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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

AMENDMENTS PREVIEW

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If (and that's a big if), immigration bill supporters can garner enough votes to support a cloture motion, here are amendments that are considered on the list of those that are most likely to get a vote. A few of these are so called "deal killers" and I'm highlighting them in red. By the way, the fact that I say it's a "deal killer" does not mean I like or dislike it, only that it might affect the overall support of the bill enough to endanger passage.



Democratic Amendments




1199 Dodd - Expands the number of green cards; moves the grandfathering date for family cases eliminated by the point system from May 2005 to January 1, 2007.


1313 Webb - Would push back eligibility for Z visas to 2003 from January 1, 2007; allows Z visa holders to apply for a green card from within the US or outside the US; requires Z visa holder to demonstrate community ties such as family, property ownership, work history, English skills, etc.


1236 Baucus-Tester - Eliminates references to the REAL ID Act

1332 Sanders -- Employers must certify no mass layoffs as part of any work visa petitions.

1344 Byrd - Adds a $500 border security immigration fee to Z visa petitions

1317 Menendez - Adds more points for family relationships in the point system

1340 Brown - Expands recruiting requirements in Y guest worker cases. Employers must post for 90 days before filing a Y visa and for a year after and must post on a state agency web site.

1468 McCaskill -- Repeat violators who hire undocumented workers are barred from government contracts for five years

1486 Levin - eases requirements for Iraqi religious minority refugees

1386 Leahy - Creates a new W visa for scholars who may be subject to persecution on account of their scholarship or beliefs

1198 Boxer - Requires report on Y visas and a reduction in Y visas by the number of Y visa holders who overstay

1392 Menendez - Lowers Z visa fees; mandates selective service registration for those of age

1414 Lincoln - Adds a trigger requiring passports to be adjudicated in six weeks or less

1237 Bingaman - Allows two years instead of one to apply for Z visa

1479 Bingaman - Expands regulator for Y-2B visas (seasonal, non-agricultural) to potential 300,000


Republican Amendments

1161 Alexander - Provides $500 grants to learn English; revises oath of allegiance in naturalization cases

1255 Bond -- Bars green cards for Z visa holders


1473 Coleman - adds triggers for information sharing

1335/1258 Domenici - increases numbers of Federal judges

1490 Ensign - No social security benefits for periods of unauthorized work

1465 Graham - Makes it a crime to overstay a visa

1441 Grassley-Baucus Obama - Replaces the Title III employment verification section with less restrictive provisions

1174 Thune - No probationary Z benefits until triggers are implemented

1318 Chambliss -- Totalization agreements under the Social Security Act required

1282 Isakson - Preempts day labor centers

1160 Brownback - Does away with one day background checks for Z probationary applicants and requires full background checks be completed

1440 Hutchison - Requires touch back at time of Z visa application rather than green card application

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  1. conrad's Avatar
    why are they wasting their time ? they already knew that the bill is dead for now, and even if it survive, the house won't even consider the STRIVE act ? I'm the one of those who really want and need a comprehensive immigration reform because it is a matter of life and death on my family, but the longer i read the news i can see that this country never really changed about immigration for hundered of years. But maybe reason and compassion will prevail, when hope ends faith begins, but there are millions of millions or people praying, but guess what ? so far it did not work. Maybe of there's a provision to give 100 slash to every illegal immigrants and make them eat dirt, they will consider it.
  2. Dmitry's Avatar
    I think that you should also highlight amendment #" 1440 Hutchison - Requires touch back at time of Z visa application rather than green card application". I talked to a lot of my illegal friends, and no one is going to take this bill serious if this amendment is going to be inside. My friends are all Russian, and some of them live close to Alaska, but on the other side of the ocean. It is going to cost us 2500$ for tickets, around 2000-3000$ dollars to stay over there, then god knows how much more for application fees. I would assume they will make another increase to resolve enormous amount of applicants. How will I get away with all that absent time from my work (some of us have pretty dissent jobs here: 2 weeks of vacation and 4 seek days a year). That means that by the time I'll come back, if I come back, I'll be unemployed. And then it is going to go like a chain reaction: no job, no money, late mortgage payments, late car payments, and then my credit history is going to be f.... up, and so on. All that risk for a chance to apply for a visa? No guarantees that at the time of the interview some immigration officer would put a "denied " stamp with no reason at all, let's say just because he had bad breakfast or a rainy morning, no one is going to appeal his decision overseas. Another point, I have around 250k in depth: a mortgage, 2 new car payments and money I paid for university. If I stay over there the question is will I pay all that depth to the creditors? Even if the answer is "Yes" It is not going to be a lot that is for sure (say 10$ a month maximum). 100k for revolving credit, about 833 years. My house is going to go for closure, it means bank is going to cell it 20% less then market price, my American neighbors are going to be "happy", the just lost 20% of their house value on the top of the hosing bubble, and so on and on and on.
    Anyway, I think this amendment will kill the bill even if it is going to pass and get signed by the president.
    Thank you for your time.
    Dmitry
  3. tty's Avatar
    "1255 Bond -- Bars green cards for Z visa holders"

