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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy


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Immigrants' List, a pro-immigration political action committee, raised $110,000 in its most recent filing period to support pro-immigration candidates around the US.

According to IL, the PAC outperformed two of its leading anti-immigration rivals.

"This information sheds light
on what we saw in last year's elections," said Immigrants' List Executive
Director Drew Seman, "Despite their scare tactics, these anti-immigrant groups
are ineffective at shaping public opinion.
The American people rejected enforcement-only, anti-immigrant candidates
in 2006 and polls consistently show over 65% of Americans support comprehensive immigration
reform today."

"Even though we were out-raised
we're more powerful & have done more for candidates than our anti-immigrant
opponents," said Seman.


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  1. INSpector's Avatar
    Last month a group of immigrants including myself were present in one of the events of the democrats (Ms Clinton and Mr.Obama in South Carolina, we gave some contribution to them, later during the dinner we were talking about how important is to have a group or association to collect and reflect our contributions as "immigrants" in that way we can have the attention of those candidates running for the big chairs in the goverment.

    Some how as Immigrants we are important for politics as future capital but until today we were not counted as money contributors in any of the campaigns.

    Gregg with your posting I'm learning about this committe and I will send your link to my friends so we can contribute for those candidates that support our dream to live in this great country.
  2. In Immigration Limbo's Avatar
    When you say pro-immigrant, does that really pro amnesty? And when you say anti-immigrant, do you really mean politicians opposed to amnesty? This is an important distinction, as many pro-amnesty politicians are also against legal immigration for protectionist reasons (Durbin being a prime example), and some politicians against amnesty may be for an increase in legal immigration (Ben Nelson who voted against CIR comes to mind).

    Amnesty and legal immigration are two different issues. Legal immigrants have a right to now how politicians stand in regards to legal immigrants, not just in regards to amnesty.
  3. johnny's Avatar
    blurring those distinction is how they screw the pooch
  4. Another voice's Avatar
    I think in many cases some legal immigrants also have family memebers that are here illegally. While amnesty would solve the huge problem of the poeple that live in the shadows. Legal immigrants need help making the process easier as well. Never the less any organization that helps immigrants of any status is a good organization. I think to try to put illegal immigrants againts legal immigrants does not make sense. One way or another all immigrants are here to get a piece of the American Dream. If politicians want to hide behind those notions of either be pro amnesty or pro legal immigration to justify their votes so be it but as long as they suport immigrants at least they are helping someone its great that all immigrants show political strenght through these organizations. We should all donate money to this PAC that is the language of the polititians MONEY.
  5. In Immigration Limbo's Avatar
    I wouldn't give them a dime unless they are trying to find out where politicians stand on all the issues surrounding immigration. How would they vote on H1-B? Schedule A? EB numbers and caps? Changing the length of time you are tied to an employer? Points system? etc., etc.

    We need to hold their feet to the fire on details (which is darn near impossible with politicians). Being supposedly "pro-immigrant" can mean different things to different people and won't cut it with me.
  6. USC's Avatar

    I agree. If amnesty is to be anything more than a band aid fix it must resolve the underlying problem. That means an increase in Legal Immigration to realistic levels. It also means that relatives of USCs and GCs who don't intend to immigrate to the US should be able to visit their families without having to prove a negative, ie. that they are not intending immigrants.

    If amnesty is not accompanied by the underlying fix then it will be 1986 all over again.
  7. Legal nd waiting's Avatar
    Limbo, there is very few of polititians like that - if you look closely, they tent to be one way (legalization + more legal immigration) or the other (no legalization and less legal immigration).

    USC, I agree 'amnesty' is just fixing the symptoms, not the source of the problem. But 'no amnesty ever' approach is also flawed. People will always fall through the cracks. There have to be a realistic mechanism for those who fell through the cracks to get back in status (and 10 years outside the US is NOT going to cut). Call it 'rolling amnesty' call it legalization, whatever you call it, does not matter. The whole thing is that people should be able to get back into the system (they should be willing to work on it, but nothing's free).

    I am, though, against Z-visa types of programs (relief specifically tailored to those who are illegal on date X). I think, existing immigration channels should be adjusted to accomodate legalization, and then those who are getting legalized should be going through the same channels as other immigrants.
  8. drew from immigrants list's Avatar
    Hi its drew from immigrants list here to clear up some questions.

    1. We ask candidates about a range of issues from skilled visas to due process to family reunification to a z visa program. A copy of our questionnaire is available our website under the candidates section .

    2. The otherside we are speaking of is the anti-immigration pacs such as the minutemen. These groups are for lower quotas for workers, less family reunification and an attrition approach to illegal immigrants. The so-called Americans For Legal Immigration Reform had a message board specifcally calling on people not to sign our petition for I485 last month.

    3. As the elections heat up there will be more on specific candidates and races we are targeting. The main reason for this is that we want to make sure money is going to candidates who are in competitive districts that need it the most. We current have a short survey on our site to learn more about the commnities priorities and races that people feel we should be targeting.

    Many politicians are scared of supporting immigration reform for political reasons. No ones ever been afraid to oppose it. There's always been the anti-immigrant groups out there attacking, now there is finally someone on the our side so together we can change that.

    You're all welcome to call or email me anytime - this is a supporter driven organization. 202-939-8644 or

  9. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    Thanks Drew. I wanted to post the announcement from Immigrants List because I've met Drew and know the folks at IL and believe strongly in the work they're doing.
  10. In Immigration Limbo's Avatar
    Of course, many of us in the process of immigrating cannot vote, and I doubt we could get our friends or neighbors to change their vote based on this single issue. I don't know if it would be legal for non U.S. citizens to even donate to a political candidate or party, and the optics may be bad if it is seen that "foreigners" like us are trying to influence the outcome of the elections here. If nothing else, however, this is raising the profile of these issues with candidates, which is great and well worth the effort. If they make a commitment, it will be hard for them to backpedal if they get into office without looking like hypocrites.

