The President asked Secretary Johnson and Attorney General Eric Holder to undertake a rigorous and inclusive review to inform recommendations on reforming our broken immigration system through executive action. This review sought the advice and input from the men and women charged with implementing the policies, as well as the ideas of a broad range of stakeholders and Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle. Our assessment identified the following ten areas where we, within the confines of the law, could take action to increase border security, focus enforcement resources, and ensure accountability in our immigration system.
Fixing Our Broken Immigration System Through Executive Action – Key Facts
A recent article by CNBC entitled “Investors to Obama: We need more foreign workers” explores the substantial problems faced by investors and entrepreneurs in securing sufficient numbers of foreign professional workers: the engine of innovation in the U.S. Last year we met the H-1B cap the first week it was open, again: the only solution to the problems highlighted in the article is an increase in H-1B visas, else the demand for the same will relocate to a country like Canada, which intelligently recognizes the true value of such talent.
The CNBC article was forwarded to me by a highly capable entrepreneur/investor client of mine. His situation warrants a short discussion, because it is supports the message in the article as well as the broader subject of our defective Business Immigration laws. This client moved his family to the U.S., and recently invested almost $500,000 in a new U.S. based business which employs nine (9) U.S. workers. Further, this client has purchased two Mercedes Benz vehicles and plans on buying a large house and, in the near term, investing another $1 to $5 million dollars in the U.S. – but only if USCIS approves an extension of his Business Immigration case. Unfortunately, USCIS seems a step away from denying his case, as our 1200+ page application on his behalf (which by the way weighed more than a newborn baby) was met with a ten (10) page Request for Additional Evidence (“RFE”).
American Immigration Lawyers Association
Washington, DC – Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee held its first substantive hearing of the 113th Congress on “America’s Immigration System: Opportunities for Legal Immigration and Enforcement of Laws against Illegal Immigration.” While holding this hearing underscored the importance of immigration reform to our nation’s continued economic growth and future prosperity, for the most part the discussion failed to focus on some key issues that are vital to successful immigration reform.
“The solution to the tangled, unwieldy and dysfunctional immigration system is not a piecemeal approach, despite what several of the lawmakers and witnesses said yesterday. Instead, we need to create an immigration system that is balanced and inclusive,” said AILA President Laura Lichter. She continued, “At the hearing, we heard about the importance of border security and need to make our borders more secure, despite the fact that there have been billions of dollars invested and that the benchmarks established by each of the Senate immigration reform bills of 2006, 2007 and 2010 have been essentially met or exceeded. With immigration enforcement occurring at unprecedented levels, our country must address the needs of the 11 million undocumented residents, their families, and employers.”
Ms. Lichter noted, “Keeping all families strong and united is a core national value and interest, and we must continue our historic commitment to those values. We should not increase employment visas at the expense of reducing visas in family categories. Our immigration system must be flexible and capable of meeting the needs of American businesses and families.
“One important topic that didn’t seem to get much attention at the hearing was that we are currently denying basic due process to millions of people who live in the U.S. Long-time residents are subject to deportation even when they have strong ties to the community, pay taxes, and desperately want to become full-fledged members of our society. Many are eligible to apply for legal status, but because they lived in the U.S. for a period of time that was unauthorized they are now barred from fixing their status. Judges often have no ability to weigh the individual circumstances of the case while low-level officials often act as judge and jury, and the federal courts have been denied the power to review most agency decisions. Congress should restore fairness and flexibility to our system by authorizing immigration judges and officials to exercise discretion in considering the individual circumstances of each case,” she concluded.
AILA encourages lawmakers to commit to informed discussions that will shape a common sense immigration policy that helps to rebuild America’s economy, recognizes the contributions of immigrants, keeps families together, and strengthens America’s security.
The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.
- Gallup: Key immigration-reform proposals hold broad support (thehill.com)
- Immigration Reform: Five Years Later, What’s New?. (greatriversofhope.wordpress.com)
- Rep. Conyers at Immigration Hearing: ‘I Hope Nobody Uses the Term Illegal Immigrants Here Today’ (nationalreview.com)
- Barack Obama to meet unions and immigration lobbyists in support of his reform plans (irishcentral.com)
- Obama to lobby for immigration reform amid citizenship dispute (Reuters) (newsdaily.com)
Immigration Attorney Ashwin Sharma was interviewed on the Channel 4’s Morning Show on the subject of the Gang of 8’s Bipartisan Framework for Comprehensive Immigration Reform versus President Obama’s proposal, and on the necessity of Immigration Reform in the country and within the Republican Party.
An LA Times article covering the President’s optimism on passing Comprehensive Immigration Reform. The President indicated that several Republicans have also acknowledged the need for CIR (ostensibly to court the Latino vote for future elections).
“Obama outlined what he would like to see included in an immigration reform package but did not answer a question about whether he would send a draft of the legislation to Congress to consider.”