News Article Thread - 2
This is the new thread for news articles pertaining to Immigration and Immigration related legislation, congressional action and regulatory actions. Please write to reporters of each of these stories requesting them coverage of our issues.
Sample letter to the reporter:
Please allow to me express my dissatisfaction with the powers that be. My dissatisfaction is on a subject that is less likely to be familiar with most of your readers. It is not given the coverage in mainstream media it deserves.
It is the subject of legal immigration. That is not a typo. I do not want to talk about illegal immigration, the cause of so much controversy; but rather its less evil and more law-abiding twin.
On the one hand, I wish legal immigration would cause its own controversy. At least that would create some form of discussion and debate around it. It would force the eternally sacred tax payers to pay attention. It would force the more obsequious and attention seeking politicians something else to take a stand on. For at least as long as the soundbites last. Mostly, though, it would give me and my other green card applicants-in-arms something to hang a morsel of hope on. Instead of being relegated to the state of oblivion it is now.
Legal immigrants fall into various categories but they generally all follow the same course. We are allowed into the US on some kind of temporary visa (example, H1B work visa) and in time we apply for a change in status (i.e., a green card) that will allow us to stay in the country indefinitely and with far more freedoms than the temporary visa allowed. This green card application is reviewed, as it should be, to make sure that the applicant is worthy of permanent residency status. Does the applicant provide a valuable contribution to the country? Or would they be a burden to the US economy? Have they obeyed the law? Or are they a threat to national security?
The frustration sets in with the process that is set in place. The word ‘process’ implies movement. It suggests that your paperwork will progress through the various stages. The word ‘process’ puts a far too optimistic outlook on our plight. We need another word. What word could better describe this situation?
Stagnant. And circuitous. Heartbreakingly endless. Shrouded in mystery. Dispiriting to tens of thousands.
Who are these tens of thousands and why should your readers care about them? They range in age, ethnicity, background, and values. You can consider them a mini-melting pot within the already existing cauldron. All of them, however, have certain things in common with each other as well as with Americans.
Like all law-abiding Americans, they pay taxes. Like all hardworking Americans, they provide valuable contributions to American companies. And just like their American counterparts, they give the best of themselves each and everyday. They adapt to American culture by learning English - if they did not already have an excellent command of the language. They help fill the gap in engineering and science that American high schools and colleges cannot. A trend that is so worrisome to parents, teachers and politicians that there are several initiatives in place to get the US back on track. In the meantime, it is the legal immigrants that help American companies to remain competitive in the global economy. Did I mention that they pay taxes. They cannot vote, though. “No taxation without representation.” Wasn’t there an altercation based on this very premise a few years ago? I digress.
We were talking about the green card ‘process’. Applicants can wait up to 7 or 8 or more years before being granted a green card. In the meantime? They are limited as to who they can work for. If they change employers, this will require the process to start over again. They are limited as far as how far they can get promoted. If their promotion leads them to be categorized differently, it may mean that they have to start the process all over again. They are limited to where in the country they can work. A change in address can also be cause to restart the process. Generally, spouses of applicants are not allowed to work until green card is granted.
The picture that I hope I am painting is one in which lives are on hold. For years. Time is not the only sacrifice, though. There are lost career opportunities, lost earnings, indefinitely delayed life decisions. Patience gives way to frustration. And another year goes by. Colleagues continue to progress in their careers. Others change careers with, what my restricted perspective can only allow me to describe as, wild abandon. And then another year.
I cannot imagine any American putting up with this degree of mismanaged bureaucracy.
Various reasons lie behind this ineptness. And various solutions have been suggested. I will not bore you or your readers with the finer details. The only points that I want the reader to take away are the following:
- Legal immigrants provide vitally important contributions each and everyday to the bottom line of the American economy . And one very substantial contribution one every year on April 15th.
- We are not asking for handouts or an amnesty. We are only asking for our hard work to be recognized. Recognized and rewarded in the form of a timely green card in return for the years of hard work. Nothing in life is guaranteed. But the green card process should not be a careless gamble upon which we stake our life decisions on.
- The entire process needs to be thrust into the light and revamped to be more efficient so that immigrants who work hard, obey the law, and pay taxes are rewarded appropriately instead of being punished by endless wait times.
The picture that I do not want to paint is that of an ingrate. This is truly a great country to make a life in. It takes hardworking, honest, dedicated, smart, ambitious people to make it run.
Every legal immigrant I know fits the bill.
Last edited by pappu; 04-03-2007 at 08:35 PM.
Even though IV kept saying that no Immigration measure would be alllowed outside of CIR.... Our beloved Senator Sessions has added his thing and it's headed for negotiations....which means that we will be just looking at it.
