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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy


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Secretary Chertoff is warning that an al Qaeda attack in the US is imminent and that a terror cell might try to sneak in to the country. If that turned out to be true, one is left asking whether Congress' failure to get a handle on immigration policy could prove especially costly. The plan torpedoed in the Senate would have poured billions of dollars in to border security and would have resulted in the vast majority of people currently entering illegally to go through inspected border crossings. That would make protecting the border a lot easier. And by bringing people out of the shadows, it would have been a lot easier for our law enforcement authorities to focus on the bad guys.

Keeping this in mind, I'll lay odds that if we do suffer another attack, the same blowhards in the Senate who killed the immigration bill will be blaming immigrants and the immigration system.


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  1. Sydney's Avatar
    This question about immigration has intrigued me for some time now, probably simply because there is no quick solution. No matter what we may dangle in the face of the illegals, still may not convince them in turning themselves in to under the proper process of becoming a citizen. There's definately going to have to be a lot trust going around...and looking at our present government that's hard to find. Anyways, I would like to share a feed from my site that introduces a different topic with regards to immigration. I call it "language racism"
  2. a2007's Avatar
    We didn't need an Amnesty bill to secure the border and enforce the current laws. Sorry but that Bill was unfair to everyone who played by the rules and is paying a lot to go nowhere right now.
  3. legal's Avatar
    Greg, I think this is just another smoke and mirrors. The administration's been feeling a lot of heat lately, re. Libby's sentence commutation, the failed immigration bill, Republican divide on Iraq, etc. Now the only thing they can do is what they know how to do best -- play on people's fears. The only effect this will have is to turn public opinion against immigrants (and foreigners) even more. People will be less receptive to the idea of anybody coming to the US ("Oh no! Their attacking us again!") and maybe the whole July bulletin revision will start looking like not such a bad idea after all.

    Just a thought.
  4. Legal and waiting's Avatar
    a, and how much do you know about the bill to call it unfair? How much do you know about the position of those who 'did not play by the rules'? I think you are a little too quick to judge. For once, if the bill were to become the law, we would not have had this whole EB retrogression problem.

    We watched those who are less fortunate than us getting slaughtered, guess what, now it is our turn.
  5. N S's Avatar

    I was about to say the same stuff you said. Its just a way of trying to divert attention. The easiest way is to play on security. The reason why I think this is a diversion is because most of the terrorism related stuff in UK is being busted very close to execution phases. How ever, In the US they have been finding them in planning stages, if any. As you said, if some thing happens, the immigrant community will be dealt a pretty hard blow.
  6. a2007's Avatar
    Legal and waiting -- Less fortunate? Those who break the law by jumping fences are less fortunate because they are law-breakers and as such have no legal status. Sorry but you're mixing things up. They broke the law and are getting punished for this. Even though they're not even punished or unfortunate in any way because they don't really care. For low-skill labour you don't need any documents at all, and picking lettuce hardly requires security clearance.

    Now USCIS broke the law and should be punished as well. The bill failed, so too bad, but USCIS screw-up is a transgression for which they should and will be brought to justice.

    Sorry but this is not some slaughter house where people are slaughtered in line based on their relative fortune. If you have sheep mentality, don't prescribe it to everybody else.
  7. Legal and waiting's Avatar
    a, relax. They are punished every day, and have been punished every day for many eyars over a minor violation of the law (by the way, only half of them 'jumped over the fense', the other overstaid visas). But unlike you and me, most of them never had a chance of immigrating legally - there are no H1s for laborers and only 10K EB visas annualy for 'other owrkers', you know. They did what they had to do, and no matter how mad you are at them, at the end of the day, they are literally putting the roof over your head and food on your table. At the very least, have some respect for that.

    As far as your sheep mentality - you were the one invoking it. Those who help other people, will be helped. Those indifferent to other people's fates will be next victims. I advocate not being a victim by helping others. This is apparently too low for you. Well, at the end of the day, illegals are 12 milliion strong, and we are a measely and not very powerful minority. If we want to lose, we should definitely distance ourselves from those dirty lawbreakers.

    USCIS did not break the law. They changed their regular practice and went against own regulations, but so far, there is no strong evidence of breaking the law.

