November 30, 2005
Thank the President for Stimulating Healthy Debate on Immigration
"By passing comprehensive immigration reform, we will add to this country's security, to our prosperity, and to justice." President George W. Bush, Nov. 28, 2005
President Bush is touring U.S. Border States to address our country's urgent need for comprehensive immigration reform. The President is encouraging Congress to consider bipartisan immigration reform that seeks to fix our broken immigration system, not just mend the borders. We thank the President for emphasizing the futility of border enforcement independent of deep and far reaching reforms to our nation's immigration laws.
While appreciative of the President's leadership on this issue, we are seriously concerned that his solution does not go far enough to protect the dignity and human rights of refugees seeking safety from persecution restore and strengthen due process reunite families separated by backlogs, artificially low caps, and lengthy processing delays provide an earned path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who work hard and contribute to our economy and society. We applaud President Bush for his commitment to facilitating a bipartisan dialogue about this highly contentious political issue. We believe that the bi-partisan McCain/Kennedy/Kolbe/Flake/Gutierrez bill (The Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act of 2005 (S. 1033 / H.R. 2330) establishes the necessary elements for realistic reform and provides an essential framework for this debate.
Please, join us to promote bi-partisan Comprehensive Immigration Reform by encouraging your Senators and Representatives to support for The Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act of 2005.
Marshall Fitz, Esq
Director of Advocacy
American Immigration Lawyers Association
November 29, 2005
President Discusses Border Security and Immigration Reform yesterday
For Immediate Release, Office of the Press Secretary, November 28, 2005, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, Arizona
In Focus: Homeland Security
Fact Sheet: Securing America Through Immigration Reform
2:40 P.M. MST
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Please be seated. Thank you for the warm welcome. It is such a pleasure to be back in Arizona, and it's great to be here in Tucson. The last time I was here I think there was probably about a 50-degree temperature differential. (Laughter.) It's an honor to stand here with the men and women of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. (Applause.) As well, to be here with the men and women of the Customs and Border Protection Agency, and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, as well. (Applause.)
Securing our border is essential to securing the homeland. And I want to thank all of those who are working around the clock to defend our border, to enforce our laws, and to uphold the values of the United States of America. America is grateful to those who are on the front lines of enforcing the border. (Applause.)
I appreciate so very much the Governor joining us today. Governor, thank you for being here. I'm honored you are here. I appreciate Senator John McCain joining us today. Senator. (Applause.) As well as Senator John Kyl. (Applause.) I appreciate three members of the congressional delegation from Arizona -- Congressman Shadegg, Flake and Franks -- for joining us, as well. (Applause.) Two members of my Cabinet are here with us, the Attorney General of the United States, Al Gonzales -- (applause) -- and the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Mike Chertoff. (Applause.)
I want to thank the United States Attorney from the District of Arizona, Paul Charlton, for joining us today. I appreciate David Aguilar, who is the Chief of the Border Patrol, U.S. Customs and Border Protection of the Department of Homeland Security; Mike Nicely, who is the Chief Patrol Agent, Tucson Sector; Ron Colburn, Chief Patrol Agent, Yuma Sector; Martin Vaughan, Director of Air Operations. But most of all, I want to thank those who wear the uniform for doing such a fine job. Thank you all. (Applause.) Finally, I want to thank General Schmidt for welcoming me today. He's the Commander of the 12th Air Force, U.S. Southern Command, based right here at this base. (Applause.)
I have a solemn duty, and so do the members of the United States Congress, to protect our nation, our Constitution, and our laws. Our border and immigration security officers devote themselves to those same missions every single day.
America has always been a compassionate nation that values the newcomer and takes great pride in our immigrant heritage; yet we're also a nation built on the rule of law, and those who enter the country illegally violate the law. The American people should not have to choose between a welcoming society and a lawful society. We can have both at the same time. And to keep the promise of America, we will enforce the laws of our country. (Applause.)
As a former governor, I know that enforcing the law and the border is especially important to the communities along the border. Illegal immigration puts pressure on our schools and hospitals -- I understand that. I understand it strains the resources needed for law enforcement and emergency services. And the vicious human strugglers -- smugglers and gangs that bring illegal immigrants across the border also bring crime to our neighborhoods and danger to the highways. Illegal immigration is a serious challenge. And our responsibility is clear: We are going to protect the border. (Applause.)
Since I've taken office we've increased funding for border security by 60 percent. Our border agents have used that funding to apprehend and send home more than 4.5 million people coming into our country illegally, including more than 350,000 with criminal records. Our Customs and Border Protection agents can be proud of the work that you're doing. You're taking control of this border. And we have more work to do, and that's what I want to talk to you about today. We're going to build on the progress we have made.
We have a comprehensive strategy to reform our immigration system. We're going to secure the border by catching those who enter illegally, and hardening the border to prevent illegal crossings. We're going to strengthen enforcement of our immigration laws within our country. And together with Congress, we're going to create a temporary worker program that will take pressure off the border, bring workers from out of the shadows, and reject amnesty. (Applause.)
Our strategy for comprehensive immigration reforms begins by securing the border. Now, let me talk to you about a three-part plan. The first part of the plan is to promptly return every illegal entrant we catch at the border, with no exceptions. More than 85 percent of the illegal immigrants we catch are from Mexico, and most of them are escorted back across the border within 24 hours.
