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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

Immigration Bill Makes Serious Progress

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I've written an op-ed in the Memphis Commercial Appeal that can be found here.


Op-Ed on Senate bill

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  1. Jack's Avatar
    "The market ought to dictate how many workers can come."

    And if you believe that they should have an avenue to stay permanently, bring their families, etc., it adds up to unlimited immigration.

    "For the past 50 years, we have lacked a guest worker program in this country that allows employers a legal way to bring in the workers they need."

    "but not something for lesser-skilled fields."

    I never understand what you mean by this. You refer to guest workers. Are not, e.g., H-2A, H-2B, etc. guest workers? Surely they fall under "lesser-skilled" as you put it and are "temporary" and "guest" in that there is a time limit on their stay. These programs are commonly referred to as guest worker programs. Do you consider that a misnomer?

    Based on the 50 year time period, that's about when Bracero wound down. Maybe you consider that the last lesser-skilled guest worker program but I don't get why nothing since would qualify.

  2. USC's Avatar
    "Posted by: Jack | April 18, 2013 at 03:59 PM"

    So, you like this bill or not?
  3. Tobias's Avatar
    "Like 2007, this bill is amnesty before enforcement," Sessions said. "The day the bill passes illegal immigrants will have the presumption of amnesty and all (Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano) has to do is submit a vague plan in six months that may never get implemented."

    Senators unveil sweeping immigration bill

    Unfortunately, while appealing to the persistent narrative of "amnesty," this reality show is going to make prime time television.

    Amnesty: Under immigration law, amnesty is a governmental pardon for person violating policies related to immigration. Immigration amnesty would include the government forgiving individuals for using false documentation to gain employment in the U.S. and to remain in the country, and would allow illegal immigrants or undocumented aliens to gain permanent residency in the United States.

    Based on that legal definition, unlawful present immigrants in the United States are not necessarily been granted an amnesty if this bill becomes law: paying fines (approximately $2000.00) plus bureaucratic fees and filing back income taxes can fairly be labeled as punitive measures - just to get the RPI status (a renewable work permit only).

    All this nonsense could have easily been avoided if President Obama invokes the constitutional privilege of issuing an Executive Order (Congress and/or the Supreme Court can't do anything about that as long as this decree doesn't violate the Constitution).
  4. Jack's Avatar
    USC, I haven't had a chance to analyze the bill much (until just now) but what stood out most to me is the fundamental aspect that RPI status is granted right off the bat. As a practical matter, I consider the RPI status de facto lawful permanent resident status. Why? Immigration law enforcement is already moving towards categorization which already immunizes (informally) the vast majority of unlawfully present aliens from deportation. I realize they always put a little disclaimer at the end that nothing in this memorandum limits ICE's right to enforce the law or creates a right for the aliens subject to deportation but it's kind of comical considering the 5 pages of reasons not to enforce the law which preceded it.

    On top of that protection, once any type of legal status is conferred, even if theoretically temporary, it is even less conceivable that such a person will ever be deported. E.g., has a beneficiary of TPS, even an expired one, ever been deported? Do you think anyone who signed up for DACA, even if expired, will ever be deported? I mean barring doing something else to trigger a deportation, i.e, just being unlawfully present.

    In this case, you get 6 years before having to renew. If an RPI blows off the renewal fee and just goes about his business, do you think he'll be deported? I don't. Let's say he blows off filing a tax return the whole 6 years? Would that get him deported? Doubt it--maybe he'll have to promise or actually pay the IRS what was owed but I anticipate every chance and second chance will be offered before deportation. At 10 years, if not a single one of the "border security" triggers were met (and many appear deliberately easy anyway), what do you think will happen? I think there will be enormous political pressure to just say "f-it" (pardon my French) and the green card/pathway to citizenship will be opened to every RPI. Haven't looked at it, but I heard the 90% thing has an easy out. I haven't looked at the fence part but can't foresee it being completed or that lack of completion preventing citizenship when the deadline comes.

    What about the supposedly tough hurdles for the RPI's? Those aren't to maintain RPI status but to get a green card. Thus, all the polls with those hurdles as a requirement to get legal status are officially flawed. I took a look at the poll favorite English "requirement". I know this comes as a shock (just kidding) but there is no proficiency requirement--you merely need to "pursue" a course of study. When it comes time to get your green card 10 years from passage and by off chance the government makes an issue of it, I'm sure the market will create a plethora of English courses one can register for--online even!--and then show that proof of enrollment for your green card. Hey, I guess that's a scintilla more than an affidavit *promising* to enroll. LOTS of paragraphs dealing with Discretion, Hardship, Waiver, Exception, etc. You get the idea. There will be workarounds and probably one killer workaround which word will get around about being a slam dunk.

    I'll try another: fees. Well look, "by regulation" (whim of the administration in power), the Secretary may exempt the payment of fees. Sorry to sound cynical but how could any sophisticated person not see through all of this as mere sham? It's obvious boob bait. EVERY requirement is subject to change, either by a provision right in the bill, or a new law after passage. That's the problem in a bargain when one side gets something they want which is irrevocable and your side has nothing guaranteed. They have every incentive to renege.

    So...because mass legalization is not there as an incentive (already granted), I don't see much impetus for any "requirements" to be upheld. Citizenship will come anyway so why not just delay, not fund at all or underfund, foot drag, water down, undermine, sue, ignore law, not enforce like always? Not to mention outright repeal when the time comes. Under the bill, we are promised entry/exit system, fence, etc.--which we were already supposed to get but since few in the public are informed enough to know this we'll throw it in and act like it's a big deal.

    Didn't Greg say citizens don't need a biometric card and REAL ID will be used for verification purposes under this CIR? Janet Napolitano will start granting new extensions the day after the bill's passed if the current ones are not nullified somehow by the new law (which I doubt). How can you base a new enforcement system on a prior bill that's already been law for a decade and no one thinks will ever be implemented? Well, I think we know but this time the jobs will finished we'll be told. Based on what? It's not like enforcement is wanted by the Democrats/Bush Republicans. Based on all the headings, I assume there are a multitude of potential ways to neuter requirements. Correct me if I'm wrong but even DEPORTED aliens are eligible to become RPI's? If you came back by year end 2011, you get RPI? Based on that example, I'm guessing it's like when Oprah gave away the cars. "You get an RPI! And you get an RPI! Ev-ry bo-dy gets an RPI!" Keeping in comedy mode, when is non-senator Luis Gutierrez going to casually let it slip that *I* really wrote the bill? As a final joke, if an administration official is asked during a hearing what about those who miss the 2011 cut off? If they respond, "They'll be deported," the asker should do a spit-take. How awesome would that be? Those who miss the cut off and don't resort to fraud will just go back to "prosecutorial discretion" and be home free but with no right to work. The immigrant rights people will say it's not fair not to give them amnesty too. That's what amnesties do.

    If this bill is just a starting point, the framework seems to be instant mass legalization and we'll pretend to have a big debate about mostly meaningless trigger details as well as the time frame for green card (which leads to citizenship). As discussed extensively on this blog, the union and cheap labor special interests have already made their deal.

    Mass legalization doesn't even seem up for discussion even by some formerly assumed reliable non-Bush/cheap labor Republicans. Rubio's flip flop was one thing, but Goodlatte? He was "5/5 Blue Ribbon" by NumbersUSA. That degree of revulsion is surprising (assuming it's real). Not surprising: The starting point for a bill written by politicians beholden to lobbyists who've spent $1.5 billion the last few years and are almost exclusively for much higher immigration is...much higher immigration. That is how American government works--highest bidder gets the bill for them. American people don't want higher--fat chance of ever getting that.

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