    So does this means that if you have a priority date or pending petition and you are here illegally and applied for Z visa that your petition will be cancelled ?
  4. Annoyed's Avatar
    I am getting really sick and tired of the whining I hear from illegals. My wife and I have spent years and tens of thousands of dollars we can't afford to try to come to the United States. We have followed the rules meticulously to stay in status when we have been in the States. If retrogression hadn't been lifted for a few precious months this summer, we would have been screwed by CIR and probably would not qualify under the new rules. Meanwhile people who came here illegally and broke the law would get preferential treatment in every way. Makes me sick. Personally, I hope this abomination called CIR goes down in flames, along with the political careers of those pushing it against the will of the American people. This shows the worst of the corrupt political system, Democrats looking for easy votes, and republicans looking for cheap labor, all the while ignoring what is best for the citizens of this great country.
  5. annoyed's Avatar
    Just to add to my last comment, I just want to make it clear that I appreciate all the great work done by Greg Siskind on his website and blog and all the wonderful timely information he has given to those of us trying to immigrate to the U.S.. Even though we may disagree about CIR, I wish you all the best and want to thank you for all your hard work. Cheers!
  6. John's Avatar
    Why was my response to dmitri deleted? My post was just informative.
  7. N S's Avatar
    What happened to the Cantwell-Kyl amendment?
  8. Legal and waiting, just like you's Avatar
    Annoyed, if you really think so, become illegal right now, and you will probably be eligible for another round of 'preferential treatment' should the bill be approved in three years. I understand, you are planning to apply for a green card next month (EB, I guess) - with your new 'preferential treatment' you will ineligible for a green card for another 10 year, and maybe ever. This way you would have no reason to whine, would you?
  9. Legal and waiting, just like you's Avatar
    Sorry for an emotional response.

    Annoyed - think of it, you have been hanging by a thread, ever close to becoming illegal yourself, yet, all you have toward the people who could not hold on, is anger? Do you think they would have chosen to become illegal, if they had a way to stay legal?

    Do you realize that the anti-immigrationists with their stupid restrictionist policies did them in, and they were very close to doing you in? Yet, instead of being angry at the people who does not want to give you anything but more years to wait, you chennel your anger at less fortunate than you are. That's what they want - to say that everyone hates illegals even these perfect legal immigrants. Next thing, they will slash green card quotas in half, and you will be stuck retrogressed forever. Supporting immigration reform does not just benefit illegals, it benefits all future legal immigrants like us through more thoughtful policies. I would think you are smart enough to understand that.
  10. 's Avatar
    I agree.

    This bill requires the elimination of the visa backlog in 8 years. After 8 years, the 12 million undocumented get their chance to get permanent residency. Thats what the legislators mean when they say that illegal immigrants go to the "back of the line.