To prevent them from trying to cross again, we've launched an interesting program, an innovative approach called interior repatriation. Under this program, many Mexicans caught at the border illegally are flown back to Mexico and then bused to their hometowns in the interior part of the country. By returning these illegal immigrants to their home towns far from the border, we make it more difficult for them to attempt to cross again. Interior repatriation is showing promise in breaking the cycle of illegal immigration.
In a pilot program focused on the west Arizona desert, nearly 35,000 illegal immigrants were returned to Mexico through interior repatriation. Last year only about 8 percent of them were caught trying to cross the border again, a much lower rate than we find among illegal immigrants who are escorted directly across the border.
We're going to expand interior repatriation. We want to make it clear that when people violate immigration laws, they're going to be sent home, and they need to stay at home. (Applause.)
We face a different set of challenges with non-Mexicans that we -- who we catch crossing the border illegally. When non-Mexican illegal immigrants are apprehended, they are initially detained. The problem is that our detention facilities don't have enough beds. And so, about four of every five non-Mexican illegal immigrants we catch are released in society and asked to return for a court date. When the date arrives, about 75 percent of those released don't show up to the court. As a result, last year, only 30,000 of the 160,000 non-Mexicans caught coming across our southwest border were sent home.
This practice of catch and release has been the government's policy for decades. It is an unwise policy and we're going to end it. (Applause.) To help end catch and release, we need to increase the capacity in our detention facilities. Last month at the White House I signed legislation supported by the members of the Arizona delegation that will increase the number of beds in our detention facilities. We're also working to process illegal immigrants through the system more quickly, so we can return them home faster and free up bed space for others.
One of the most effective tools we have in this effort is a process called expedited removal. Under expedited removal, non-Mexicans are detained and placed into streamlined proceedings. It allows us to deport them at an average of 32 days, almost three times faster than usual. In other words, we're cutting through the bureaucracy. Last year we used expedited removal to deport more than 20,000 non-Mexicans caught entering this country illegally between Tucson and Laredo. This program is so successful that the Secretary has expanded it all up and down the border. This is a straightforward idea. It says, when an illegal immigrant knows they'll be caught and sent home, they're less likely to come to the country. That's the message we're trying to send with expedited removal.
We're also pursuing other common-sense steps to accelerate the deportation process. We're pressing foreign governments to take their citizens back promptly. We're streamlining the paperwork and we're increasing the number of flights carrying illegal immigrants home. We recently tested the effectiveness of these steps with Brazilian illegal immigrants caught along the Rio Grande Valley of the Texas border. The effort was called Operation Texas Hold 'Em. (Laughter.) It delivered impressive results. Thanks to our actions, Brazilian illegal immigration dropped by 90 percent in the Rio Grande Valley, and by 60 -- 50 percent across the border as a whole.
With all these steps, we're delivering justice more effectively, and we're changing the policy from catch and release to the policy of catch and return.
The second part of our plan is to strengthen border -- to strengthen border enforcement is to correct weak and unnecessary provisions in our immigration laws. Under current law, the federal government is required to release people caught crossing our border illegally if their home countries do not take them back in a set period of time. That law doesn't work when it comes time to enforcing the border and it needs to be changed. Those we we're forced to release have included murderers, rapists, child molesters, and other violent criminals. This undermines our border security. It undermines the work these good folks are doing. And the United States Congress needs to pass legislation to end these senseless rules. (Applause.)
We need to address the cycle of endless litigation that clogs our immigration courts and delays justice for immigrants. Some federal courts are now burdened with more than six times as many immigration appeals as they had just a few years ago. A panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco declared that illegal immigrants have a right to relitigate before an immigration court as many times as they want. This decision obviously would encourage illegal immigrants who have been deported to sneak back into the country and to re-argue their case. Congress needs to put an end to this cycle of needless litigation and deliver reforms necessary to help us secure this border. (Applause.)
The third part of our plan to strengthen border enforcement is to stop people from crossing the border illegally in the first place. And we're increasing manpower. We're increasing technology and infrastructure across this border. We're integrating these resources in ways we have never done before.
Since 2001, we've hired 1,900 new Border Patrol agents. I just signed a bill last month that will enable us to add another thousand Border Patrol agents. When we complete these hires, we will have enlarged the Border Patrol by about 3,000 agents from 9,500 the year I took office to 12,500 next year. This is an increase of more than 30 percent, and most of the new agents will be assigned right here in the state of Arizona. (Applause.)
And to help the agents, we're deploying technologies. Listen, technology can help an individual agent have broader reach and more effectiveness. When agents can take advantage of cutting-edge equipment like overhead surveillance drones and infrared cameras, they can do a better job for all of us.
In Tucson, agents on the ground are directing unmanned aerial technology in the sky, and they're acting rapidly on illegal immigration or illegal activities they may see from the drones. In the months since these unmanned flights began, agents have intercepted a lot of drugs on the border that otherwise -- and people -- that otherwise might have made it through.
The legislation I signed last month provides $139 million to further upgrade the technology and bring a more unified, systematic approach to border enforcement. Again, I want to thank the members of the Congress. (Applause.)
In some places, the most effective way to secure the border is to construct physical barriers to entry. The legislation I signed last month includes $70 million to install and improve protective infrastructure across this border. In rural areas, we're funding the construction of new patrol roads to give our agents better access to the border, and new vehicle barriers to keep illegal immigrants from driving across the border.
In urban areas, we're expanding fencing to shut down access to human smuggling corridors. Secretary Chertoff recently used authority granted by the Congress to order the completion of a 14-mile barrier near San Diego that had been held up because of lawsuits. By overcoming endless litigation to finish this vital project we're helping our border agents do their job, and making people who live close to the border more secure.