UK immigration laws: Indians seek justice
The 5-year plus EB3 immigration backlog for Indian nationals in the USA (as well as those from the Phillipines, Mexico, China) is discrimnatory. I've had friends who're younger, less experienced and who've spent much less time in this country, zip through the Green Card process simply because they were born in another country. What ws intended to be a 6-12 month process, has turned into a 6 year-long nightmare. This is simply not fair. Similar discrimination faces Indians in the UK (see below)
PTI, Feb 2, 2007
LONDON: Affected by recent changes in British immigration laws, a forum representing over 30,000 skilled Indians will move the High Court here on Monday to seek judicial review of the new legislation.
Britain's new Highly Skilled Migrants Programme, which officially came into force on December 5, will force Indians and other non-EU personnel to leave the country because they no longer fit the highly-skilled migrant category.
Under the new rule, people above 28 and earning less than 35,000 pounds per annum will find it difficult to continue here.
The forum will seek review of the immigration laws in the High Court on the ground that the Home Ministry had unfairly gone back on its assurances.
In its notice, the Highly Skilled Migrants Programme (HSMP) Forum will submit that the British Home Secretary, John Reid, "can not lawfully fail to respect the legitimate expectations of those already granted permission to remain under the pre-existing scheme."
It noted that over 30,000 highly skilled persons from India had taken "life changing decisions on the basis of previous statements" (from British government) and the UK government was now "unfairly changing the goalposts."
The issue had been taken up by India at the highest level. While the Forum had sought interventions from President and Prime Minister of India, Finance Minister P Chidambaram had sought a fair treatment to the highly skilled Indians, cautioning that Britain would be the loser if it did not allow "freer movement of personnel who can render services abroad."
The Forum would wish the Home Secretary to make wider transitional arrangements in relation to these changes so that those who had entered Britain prior to the changes to the immigration law were treated fairly as per the promises held out to them.
"In our view there could be no greater unfairness than enticing people to come to the UK and to commit their future lives here for the benefit of the UK, only to change the rules under which they entered without adequate transitional savings for those already here, thereby creating a situation in which the hopes and expectations of those enticed are dashed and defeated," the forum said.
"We wish the UK government would wake up and look at the ground realities and treat us more empathically. We were asked to sign declarations to make UK our main home and were promised that we would get further leave based on economic activity alone and indefinite leave to remain thereafter," coordinator of HSMP forum Amit Kapadia said today
He said the forum would challenge the breach of trust.
Help Wanted: The Indian IT Skills Gap And How More H-1Bs Can Make It Worse
Help Wanted: The Indian IT Skills Gap And How More H-1Bs Can Make It Worse
by Gary Endelman
Is there anyone out there who does not know in his bones that India has an inexhaustible supply of top-flight engineers and IT specialists? India is an engineer factory. Right? Suppose that this was not the case. Suppose there was a looming shortage of IT talent just over the horizon that could blow India's gilt-edged reputation apart. What would the impact be for US immigration policy, especially with regard to the H-1B visa? More than any other visa, the H-1B was linked to the dot.com boom of the 1990's and became the poster child for the dot.com bust that followed. Defended by its champions as necessary for American competitiveness, derided by its detractors as a sell-out of good American jobs, the H-1B is ground zero for the national immigration debate. If a way could be found to use the H-1B in a strategic sense to preserve white collar opportunities here at home, a sea change in this conversation would doubtless ensue. Maybe looking east to India is the clue.
There is a dirty little secret that India does not want you to know: they have a looming IT shortage! Oh sure, numbers are not the problem; Indian universities churn out about 400,000 engineers every year; quality, now there's the rub. According to a recent study done by a major Indian trade group, the National Association of Software and Service Companies ("Nasscom"} found that only 1 in 4 engineering graduates had the technical skills, knowledge of international business practices, English language fluency and networking ability to be employable. Nandan Nilekani, the CEO of Infosys, and a man one presumes not naturally given to hyperbole, believes that India has reached a crossroads. Ironically, both US and Indian observers, have been so transfixed by the sheer size of the Indian graduating class that they do not drill down to look more closely. " There are two and a half million graduates every year in India, " Nasscom President Kiran Karnik observes, " but the employable pool in this is very, very small…We are ahead but in five to 10 years, we will need more people with doctorates."  Even a superstar like Google has heartburn when trying to sign up enough talented engineers for its high-tech research center in Bangalore.
Indian software exports have outpaced the ability of the Indian educational system to keep pace. Nasscom predicts that the number of technology jobs is expected to almost double to 1.7 million by 2010; where will the talent come from? Indian IT moguls shudder before an anticipated shortfall of as much as a quarter million skilled workers. Kiran Karnik bemoans the fact that "Companies are able to select only eight or nine people out of 100 who apply and that's a pretty low selection ratio…In my estimate, only a third of the pool has the right skills to be absorbed into the industry right away." R. Sankar, country manager in India for Mercer Human Resource Consulting, is no less pessimistic: "Just look at the technology sector. Look at the numbers they are trying to achieve. Thousands of thousands of employees…And there just aren't enough skilled graduates in India to fill these jobs." Intel (India) president Frank B. Jones spilled the beans when he confessed to a software conference in Hyderabad that "it was becoming more and more difficult to find the required skills among school leavers and graduates in India." So tight has the IT skills crunch become, that Intel now recruits 10% of its Indian work force by luring home Indian nationals from the United States. What sweet irony!
