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July 31, 2006

DHS Proposes Rule on Additional Enrollment in US-VISIT

DHS published a proposed rule in the Federal Register today to extend the US-VISIT requirements to all foreign nationals with the exception of those specifically exempted and Canadian citizens applying for admission as B1/B2 visitors for business or pleasure. (71 FR 42605, 7/27/06) Those subject to US-VISIT may be required to provide fingerscans, photographs, or other biometric identifiers upon arrival at, or departure from, the U.S. Currently, only those aliens entering the U.S. pursuant to a nonimmigrant visa or those traveling without a visa as part of the Visa Waiver Program are subject to US-VISIT requirements, with certain limited exceptions. Several large classes of aliens will be affected by this change in the regulations, including: lawful permanent residents; aliens seeking admission on immigrant visas; refugees and asylees; certain Canadian citizens who receive a Form I-94 at inspection or who require a waiver of inadmissibility; aliens paroled into the U.S.; and aliens applying for admission under the Guam Visa Waiver Program.

Operationally, aliens arriving at air and sea ports of entry will be processed differently than those arriving at the land ports of entry. At air and sea ports of entry, biometric collection and US-VISIT processing will occur during primary inspection for the majority of the arriving aliens addressed in this rulemaking. At the land border ports of entry, aliens will be processed through US-VISIT in secondary inspection the same way as other aliens currently subject to US-VISIT (those that require a Form I-94) at the land ports of entry. LPRs entering through land ports will go through biometric collection only if they are referred to secondary inspection by the primary inspecting officer. Written comments regarding the proposed regulation are due on or before August 28, 2006.

On a related note: DHS has updated its US-VISIT Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) to discuss the impact of the proposal to expand US-VISIT to additional classes of aliens. (71 FR 42653, 7/27/06)
The PIA can be found under the Privacy Impact Assessment Section of the Privacy Office's Web site at http://www.dhs.gov/privacy and will be available for a minimum of 60 days.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 02:47 PM | Comments (0)

July 30, 2006

United States Military Academy Professor Coauthors Study on the Relationship Between National Security & Immigration Policy

A study released last week attempts to bridge the divide between national security and immigration policy. The study, co-authored by Donald Kerwin, Executive Director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, and Margaret Stock, AILA Member and Associate Professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, examines U.S. national security responses in the wake of 9/11, evaluates the efficacy of these responses, and identifies the impact these responses have had on human rights and immigration. Concluding that many national security measures taken since 9/11 not only impose unnecessary restraints on human rights and immigration, but also are counterproductive in the battle against terrorism, the authors offer five recommendations for effectively integrating national security measures and immigration policy. Among these recommendations are appeals for passage in Congress of truly comprehensive immigration reform like that proposed in the current Senate bill (S.2611), and for defeat of enforcement-only measures like those proposed in the current House bill (H.R. 4437).

Posted by VisaLawyer at 08:05 AM | Comments (0)

July 29, 2006

FY 2007 U.S. Advanced-Degree H1B Cap Reached

USCIS announced that the U.S. Advanced Degree H-1B cap was reached on July 26, 2006. Those received on July 26, 2006, will be subject to the random selection process.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 08:57 PM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2006

House Energy and Commerce Committee; “field/faux” hearings; Nashville, Tennessee August 10, 2006

House and Senate Hearings on Immigration Reform

City: Plano, TX
Date: July 31
Time: 11:00 AM
Location: Plano City Council Chamber
Committee: House Education and the Workforce Committee, Subcommittee on Employer-Employee Relations
Additional information: Field hearing is titled “Immigration: Enforcing Employee Work Eligibility Laws and Implementing a Stronger Employment Verification System.” Witnesses include:
• John Chakwin, Special Agent-in-Charge, Dallas Office of Investigations, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security, Dallas, TX
• Jon L. Luther, CEO, Dunkin' Donuts, Canton, MA
• Abel Martinez, Vice President of Partner Relations, Risk Management and Compliance, H-E-B Grocery Co., San Antonio, TX
• Geri Simmons, representing Society for Human Resource Management, Alexandria, VA

City: Selfridge, MI
Date: August 1
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: Joint Dining Facility, Bldg. 164, Selfridge Air National Guard Base, 29423 George Ave.
Committee: House Armed Services Committee
Additional information: Subject of hearing is “What are the unique challenges for the Department of Defense in supporting border enforcement along the northern border?” Witnesses include:
• Brig. Gen. Michael Peplinski, Commander 127th Wing, Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Air National Guard
• Chief Patrol Agent John Bates, Sector Chief, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency, Department of Homeland Security
• Capt. Patrick Brennan, Commanding Officer, Sector Detroit, U.S. Coast Guard
• John Jamian, Member, Michigan State Legislature, former Administrator, Maritime Administration, Department of Transportation and former Executive Director, Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority
• Sheriff Dan Lane, St. Clair County, MI
• Col. Paul Disney, U.S. Northern Command, Joint Task Force North - J3, U.S. Army