Our actions to integrate manpower, technology and infrastructure are getting results. And one of the best examples of success is the Arizona Border Control Initiative, which the government launched in 2004. In the first year of this initiative -- now, listen to this, listen how hard these people are working here -- agents in Arizona apprehended nearly 500,000 illegal immigrants, a 42-percent increase over the previous year. We've captured a half-million pounds of marijuana, prosecuted more than 400 people suspected of human smuggling, and seized more than $7 million in cash. You've got some good folks here working hard to do their job, and I appreciate it very much. (Applause.)
As we work to secure the border, comprehensive immigration reform also requires us to improve enforcement of our laws in the interior of the country. Catching and deporting illegal immigrants along the border is only part of the responsibility. America's immigration laws apply across all of America, and we will enforce those laws throughout our land. Better interior enforcement begins with better work site enforcement. American businesses have an obligation to abide by the law, and our government has the responsibility to help them do so. (Applause.)
Enforcing our immigration laws in the interior of the country requires a sustained commitment of resources. Since I took office, we've increased funding for immigration enforcement by 44 percent. We've increased the number of immigration and customs investigators by 14 percent since 2001. And those good folks who are working hard, too. Last year, the -- this year, federal agents completed what they called Operation Rollback. It's the largest work site enforcement case in American history. This operation resulted in the arrest of hundreds of illegal immigrants, criminal convictions against a dozen employers, and a multi-million dollar payment from one of America's largest corporations.
Our skilled immigration security officers are also going against some of the most dangerous people in our society -- smugglers, terrorists, gang members and human traffickers. In Arizona, we have prosecuted more than 2,300 smugglers bringing drugs, guns and illegal immigrants across the border. As a part of Operation Community Shield, federal agents have arrested nearly 1,400 gang members who were here illegally, including hundreds of members of the violent Latin American gangs like MS-13.
Since the Department of Homeland Security was created, agents have apprehended nearly 27,000 illegal immigrant fugitives. Thanks to our determined personnel, society is safer. But we've got more work to do. The legislation I signed last month more than doubled the resources dedicated to interior enforcement. We understand that border security and interior enforcement go hand in hand. (Applause.) We will increase the number of immigration enforcement agents and criminal investigators.
We're confronting the problem of document fraud, as well. When illegal workers try to pass off sophisticated forgeries as employment documents, even the most diligent businesses find it difficult to tell what's real and what's fake. Business owners shouldn't have to act like detectives to verify the legal status of their workers. So my administration has expanded a program called Basic Pilot. This program gives businesses access to an automated system that rapidly screens the employment eligibility of new hire against federal records. Basic Pilot was available in only six states fives years ago; now this program is available nationwide. We'll continue to work to stop document fraud, to make it easier for America's businesses to comply with our immigration laws. (Applause.)
As we enforce our immigration laws, comprehensive immigration reform also requires us to improve those laws by creating a new temporary worker program. This program would create a legal way to match willing foreign workers with willing American employers to fill jobs that Americans will not do. Workers would be able to register for legal status for a fixed period of time, and then be required to go home. This program would help meet the demands of a growing economy, and it would allow honest workers to provide for their families while respecting the law.
This plan would also help us relieve pressure on the border. By creating a legal channel for those who enter America to do an honest day's labor, we would reduce the number of workers trying to sneak across the border. This would free up law enforcement officials to focus on criminals, drug dealers, terrorists and others that mean to harm us. Our plan would create a tamper-proof identification card for the temporary legal worker, which, of course, would improve work site enforcement.
Listen, there's a lot of opinions on this proposal -- I understand that. But people in this debate must recognize that we will not be able to effectively enforce our immigration laws until we create a temporary worker program. The program that I proposed would not create an automatic path to citizenship, it wouldn't provide for amnesty -- I oppose amnesty. Rewarding those who have broken the law would encourage others to break the law and keep pressure on our border. (Applause.)
A temporary worker program, by contrast, would decrease pressure on the border. I support the number of -- increasing the number of annual green cards that can lead to citizenship. But for the sake of justice and for the sake of border security, I'm not going to sign an immigration bill that includes amnesty. (Applause.)
I look forward to continue working with the United States Congress on comprehensive immigration reform. In the House of Representatives, your Arizona congressmen are building strong support for border enforcement among their colleagues. Judiciary Committee Chairman Sensenbrenner and Homeland Security Chairman King are moving bills that include tough provisions to help secure this border. The House plans to vote on this legislation soon; I urge them to pass a good bill.
The Senate is continuing to work on border legislation, as well. This legislation improves border security and toughens interior enforcement and creates a temporary worker program. Senators McCain and Kyl have taken the lead. It's two good men taking the lead, by the way. I'm confident something is going to get done that people of Arizona will like, with these two Senators in the lead. (Applause.)
Majority Leader Frist and Judiciary Committee Chairman Specter said they're going to take action in early 2006. See, we have a chance to move beyond the old and tired choices of the immigration debate, and come together on a strategy to enforce our laws, secure our country, and uphold our deepest values.
We make good progress, but you know like I know, there's a lot more to be done. And we've got to continue to work together to get that done, and I'm optimistic that Congress will rise to the occasion. By passing comprehensive immigration reform, we will add to this country's security, to our prosperity, and to justice.