India is the victim of its own success. The very size of the outsourcing bonanza it has enticed to come may be its undoing. There is no way that IT growth targets can be met should the doomsday predictions of a shortfall in It talent come to pass. Nasscom vice president Sunil Mehta knows what this would mean: "A possible skills shortage will directly impact the business being handled by India, and gradually affect the size and nature of contracts being outsourced by India, and industry revenues." Sheer numbers can no longer mask the inescapable impact of a skills shortage Nasscom, with the enthusiastic backing of the entire IT industry, has launched an IT Workforce Development Initiative to prepare India for what is coming. The stakes for India could not be higher. That is why the inability of the Indian educational system, other than the highly acclaimed 7 prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology, to hold their own places the nation's future in peril. It is not just high-tech that is worried. In New Delhi, for example, city fathers "warned of a massive shortage of engineers to oversee public works in a country whose infrastructure is notoriously bad." Nothing is immune. Even the famous Indian call center industry worries who will man the phones.
(continued on next post)
...Help Wanted: The Indian IT Skills Gap And How More H-1Bs Can Make It Worse
(...continued from above post)
The Indian IT skills shortage is creating a tsunami of wage inflationary pressure that threatens to undermine the very rationale of outsourcing. Entry-level IT wages have soared in recent years by 12-15% per annum. How good does the bottom line look when Indian IT compensation grew by 14.5% in 2004 according to Hewitt Associates? Other surveys were even more ominous. The 2005 Salary Survey of Indian Technical Telecommunicators found that metropolitan IT salaries exploded at an annual rate of 22%!Not surprisingly, a study by PriceWaterhouseCoopers ranked India behind both China and Eastern Europe as the place where IT outsourcing was likely to take place.
A similar report from the London-based Mercer Human Resources Consulting revealed that Indian salaries were going up faster than anywhere in the world! The results are toxic. Even making money does not reassure anxious investors. Wipro, an Indian IT giant, turned in quarterly profits in excess of market predictions this past summer and still saw a 5.5% drop in shares following a warning of coming wage hikes. Satyam, India's 4th largest IT company, turned in an unbelievable 75% increase in quarterly profits for 3Q 2006 only to be rewarded with a drop in share price due to investor concerns over skyrocketing salaries. When investors turn their backs on a company that makes money, it can only be because they do not believe this can continue for long. Know what? They are right. While the wage differential between Indian and American IT workers is now five-fold, within a matter of 4-5 years, experts predict that this could slip to three, or maybe even two-fold. When that happens, it may make sense to stay home.
Come now full circle from India to the H-1B debate. The very existence of such a controversy assumes that jobs for which the visas are awarded will remain in the United States. If this were not the case, if they went to India, what difference would US immigration policies make to an employer who had relocated to Bangalore? You could, after all, have no caps on H visas but this would be of little interest. The inability of immigration advocates to demonstrate any real or sustained connection between the H-1B and outsourcing, indeed between outsourcing and US immigration in general, has given the entire issue an air of unreality. It is as if events changed, but the contestants took no note, acting instead as if the US remained the only game in town. Now, for the first time, the looming IT shortage in India offers a chance to supply the elusive missing connection.
The following specific steps commend themselves but, if like other ideas better, try them on for size. So long as America gets to the right place, the road taken will not matter:
· Exempt all Indian H-1Bs in information technology or engineering from numerical restrictions.
· All other H-1Bs from India would not only be subject to the cap but would require proof that the an equally qualified US candidate could not be recruited;
· No longer require a college or university degree for any IT H-1B case. There is no indication that the absence of such a credential would make the IT visa holder any less creative or productive;
· Allow all Indian H-1Bs in information technology to apply for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident without a current priority date or demonstration of American unavailability. Approval of such application would require immediate visa availability.
· Make all Indian IT H-1Bs completely portable so that there would be no need for subsequent employer sponsorship. Once the Indian H-1B techie had true occupational mobility, the possibility for being taken advantage of by an unscrupulous employer would vanish along with the need for any labor condition application. The market could protect the Indian H and his American counterpart far better than the DOL.
· Allow the Indian H-1B to self-petition for the visa at a US Consulate in India.
What would happen if these suggestions were adopted? Smart Indians engineers could come to the United States. As President Bush recently told DuPont employees at an energy symposium in Wilmington, Delaware, it "makes no sense to say to a young scientist from India, you can't come to America to help this company develop technologies that help us deal with our problems…" What should America do with the H-1B? Simple. Adopt polices so that the number of top quality Indian IT specialists would decline and the wages of the less qualified who remain behind would rise. This would reduce the pressures on US IT firms to outsource to India and diminish their incentive to do so. Truth be told, there is not an American or an Indian IT scale but a global wage since knowledge and its transmission are seamless, knowing neither national allegiances nor immigration regimes. To the extent that wage levels are brought into balance, a transnational prevailing wage will allow employers to focus on the enhancement of employee productivity as the source of competitive advantage. This is a battle that American workers can fight. India has an IT shortage? Let's use the H-1B to make it worse. Then we can move on to other industries and win there too.