    PS Rosa Parks broke the law, too. It's all relative (c)
  8. TX's Avatar
    Legal and waiting....... there's no use responding to the likes of depressed individuals like a2007. I call this a Lou Dobbs mentality. These people can never understand the situation of others and will always judge. Some of the undocumented that I personally have known were bought here as kids, one was only 3 months old when he came here from India. It's like Greg says, no punishment is harsh enough to satisfy them. Some within these groups such as Senator Vitter are so hypocrite that they think a crime like adultery is forgivable, but crossing the border is not. You can't even argue with these people.

    The anti-immigrant community is now slowly achieving its goal of dividing even the immigrant community between those who are waiting in line and those who crossed the border and are illegal. Their strategy of divide and conquer can only be successful if we let them divide us, and people like a2007 are falling for it.
  9. In Immigration Limbo's Avatar
    Greg you are right about the fact that immigrants will have it worse off if there is another terrorist attack. If the attackers came over the Mexican border, there will be hell to pay because of the dithering we have seen from our elected officials. From what I understand, there are laws on the books already to secure the border, yet nothing gets done. I think Bush is afraid of offending Hispanics by building a fence.

  10. TX's Avatar
    In Immigration Limbo......the fence is already being built, they have built almost a 100 miles worth, most probably was built by Mexican construction workers. How do you suppose a fence is going to keep them out? If the Atlantic Ocean cannot keep out Cubans, don't you think that Mexicans can't jump the fence? Please can the rest of us immigrants get some sense and not follow in the foot steps of the anti-immigrant, lets build a fence crowd?
  11. Legal and waiting's Avatar
    TX, we should start 'immigrants united' movement. I do agree that even though legal immigrants plight provides a very strong and convincing message about the broken immigration system, they are divided and therefore, have very little power. At the end of the day, most illegals are illgals because of the falure of the legal immigration system that has no place for them, but legal immigrants, instead of fighting for the common goal of immigration policy that makes sense, withdrawn themselves to guarding their piece of the pie and fighting with other immigrants. How sad!
  12. a2007's Avatar
    L & W and TX -- Why are you putting words in my mouth? What I said was just a statement of fact. I didn't propose any punishment or anything for illegals, and I'm not judging them. What I'm saying is that the legal situation is different for these people. Besides, there are different interest groups behind legals and illegals. Just if you did your research, you'd know that the tech lobby was against the CIR bill, and they always try to distance themselves from illegal immigration. This is official strategy and position.

    As far my position is concerned. It is the following. I came here as a legal student many years ago (I already have 3 US degrees but that's irrelevant to this discussion). I knew what the laws are like, how long I am going to wait, and I made my decision to come. I don't think I have the right to protest or change the laws, and I've always played by the rules. I don't think I have the right to even protest on behalf of illegals -- it is up to Americans to decide and not me.

    However, I believe I'm justified in being angry about the July bulletin fiasco, where the government broke the rules and reneged on its promises. There is a difference between asking that rules on the book be followed and trying to change the laws of a foreign country. This is what I wanted to highlight, and not pass any moral judgment.
  13. Legal and waiting's Avatar
    Limbo, the fense makes no sense. Here is why. If you build a dam on a river and has the flow capacity less than the river needs, the river will overflow the dam. Yes, you may build the dam higher - that will buy you some time, but very soon the river will take over. The only reason why the water is flowing over is because you are not allowing enough frow through the dam, NOT because the dam is too low.

    The same with the fense. The reason why people have to go through the desert is because they can't cross legally. You build a fense, they will find a ladder. You build a higher fense, they will build a tunnel. You put land mines all over the border - they will bribe an officer. Remember, if someone has a loved one on the other side of the border, they will do anything to cross, it is as simple as that.
  14. TX's Avatar
    Legal and waiting..........your analogy is perhaps the best I've ever read.....excellent! If only the "build a fence" group can understand this. Building a fence will probably be the single most embarrassing thing the US does, second only to the Iraq war. I guess we'll need a Ronald Regan like president to come and bring down the wall. I can't believe that a country as great as the US, with probably the world's brightest minds, has fallen into the traps of anti-immigrants.
  15. Legal and waiting's Avatar
    "What I'm saying is that the legal situation is different for these people."