  11. conrad's Avatar
    They won't even want to give enough Visa to the families of Amrican Citizens and LPR (I've been waiting for 7 years) to ease the backlog or even Professionals even if Bill Gates begs for it , why would we think that they will give some kind of Visa (Z) or probationary status to Illegals or Undocumented ? again and agan as they said the system is broken, if they cannot give "Amnesty" ,at lest fix something, we will still be in the same status Quo by Friday and will continutue to crack down on strawberry pickers , meat packers , pig gutters etc, and have an open border being watched by thinly stretched Border Guards ,handful of Minuteman and some racist nuts , what would they do if the fully armed Mexican Cartel is in front of them ? I'ts really frustrating that a handful of narrwominded minority can control the outcome of immiration debate fueled by the ultra right wing talk radion show that have faster mouth than brain.
  12. RCH's Avatar
    Agree with Dmitry, #1440 is almost certainly a deal-killer.
  13. annoyed's Avatar
    I have had to make extreme sacrifices to stay legal. I lost my job while on a temporary work visa and was forced to uproot my family and move back to my home country at great expense. I just would not think of breaking the law. That is my nature. However stupid and short sighted the current immigration laws are, and yes I agree they ARE stupid and short sighted, I abide by them. Even with having proper legal status, I have been interrogated, bullied and treated like a criminal while trying to reenter the U.S. after visiting back home. We were ready in Oct of last year to apply for permanent residency just when retrogression hit. Then CIR comes along which would most likely make us ineligible to apply under the new rules (my wife is an RN) while giving amnesty to those who, unlike us, chose to break the law. I don't know how you expect me not to dislike CIR? It looks to me that CIR will tear families apart with extreme restrictions on visas for spouses and minor children, that is downright cruel. Meanwhile illegals with spouses and children already in the US will face no such restrictions. Like I said, in my opinion, CIR is an abomination. I don't see the amendments lists by Mr. Siskind as really fixing the problems with it in any way. But as I said, whatever the authorities decide to do in regards to immigration, I will abide by the law and not break it no matter what, because that is the right thing to do.
  14. Legal and waiting, just like you's Avatar
    Annoyed, just like any EB immigrant, I had my share of tough times, too. But that is not the point. You need to remember that while your number is going to be current in July, and 'Other workers' number is not going to be current any time soon (they get 10K annual quota, by the way - 50 times less than the numebr of illegal coming each year). It will probably be unavailble for tens of years. You and me could come to the US on a work visa - there is no such visa available for the majority of fruit pickers. We have Bill Gates going to Washington to pull for us - they have no one.

    If your philocophy, 'I had it hard, and it was so unfair, and the only thing that would make it worse is if someone gets it easy' that I am not with you. My philosophy is 'I had is hard, and it was so unfair, so I should fight for unfairness to stop, and that it gets easier for everyone'. When immigrants are united, they are going to win for everyone. When we are divided and bitter at each other because 'someone else will have it easier' - the anti-immigrants will win and will screw all of us. Remember, the bill is not about the past. What happened, happened. It's about the future.
  15. annoyed's Avatar
    I think the immigration problem could be largely solved with a few simple steps. Effective border security (fences, increased number of border guards, etc.), effective checking of legal status by employers, an effective and generous guest worker program that has NO path to citizenship, and eliminating instant citizenship for babies born to people in the country illegally.

    Canada (a VERY liberal country BTW) has done the last two already with little fanfare or bitterness and the results have been great with satisfaction all around. Employers get the workers they need and workers get a fair wage and good working conditions, and in return, they agree to return to their home countries when the work is complete for the year.

    The politicians here just can't get their act together. The guest worker program in CIR is a joke. People from Mexico, for example, should be allowed to come to the U.S. as often as they wish to do seasonal work. Limiting it to just a few years is a recipe for disaster and just plain stupid.

    The immigration system desparately needs reform just as the medical system does. I just don't see CIR as being anything close to a real solution.
  16. Doug's Avatar
    Immigration attorneys and people caught up in the immigration process often make the mistake of thinking that the average American knows as much about the system as they do. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mentally, most Americans are still somewhere in the Ellis Island era. With no real comprehension of the current rules and barriers facing legal migrants, it becomes very difficult for these same people to have any sympathy for those that enter the country illegally.

    Good, bad or indifferent the debate over illegal immigration is already over. Unless America is prepared to mobilize a new Trail of Tears and risk becoming an international pariah on the order of Idi Amin's Uganda, these people are here to stay. The "make it impossible to work and they will melt away" theory promoted by Talk Radio is a complete fiction.

    Unfortunately, illegal immigration has become such a flash point that it makes meaningful revision of the legal immigration process all but impossible. Most of the amendments to the proposed CIR bill do nothing to streamline or improve the process, but are instead, the result of special interests acting in their own best interests.


    While I applaud the good intentions of Senator Kennedy and others, the CIR is a misguided attempt to tie Border Security, legal immigration and Illegal immigration into one nice, neat package that will fix it for all time. What we will end up with is a cobbled together compromise that satisfies no one and replaces the old inequities with new ones. And even if Congress does come up with a decent bill, it will need to be revisited on regular basis to keep it relevant. Meaningful reform will require that CIR be broken down to its component parts and dealt with on an individual basis.
  17. Legal and waiting, just like you's Avatar
    Annoyed, why do you care about THEIR path to citizenship and wish the worst on THEIR babies? Can you please elaborate?

