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Senate’s Immigration Bill Moves Forward Largely Unchanged

The Senate's side of the Capitol Building in DC.

The Senate’s side of the Capitol Building in DC. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Senate has moved S. 744, the bipartisan immigration reform bill forward with a vote of 67-27 marking a substantial milestone for this country.  The bill contains provisions that would uplift millions of workers and their families by providing a path to legalization for the undocumented and much needed changes to the family and business immigration processes, while maintaining a focus on border security and immigration enforcement.

 

Press Release: AILA Commends Senate Judiciary Committee and Calls On Full Senate to Show Similar Commitment to Immigration Reform

English: Dirksen Senate Building room 226 from...

Dirksen Senate Building room 226 from http://judiciary.senate.gov/information.cfm commons:category:United States Senate (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

AILA PRESS RELEASE 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013
CONTACTS:
George Tzamaras or Belle Woods
202-507-7649 / 202-507-7675
gtzamaras@aila.org / bwoods@aila.org

WASHINGTON, DC – The Senate Judiciary Committee wrapped up weeks of work on immigration reform by passing S. 744 the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act” out of committee by a bipartisan vote of 13 to 5 last night. At the end of the hearing, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Leahy said, “The dysfunction in our current immigration system affects all of us and it is long past time for reform. I hope that our history, our values, and our decency can inspire us finally to take action,” as he successfully concluded an unprecedented effort to open the immigration reform process to the public by making all amendments available online.

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Whitehouse Press Release: Statement by the President on Commonsense Immigration Reform

President Barack Obama speaks about government...

President Barack Obama speaks about government contracting reform. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

VIA THE WHITE HOUSE

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release
April 16, 2013

This afternoon, Senators Schumer and McCain briefed me on the bipartisan immigration reform bill that they have drafted with their colleagues in the Senate. This bill is clearly a compromise, and no one will get everything they wanted, including me. But it is largely consistent with the principles that I have repeatedly laid out for comprehensive reform. This bill would continue to strengthen security at our borders and hold employers more accountable if they knowingly hire undocumented workers. It would provide a pathway to earned citizenship for the 11 million individuals who are already in this country illegally. And it would modernize our legal immigration system so that we’re able to reunite families and attract the highly-skilled entrepreneurs and engineers who will help create good paying jobs and grow our economy. These are all commonsense steps that the majority of Americans support. I urge the Senate to quickly move this bill forward and, as I told Senators Schumer and McCain, I stand willing to do whatever it takes to make sure that comprehensive immigration reform becomes a reality as soon as possible.

NBC Newswire and The Associated Press joins Reuters in reporting on possibility that the entire year’s H-1B Work Visa Quota could be exhausted in a week

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates at the fifth D: All ...

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates at the fifth D: All Things Digital conference (D5) in 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NBC Newswire and The Associated Press have added to yesterday’s Reuter’s article, for which I was interviewed, reporting on the possibility that the entire year’s national quota of H-1B Professional Work Visas could be used up in as little as a week’s time.  The article discusses the recent Republican led attempt to reform immigration for highly skilled workers through the failed STEM Jobs Act, and makes the point that such an obvious demand for skilled workers sends a clear signal that the U.S. economic collapse is over and that Congressional overhaul of the H-1B should be part of any Comprehensive Immigration Reform legislation.  Congress would do wise to listen to the likes of more than 100 top tech leaders including Mark ZuckerbergBill Gates and even the late Steve Jobs, all of whom were proponents of increasing limits on Professional Work visas.

AILA’s Immigration Quicktake: House Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing on High-Skilled Immigration

American Immigration Lawyers Association: Immigration Quicktake: House Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing on High-Skilled Immigration

Fox News Poll indicates that 72% of registered voters Favor Allowing Undocumented Immigrants to Remain in the Country and Eventually Qualifying for U.S. citizenship, as long as Certain Conditions Met

English: Number of self-identified Democrats v...

English: Number of self-identified Democrats vs. self-identified Republicans, per state, according to Gallup, January-June 2010 http://www.gallup.com/poll/141548/States-Competitive-Terms-Party-Identification.aspx. 18 point Democratic advantage 10-17 point Democratic advantage 3-9 point Democratic advantage 2 point Democratic advantage through 2 point Republican advantage 3-9 point Republican advantage 10-17 point Republican advantage 18+ point Republican advantage (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A recent poll by Fox News indicates that 72% of registered voters “favor allowing illegal immigrants to remain in the country and eventually qualify for U.S. citizenship, as long as they meet certain requirements like paying back taxes, learning English, and passing a background check”. This figure included 82% of Democrats, 63% of Republicans and 70% of Independents polled.

