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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy


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This is just embarrassing, though far from surprising. A major policy decision in Congress that affects nearly every American was largely dictated by talk radio hosts and their minions of listeners. People have the right to listen to these shows, but have you ever listened to them? This is hardly a forum for enlightened, in depth civil discussions of the issues of the day. Let me be gentle here. These hosts are not exactly scholars and their audiences are not exactly examples of independent thought. In short, they're the 21st answer to the pitchfork wielding mob. Anger = ratings and life's losers want to have someone tell them that someone else is responsible for all of their problems.

And now these folks are calling the shots for the rest of us. The rest of us who have jobs, families and meaningful lives with no time to spend three or four hours each day listening to the svengalis of the airwaves. You know how I know you're not a fight wing talk radio listener? You know what "svengali" means.


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  1. hmm's Avatar
    Greg, why are you posting this? I thought you agreed with AILA and other reasonable folks that CIR was completely unworkable as written.

    I personally do not have any strong feelings on legalizing illegal immigrants, even though I do wish that the Government first build a workable USCIS before trying to digest 12 millions of new clients. But I cannot express how grateful I am to those conservative bloggers for taking the CIR down: it would be a disaster to all legal immigrants like myself. And BTW unlike most people shouting on the subject, I did read the bill, and I completely agree with AILA: it is awful.
  2. A2007's Avatar
    Well said "hmm"! I'm not one of those people with 3 hours a day to listen to talk radio however, I was one of those who did call Congress and sign petitions against CIR. Why? Because I am a legal immigrant and still stuck in this debacle not even worth calling a system. I know that many of those of people who brought down the Bill and shut down the phone system were not right wing talk radio listeners, but people just like us who want fair treatment.

    With a potential 300,000 now in the I-485 queue since the July debacle, most people will have to wait at least 2 years to get a Green card they are owed. I can't imagine how the USCIS could handle those 12 million without us legals suffering even futher.
  3. alex's Avatar
    I don't think Greg is that much worried about CIR itself as he is about the political process. The article is sensationalist and it is trying to exploit this whole notion of how a small vocal uneducated minority can dictate laws and influence the lives of others. I don't believe this is true, however. CIR didn't have any legs to stand on in the first place. And the idea that noisy conservative voters matter is baloney. There's only one thing I can say to those who wrote this stupid article - "Follow the money!"
  4. hmm's Avatar
    2 year to get a GC? This is VERY optimistic. I am in this country for almost 13 years. Legally. Only my name check is 2.5 year old now.

    Want me to remind some nasty features of CIR?
    1) point system (taking all control from employers and giving it guess where? to the Government. As if it is doing a great job on immigration).
    2) H1B is no longer dual intent. How on earth those H1B would adjust status in the US?
    3) restricting immigration for parents of US citizens.
    4) no country limit for Z visa applicants (no offense by why are illegal immigrants from Mexico are better than legal ones from China/India who suffer from country limits?)

    This is more than enough to say to CIR: good riddance.
  5. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    hmm... I think if you read my blog posts last spring you'll see that I'm one of the moderates on the CIR bill and was of the opinion that "the perfect is the enemy of the good." The bill would have had many opportunities to improve it after it went past the extremists in the Senate where 60% was required to pass. In the Senate it is much easier to stop a bill than to pass a bill so once you get something through there, the path gets a lot easier.

    By the way, AILA was one of the groups pushing to pass CIR and then make changes later - like me.
  6. Dream Act guy's Avatar
    All those nasty provisions came from haggling with the anti-immigrant crowd. Last year's CIR was much better and hopefully future versions of CIR will look like last year's bill.

    The system is broken and all Mr. Siskind was trying to say is that talk show listeners (not exactly the brightest bunch) have a disproportionate influence on the process.

  7. hmm's Avatar
    Greg: thanks for clarifying your and AILA's position. I am afraid I am with Michelle Malkin on this one, not with you.

    Dream Act guy: not sure whom you call "anti-immigrant crowd". I think out of my "nasty features" 3) comes from Republicans, and the rest comes from Democrats.
  8. 's Avatar
    I wasn't talking about your list hmm since obviously, I dont consider the Z-Visa provision, a nasty feature (#4 on your list). The points system, though, was Sen. Kyl's (R-AZ) idea due to his desire to replace the current family/employment based immigration system with a "merit" based one.

    I'll still be pulling for the SKIL bill, H1B increase, and other pro legal immigrant measures because you can't fix a broken system without revamping the whole system; something that hmm (and Malkin) disagree with.
  9. a2007's Avatar
    You can't deal with 12 m (actually more like 20 M) illegals if you can't enforce the border and process those that have been waiting more than 10 years legally. It's as simple as that. Illegals have no rights because they are not legally present.

