tracking them down. But after 62 years, are there any still alive in the US who have yet to be identified and deported? There are still a few and one apparently recently turned up in a retirement community in Arizona. He admitted to his role in atrocities and has been deported.



The Department of Justice has a unit called the Office of Special Investigations devoted to tracking down and deporting Nazi war criminals. In the next few years, there work tracking down Nazis will obviously come to a conclusion. But they are in the process of transitioning in their mission to track down perpetrators of more recent atrocities and are now investigating war criminals from places like Chile, Bosnia and Cambodia. We can all hope that one day, we'll no longer need an OSI because there will be no war criminals in the world. Until then, it is good to know that we have an OSI.   

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  1. Middle Ground's Avatar
    Not everyone deserves amnesty either. For example, anyone convicted of a felony.

    Most of the Nazis from the WWII generation are dead or dying of old age. Hopefully OSI is successful at apprehending the latest breed of war criminals.

    Until we have strong interior enforcement there is really very little we can do about these people living beneath the radar. How many current or future "Eichmans" will live freely in this country because of our weak interior enforcement?

    I think the one thing the pro-illegal immigration crowd has right is that a 10 foot wall will only result in an abundance of 11 foot ladders. Interior enforcement - focused on the workplace - is the best solution to this problem. And that will enable the OSI to do their jobs more effectively.
  2. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    Hi MG - Knew I could get your attention with this post. Incidentally, US immigration law already bars most felons (and a lot of folks only convicted of misdemeanors) from immigrating and the legalization program would not have changed that. I know you didn't suggest it, but a lot of the antis have been trying to convey the false impression that convicted criminals were somehow going to benefit from the legalization program.
  3. Middle Ground's Avatar
    "antis have been trying to convey the false impression that convicted criminals were somehow going to benefit from the legalization program. "

    It's unfortunate that both sides can't have an honest debate about this. I agree that "antis" as you call them introduce arguments that aren't entirely truthful. Both sides do.

    I don't see anything wrong with amnesty as long as tough workplace enforcement comes along with it - and those enforcements are actually carried out. Hopefully Congress can get it right this time around.

    If after the amnesty laws in the 80s were passed enforcement provisions were also passed, we wouldn't be where we are today.

    Amnesty isn't the problem. The fact that our only real option is amnesty is the problem. We painted ourselves into a corner because Congress for the past 20+ years didn't have the appetite to really tackle this issue before it became an issue again.

    But that is the story of Congress. They don't really pre-empt problems. They wait until we have a crises until they act.
  4. grouchy's Avatar
    Greg i'm just curious. I have a question.

    Does this former Nazi hitman- Mr Hartmann still has family members in the US? If so, how would this affect their legalization here, connected to past atrocities of their father? And since he was already been deported, are there any consequences or grounds that possibly face his family in the future? Thanks.
  5. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    MG - I agree. Like just about every hard decision Congress needs to make - on the federal budget, Social Security, health care, immigration, etc. - Congress will ignore the problem and hope it goes away rather than taking it head on. When people complain that the '86 amnesty didn't work, I remind them that it worked quite well for the 3,000,000 people already here, but it never dealt with the future of the country. The same is true today. We can have a legalization program, but without some accounting for the need for a guest worker program and also future demand for green cards, we'll have this debate again in another ten or fifteen years.
  6. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    Grouchy - No idea about family, but I suspect if there are any, the kids were born here.
  7. Middle Ground's Avatar
    "but without some accounting for the need for a guest worker program and also future demand for green cards, we'll have this debate again in another ten or fifteen years. "

    I think it needs to be on "auto-pilot". The annual caps should be based on economic data. You can bet that you and I will debate our asses off on what constistutes the best source of this economic data ;-) but arbitrary caps clearly don't work.

    Plus, I think preferences should be given (based on salary, experience, and degree) so that "elite" immigration programs like the H-1b and L1 are really directed at the best and brightest and not primarily a source of cheap labor.

    When times are tough for us (like from 2001-2003) the cap was raised. I don't want that occuring ever again. It added insult to injury.

    What you don't seem to always remember is how vivid those years still are on the minds of hundreds of thousands of IT professionals who took direct hits to their careers. And how industry groups like the ITAA created these imaginary shortages to justify it - while at the same time labor data indicated high unemployment and massive job cuts.

    During the high h-1b cap, we noticed a huge decline in opportunities. Now that the cap fell to historic levels, we are noticing a better situation. Certainly not like it was during the tech bubble, but much better than 2001-2003. I don't care what you do with doctors, but IT numbers need to remain in balance with where they are today.

    It was clearly a slight on American IT workers what occured from 2001-2003.
  8. TX's Avatar
    "Plus, I think preferences should be given (based on salary, experience, and degree) so that "elite" immigration programs like the H-1b and L1 are really directed at the best and brightest and not primarily a source of cheap labor."

    And what would you do with those people who work on the farms? Just because the profession does'nt require a degree and does'nt pay much does'nt mean it's not important. If we forget about the low skilled low paid we will still have the issue because these people are indeed doing jobs that no one else wants.
  9. Middle Ground's Avatar
    "And what would you do with those people who work on the farms? "

    We are mixing two different programs (the focus of my last post were the H-1b/L1 visas). For low-skilled jobs, I still believe in economic measurements to determine caps - as opposed to arbitrary numbers. Obviously a college degree won't apply.

    In all cases, I support full portability of visas from one employer to another - with no negative consequence on impemending immigrations requests, such as permanent residence.

    Employers (or at least their lobbyists) oppose portability because they want indentured workers unable to participate on the free labor market.