    Second, I don't think you realize that border is only a problem when people MUST enter illegally. When everyone who is wanted in the US (by employers or family) and not a felon is given an opportunity to enter legally, illegal border crossings will go down 99.9%. It's quite simple - admit people legally, and you will have more than enough manpower to catch drug traffickers because you will not have to fish for 3 traffickers among 30 thousands of workers. If you decide not to admit more people legally, they will still find ladders, build tunnels, bribe officers, you name it...

    Doug, I agree with you that American public is remarkably ignorant about immigration process. But I don't think abandoning the bill is the best idea. We need to push for a better bill - and it may only come from House-Senate compromise. Immigrants have a lot more proponents in the House, and we need to try to abolish things like 3/10 year bars that accellerated illegal immigration after 1996, increase immigrant quotas, or better yet, switch to market quotas, etc.
  18. annoyed's Avatar
    Legal and waiting, there are these strange concepts (apparently to you anyway) called "fairness" and "rule of law". The fact that so many people are breaking the law makes it harder for those of us trying to immigrate legally. Can you imagine the bureaucracy trying to process 12-20 million Z visas? They can barely keep up with the workload they have now. And the CIR restrictions on family sponsorship are largely a result of not wanting to have a domino effect when the 12-20 million try to bring in all their extended family.

    Your concept of letting in everyone that is wanted by an employer is a naive one. Employers almost universally want cheap labor. The current EB laws force employers to show that they have tried to fill the job with an American. This protects American workers. I think even most immigration attorneys know that the current EB system works well, so why get rid of it?

    I do agree with you that the even current numbers are too retrictive for family reunification. But CIR will make this situation MUCH worse. I have read that minor children and spouses will be limited to around 85,000 a year, meaning immigrants will be separated from their young children and spouses for potentially many many years.

    CIR is a dogs breakfast of compromises and pandering to special interest groups (if not outright graft and corruption).
  19. Legal and waiting's Avatar
    Annoyed, yes, I already acknowledged your concept of "fairness" - I had it hard, so others should have it harder. It has nothing to do with 'how it should be', but everything just with your personal experineces. If we start judging what everyone "deserves" by personal experiences, I would have to end up saying that you are less deserving of green card than me, because, apparently, I was always treated most welcoming by the immigration and consular officials (maybe because of my excellent education and work experience with Fortune 500 companies) - but I would rather do away with trying to figure out who is more deserving, and stick to 'how it should be'. You were mistreated, and it should not happen to anyone again. Because this country needs people, and immigrants should be treated well. This country also needs people to clean, pick fruit and build houses - and they should be treated well, too. That's truly fair, not just trying to get a larger share of the ever-shrinking pie to yourself.

    I absolutely disagree with you that USCIS barely has people to cope with current workload. Most of the delays are not because USCIS does not have the manpower, but because of quota limitations (aka retrogression) or security checks, which have nothing to do with the DHS. For heaven's sake, last time I had to make an InfoPass appointment, same day appointments were available, and I was THE ONLY customer there! The officer, by the way, was very courteous and apologetic for the delays even though they were caused by a totally different agency. I also see no reason why USCIS would not be able to increase their staff when they start getting those fat payments illegals have to make to legalize.

    If you are so concerned about Americans' salary, then you should educate yourself on the topic of labor economics. Contrary to popular opinion, most research found that the influx of immigrants, including cheap illegal labor, increases wages for most Americans. Protectionism of that kind never helps workers, always hurts.

    I never suggested to abolish the current EB system. But it should somehow include space for people who literally put food on our tables and roofs over our heads, and who do not have a bunch degrees. And of course, if this country plans not to abolish Social Security, it should dramatically increase all other EB quotas. That's what we should be fighting to put into the CIR, not bickering among ourselves who is 'deservier'.
  20. Just another CIR follower's Avatar
    To Legal and waiting.....I agree that we should not abandon the bill and fall into the right wing talk trap, anything is better then what we have now, for both legal and illegal immigrants. I just don't understand the hostility that some like "Annoyed" have. I try to find the best in people, but these days, with talk radio and the blogs, it's been difficult. They talk about how their ancestors came in through the legal channels....little do they know that the legal channels back then were not near as difficult as they are now, no wonder we have illegal immigration here.

    Anyway, to my question......is it true that in the Senate, if you do have 60 votes for coloture, then you only need 51 votes for the final passage of bill? I have been reading all these anti-immigrant blogs and they are stressing on those senators who plan on voting for cloture but not the final bill saying that a vote for cloture is in fact a vote for the final bill to pass. If that is the case then maybe we do have hope.
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