City: Yuma, AZ
Date: August 2
Time: 1:00 PM
Location: Yuma Marine Corps Air Station
Committee: House Armed Services Committee
Additional information: Subject of hearing is “What are the operational and training impacts of a porous border on military bases along the [southern] border?” Witnesses include:
• Col. Ben Hancock, Commanding Officer, Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz.
• Deputy Chief Patrol Agent Jeffrey Calhoon, Sector Deputy Chief, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency, Department of Homeland Security
• Maj. Gen. Antonio J. Pineda, National Commander, U.S. Civil Air Patrol

City: Washington, DC
Date: August 2
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: 215 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Committee: Senate Finance Committee
Additional information: Title of hearing is “Border Insecurity, Take Two: Fake IDs Foil the First Line of Defense.”

City: San Diego, CA
Date: August 2
Time: 2:00 PM
Location: Bayview Restaurant, Marine Corps Recruitment Depot, 3800 Chosen Avenue
Committee: House Judiciary Committee
Additional information: Title of hearing is “How Does Illegal Immigration Impact American Taxpayers and Will the Reid-Kennedy Amnesty Worsen the Blow?”

City: Las Cruces, NM
Date: August 3
Time: 9:00 AM
Location: Las Cruces Hospital
Committee: House Administration Committee
Additional information: Subject of hearing is “How can Congress best protect the integrity of the federal voting process by combating election fraud and eliminating non-citizen voting?”

City: Phoenix, AZ
Date: August 3
Time: 5:00 PM
Location: Arizona State House
Committee: House Administration Committee
Additional information: Subject of hearing is “How effective are state policies like Arizona's Proposition 200, which requires voters to provide evidence of citizenship, at combating election fraud?”

City: Santee, CA
Date: August 5
Time: TBA
Location: TBA
Committee: House Human Resources Committee
Additional information: Subject of hearing is “What efforts need to be undertaken to prevent federal public lands from being harmed as they are used a pathway for illegal immigration? Does the Reid-Kennedy bill compromise our federal lands?”

City: Bellingham, WA
Date: August 8
Time: TBD
Location: TBD
Committee: House Homeland Security Committee
Additional information: Subject of hearing is “What are the border infrastructure successes since passage of the REAL ID Act and the 9/11 Commission Implementation Act, and what challenges still exist?”

City: Nashville, TN
Date: August 10
Time: TBA
Location: TBA
Committee: House Energy and Commerce Committee
Additional information: Subject of hearing is “What is the impact of the Reid-Kennedy bill's amnesty provisions on the health care delivery system and for individual American taxpayers?”

City: San Diego, CA
Date: August 14
Time: TBD
Location: San Diego County Administration Center
Committee: House Government Reform Committee
Additional information: Subject of hearing is “Costs to federal, state, and local governments of an unsecured border.” Witnesses will include Representatives of Department of Homeland Security, San Diego County Board of Supervisors, San Diego County Sheriff’s Office, San Diego County Board of Education, State of California Medicaid Office, and the Hospital Association of San Diego and Imperial County.

City: Gainesville, GA
Date: August 14
Time: TBA
Location: TBA
Committee: House Education and the Workforce Committee
Additional information: Subject of hearing is “What is the impact on American workers and businesses of the Reid-Kennedy bill's provisions mandating Davis-Bacon wage rates for guest-workers?”

City: San Diego
Date: August 14
Time: TBD
Location: TBD
Committee: House Government Reform Committee
Additional information: Subject of hearing is interior enforcement.

City: Dalton, GA
Date: August 15
Time: TBA
Location: TBA
Committee: House Energy and Commerce Committee
Additional information: Subject of hearing is “What is the impact of the Reid-Kennedy bill's amnesty provisions on the health care delivery system and for individual American taxpayers?”

City: El Paso, TX
Date: August 17
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: TBA
Committee: House Judiciary Committee
Additional information: Subject of hearing is “What is the financial impact of illegal immigration on communities along the U.S. border, and could these costs rise under the Reid-Kennedy bill? What is the impact on efforts to extend a border security fence under the Reid Kennedy bill’s requirements regarding consultation with the Mexican government? Will efforts to limit illegal immigration be inhibited by the Reid-Kennedy bill's provisions relating to local law enforcement.”

City: Sierra Vista, AZ
Date: August 17
Time: TBA
Location: TBA
Committee: House Select Intelligence Committee
Additional information: Subject of hearing is “What is the state of technical surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities for monitoring the efforts of terrorists and drug cartels to infiltrate American soil through the Southern Border?”