Our nation has been strengthened by generations of immigrants who became Americans through patience and hard work and assimilation. In this new century, we must continue to welcome immigrants, and to set high standards for those who follow the laws to become a part of our country. Every new citizen of the United States has an obligation to learn our customs and values, including liberty and civic responsibility, equality under God and tolerance for others, and the English language. (Applause.) We will continue to pursue policies that encourage ownership, excellence in education, and give all our citizens a chance to realize the American Dream.
I appreciate once again being here with the Border and Immigration Security officers who have volunteered for a difficult and urgent assignment. I appreciate their courage. By defending our border, you're defending our liberty, and our citizens, and our way of life. I'm proud to stand with you today, and the American people stand with you, as well. May God bless you all, and may God continue to bless our country. (Applause.)
END 3:06 P.M. MST
November 28, 2005
Bush plans anti-illegals campaign
I just read in the The Washington Times, By Bill Sammon, published November 28, 2005
"President Bush today will call for a crackdown on illegal immigration, a move aimed at further rallying conservatives who recently cheered Mr. Bush's tough talk on Iraq and the Supreme Court.
But the president will also renew his call for a program to allow Mexicans who have already entered the U.S. illegally to remain here for up to six years. That initiative has long angered conservatives who equate it with amnesty".
For more go to; www.washingtontimes.com
November 27, 2005
In Memory of Andres A. Ramos
My father Andres Ramos, aged 76 passed away on November 24, 2005.
He was preceded in death by a daughter, Patricia Ramos. He is survived by his loving wife, Renee Van Cotthem Ramos of Nashville; four sons, Andreas Ramos of Palo Alto, CA, Brik Ramos of Palm Springs, CA, Fernando Ramos of Nashville, and I, Mario Ramos of Nashville; one brother, Hernando Ramos of Kalamazoo, MI; three sisters, Berangela Mendoza of Cucuta, Colombia, Aurora Panebianco of Valenzia, Venezuala, and Marina Pazos of Bogota, Colombia. Graveside services were conducted 1 p.m. Saturday, November 26, 2005 at the Woodlawn Memorial Park. Arrangements by WOODLAWN-ROESCH-PATTON FUNERAL HOME.
My father was a great dad, husband, father-in-law and grandfather and he will be missed by all who knew him.
November 26, 2005
Dear all my clients;
I am wishing you happy holidays: As your attorney, I am not just committed to helping you with your immigration case, but future immigrants’ as well. And the future laws of immigration are being shaped by our congress. Next to being an attorney, I am also an activist, trying to influence Congress to help make the paths of future immigrants a little easier. But I cannot do it alone. I need your help.
Now is a critical time for your Representatives to hear your views on the need for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR), and I urge you to go to my website (or: to www.aila.org), click on "contact congress" and send a message to your representative that you support COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM.
Marginal restrictionist organizations like the Minutemen, FAIR, and NUMBERS USA are vocally supporting enforcement-only legislation. Their hateful rhetoric and fallacious mischaracterization of undocumented workers is drowning out every reasonable voice in Washington, DC. If we don't speak up and start educating our Representatives, they will respond to and accommodate the only voices they can hear--the restrictionists. We need to remind Congress that an enforcement-only approach will not fix our broken immigration system. We need a comprehensive solution to this problem. This is our message and we need to communicate it consistently, effectively, and rationally to policy makers.
I strongly urge you to participate in these strategic activities. I do not want to see the congressional immigration debate start and end with enforcement-only tactics. I do not want the restrictionists' hateful rhetoric to drown out my voice of reason.
Please, join me and speak up for Comprehensive Immigration Reform before it's too late.
November 25, 2005
House Passes Budget Reconciliation Bill, Continued Advocacy Needed as Bills Move Toward Conference
The House, on November 18, 2005, passed its $49.9 billion budget reconciliation package (H.R. 4241) by a vote of 217-215. The two chambers will now form a conference committee to resolve the differences between their respective bills. The Senate bill (S. 1932) provides relief from the H-1B blackout and EB immigrant visa retrogression (for details, go to: http://www.aila.org/content/default.aspx?docid=17969). The House bill imposes a new $1,500 fee on L visas without any attendant relief. The conference could take place as early as the first week of December, when lawmakers return from Thanksgiving recess. Your continued advocacy efforts are critical to ensure that the Senate's proposal survives the Senate-House conference. Please send a letter to your legislators using the model letter available on Contact Congress at: http://capwiz.com/aila2/mail/oneclick_compose/?alertid=8185761. In addition, please urge your clients to FAX a letter to their lawmakers (on company letterhead) in support of the Senate's proposal, using the Contact Congress letter as a guide. You can look up congressional fax numbers at: http://capwiz.com/aila2/dbq/officials/.
November 24, 2005
Senate reconciliation sign on letter
We are coming down the homestretch in this budget reconciliation process. The House and Senate will be conferencing to resolve the differences between their respective budget reconciliation packages. Remember, the House bill contains a new $1500 fee on L visas; the Senate bill provides significant relief from the H-1B backlogs and EB immigrant visa retrogression. Unless we want our clients to get saddled with a new tax on intracompany transferees without any relief from the H-1B and EB crises, we must be able to demonstrate overwhelming support in the business community for the Senate version of the bill.
The attached company sign-on letter to Congress currently has more than 600 names and we can push that over 1,000 if we can get all of the companies that signed on to the earlier H-1B letter to sign on to the attached. Contact me is you wanto to sign on but have not done so yet.
