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Letters of the Week: Apr 2 - Apr 6

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  1. Anne Stevens 's Avatar

    After recently completing a graduate program in Migration Studies, I found Massey's and Pren's recent publication quite provoking and respond with the following:

    The unintended consequences of US immigration policy stretch far beyond one of the more closely followed migration debates in the US involving immigration from Central and South Americas, particularly Mexico. As Massey and Pren point out, current immigration into the US has not necessarily been due to fundamental shifts or changes in migrating populations. Rather, this is due to changes in immigration regulations that have consequently altered data collection. When certain visa work programs ended, immigrants who would have been entering legally now had lost access to legal work and/or resident authorization. And with increasing border enforcement efforts, this migrant group has shifted from a circular migration pattern to a permanent settlement pattern.

    The same line of reasoning can be applied to another group of hotly debated immigrants in the US: highly skilled workers. One unintended consequence of certain non-immigrant work visa types can lead to long-term or transient migration. L-1 intra-company and H-1B work visas allow for dual-intent, meaning visa holders can adjust their status to permanent resident, whereas TN NAFTA and E treaty/trade visas do not. And although TN and E visas do not benefit from this parameter, they can be renewed indefinitely, dependent on being able to prove the continuous need for the individual's business presence in the US. Thus, even though non-immigrant work visa categories discussed here (H-1B, E, L-1 and TN) are listed formally as temporary status, the indefinite extensions that create quasi-permanent residents and the dual-intention within these statuses have led to unintended consequences that suggest likeness to the German guestworker program of unskilled migrants during the 1950s and 1960s and the Bracero program in the US that ended during the 1960s, where immigrants did not necessarily come with the intention to stay, but the curtail of a circular migration pattern led to a permanent settlement pattern.

    Another unintended consequence is due to the numerical capping H-1B visas, the most widely known US non-immigration work visa. Capping the H-1B visa hinders US businesses' access to the global, and highly competitive, pool of highly skilled labor. Placing numerical caps on groups to control what Massey and Pren have established are arbitrary data on illegal immigration, and certainly of a group that is considered beneficial to the US, only exacerbates immigration reform. It also places undue stress on businesses to hire qualified candidates, rather than addressing the current fundamental needs of the US. Critics of the H-1B cap, such as Google, argue that the cap is counterintuitive to matching constantly changing global business needs, as well as the US's ability to maintain and improve its foothold of the global highly skilled labor pool. If the US is interested to attract and retain highly skilled workers, than immigration policy should reflect these motives, not create limitations. Large, multinational companies may benefit from L intra-company visas, whilst other foreign-owned entities are eligible for E treaty/trade visas. Many other US businesses are left in the dust due to the high costs, complexities of application processes, and numerical limitations of work visas, such as is the case with the H-1B visa. Of course, many other factors go into an individual's decision whether or not to move to another country, but a practical immigration policy will make this one less factor to have to consider.

    Massey's and Pren's research points out some of the paradoxical results of immigration regulations in the US, and is insight that will be useful to apply to other US immigration regulations. By applying their analysis of past US immigration programs, demonstrating how the nation has arrived at its current state, then policy makers and the general public can consider these past migration patterns in order to create an immigration policy that will not only benefit the US, but the international community as well.

    Thank you,
  2. jj's Avatar
    In the penalty phase of a trial where a man was convicted for the murder of his mother and father he asked to be pardoned. The court should give him mercy because he was after all an orphan. Uncapping the H-1B is the same thing. Any shortage is due to employers hiring H-1B instead of Americans. This bad behavior should not be rewarded.
  3. Angry IT Worker's Avatar
    "Capping the H-1B visa hinders US businesses' access to the global, and highly competitive, pool of highly skilled labor."


    NOT Capping the H-1B visa hinders US businesses' access to the US's highly competitive, pool of highly skilled labor.

    If you're hiring people who are NOT from here, you are not hiring people who are here.

    How about looking around? There are 13 million UNEMPLOYED QUALIFIED PEOPLE LOOKING FOR WORK. HERE. In the USA.

    Unless you are advocating discrimination based on country of origin - namely "NO US CITIZENS NEED APPLY"

    This is the typical bigotry against Americans.
  4. Don Miller's Avatar
    BRAVO ! to the Obama regime for its expulsion policies. Only thing they do that I agree with. Looks like he's channeling Ike and I say more power to him!
    Don Miller
  5. ROMEO ADAMS,ESQ's Avatar
    I am perplexed and worried about the Obama Administration's deportation record. The recently announced largest ICE raid in the history of the agency comes as no surprise.
    I recently defended a client who should have been eligible for Prosecutorial Discretion, in accordance with guidelines released last summer by the Obama Administration and further clarified by DOH.

    The behavior of the people administering the system and the policy makers at DOH,DOJ and EOIR was very much in contradiction to everything put forth in the PD guidelines last summer and was more in concert with the record setting pace of deportations,raids the Administration has achieved.There is no disagreement that the system requires reform,but not at the expense of destroying families and deporting immigrants with no criminal records and established and recognized "solid citizen" records in their communities. This was the situation in my client's case.

    If the same amount of effort were invested in reforming the system to make it easier to achieve legal status,while identifying and deporting aliens who committed serious felonies or repeat offenses, the Obama administration,or any administration, would be in a very strong position to capture the hispanic and minority vote, which I believe will be essential for re-election. To ignore the "browning of America" with callous disregard is extremely short sighted, if not negligent.

    Be it intended or not,the Administration cannot get away with claiming to be pro immigration while racking up ICE raid and astounding deportation records, compared to all prior administrations. I am deeply saddened and concerned by the the Administration's Immigration performance and trust that the wake up call, which is inevitable, does not come to late.
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