Cato Institute Study: Poor Immigrants Use Public Benefits at a Lower Rate than Poor Native-Born Citizens

Cato Institute

Cato Institute (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cato Institute’s new report entitled, “Poor Immigrants Use Public Benefits at a Lower Rate than Poor Native Born Citizens” has concluded that low income immigrants utilize public benefits at lower rates than their American born counterparts.  The study also indicates that the cost of this lower level of utilization and benefits to immigrants means that it costs less to provide public benefits to “non-citizen immigrants and most naturalized immigrants” is lower than for those born in America.

 

Readout of President’s Calls to Senate Republicans on Immigration Reform

 

President Barack Obama and Senator John McCain...

President Barack Obama and Senator John McCain in a press conference, taking place on March 4, 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
______________________________________________
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 19, 2013
Readout of the President’s Calls to Senate Republicans on Commonsense Immigration
Reform

 

“This afternoon, the President placed calls to Senator Graham, Senator McCain, and Senator Rubio to discuss their shared commitment to bipartisan, commonsense immigration reform and to commend the Senators for the bipartisan progress that continues to be made by the Gang of 8 on this important issue.

During the calls, which build on conversations that have taken place at the staff level, the President reiterated that he remains supportive of the effort underway in Congress, and that he hopes that they can produce a bill as soon as possible that reflects shared core principles on reform.

The President has made clear that he believes commonsense reform needs to include strengthening border security, creating an earned path to citizenship, holding employers accountable, and streamlining legal immigration.

As the President made clear when he met with Democratic Senators involved in the process last week, that while he is pleased with the progress and supportive of the effort to date, he is prepared to submit his own legislation if Congress fails to act.

He thanked the Senators for their leadership, and made clear that he and his staff look forward to continuing to work together with their teams to achieve needed reform.

The President did not speak with Senator Flake, who is traveling, but he looks forward to discussing the issue with him in the near future.”

 

Preview of President Obama’s immigration reform plan: nothing yet planned for STEM workers or Employment/Family Based Immigrants waiting in line

English: 'USCIS To Issue Redesigned Green Card'

English: ‘USCIS To Issue Redesigned Green Card’ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

USA Today’s preview of the President’s Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) plan indicates that it presently includes proposals for increased border security funding, a reworking of the employment verification protocol and, most importantly, an eight year legalization path for undocumented immigrants along with criminal checks, exams and back taxes.  Unfortunately, no word yet on relief for legal immigrants in the queue or STEM/Professional Workers.

Undocumented immigrants would wait eight (8) years to get a green card – the later of 1. eight years from the date the Immigration Reform passes or 2. until all legal immigrants currently waiting in line receive a green card (as the President had previously announced).  This would essentially mean the maximum wait time would be eight years, as plenty of legal immigrants are currently waiting up to 24 years for a family based green card (F4 Preference: U.S. Citizen filing for a brother/sister born in the Philippines) or 11 years for an employment based green card (EB3 Preference – U.S. Employer filing for an Indian skilled/professional worker).

While no one begrudges relief for undocumented immigrants, Comprehensive Immigration Reform will not be “Comprehensive” unless additional visa numbers are added for the family and employment based immigrants waiting patiently in line.

Senator Marco Rubio criticized by fellow Republican Senator David Vitter on Immigration Reform

Louisiana Senator David Vitter. An official ph...

Louisiana Senator David Vitter. An official photograph from his Senate website (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Laura Ingraham’s radio show, Senator David Vitter (R-LA) called out Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) on the latter’s support of the Bipartisan Framework for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.  In doing so, Sen. Vitter has identified himself as one of the few vestigial remnants within the old Republican Party that cannot follow the simple math lesson taught by the recent Presidential Election:

Anti-Immigration Reform Platform=less than 40% of the Latino vote, where >40% of the Latino vote=White House.  

Or put more simply:

Anti-Immigration Reform Platform=Bad

While I do agree that any Republican primary could still be won by an Anti-IR candidate, we have clearly witnessed that it is simply not possible for said candidate to “reset” or “restate” this position in time to win the Presidential Election

Excerpt from the radio show:

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President Obama Speaks on Comprehensive Immigration Reform

President Obama Speaks on Comprehensive Immigration Reform