Here is the letter;
Over 600 American Businesses and Universities Call for a Reasonable Solution to H-1B Blackouts and Lengthy “Green Card” Backlogs
November XX, 2005
The Honorable __________
United States Congress
Washington, DC ______
Dear Senator/Representative ________:
We are writing to urge Congress to take immediate steps to address the crisis currently facing American businesses and educational institutions as a result of lengthy visa backlogs and an H-1B “blackout.” The Senate Judiciary Committee’s bipartisan budget reconciliation package would provide a reasonable and workable solution to both of these problems, and we urge you to give it your strong support, while opposing any attempts to weaken it.
As you are likely aware, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, on August 12, announced that the FY 2006 numerical cap limiting the H-1B program for temporary professional workers had been exhausted, nearly two months prior to the start of the fiscal year. This means that U.S. companies will lose access for over a year to highly educated foreign professionals vital to our businesses. This is the third year in a row that the cap has been reached, and the seventh time since 1997.
In a parallel phenomenon, highly educated and skilled workers are currently faced with lengthy “green card” backlogs that will prevent them from becoming U.S. permanent residents in the foreseeable future. These employment-based immigrants already have been found to serve the U.S. national interest as a result of their achievements and skills. Our inability to hire them on a permanent basis as a result of these backlogs severely hinders our ability to remain competitive with foreign businesses, which are actively recruiting these talented professionals to the disadvantage of the American economy.
Couple these two crises and you have the makings of a “perfect storm” confronting American businesses and educational institutions. The Senate Judiciary Committee’s budget reconciliation package seeks to mitigate the impact of this storm. It would provide for the modest recapture of both unused employment-based visas from prior years and unused H-1B numbers dating back to FY 1991. Although we believe the annual recapture of 60,000 H-1B visas proposed in the Chairman’s mark would have more effectively addressed the current shortages, we nonetheless strongly support the compromise provision approved by the Committee allowing annual recapture of 30,000 H-1B visas. In addition to the visa recapture provisions, the proposal would impose new fees on employment-based immigrant visas, on the recaptured H-1B nonimmigrant visa numbers, and on L-1 visas.
While we remain concerned about escalating fees, we believe these increased fees represent a measured approach that, while satisfying the reconciliation target, would be implemented in the context of increased access to H-1B professionals and green cards for employment-based immigrants. We are more concerned about the increased fee on L visas because it is unaccompanied by any changes in service or access and we would be particularly concerned about a reconciliation approach that rested on steep fees, with no relief from today’s crisis-level shortages.
While these measures are in no way a substitute for comprehensive solutions, we urge their swift passage as important first steps toward creating an immigration system that channels the forces of the marketplace to America’s competitive advantage.
[Company name] [City] [State]
November 23, 2005
BIA Says Trial Court Modification of Criminal Sentence Valid for Purposes of Immigration Law
The Board of Immigration Appeals held that "A trial court’s decision to modify or reduce an alien’s criminal sentence nunc pro tunc is entitled to full faith and credit by IJs and the BIA, and such a sentence is thus valid for purposes of immigration law without regard to the trial court’s reasons for the modification or reduction" . Matter of Cota, 23 I&N Dec. 846 (BIA 2005) I.D. #3522.
November 22, 2005
Bipartisan DREAM Act Introduced in Senate
Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), on behalf of himself and 12 cosponsors, introduced the bipartisan Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act of 2005 (S. 2075) on 11/18/05. AILA strongly supports the introduction and passage, in the 109th Congress, of this important bipartisan legislation.
November 21, 2005
Fence plan failure
Published: November 21, 2005
An Editorial in the New Yorks Times titled A Fence on the Border describes the plan by Representative Duncan Hunter, a Republican from California, who attracted a full battery of TV cameras the other day with his latest proposal to build a big strong fence along the Mexican border. The idea is to stop the illegal immigrants who enter the country mostly to take hard, low-paying jobs that Americans refuse. Only as a bumper sticker does this "fence 'em out" plan work. As immigration policy, it will just cost billions.
For more go to; http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/21/opinion/21mon3.html?th&emc=th
November 19, 2005
Committee on Education and the Workforce Holds Hearing on Economic Impact of Immigration
The House Committee on Education and the Workforce held a hearing Wednesday on "U.S. Immigration Policy and Its Impact on the American Economy." Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Director of the Congressional Budget Office; Harry J. Holzer, Professor of Public Policy and Associate Dean at Georgetown University; and Daniel Siciliano, Immigration Policy Center (IPC) Research Fellow and Executive Director of the Program in Law, Economics, and Business at Stanford Law School, all offered positive testimony on the impact of immigration on the U.S. economy. Siciliano also contributed to an IPC special report released this week on the critical role immigration will play in future U.S. economic growth. For the full report, please visit http://www.ailf.org/ipc/special_report/2005_bridging.pdf.
November 18, 2005
District Court Rejects USCIS Arguments on EB-3 Equivalency
On November 3, 2005, the Oregon U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge opined on the effect of a labor certification application's "B.A. or equivalent" language on elibility for employment-based third preference. In the end, the judge held that the NSC's decision to deny plaintiffs' I-140 petition on the grounds that one of the plaintiffs did not have a foreign degree equivalent to a B.A. in Theology was "arbritrary, capricious and an abuse of discretion." The court thus vacated the original decision and ordered USCIS to approve the I-140 petition. AILF and AILA appeared as amicus on this case. (Grace Korean United Methodist Church v. Chertoff, 11/3/05).
