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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy


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My friend Tamar Jacoby, who is probably the foremost authority in the US on the impact of immigration policy on the American economy, has an opinion piece in today's Los Angeles Times that will hopefully wake some people up. Tamar's prediction that the new no-match rule could cripple the California economy should wake up some of the Republicans out there who somehow reconcile being anti-immigration with their purported pro-immigration views. Wanna make your head explode? Go to the typical anti-immigrant Republican's web site and go to the issues section. Click on issues relating to business and you will see these folks touting their high ratings by pro-business organizations, bills they've sponsored to help small business, attacks on "big labor", etc. And then they'll take the most anti-business positions in Congress on immigration. Either they don't understand the connection between their immigration positions and the ability of American businesses to prosper and be competitive or, to be cynical, they've judged they have more to gain politically by chucking those pro-business principles. They'll tout wanting to be law-and-order focused, but they also are not willing to create a system that allows employers to legally bring in adequate numbers of workers.

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  1. Beta_mle's Avatar
    Greg, just a thought: I read your blog everyday, several times a day. You could say that I'm addicted. However, I am concerned by what appears to be partisan politics creeping in. Now this is your blog and you can write whatever you want, and every American is entitled to a political affiliation, but if you are percieved as being partisan, you will lose your effectiveness, and you will no longer be perceived as an objective commentator on immigration issues. There are few things more divisive than party politics. Anyone who appears politically biased has just lost a sizeable portion of their potential audience and a great deal of respect. I think you are too much of a valuable commentator and I would hate to see you go down that way.

    Selah. Just my two cents.
  2. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    Thanks Beta - I probably should be a little more neutral, but this year the GOP has really, really angered me. Three of their major candidates completely abandoned their strong pro-immigration histories - Giuliani, McCain and Brownback. And one of their candidates, Tom Tancredo, is running on the single issue of immigration. When the pro-immigration, pro-business wing of the GOP starts to reassert itself, it will be easier to right more positively about the Party. I think even President Bush - who I think is genuinely pro-immigration and is simply caught in a bad position - would agree with me.

    There are some Republicans I greatly respect on the immigration issue, though they seem to be well-hidden. Senator Mel Martinez is one. Congressmen Jeff Flake and Chris Cannon are two others. But just look at what the GOP has done to Flake - he was yanked off the Immigration Subcommittee as punishment for him co-sponsoring a moderate reform bill with a Democrat.

    If my posts are harsher toward the GOP, it's because they have a longer way to go to restore credibility on this issue. The Democrats aren't so wonderful across the board either. I've written some pretty tough pieces on Senator Durbin of Illinois, for example, who is the most anti-H-1B Senator I can think of.

    My point is that I really think that it's my role to bring attention to the real politics on the immigration issue. Few reporters out there understand immigration law well enough to be able to catch a lot of the nonsense and many of the organizations out there advocating on the immigration issue fear alienating the members of Congress they are lobbying. I can understand that, but I'm not under a similar constraint.

  3. Dee's Avatar
    I enjoyed your post. Tamar?s opinion piece was right on target. We need solid immigration reform, we need to remember the history of immigration in our country and why we are in the immigration mess we are in today.

    I didn?t think your post was leaning any particular way except for stating the obvious. However, I do recognize the ANTIs have done a great job in influencing the American public?s perspective and now their general view seems to be tilting their way. Hence, Tamar?s op-ed piece.

    Thank you for your post!! Here is my blog address. I hope you visit me.
  4. USC's Avatar
    "Senator Mel Martinez is one. Congressmen Jeff Flake and Chris Cannon are two others."

    I would also point out that the Democrats have their own version of Sessions et al. Namely, Senator Byrd, a man truly lost in time.

    I am sure that you would agree that Republican Senators Spector, McCain and Hagel also deserve credit for their courageous stand.
  5. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    Byrd is certainly as bad as the worst anti-immigrant in the opposing party. And given his own history as a member of the Ku Klux Klan and his supposed casting off of that past, one would think he would at least sit on the sidelines. As for the Senators you mention, there are a good 20 or so Republican Senators that I would say are friends on the immigration issue. But they are being bullied by the louder voices in their own party and have cowered to the talk radio crowd.
  6. Dream Act guy's Avatar
    I'm going to add in my two cents in that while you may not agree with other Democratic positions, most Democrats are pro-immigration and are the good guys/gals in this fight. We can't just say that both parties are equal on this issue when it was:

    1. the Republicans who sank CIR for this year and next

    2. the Republican House who passed that atrocious December 2005 immigration bill

    3. the Republican conservative base who are pushing their party to more xenophobic and anti-immigration positions

    4 the Republican hardliners who are against anything remotely pro-immigration like the Dream Act

    5. the Republican electorate who sank McCain's Presidential hopes because of his pro-immigration positions

    Granted, there are several Democratic members like that but they are few and far between. But on the Republican side, legislators like Martinez and McCain who are the exception not the norm. Trust me, I would love it if both parties were pro-immigration, but its the Republicans who are constantly on the wrong side of this issue.

    One last thing, complaining about anti-immigrant politicians (mostly Republican these days) on an immigration lawyer blog is not "partisan" politics.
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