    Many of our American friends and neighbors are shocked to learn how restrictive U.S. immigration policies are and how punitive the rules can be.

  11. drew from immigrants list's Avatar
    Thanks Limbo - The rule for donating to a candidate or party is that you have to be a US Citizen or Permanent Resident. Like you said, the concern is that foreign governments or business interests could otherwise control elections.

    But, there is also the civic participation element. For example, beyond calling and mailing members of Congress, which is certainly important given how much noise the other side has made with it, many campaigns have no problem with immigrants volunteering - whether it be licking envelopes, making phone calls or knocking on doors. The work volunteers do may not be directly related to immigration, because like you said there are many issues voters care about, but candidates will know why the volunteers are there & if we can get more pro-immigration reform candidates elected that's a big step in this battle.

    So building awareness about organizations like ours will go along way to mobilizing the pro-immigration reform community for current battles & next years elections.
  12. Another Immigrant's Avatar
    I just started noticing about Immigrant List

    Reading the article below , I realised the Murthy is a co-founder of the Immigrants List.

    I really really dont want to see any lawyer on the organization like Immigrats List. They can give suggestions but I cannot digest seeing them as co-founder. Once the lawyers are there , it would drift away from the main goal as they try to acheive their personnel goals from whatever media, like exactly what she did above.
  13. Another voice's Avatar
    Another Immigrant,
    I am not a lawyer but

    I do not see what is the big hang up about having a lawyer involved with immigrant List. After us it is the Laws that this whole movement is trying to change and lawyers would be the ones helping immigrants to achieve their goals of going through an immigration process. If by their personal goal you mean that they are active professionally and this benefits them as well that is fine after all this is their professional career.
  14. Another Immigrant's Avatar
    Lawyers have AILA,AILF to do their job to help immigrants. Lawyers never help to make the immigration process easy as it does not help them (by making the process easy). Not only me but many have reservations to see lawyers on orgnizations like Immigrats List.
  15. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    I'd second what another voice says. Most immigration lawyers I know chose this field because they are genuinely (and usually passionately) pro-immigration. There are plenty of more lucrative fields to go into, that's for sure.

    I'd remind readers that most of the pro-immigration developments over the last 25 years have been the result of lawyers advocating on behalf of the client community.

    If you think lawyers only advocate to make the process complicated, I think you don't know immigration lawyers very well. A lot of us probably would be social workers if we weren't lawyers.
  16. USC's Avatar
    It is important that a PAC have as its members a broad cross-section of society, that should include lawyers. I would commend Murthy for being a member. It is unimportant as to who gets credit as long as the goals are accomplished.

    I would further add that most immigration lawyers are adovocates for immigrants, most law-makers are lawyers, as is Zoe!!
  17. Another Immigrant's Avatar
    I have high regard for lawyers like you. I am not telling that just for the sake of telling.

    For others
    All lawyers are pro-immigrant but not all for making pro-immigration process easy.
    I dont have any issues lawyers as normal members in IL givign their in-valueable suggestions.But as board member and co-founder? No. Big No. IL may not be able to work on the ideal goals properly having lawyers on the board.
  18. USC's Avatar
    "But as board member and co-founder? No. Big No. IL may not be able to work on the ideal goals properly having lawyers on the board."

    Why? I think the opposite would be true. They would be able to highlight what laws need to change and the implication theroff and how to lobby Congress.

    BTW, IL's list of founders and members is a virtual who's who of the immigration bar. Some of the prominent names include:

    Carl Shusterman, Daniel Kowalski, Lincoln Stone, Stephen Yale-Loehr and last but certainly not least Greg Siskind!

    These folks should be commended for getting involved. Your post also raises another question, if the immigration bar doesn't do it, who will? Certainly, those of you waiting for GC status are barred from founding or contributing to a PAC. That leaves GCs and USCs, while some of the more enlightened folks among them will support your cause most of them are no longer directly affected by immigration and may choose to devote their energies to other causes.
  19. Another Immigrant's Avatar
    Ok . Let me re-phrase it.I used the word Ideal Goals. It includes making the process easy . I dont have any issues using the experience of well-known Immigration Lawyers especailly who re-tired from the business (not in the business guys). If IL main worry is about gathering funds and If you think Immigration Lawyers is the only viable main source then I have already have the idea about what kind of acheivements they might make, it will certainly not include the immigration process friendly. It means only 50% of what an immigrant actually wants. i wish IL all best though.
  20. Tom Day's Avatar
    I and most Americans think that Lawyers such as yourselves are dangerous to this country's future. You wonder why most have an unsavory view of us. I am an attorny that do not view illegal aliens as having the same rights as citizens of this country, we would do better representing people who don't want to open our country to lawlessness. We are suppose to find truth in the law, not obstruct the law. I find your confusion of illegal immigration and anti-immigration to be intentional, done solely to advance your own agendas. Yes, Americans do not want to support amnesty for people who break our laws. There is nothing moral about illegal immigration, this is about how much money and other gains one can get by cheating, it is a law and order issue, so do not think that your views are the majority in this country, quite the contrary. If your views were correct, this would not be an issue with Americans of all types fighting what they see as unfair treatment for people who play on the sympathy of Americans and their disrespect of American law. Racism has nothing to do with illegal immigration, you pro-illegals are the only people throwing that into the mix, why, because you have no other argument, you just can't argue the fact that someone is here legally or illegally. The people that want our immigration laws enforced in the country will prevail. Americans do not want their tax dollars to support illegal aliens, period. Why don't you try getting your groups to help the illegal's change their countries of origin?
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