(End Notes section omitted - see hyperlink at the top)
ILW lawyers March 30, 07 conference on future H1/EB reform issues
Solving Complex Immigration Challenges While Super-Charging Your Career and Your Law Firm - With Angelo Paparelli
Immigration-law representation and practice management have never been more difficult. The ever-changing law is mind-bogglingly complex, agency regulations are either indecipherable or nonexistent, and the bureaucratic response is typically confused, nonsensical or unforgiving.
Media bloviators befuddle, inflame and frighten the public about America's "Broken Borders". ICE conducts unannounced raids of employers and sweeps of the hapless alien parents of U.S. citizen children. USCIS launches a new website that spits out more error messages than answers. CBP snares both overstays and legitimate travelers alike who apply for admission at ports of entry. The DOL's buggy PERM program perplexes long-time and new practitioners. DOS and DHS are hamstrung by delays in FBI security clearances. The AAO rubber-stamps USCIS denials while pretending to be impartial. The State Department reports monthly quota backlogs that move at a chelonian pace. Future H-1B hopefuls are stuck like insects in amber while awaiting April 1 and October 1. A newly reconstituted, Democrat-controlled Congress is set to attempt a grand resolution on comprehensive immigration reform legislation with Pres. Bush.
Meantime, today's clients are more demanding and panic-stricken than ever because the stakes for them have never been greater.
Fax form http://www.ilw.com/workshops/march2007challenges.pdf.
The ILRC Forecast on Immigration Reform
The ILRC Forecast on Immigration Reform
by Judith Golub, Executive Director
With the November mid-term elections behind us and the 110th Congress convened, what is the prognosis for immigration reform?
While it would be an uphill fight, reform could be enacted this year, given both the public’s demand that Congress fix our nation’s problems (and our broken immigration system being one of the primary problems needing attention) and some momentum remaining from last year’s Congressional debate.
Both Democratic and Republican Senate leaders have prioritized immigration reform. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) introduced the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 (S. 9) on the very first day of the 110th Congress and has reserved floor time to consider the issue. This “placeholder” bill will be replaced most likely with a reform package negotiated by Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and John McCain (R-AZ). Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has acknowledged that immigration is a pressing concern needing to be addressed.
On the House side, Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), who is poised to become Chair of the House Immigration Subcommittee, wants to produce “a practical and bipartisan bill that gets broad support” and believes that “if everybody can lower their voice, just stop yelling and go through the issues one by one, that we can come to consensus.” However, a determined opposition led by Senate and House Republicans are expected to put roadblocks in the way of reform.
In contrast, President Bush in his State of the Uni*n address underscored the fact that “convictions run deep in this Capitol when it comes to immigration. Let us have a serious, civil, and conclusive debate – so that you can pass, and I can sign, comprehensive immigration reform into law.”
But what kind of reform remains the question, as does whether there will be reform at all – given the “convictions that run deep.” While the following does not exhaust the possibilities, below are four scenarios:
• The “good enough” scenario in which a measure passes that includes both hard pills to swallow and significant positives and can be implemented. This will be a very uphill fight;
• The “get done what we can” scenario in which, due to time constraints and other roadblocks, a smaller scale package passes (that includes AgJobs and DREAM Act and other measures along with some enforcement provisions) that has sufficient Congressional support and will provide the foundation for future reform;
• The “not good enough” scenario in which a measure passes that does not depart significantly from last year’s Senate-passed bill, S. 2611, should be opposed on its merits and cannot be implemented; and
• The “crash” scenario in which too many constraints, conflicts, and roadblocks stand in the way so that Congress fails to address reform this year. Several factors will help determine which scenario might become reality and include:
• The Composition of Congress: While Democrats narrowly control both Houses of Congress, some newly elected Democrats ran on enforcement- only platforms and opposed positive reform of our immigration system. They cannot be counted on to support a pro-immigration package. Also, some pro-immigration Republicans (such as former Senators Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) and Mike DeWine (R-OH) and Representative Jim Leach (R-IA)) lost their seats in the last election.
Their defeats will make it harder for reform proponents to find bipartisan allies and the numbers they need to pass a bill. And the more proponents want reform in this challenging environment, the more leverage they give to those who want to restrict reform. Hill observers also note that 60 votes are needed for cloture in the Senate, and that most likely 15 Senate Republicans and 50 to 60 House moderate Republicans and conservative Democrats are needed to support the passage of major reform.
