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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy


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The Senate has decided to allow debate to continue on the immigration bill. The vote was 69-23 with eight not voting. The vote would have been more lopsided if the five presidential candidates from the Senate - Biden, Clinton, Dodd, McCain and Obama were in attendance. Presumably, Senators Kerry and Nelson of Florida would have voted with the Democrats as well.

Senator Reid also announced he would allow for a second week of debate which will allow time for votes on a number of new amendments.

There were a few surprises. Ben Nelson of Nebraska spoke against the bill on the floor early on and then voted with the majority. Senator Cornyn (R-TX), the ranking member on the Senate Immigration Committee and a Bush loyalist, bolted from his leader despite earlier indications he would support a deal.
Only four Democrats voted in the minority - Baucas and Tester of Montana, Dorgan of North Dakota and  Byrd of West Virginia. Senator Sanders, the Vermont Indpendent who caucuses with the Democrats, also voted in the minority. Numerous Republicans voted with the majority including several who voted against S.2611 last year.

Finally, Senator Kennedy noted that  the first two amendments up tomorrow will relate to the guest worker program outlined in Title IV of the bill. Senator Dorgan of North Dakota will propose an amendment that would largely scrap the program and Senator Bingaman (D-NM) will propose an amendment to cut the 400,000 quota on guest workers in half.


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  1. baby929's Avatar
    I hear various Sen members stating that immigrants have to leave and then return.

    May answer to them is "Get Real". For the majority of immigrant are living day to day to support their families in there country. The US gives money to many country to help with poverty and when people want to help them selves instead of standing in line to receive a plate of food that doesn't even begin to cover there hunger and unbearable conditions. This comes from people who have warm homes and refrigerators filled with food, saving and a paycheck coming in.

    You have families who can't afford to send there children to school to become education to get that one step up. These head of household risk there lives to come to this country to be able to help there families. You expect them to be able to come up with all the immigration fees, legal fees and penalties on top of this and then ask them to leave everything they have to leave for who knows how long and then to try to come up the money necessary to come back and start over????? If they could afford all this they won't have risked there lives crossing the boarder to come to this country. This country was founded on people who risk there lives to come here for a better live. Have we forgotten what this country is made of.... immigrants. Ok lets give them a fine $2000 or so. But to leave is really unrealistic.
  2. Problem solved here the solution's Avatar
    As far as waiting in line, by passing the system..... My answer to his is. The system is broken and has been broken and flawed. And like any project manger will do when brought in to handle a mess is. Reduce income traffic, handle what you have on hand first and then re-open the gates. Is it fair???? We'll who said life was fair. But the bottom line is simple. Handle what you have on hand right now. Take control of the situation and re-organize. Stop trying to shift the blame on immigrants. WE are to blame for not handling the boarder problem earlier.

    Basic ..... Assess the magnitude of the problem. Right now you are guessing at the problem between 12-20 million. 8 million people range???

    Here what I would suggest.

    You already have these people in the country working... That the bottom line. Many not paying taxes ... Plus you don't have a correct head count.

    You need a head count.

    Provide a temp visa for 3 years to every one here right now renewable every 3 years. After 7 years you can apply for citizenship. Have them do something that doesn't cost money and that we have a hard time finding people to do... Volunteer for 100 hours a year for 5 of the 7 years. Make them earn it. We have communities falling apart, because we don't have enough volunteers willing to take the time. You want to live here show us you do. Give back to the community. Have them report this hour's on-line and random verification.

    By this time you will provide a gauge of the problem. Get them out of the wood work. Get them paying taxes, driving and working without excuses. (This will boost the automotive industry. New Lic = New car purchase.)