    People say "oh, you only support portability and a GC instead of the H-1b because you are trying to change the subject - and you really want to block all H-1b legislation." Suppose I really didn't care about immigrants (which is not the case). My other motivation is simple - exploitation of immigrants harms American workers. So it is in my economic interest that immigrants not be exploited by their employers.
  10. Legal Immi's Avatar
    Greg,

    Is there is any law that prohibits americans from displaying nazi flags in their front yard.

    I saw one hoisted in Columbus OH , in a predominantly black/gay neighborhood. I know that it is disgusting to display one, but my question is whether it is protected by First Amendment.

    By simple smell test, I have a feeling that it is indeed protected by first amendment. Any comments?

  11. Middle Ground's Avatar
    "By simple smell test, I have a feeling that it is indeed protected by first amendment. Any comments?"

    It's protected speech. I believe displays that are threatening in nature are not protected. For example, (and this is discusting I know) a noose from a tree hanging a black person in effigy in conjuction with swastikas would probably not be protected.

    I had heard that the Osama t-shirts with OBL in the crosshairs of a rifle scope (sold shortly after 9/11) were deemed illegal in some states.

    It is like yelling "fire" in a theatre. Some forms of speech are not protected because of public safety issues.

    I stayed at a Holiday Day Inn Express. ;-)
  12. legal-forever-waiting-forever's Avatar
    Just curious- MG- clearly the enhanced quotas during 2001-03 have played their parts in the current immigration impasse. But were these not put in place before the tech bust actually started? In other words I'm wondering if it was lack of foresight or malfeasance on the part of companies that knew a bust was coming?
  13. Middle Ground's Avatar
    "But were these not put in place before the tech bust actually started? In other words I'm wondering if it was lack of foresight or malfeasance on the part of companies that knew a bust was coming?"

    The ITAA was crying shortage long after the tech bust occured. I can't possibly know what they were thinking before the bust occured, but what I know for certain is that after there was already massive job loss in IT, Congress voted to raise the H-1b cap from 115,000 to 195,000 at the behest of industry.

    In short, it wasn't a lack of forsight. It was malfeasance.
  14. Legal Immi's Avatar
    "In short, it wasn't a lack of forsight. It was malfeasance."

    This is what left parties think all over the world about the business. Some how these left guys want us to beleive that everyone running a business is evil.

    BTW how many resumes did programmers guild send to microsoft. I beleive they were asked to send qualified resumes to microsoft.

  15. Middle Ground's Avatar
    "This is what left parties think all over the world about the business. Some how these left guys want us to beleive that everyone running a business is evil. "

    I run a business. I am hardly a leftist. This isn't about party or some anti (global) business agenda. This is about ethics. The IT lobbyists (such as the ITAA) completely lack ethics. The facts are clear. During the times that IT workers were suffering from massive job loss, the ITAA was crying shortage. You can pull the "leftist business hater card" if you want, but the facts speak for themself.

    As far as applicationst to Microsoft, they hire a small percentage of applicants. It is a desireable company to work for. It is laughable that they can't find qualified workers when damn near every IT worker in the country is trying to work for them.
  16. legal-forever-waiting-forever's Avatar

    I think the H1 increases were all voted on together and were put in place before the bust. they did not vote to increase from 115,000 to 195,000- in fact i think they voted to increase from 65,000 step wise ever year up to 195,000 (over 2-3 years) all in one vote. So the increases were already set in place and were automatic. Once the provision sunset the numbers came back to the original. Correct me if I'm mistaken here.
  17. Legal Immi's Avatar
    "As far as applicationst to Microsoft, they hire a small percentage of applicants. It is a desireable company to work for. It is laughable that they can't find qualified workers when damn near every IT worker in the country is trying to work for them."

    Every one wants to work for google too, it does not mean that everyone is qualified to work for the google or microsoft. Trust me given a choice google or microsoft dont want to deal with immigration issues because the kind of cost they have to pay for the immigration process on top of the salary. Hiring a foreign worker is much more expensive than hiring an american worker.

    Recently a friend of mine was hired by a big insurance company and their corporate law firm charged $8k in fees for transferring the H1B.

    The supporters of Sen. Durbin make us beleive that giving a releif to the EB immigrants is somehow hurt american workers where as giving mass "amnesty" by dream act is good.

    Just for the argument sake lets assume that there 4 million people eligible for dream act legalization out of which a million end up in IT. Doesn't this hurt american IT worker?


    One cannot be for mass legalization of 12 to 20 million people and at the same time want to put more restrictions on legal immigration. The end result of that kind of policy is repeat of 1986 legalization.





  18. Sid's Avatar
    The whole theory about H-1B's being hired in hordes while Americans were being laid off during the bust years is a whole lot of bull. I graduated in 2002 and plenty of my friends had to return to India because no one would sponsor an H-1B. Fortunately, I found a job and managed to stay afloat on the OPT till things started improving towards the end of 2003. A lot of my ex-colleagues in India who were on H-1B were laid off and had to go back during 2000-2002. To say that H-1B's were not laid off during the bust years is the biggest lie perpetrated by the H-1B opponents.
  19. 's Avatar
    "The ITAA was crying shortage long after the tech bust occured. I can't possibly know what they were thinking before the bust occured, but what I know for certain is that after there was already massive job loss in IT, Congress voted to raise the H-1b cap from 115,000 to 195,000 at the behest of industry."

    This is not true. The H1B cap was raised from 115,000 to 195,000 in October 2000. The 2001 recession did not start until March 2001.

    http://www.zazona.com/ShameH1B/H1BHistory.htm
    http://www.nber.org/cycles.html
  20. 's Avatar
    Things didn't start going seriously south until the first quarter of 2001. Microsoft warned in Dec 2000, but Adobe and Oracle actually managed to beat estimates.

    http://www.crn.com/it-channel/18812641

    http://www.smartmoney.com/bn/index.cfm?story=20001215094054
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