• The 2008 election: Members of Congress already have focused on the November 2008 election and will want to resolve controversial issues (like immigration reform) by this October, well before that election. Because Democrats want to stay in the majority and Republicans want to recapture it, both will seek to protect their Members from difficult votes – a concern that probably will be reflected in the content of reform legislation and votes taken on amendments. Leadership also has indicated that they will delay considering reform until 2009 if the do not pass a bill by the October deadline. Presidential electoral politics also will play a role, with many who intend to run looking at the issue in terms of how it will impact their candidacies and play to their base. And the fact that both parties want to capture the Latino vote will impact on how they deal with the issue. 2
• The Role of the President: President Bush has made immigration one of his four domestic policy priorities and during his State of the Uni*n address acknowledged both that our current immigration system is not “worthy of America” and that our laws and our borders are routinely violated. His solutions to fully securing our border are a temporary worker program, worksite enforcement of our immigration laws, an employer verification system, and a resolution of the status of those already in our country –“without animosity and without amnesty.”
He also emphasized that “all elements of this problem must be addressed together,” and urged Congress to pass a measure so that he could sign a bill into law. A document issued just before he delivered his address would allow undocumented workers to be considered for legalized status if they pay a “meaningful penalty,” “learn English, pay their taxes, pass a background check, and hold a job for a number of years.”
However, the President’s proposal is very ambiguous, focuses on a temporary worker program and a mandate that immigrants return home, and is unclear what the legalized status for the undocumented really is. Questions also remain about the amount of political capital (and if he has any left is a question) he is willing to expend on this issue and if his dismal standing in the polls will lead him to sign into law any measure sent to him.
• Lack of Consensus on Core Issues: Last year’s reform debate exposed major challenges and disagreements on several issues and what would be acceptable bottom lines and trade-offs.
1. Legalization: The three-tiered legalization program in S. 2611 would have made ineligible millions of people and is unworkable. Congressional leaders have yet to agree on the kind of legalization to be included in legislation or the number of people covered. If too many are left uncovered, they fear the program will not work. If too many are covered, they fear attacks that the program is an “amnesty.” The field also differs on what constitutes “good enough” legalization. In addition, even in the best case, many likely would not be covered because of documentation, eligibility, and other problems, and there is no consensus on how to deal with this population including whether to bring them to the head of the line of the worker program.
2. A future flow program: One of the main flaws in our current system is the absence of legal pathways for many to enter the U.S. The major flaw of the 1986 reform was that it addressed only the symptom of our broken system by legalizing a significant number of undocumented people, but not the cause: the lack of a program that creates future legal flows.
We cannot afford to make that same mistake twice because without a program that legalizes a future flow, any reform measure would be obsolete the day after it becomes law because there would be no means for significant numbers to come legally in the future. Many Members of Congress support fixing the system by creating a new kind of temporary worker program and understand the details of such a program matter. The field is badly divided on the issue, with those who oppose a worker program (given experiences with the bracero program) as part of reform failing to provide alternatives to address future flows.
Advocates who accept that a worker program is an inevitable part of reform believe that it is better for workers to be temporary than undocumented and that such a program must include portability (the right of an immigrant to change jobs), worker protections, and the rights to bring one’s family and at the end of the program adjust to permanent residency if U.S. workers would not be displaced.
3. How to meet US labor needs: The debate about how best to meet future U.S. labor needs is central to the immigration reform debate generally and worker programs specifically. While there is disagreement about these programs, the field agrees on the need to increase permanent immigration and the number of green cards. However, Congress does not have the political will or sufficient support to make available a sufficient number of green cards to meet the need and there is little discussion about how best to use both approaches. Finally, this debate usually ignores the contribution of family-based immigration and the fact that many needed workers enter our country through that flow.
4. Mandated Return: Several bills introduced in past Congresses, including S. 2611, included a mandate that some (if not all) undocumented had to return to their counties of origin. This return is controversial and a key demand of conservatives, While some believe it may be the necessary price for legalization, others believe it is unacceptable because it will cause hardship, dramatically reduce program participation because people will fear they will be unable to return, disrupt the labor force and separate families. Some also note that “touch base,” the phrase that has been used in the debate for this mandated return, belittles the disruption such a return would cause.
5. Enforcement: Especially after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, enforcement and security measures have been embedded in the immigration reform debate, notwithstanding the fact that these measures have little to do with either enforcement or security. This debate has manifested itself in several ways:
Enforcement- Only: Republican leaders last year advanced an “enforcement- only” agenda and others insisted on “enforcement first,” that border security must precede reform. However, both approaches will neither resolve the problems in our immigration system nor advance enforcement or security. And notwithstanding the fact that Republican leadership last year derailed immigration reform and failed to move their enforcement agenda, we can expect that they again will use this tactic to defeat a positive agenda or, failing that, extract a very high price. In contrast, others may work across the aisle to pass reform.
The Field and Enforcement: The issue of enforcement has split the pro-immigration advocacy field, with some opposing all enforcement measures, while others focus on the measures they would support in the context of immigration reform.
What Constitutes Enforcement: There appears to be consensus in Congress that any reform package that Congress addresses will include enforcement measures.