    Not that much. You and them are victims of the same broken immigration system. The system is so screwed that it got the best of you - well, they were no given a chance even for that.

    Of course, I may never understand you high ground because I only have two US degrees (I am just highliting the irrelevance of your degree information in this discussion). The truth is that if the legal immigrants supported the CIR bill, it may have passed, and then the House surely would have included all the measures that makes it easier to immigrate legally, like increase in H visas, addition of science visas, increases in EB numbers and that dependents are counted, and so forth. But they made a decision to distance themselves from the bill, and as a result, got nothing... and the July disaster to top it off. Good job!

    On a general note, there are two types of people. The first ones say "It was so hard on me, and it was so unfair! The only thing that would make it even more unfair is if someone else will have it easier". The second ones say: "It was so hard on me, and it was so unfair! I will do everything to make sure it is easier for other people!" Personally, I have made a consious decision to never become the first type.
  16. Legal and waiting's Avatar
    TX, Thanks! Fenses have sometimes funny impact. People build them to protect themselves from the outsiders, but soon enough they become imprisoned within their own fense. I would even venture to say that if Americans build the fense, very soon the flow will go the other direction.
  17. a2007's Avatar
    L & W -- I understand your position and I didn't like the fact that the tech lobby tried to sabotage the bill either. The reason they did it was not so much that they wouldn't want to be grouped together with illegal immigrant interests, but because if the bill had passed, they would've lost control over the "sponsorship" process and over employee lock-in. This is shameful and sad because they're the very people you and me depend on right now.

    And for illegals, I can't say I know many of them. I had a few friends who were illegal for a while, who made a lot of money, and then went back to their countries to open their own businesses. I'm sure many of them are very valuable, and if given the chance would contribute a lot.

    Unfortunately, I'm not holding my breath for any relief soon. The companies that exploit them aren't going to do much for them, because if they legalize them, they'd have to pay minimum wage (and in their twisted logic, illegals will become just another bunch of Americans "who don't want to do these jobs"). Also, there was a strong backlash to their protests and waving of foreign flags in America. The situation is a whole mess just because of this "illegal" status. I hope they at least pass the DREAM act and help kids, who have no fault for their situation. The rest will probably get legalized by their growing American children much sooner than any bill getting passed.
  18. In Immigration Limbo's Avatar
    Legal and Waiting and TX are classic examples of why the southern border will never be secure. Too many on the hard left share their nutty opinion that no fence is somehow good security. Sadly, I think the only way I could ever envision an effective fence being built is if there is a horrific terrorist attack carried out by individuals who snuck over the border with Mexico.

    Obviously a fence won't stop everyone who wants to cross, but it is at least a start that will have a big impact. Increased presence of law enforcement is also necessary, and I don't know if those laws are on the books yet.

  19. Legal and waiting's Avatar
    a - got some news for you. Illegals will not be legalized by thier American children, because being eligible for a green card (or, any other visa for that matter) does not make them admissible, so they can't change/adjust status in the US. If they exit the US, they fall under a 10-year inadmissibility bar. Illegals have no way under current law to become legal, ever. Now, compare these circumstances with anyone who's legal, and you will understand that their circumstances are desperate beyond common sense.
  20. Legal and waiting's Avatar
    Limbo, aha, I think I have heard something eerie similar to that as justification for the war in Iraq - the hard core leftists nutjobs don't understand that if we don't fight 'em there, there will be another horrific terrorist attack in the US!!!

    How's that war working out for you?

    There is nothing more dear to the right wingers than wasting huge amount of money in the name of fake security and getting ever less and less secure. Well, I guess, that's the whole idea - as we get less secure, it's easier to get money for another pie in the sky militaristic project.

    Got news for you - just like the war, the fense will do worse than nothing. People will still get through illegally. Moreover, as getting through the border gets harder, it will become more expensive, and most of that money will go to the business of illegal crossings, which will grow exponentially, and it will be harder and harder to fight. The only way out is to admit people who want to come to the US legally. Then and only then they will stop paying to coyotes. As the business of illegal crossings dies out, it will be increasingly harder to get over the border.

    The fense is just another backwards right-wing idea. Just like the war in Iraq - sounds good for brainless redneck types, but if you use yout brain just for a second, you will understand that in reality it will lead to exactly opposite result.
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