November 17, 2005
House Scheduled to Vote on Budget Reconciliation Today
Fearing that it lacked the votes for passage, Republican leadership in the House of Representatives pulled the Budget Reconciliation package from floor consideration last Thursday. Leadership has rescheduled a vote on the measure for today. If it passes, leaders in the House and Senate will form a conference committee to resolve differences between the bills passed by the respective chambers. The Senate version provides relief from the H-1B blackout and EB-immigrant visa retrogression. The House version currently imposes a new $1500 fee on L visas. We will update you on developments via the website as the process unfolds.
Homeland Security Committee Passes Enforcement-Only Bill; Please Continue to Lobby for Comprehensive Immigration Reform!
The House Committee on Homeland Security, on 11/16 & 11/17/05, amended and passed by a voice vote the Border Security and Terrorism Prevention Act (H.R. 4312), an enforcement-only bill. Among the ill-conceived changes the Committee approved over the strenuous objections of Committee Democrats was an amendment offered by Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA) that would codify and further expand current DHS policy that extends expedited removal to "Other than Mexicans" (OTMs) apprehended within 100 miles of a land border and within 14 days of entry. Portions of the bill will next be taken up by the House Judiciary Committee after which it will likely move to the House floor. Please click on the following link to contact your Representative and urge him or her to oppose enforcement-only measures and support the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act (H.R. 2330). http://capwiz.com/aila2/mail/oneclick_compose/?alertid=7614761.
November 16, 2005
Federal judge troubled by wrongful deportatio
Here is an article which shows how difficult it is to keep clients legally in the U.S.
By Jay Weaver The Miami Herald, November 15, 2005
Who put the suspicious paperwork in the immigration file of a Mexican that triggered his wrongful deportation?
The Department of Homeland Security wants to know why immigration agents deported Camerino Moreno Villa to Mexico on Oct. 6 -- only to have to bring him back to Miami under a cloud of embarrassment because of a judge's order.
For more of the article go to;http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/local/13168991.htm
November 15, 2005
Reconciliation Bill Dropped From House Schedule
AILA has informed me that the House Republican leaders abandoned plans to vote yesterday (11/10/05) on their version of a budget reconciliation package (H.R. 4241) that would make roughly $50 billion in spending cuts. Lawmakers said they would try again next week.
I will update you on further developments.
November 14, 2005
Mobile computing article
My brother Andreas sent me this e-mail yesterday;
There is a very good article on mobile computing and its social impact. i know some of the people in this article. it's well-written and accurate.
November 13, 2005
Personal Tales of Struggle Resonate With Presiden; Los Angeles Time
This article tells about how an activist lobby President Bush;
WASHINGTON - It was an activist's dream come true: an unexpected call to the White House. For Charm Tong, it happened two weeks ago. For about an hour, President Bush listened as the 24-year-old refugee told the story of her life as a Burmese exile in Thailand
- and as she described the systematic abuse of ethnic minority women by Burma's military regime. She urged Bush to use his trip this week to Asia to persuade other countries, particularly Japan, to bring more pressure to bear on the military dictatorship in Rangoon. By Warren Vieth.
November 12, 2005
How to apply for a U.S. passport
Here are some tips of applying for a U.S. passport;
1. Complete the application for a U.S. passport. The original application from may obtained at any U.S post office which issues passports. Normally the main Post Office of the town you where you reside.
2. Two color passport photos; go to any Kinko's or similar business and they can take the photos. Tell them you need passport photos.
3. A certified copy of your birth certificate. If you do not have a copy contact me and we will help you obtain a certified copy
4. Take your drivers license for proof of identity
5. Do not sign the application; you are required to sign in front of the post office official
6. The fee for expedited processing is $157 dollars; they will have your passport ready within three business days. For normal processing the fee is $97 dollars. The fee is less if you are under 16 years of age.
7. $60 for overnight mail service
Call me if you have any questions about the process and you want me to complete the form. Basically this form has to be completed and turned in for processing.
November 11, 2005
Senator Bill Frist message on Nissan locating North American headquarters in Nashville
This is a great day for Tennessee.
I’m delighted that Nissan has decided to call Tennessee home to its North American headquarters. This deal would never have been sealed had it not been for the hard work of so many dedicated individuals. To the leadership at Nissan, Governor Bredesen, his predecessors and partners throughout the business community and all levels of government, I offer congratulations and appreciation on behalf of my fellow Tennesseans for a job well done.
This move is a great step for Nissan and our state and will strengthen Tennessee’s position in the global marketplace. Today’s announcement underscores what we’ve known all along – Tennessee is a great place to live and work.
November 10, 2005
Nissan to Leave Southland for Nashville, Tennessee
After nearly half a century of calling Southern California home, Nissan North America is expected to announce that it will move its U.S. headquarters from Gardena to Nashville. By John O'Dell, Times Staff Writer.
"After nearly half a century of calling Southern California home, Nissan North America is preparing to call it quits.
The company is scheduled to announce in Nashville today that it will relocate its corporate headquarters and 1,300 jobs from Gardena to a growing automotive center in central Tennessee. Nissan already has more than 6,500 employees at its largest U.S. assembly plant in the Nashville suburb of Smyrna".