The issue is what these measures should be. Many proposed thus far have nothing to do with enforcement, such as provisions in S. 2611 and the House-passed H.R. 4437 that would have made many ineligible for legalization. These measures, under the guise of enforcement, also would have eviscerated the due process and civil liberty protections of the legal permanent residents, the “other twelve million,” a fact that was obscured in last year’s debate.
The field disagrees on border enforcement measures (security experts call for a “virtual” border, not the “hardened” border that Congress is moving toward) and how to create an effective and fair employer verification system with due process and privacy protections – with some opposing any and all enforcement and worker verification systems. The field and many state and local police oppose empowering law enforcement to enforce civil violations of immigration law (a favorite of reform opponents) because it would destroy community policing.
Enforcing the Status Quo: While there is consensus that our immigration system is broken, the Administration and many Members of Congress support measures that would enforce this dysfunctional system. In contrast, the field condemns raids and other egregious enforcement measures and urges Congress to focus instead on fixing a broken system. Employers are now faced with stepped-up enforcement and want a system that establishes guidelines to verify work authorization to protect them from immigration raids.
• The state of the field: The 109th Congress left scars that must be healed among advocates both within the beltway and between both the beltway and the field because of reactions to the differing positions groups took on S. 2611. Many immigrant-based groups have been established since the 1986 law and have grown in sophistication and capacity. Established groups need to partner more with these groups and work together to establish and advance shared goals.
• How we best talk about our issues and know the opposition: Advocates must talk about issues in ways that connect with the public and elected officials. Polling data and other research have found that the public understands that the U.S. will not deport millions of people, and values fairness, commonsense, family reunification, and the “American” way of doing things.
The opposition comes from inside and outside of Congress. Senators Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL) already have started attacking reform by taking pot shots during Senate debates in January on AgJobs and increasing the minimum wage. Along with Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and the current Republican Senate leadership, they voted against last year’s Senate-passed bill, S. 2611, and are expected this year to use delay and conflict to oppose reform. Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) is expected to play that role in the House. He is a determined and master strategist with experienced staff who will work to counter a less experienced Democratic staff.
Representative Tom Tancredo (R-CO) also will take a leading role opposing reform and has indicated that he might run for President in 2008 to highlight his views on immigration. Extremist groups like the Federation for Immigration Reform (the so-called FAIR) and its allies will use fear and distortion to try to defeat reform in the public realm.
• Congressional Attention to Other Issues: The Congressional October 2007 deadline to address reform, along with the complexity of the issue, the passions it generates, and an already crowded legislative agenda that includes must-pass appropriations bills create a very complex environment. Add to that Congressional focus on other pressing issues – especially any emergencies that could arise from the war in Iraq – and reform could be stopped in its tracks.
Three other issues merit attention as the debate progresses:
• Implementation – The Criteria of Workability: Immigration is a complicated issue and whatever measure is passed must meet the test that it can be implemented.
How these provisions work on the ground makes all of the difference because even the most well-intentioned and crafted provisions could be harmful if they cannot be implemented or are difficult to implement. For instance, the three-tier legalization program in S. 2611 is too complicated and would have had perverse impacts including people not registering because they fear returning to their country of origin and others going further underground because they are ineligible for any benefits.
• Fraud: The complexity of immigration law, its inflexibility, and the insufficient number of service providers for large numbers of immigrants are factors that encourage fraud. Many thousands of immigrants each year fall victim to people who take money without providing services and/or tell them they are eligible for programs for which they are not, and then, to make matters worse, submit to the government applications or petitions which leave them exposed to charges of fraud. Such fraud is a national problem and becomes even more so when Congress even debates immigration, much less passes a new law.
Lessons learned from the past: We all have much to learn from laws Congress debated and passed in the past. For instance, the 1986 IRCA debate reminds us of the difficulties associated with passing workable reform when the House, in a much less politically charged environment with Democrats strongly in control, fell just twelve votes short of eliminating the legalization program. And the 1996 IIRAIRA/AEDPA debate reminds us that it is very difficult to repeal bad laws.
The ILRC will continue to focus in this challenging environment to advance reform that works for this country and for immigrants. We will take every opportunity to create and support an environment that supports needed change. Such reform must bring out of the shadows the people who are here and allow them a path to eventual citizenship, ensure labor protections, reunite families, create a legal flow for future new workers to enter our country, secure our borders, and help immigrants join our society.
Please contact Judy Golub at JGolub@ilrc. org with any questions or comments.
Immigrant Legal Resource Center
1663 Mission Street, Suite 602
San Francisco, California 94103
Call it the 'Andy Amendment'
This was in LA Times yesterday :
Call it the 'Andy Amendment'
It's absurd that foreign-born Americans like Intel CEO Andy Grove can run successful business but not the country.
By Richard S. Tedlow, Richard S. Tedlow, a historian, is a professor at Harvard Business School and the author of "Andy Grove: The Life and Times of an American," recently published by Penguin.