    Limit the family allowed to be sponsored to Spouses and minor children. At first grant the spouse and children visitor visa to allow them to visit for 60 days (1 or multiple visit), having to return to their country after 18 months they can be granted visa similar to the one shown above. Any other can wait in line that punishment enough. Allow the illegal to travel to their country, to see there family members. This will reduce the desire for people to come here illegally to see their family. (Also this will boost the travel industry)

    Upon talking with many immigrants the biggest issue is family ties. Sometime you come to this country wanted to spend time with family members and find out you really don't want to be here. But don't want to break up the family connection. Knowing they are here illegally and if you leave or they leave. You might never see them again. With this in mind you might reduce population just by opening up a little bit.

    Give preference to those immigrants who have obtained TIN # and have been paying taxes for at least three out 5 years. (Allowing lea way for cultural learning curve.) For those who did not do this will you have the next three years to do it. If you don't good-bye.

    Instead of using January 1, 2007, give preference to those who have been here at least 3 years prior. (Reduce the amount of people)

    Remove any deportation record for people who were suppose to leave and stayed, as long as they have been here for more than 3 years. If they have been paying taxes for at least 3 years.

    Give preference to those who be willing to volunteer as firefighters in there community (Must have prior experience or training first). Any one who's ever laid down there lives jumping into burning building to save laves desires preference no matter if it was in there country or here. Goes to the character of a person. People who we want in our community. People willing to help others in need.

    Give preference to those who are already married to US citizen as of the date in which this law as signed into affect.

    Give preference to those who are taking care of or assist their sick US citizen family member. (IE Spouse or children).

    Remove anyone charged with domestic violence.

    Removal of anyone charged with a crime, robbery, burglary, drunk driving, and disorderly conduct. Have this be part of the guide lines as well. (Apply for the next 7 years.)

    Must earn above 150% the poverty level in order to stay here for 5 out 7 years. (illness and accidents happen as a way of live.)
  3. tar's Avatar
    What about provisions for Advanced Degree Holders from US schools? Recently many international students have started exploring other countries like UK/Canada/Australia as their choice because those countries offer better prospects to settle down after completing education. Whereas, in US, it takes atleast 5-7 yrs before student can expect to get green card. If companies truly want bright individuals to study in US (US Schools also want that as international students bring in sizable revenues) and settle down, some concrete steps need to be taken. Believe me, if merit system does not take care of advanced degree holders of US schools, future students will think twice before commiting time and money to study in US.
  4. Some one's Avatar

    It doesn't really make sense to me at all.

    Why would they allow so many low skilled guest workers from overseas, which should take many years for them to assimilate and learn the American way of life, english... and we have so many honest undocumented workers who have been in the U.S for so many years learned english and have trade skills it makes more sense to me to allow these people to stay here.

    What do you think?

    Instead of offering a 4 years Z visa, they can offer them renewable 2 years green cards, to be renewed every 2 years until they reach 8 years, after that they could get a 10 years green card, 5 years later they would become citizens if they pass the civic test, clear background and security checks, pay back taxes, those 8 years they would be allowed to travel back home for visits and short stays, because believe me those guest workers after they come here they will never leave the U.S and would go deeply underground.
  5. nobody's Avatar
    What about the tons of F-1 Visa International Students they are here for long? They pay tuition and are highly qualified. Are they going to be considered for naturalization or residenship?
  6. nobody's Avatar
    What about the tons of F-1 Visa International Students living in the USA in legal status for long? They are highly qualified. Are they going to be considered to obtain resident status or/and naturalization?
  7. Mary's Avatar
    Why punish the legal immigrants who have been waiting in line for several years to have their green cards but are victims of visa retrogression? Both immigrants (legal and illegal) are working in the US for better lives. But this bill favors only the illegal immigrants. Nothing has been said about solving the plight of the workers who came here legally. This will be sending wrong signals to the future immigrants. So before they fix the 12-20M illegal aliens, they shoould solve first the problems in legal migration.
  8. svc's Avatar
    The sections listed in the summary posted on this blog and the sections listed on website are totally different. Why so?
  9. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    To SVC - You're looking at the placeholder bill - S.2611 that passed last year. The actual bill that they're debating right now has not been put online yet.

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