This is an example of the economic growth in the Nashville area. Welcome to Nissan
November 09, 2005
Sample Letter from Business to Congress in Support of H-1B and Retrogression Relief
This sample letter is from AILA;
Dear Senator/Representative ________:
[NAME OF COMPANY] has signed on to a letter with more than 600 other companies and universities asking Congress to immediately address an escalating crisis: multi-year immigrant visa backlogs and an H-1B visa "blackout." The Senate Judiciary Committee's bipartisan budget reconciliation package offers a viable solution to both of these problems and was affirmed by an overwhelming 85-14 vote on the Senate floor. We urge you to give the Senate proposal your strong support and oppose any attempts to weaken the relief it provides to U.S. businesses and educational institutions during House and Senate Conference negotiations.
Enabling U.S. employers to access the best and brightest global talent is a policy that cannot wait. While other nations have stepped up their efforts to develop and attract global talent, the United States has started to lag behind. For the second straight year, U.S. employers are confronted with a year-long blackout on access to this talent pool. As other countries start to win the battle for these individuals, the talent will migrate to companies abroad, and the work will be performed largely outside the United States, to the detriment of our economy.
We strongly believe that the United States must do more to cultivate domestic talent, but that is a long-term effort. To remain competitive today, American companies need access to highly educated individuals in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. If the U.S. fails to provide adequate visas for individuals who create additional jobs in the United States, it severely undermines our ability to compete on the global stage.
The Senate's budget reconciliation package provides relief from this crisis by mitigating the impact of the visa backlogs and H-1B blackout. It would provide for expanded access to employment-based immigrant visas and H-1B visas through the recapture and reallocation of unused numbers from prior years. In exchange for the expanded access, the proposal would impose new fees on employment-based immigrant visas, on the recaptured H-1B nonimmigrant visa numbers, and on L-1 visas. Although escalating fees remain a serious concern, we understand that this proposal represents a compromise that serves the demands of budget reconciliation and the needs of U.S. employers.
We urge your strong commitment to preserving the Senate Judiciary's provisions in the final budget reconciliation package.
November 08, 2005
Advocacy letter I sent to Senator Frist & Senator Alexander
Thank you for voting NO on Byrd Amendment No. 2367 on the Deficit Reduction Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 2005 (S. 1932)!
As you know, U.S. businesses are facing two serious crises: lengthy immigrant visa backlogs and an H-1B "blackout." The H-1B cap for fiscal year 2006 was exhausted two months before the fiscal year began. This means that U.S. companies will lose access for over a year to highly educated foreign professionals vital to their businesses. At the same time, highly skilled workers face lengthy "green card" backlogs that will prevent them from becoming U.S. permanent residents in the foreseeable future.
The overwhelming rejection of the Byrd Amendment, by 14-85, shows that the Senate strongly supports the Judiciary Committee's proposal, which presents a reasonable and workable solution to both of these problems.
While I am concerned about growing fees, I believe these increased fees represent a measured approach that satisfies the reconciliation target while providing increased access to H-1B and employment-based immigrant visas.
I urge you to continue to support the Senate Judiciary Committee proposal when the House and Senate meet to conference the budget reconciliation bill. Although I believe strongly in the need for comprehensive immigration reform, I consider this proposal to be an important first step toward an immigration system that better serves the interests of the U.S.
With gratitude for your continued leadership and support on this important issue.
November 07, 2005
Thank You Letter Needed to the Senate
Just in from Marshall Fitz with AILA;
We must continue to build support for the Senate's immigration-related provisions in the budget reconciliation package and that starts with a showing of appreciation. As promised in my message yesterday, attached please find a link that makes it simple for you to send a letter to your Senators thanking them for or expressing disappointment in their vote on the Byrd Amendment:
We now have nearly 550 companies signed on to the letter! Many thanks for your ongoing efforts - let's keep the momentum going!
Marshall Fitz, Esq.
Director of Advocacy
American Immigration Lawyers Association
November 06, 2005
The cost of care; Myths abound over immigrant health
Although immigrants are less likely to have health insurance than natives, they also incur far less in medical expenses.
San Bernardino Sun (San Bernardino, CA), October 30, 2005
By Mason Stockstill and Staff writer Brenda Gazzar; "That's the finding of a recent study headed by a USC researcher. Analyzing national data, Dr. Sarita Mohanty and other researchers found that on a per-capita basis, foreign-born people account for half as much medical care as nonimmigrants. Even among those without insurance, immigrants run up lower bills than native-born patients.
Those results line up with what the Hospital Association of Southern California has determined: Illegal immigrants are responsible for less than a quarter of expenses related to unreimbursed hospital care".
November 05, 2005
MidSouth Chapter meeting
This morning I attended the Chapter meeting at 7:00 a.m. at the Vanderbilt Marriott Hotel. They have a wireless network which I am using on my laptop to update my blog. Among the 100 fellow attorneys I only saw three other laptops. Most are still using desktop computers. I answered e-mails from staff, clients, companies, friends and family. Also I am using it to update my blog. We have been engaged in the technical learning of the law; listening to speakers and meeting local groups. This is the annual chapter meeting with for the MidSouth Chapter. Next year we will have the meeting in New Orleans. I hope the rebuilding will be on schedule.
November 04, 2005
CIS officials; update on New Orleans office
There is still no electricty and water seepage. The CIS officials are planning to move into a new space. Hopefully this will occurr within 120 days. Thus far no lease has been signed so they could not release the proposed location. All the employees want to return home and are looking forward to returning home. In the meantime they are doing hearings and interviews in the MidSouth area.
CIS Officials discussion on FBI background check
The requirement for FBI background check applies to every one. The only cases where they will expidite are when there is a need for military personnel who are going overseas or overwhelming personal situation. Going to Congress will sometimes help; there was a back and forth between the CIS officials and AILA members as to whether this helps. If you contact the FBI they may speed up the process. You should use a member of Congress to help with the request.