February 4, 2007
ANDY GROVE fled Hungary at the age of 20 in 1956, shortly after Soviet tanks rolled into Budapest to put down any illusion that freedom could flourish behind the Iron Curtain. He made his way to the United States and enrolled at the City College of New York, graduating first in his engineering class in 1960. He then went to UC Berkeley for his PhD in chemical engineering.
Grove's enthusiastic attachment to the U.S. began before he left his native country. There was never any question of his remaining in Europe once he escaped from communism. If ever there were a destination shopper in this life, it was Grove, and he pre-purchased the United States. He became a citizen in 1962, and he managed to extricate his parents from Hungary and bring them here as well.
Like millions of other naturalized Americans starting anew in this meritocratic nation of immigrants, Grove made the most of the opportunity this nation afforded him. In addition to becoming a wealthy man, Grove repaid his adopted nation nearly $200 billion, the increase in Intel's market capitalization during his tenure as chief executive of the microprocessor giant from 1987 to 1998.
Grove is one of three people most responsible, along with Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, for putting computers on our desks. Without Intel's chips, the computer revolution wouldn't have happened, and without Grove, Intel never would have managed the chip revolution as masterfully as it has. It was Grove who made Intel realize that "the PC is it," and it was his combination of managerial and technical expertise that put Intel inside so many PCs around the world.
Thankfully, no one questioned the depth of Grove's "Americanness" before he was entrusted with the responsibility of leading Intel. And no law prevented it.
The Constitution does not prohibit foreign-born individuals from leading a U.S.-based company. But what if it did? What if our Constitution had told Grove: "You can't change the world because you come from Hungary." Sound ridiculous? Of course it does. Imagine what else would have been lost if we faced such constraints in the business world.
What if the Constitution said:
• Pierre Omidyar, you can't found EBay here because you were born in France.
• Sergey Brin, you can't co-found Google here because you were born in Russia.
• Jerry Yang, you can't co-found Yahoo here because you were born in Taiwan.
And what would happen to that most American of industries, soft drinks? The chief executive of PepsiCo, Indra Nooyi, was born in India. The chief executive of Coca-Cola, E. Neville Isdell, was born in Ireland. He follows in the footsteps of Cuban-born Roberto Goizueta.
We are not just talking about entrepreneurs from recent years. Levi Strauss was born in Bavaria. Andrew Carnegie was born in Scotland. U.S. business has flourished in no small part because of the vitality and imagination of individuals among the "huddled masses" assimilated into this country.
It is odd that this freedom to harness the best and the brightest Americans, including immigrants, is a guiding principle at every address in our nation except for one: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Because he was born abroad, Grove is prohibited from serving as president, even though he has made significant and enduring contributions to U.S. business and society for decades. Although the Clintons and Bushes are the only dynasties threatening to control our government these days, we cling to an 18th century measure aimed at keeping European monarchs from scheming to control the then-young republic.
A noteworthy example of what the United States gained by its openness in business, but may have sacrificed because of this presidential prohibition, is the case of a man named James Couzens. Couzens was born the son of a grocery store clerk in Chatham, Canada. Some believe that he was the real brains behind the success of the early Ford Motor Co. a century ago. It was the United States' inclusiveness that allowed him to cross the border and play such a vital part in putting the nation on wheels.
Eventually, sick of Henry Ford's increasing megalomania, Couzens left the company for public service. He became mayor of Detroit in 1919 and represented Michigan in the U.S. Senate soon thereafter. After his death in 1936, Couzens was described by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as "a leader whose convictions were a part of the best [to which] America aspires." But this "Americanness" notwithstanding, Couzens could never become president of the United States because he was born on the wrong side of the border. He knew it and didn't like it, even as a youth.
"I can never become king of England," he said sharply to his parents, "but if I had been born in the United States, I could be president."
The prohibition against naturalized citizens becoming president of the United States is as counterproductive as a similar prohibition on their becoming chief executives of major corporations would be. It is telling that no other governmental position in the country is similarly restricted. The other branches of government all welcome naturalized citizens. Foreign-born U.S. citizens have served with great distinction in the Cabinet, from Alexander Hamilton, President Washington's brilliant and indispensable secretary of the Treasury, who was born in the West Indies, to Prague-born Madeleine Albright, President Clinton's secretary of State.
Is a person who happens to be born on U.S. soil somehow more capable, more trustworthy or more dedicated to upholding the principles of this nation than those born elsewhere? The record of countless naturalized Americans who have been leaders in business, government and other areas of our society says no.
Permitting a naturalized American, whether it be Silicon Valley entrepreneurs such as Grove or governors such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Canadian-born Jennifer Granholm of Michigan, to become the nation's ultimate chief executive would be an important way to reaffirm that openness. Let's allow voters to pick the best American for the job, wherever he or she was born.
Indian immigrants enticed to go home
Indian immigrants enticed to go home
Stronger economy, old ties beckon
By Jehangir S. Pocha, Globe Correspondent | February 5, 2007
MUMBAI -- Lured by the booming Indian economy and fed up with living as outsiders in a foreign society, many Indian and other South Asian immigrants in the United States are returning to their homeland -- and bringing with them cutting-edge American skills.