    As for 13 years waiting - ..hmm.... I suggest you had better contact your Congressman instead of just waiting. Something is wrong. I've had to use the system and it pushed things along. I intend to write again if I am not through the I-485 within 6 months from start to finish. If you have legitimate business reasons, and are potentially in a senior position impacting revenues and this country, our politicians do take action.
  10. Legal Immi's Avatar
    I dont think hmm was saying Z visa provision was a nasty one totally. His point was about the country based quotas in relation to Z Visa and how green cards are allocated for them. The essence of the proposal was that if you are legally waiting for a green card you have to go thru the quotas and if you are here illegally you dont have any quotas or restrictions.
  11. big tuna's Avatar
    Well, as a legal immigrant the only thing I can say about CIR is "Good riddance!" This bill was dead from the start. I don't think any reasonable person ever expected it to pass. It was the garbage truck where everybody dumped a crap load of ideas and ammendments on it, and finally the truck gave in to all the weight and broke down.
  12. 's Avatar
    CIR's attempt at creating a pseudo green card (the Z-visa) was specially galling seeing how the flood of applications filed during the last 245(i) amnesty in 2001 haven't finished working their way through the system. It was doubly galling in that people present legally were not allowed to file for the Z-visa.

  13. Things that make you go hmmmm's Avatar
    It is disappointing that it is automatically assumed that peeple who listen to talk radio and disaggree with illeegal immigration are labeled as uneducated and incapable of independent thot. It was more than talk radio that killed this week bill.

    This supercilious attitude of thinking, "we know what's best for you" is harmful to discourse. The left clearly has television and the print media on its side and struggle with the fact that the rite actually has a voice with talk radio. A UCLA study discusses media bias tilting left: Journalists give to Democrats at a 9-1 ratio: It is definitely something that makes you go hmmmm. (I love C&C Music Factory!) Personally, I would love to see balance in all forms of the media.

    Most of us want immigration reform but not at the expense of a bad bill like the last one. More visas should be made available. Agriculture is definitely one area where visas are needed and a path to citizenship is important but gaining this by coming legally.

    I am guessing the studies are about to attacked. By the way, I no I spelled things incorrectly.
  14. hmm's Avatar
    I think CIR had a real chance of passing in the Senate, because it had a sense of ambitious undertaking, something that politicians just love.

    Yes, most major newspapers and TV supported legalizing illegal immigrants, so the conservative bloggers and talk shows just filled the void. I was reading Malkin just because she was the only person blogging live from the Senate floor; AILA's evening summaries were helpful too but that was not real time. And I think no mainstream news source ever mentioned that CIR would mean major change for legal immigration. All CNN could talk about was illegal immigrants, and even then most of what CNN wrote/said was factually wrong: the devil is in the detail. Seems like US immigration is too complex to be covered objectively in the mainstream media.
  15. USC's Avatar
    Very eloquent words, Greg.
  16. drew from immigrants list's Avatar
    Progressive talk radio talks about Iraq because it whats most effective with their audience.

    Conservative talk radio talks about immigration because right now its one of the few issues they can really unite behind. They can't unite behind or against the President because even among conservatives the President isn't doing that well. They can't talk as much about the '08 elections as progressive talk because conservatives aren't as happy with their field - Mitt Romney was a guest on Sean Hannity last week & the next morning he was being bashed by Chris Core.

    For Progressive talk, immigration is a more divisive issue for their base. While many of their listeners support reform, some are against more workers - skilled or unskilled - for fear of it driving down wages (an incorrect assumption). But all of their listeners are upset with the war in health care, Iraq & Bush. So much like conservative talk, they go to what their base is most upset about.
  17. TX's Avatar
    I guess now it's a compitition between the candidates on who can bash immigrants stronger and for longer. I wonder how people like Mitt Romney expect to win the national election with this kind of record on immigration?;_ylt=ApcUwOTh.G9JA0aN6NuCEvCs0NUE
  18. Another Voice's Avatar
    I think the republicans know that they have no chance in hell of pulling 2008 off. They are picking immigration because its easy to make it a scape goat for all their incompetence this radio talk shows are selling that to their audience. It is the only thing they can get behind and stick their head in the sand for all that Bush has done wrong in the past 7 years and counting. Unfortunatly now the dems want to also use the issue as a carrot stick with the promisse of future CIR at some point either way Immigration is just a promisse now and let's remember politicians are not known to fullfill their campaign promises. We immigrants are at the bottom of the bottom of the food chain illegal or legal.
  19. D's Avatar

    Well, Immigration Voice is trying to get the pro-immigration message out there and push for changes for the EB categories.
    They have a rally on September 18th and days of lobbying members of Congress to gain support for such changes.
  20. lorenzo's Avatar
    I used to like Immigration Voice and even made some contributions in the beginning, until I learned they are pushing for removing the per-Country visa number limits. This is an action that only benefits Indian immigrants at the expense of everybody else. They fail to mention that if such measure passes, then 90% of all visas will go to Indian nationals who outnumber everybody else, and that the chances of a person not from India of getting a visa will become minuscule. Even people from China will start experiencing significantly longer waits than before.

    This is really shameful because I though Immigration Voice was all inclusive and looked out for the interests of all EB immigrants. Now I realize that it is run by Indian nationals who only want to further their own interests. Consequently, now that they've lost all their credibility to me, I won't be attending any of their rallies and won't help further their divisive and selfish goals.
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