Meeting with Jenny Levy; new Grassroots Director of AILA
As part of the AILA annual MidSouth Chapter Conference in Nashville I had breakfast with Jenny Levy. We met at a Starbucks for coffee and to discuss immigration reform. I serve on the grassroots committee wherein I help lobby for reform. We spent breakfast brainstorming on ideas. We have decided in Jenny's words not to reinvent the wheel. There are many ways to pick the targets, expand the network and succeed on reform. The immigration attorneys need to learn to create and develop networks. This is a challenge and should be fun. If you enjoy meeting people and lobbying for immigration reform contact me to discuss how we can work together.
November 03, 2005
Your efforts and the efforts of thousands of AILA Members, companies, and advocates have paid off!
Just in from AILA;
The Byrd Amendment to eliminate relief from the H-1B blackout and the immigrant visa backlogs was rejected overwhelmingly by an 85-14 vote. This is a tremendous victory for immigrants and a glaring defeat for the restrictionists.
Unfortunately, our elation over this interim victory has to be tempered by a healthy dose of reality; this battle is far from over. In fact, as hard as we have pushed, the fight that we have been anticipating has really just begun. We always understood that the true battle would be in conference when the Senate and House seek to resolve the differences between their bills. As that Senate/House conference approaches (the House has yet to pass its reconciliation package but is expected to take it up for consideration within the next two weeks), we need to redouble our efforts in securing support for the Senate approach and opposition to the House approach.
For starters, we need to thank the Senators who voted against the Byrd amendment and express our disappointment to those who voted in support. Please encourage your clients to do the same. To that end, we will be sending out a Contact Congress link (probably tomorrow) that will allow you to send the appropriate message to your senators. For those of you who want to see right now how your senators voted, please click here:
We will keep you posted on the conference timing and process as it comes into focus. In the meantime, we need to maintain the pressure on Congress and the momentum we have generated for meaningful relief.
Please urge clients who have NOT signed on to the attached letter to do so now (almost 400 are on the letter now!). Please encourage those clients who already have signed on to the letter to remain active and continue communicating directly with their Members of Congress about the importance of this issue.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Marshall Fitz, Esq.
Director of Advocacy
American Immigration Lawyers Association
State farmers lose workers, profits to border sweeps
This article talks about the need for immigration reform to help American farm owners;
Arizona Republic by Susan Carroll, Republic Tucson Bureau, Nov. 3, 2005; "PEARCE - Ed Curry stood in his chile fields on a Saturday morning in October, his crop three weeks behind schedule for harvest. He had a crew of 40 workers in the field to the south, filling bucket after bucket with ripe red chiles.
In front of him, Curry had two U.S. Border Patrol agents, young guys, who had tracked footprints onto his farm and came up on five of his workers at the edge of the field. The agents were getting ready to take them away, back to Mexico.
Curry, a silver-haired, third-generation farmer, was in a tough spot, and he knew it.
Like scores of farmers and growers across the country, and particularly along the Southwestern border, he is confronting the worst worker shortage in recent memory. With the winter vegetable harvest less than a month away, industry leaders are warning of potential losses of millions of dollars in Arizona alone and are desperate to strike an accord with immigration officials to get workers into their fields and the produce into markets".
You can find the rest of the article at; www.azcentral.com
November 02, 2005
CALL YOUR SENATORS TO URGE A NO VOTE ON THE BYRD AMENDMENT IMMEDIATELY!!!
This message just in from AILA national office;
CALL THE CAPITOL SWITCHBOARD: 202-224-3121 OR GET DIRECT LINES BY CLICKING HERE: http://capwiz.com/aila2/home/
Your phone call is critical to preserving the integrity of this debate about H-1B and Green card Relief.
As always thank you for your support.
"I am a concerned constituent calling to urge Senator (name) to vote against an amendment expected to be offered today to the Deficit Reduction Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 2005 by Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV). This amendment reverses action taken by the Senate Judiciary Committee to increase revenue by recapturing authorized, but never used, visa numbers for foreign workers with key skills in jobs for which U.S. workers are not available.
Sen. Byrd's amendment raises the revenue that would be lost by adopting the ill-advised House Judiciary Committee proposal to raise the fees on L-1 intra-company transferees to $1,500 per visa, which would discourage overseas companies from opening plants in the U.S. and would encourage countries to retaliate against U.S. companies seeking to transfer U.S. managers to oversee their international operations.
Please vote no when this amendment comes up for consideration. If not, the Senate will lose the opportunity to raise revenue by allowing the use of visas that were authorized by Congress, but never used due to administrative delays."
November 01, 2005
Urgent! Act Now for H-1B and Green Card Backlog Relief
This just came in from AILA national;
Today the Senate begins consideration of the budget reconciliation bill, which includes a proposal that would provide temporary relief from the H-1B visa blackout and employment-based immigrant visa backlogs, in exchange for increased fees on some petitions (see http://www.aila.org/content/default.aspx?docid=17779). The restrictionists have been noisy and persistent in voicing their opposition to this proposal, so your Senators need to hear from you now! Tell them that the H-1B blackout and green card backlogs have created a crisis for American businesses, and the Senate Judiciary Committee proposal provides a measured and workable solution. Follow this link to send a letter to Congress, and urge your colleages to do the same: http://capwiz.com/aila2/mail/oneclick_compose/?alertid=8185761