"This is a happening place," said Ader Gandi, 49, a Pakistani-American mortgage broker from San Francisco who decided to become an art photography dealer in Mumbai, India's chaotic commercial capital, after arriving as a tourist two years ago. "Everywhere you look there are things coming up and happening that just weren't there two years ago -- there's just so much growth."
Spurred by market reforms and a dynamic entrepreneurial class, India's once-sluggish economy has been growing by about 7 percent a year for the last decade, faster than every country in the world except China. Many salaries have almost doubled since 2005, as has the country's stock market index.
This has opened vast new opportunities in multiple fields and infused much of urban India with a tremendous sense of possibility and optimism. Coupled with India's traditionally rich social life that's been made all the more rambunctious by prosperity, this offers returnees an intoxicating mix of professional and personal satisfaction.
"Let me put it this way -- after living 20 years in the Bay Area I had 80 telephone numbers in my cellphone and after living here two years I have 200," said Gandi. "Life in the US can get a bit lonely, but here there is something happening all the time. People don't wait until the weekend to party."
New Delhi is acutely conscious of the money and expertise that returning Indians bring to local businesses, nonprofit organizations, and universities, and has been welcoming its dispersed children back home with open arms. A Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs has been created and a number of incentives for returnees have recently been announced, including permitting them to hold dual citizenship for the first time. Various programs to attract Indian-origin intellectuals and professors to Indian universities have also been launched.
While the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs says about 50,000 overseas Indians have applied for the new "overseas citizen of India" status, there are no reliable figures for the exact number of Indians resettling permanently in India.
An officer at the Foreigners Registration Office in Mumbai that deals with returnees, and whose department's upholstered sofas and elegant paintings contrast with the grimy offices of other sections that service locals, said the numbers were doubling every month.
"India is shining," she said wryly, parroting a recent government public relations campaign.
The subtle sarcasm in the officer's voice is commonly echoed in a country where the promise of the future is also encumbered with the harsh realities of the present. For all its recent progress, India remains desperately poor, mismanaged, and often lawless. It struggles to cope with decaying cities, crumbling infrastructure, and a society beset with medieval-era problems such as caste divisions and religious prejudices.
Ironically, while India's burgeoning economy is the main driver of reverse migration, poverty is also playing a role. In a country where almost 750 million of its 1.1 billion people live below the World Bank's definition of poverty, labor is so cheap that even working-class families hire domestic help, whom they still call servants, to do the daily chores that keep American families occupied most evenings.
Many returnees, especially those with children, say this is one of the most attractive personal reasons for reverse-migrating from the United States where the costs and demands of child care, education, and managing after-school activities are spiraling.
Family ties are another driver. Anant Patel, 38, an engineer who lived for 12 years in the Chicago area and returned to India in 2003 to start a trading company, said he had grown tired of sustaining bonds with loved ones in India through expensive and brief two-week vacations every year.
"Now everything is available in India," Patel said. "The logic of staying abroad wasn't there anymore."
Most of the 1.2 million Indian immigrants who began streaming into the United States in the 1970s and '80s were basically economic refugees, so they face fewer barriers to return home than emigrants from countries rife with political repression. But even second-generation Indian-Americans are giving up the only life they have known in the United States to set up home in their ancestral homeland.
Prakash Shukla, whose parents immigrated to New York in the late 1960s, said he had a lucrative job with IBM when he decided to move to Mumbai (formerly Bombay) and work with the Tata Group, India's largest conglomerate.
"My parents were surprised," said Shukla, who is now the chief information officer of Indian Hotels Ltd., the Tata group company that recently bought Boston's historic Ritz-Carlton hotel. "My dad had gone to the US to study and stayed on because at that time getting a job in India was a huge problem. I love America and have close childhood buddies there. But I know India from so many visits and wanted to be here."
Shukla said his first few years were dogged with frustration at India's legendary bureaucracy and collapsed civic amenities. Because of these continuing problems, India continues to suffer a net "brain drain," and America continues to benefit from "brain gain," evidenced by the crowds outside the US Consulate's visa office here.
Nash Patel, 38, who lives in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with his wife Anahita, 37, and their daughters, Jessica, 11, and Shanaya, 7, is one of those resisting moving back to India -- at least for now.
"It's nice to visit," Patel said in Mumbai recently . "But living is different. Apartments here are so expensive; there's no space for anything. In the US we've got our own home and the kids can play anywhere."
Nevertheless, Patel says he and his wife will probably return to Mumbai when they retire.
I saw that there was so much of Media Coverage on the new immigration policy and its impact on high skilled Indians, both in UK press and Indian press. Why don't we get similar attention in US? Only way lawmakers will get educated on this issue is by media coverage.
If somehow Time pulishes a half page article on this issue, all the lawmakers will be educated on this issue in one day.
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