City: Austin, TX
Date: August 17
Time: TBD
Location: TBD
Committee: House Homeland Security Committee
Additional information: Subject of hearing is “What are the criminal consequences of illegal immigration along the southern border?”

City: Grand Rapids, MI
Date: August 23
Time: TBA
Location: TBA
Committee: House Select Intelligence Committee
Additional information: Subject of hearing is “What is the threat to the United States from Islamic extremists who abuse the legal immigration system?”

City: Concord, NH
Date: August 24
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: TBA
Committee: House Judiciary Committee
Additional information: Subject of hearing is “How do illegal immigrants impact the costs of healthcare, local education and other social services, and would these costs increase under the Reid-Kennedy immigration bill? What is the societal impact of the Reid-Kennedy bill's grant of amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants?”

City: Upstate New York (City to be confirmed)
Date: August 25
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: TBA
Committee: House Judiciary Committee
Additional information: Subject of hearing is “What are the current risks of terrorists, narcotics smugglers and human traffickers infiltrating the United States, and what role do secure identification documents play in limiting those risks? Does the Reid-Kennedy bill undermine efforts to limit those risks?”

City: Hamilton, MT
Date: August 28
Time: TBA
Location: TBA
Committee: House Human Resources Committee
Additional information: Subject of hearing is “What efforts need to be undertaken to secure the federal lands along the Northern Border to prevent drug trafficking and other illegal activities? Could the Reid-Kennedy bill make these efforts more difficult?”

City: Evansville, IN
Date: August 29
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: TBA
Committee: House Judiciary Committee
Additional information: Subject of hearing is “How are U. S. workers impacted and potentially displaced with the Reid-Kennedy bill?”

City: Dubuque, IA
Date: September 1
Time: 9:00 AM
Location: TBA
Committee: House Judiciary Committee
Additional information: Subject of hearing is “Do the Reid-Kennedy bill's amnesty provisions repeat the mistakes of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986?”

City: Washington, DC
Date: TBA
Time: TBA
Location: TBA
Committee: House Homeland Security Committee
Additional information: Title of hearing is “Does the Reid-Kennedy bill make it more difficult for law enforcement to expedite the removal of illegal aliens from the United States?”

City: Washington, DC
Date: TBA
Time: TBA
Location: TBA
Committee: House Science Committee
Additional information: Title of hearing is “How Can Technologies Help Secure Our Borders?” Witnesses include:
• Gregory Giddens, Director, Secure Border Initiative Program Executive Office, Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
• Mervyn Leavitt, Deputy Director, Border and Transportation Portfolio, Science and Technology Directorate, DHS
• Anthony DiRienzo, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, COLSA Corp.
• Barbara Toohill, Executive Director, Homeland Security Mission Area, The MITRE Corp.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 09:34 AM | Comments (0)

Beirut IV Processing Update

An AILA member has forwarded a message from the U.S. Embassy at Beirut stating that IV processing has been suspended until further notice.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:07 AM | Comments (0)

FY2007 H-1B Advanced Degree Cap Usage Figures Reach 20,000

Just in from AILA;

On July 27, USCIS updated the current cap count with new data gathered as of July 26, 2006. The number of approved and receipted pending petitions now has reached 19,390. An additional 655 petitions have been received but not yet receipted.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:06 AM | Comments (0)

July 27, 2006

FY2007 H-1B Advanced Degree Cap Usage Figures Surpass 19,000

On July 27, 2006, USCIS updated the current cap count with new data gathered as of July 25. The number of approved and receipted pending petitions has now reached 18,932. Approximately 645 H-1B Advanced Degree petitions have been received but have not yet been data-entered and receipted. As of July 25, the combined approximate total is 19,577. Data gathered on July 23 and posted to the USCIS website on July 24 showed that approximately 18,742 petitions had been approved, data-entered, or received but not yet processed as of July 23. Thus, USCIS received approximately 835 petitions in the course of two business days. The updated cap usage figures are available at: http://www.uscis.gov/graphics/services/tempbenefits/cap.htm

Posted by VisaLawyer at 02:49 PM | Comments (0)

Two labor companies and three individuals charged with harboring illegal alien workers and conspiring to launder $12 million

Here is an ICE News Release;

Defendants allegedly provided more than 1,000 illegal workers to national air cargo firm;

CINCINNATI – A federal grand jury here has returned a 40-count criminal indictment charging two temporary labor companies, the president of these companies and two of their corporate officers with violations related to a large-scale illegal alien employment and money laundering scheme.

The defendants named in the indictment are:
• Garcia Labor Company, Inc, a temporary labor service company incorporated in Morristown, Tennessee;
• Garcia Labor Company of Ohio, Inc, a temporary labor service company based in Wilmington, Ohio;
• Maximino Garcia, president and co-owner of the two companies;
• Dominga McCarroll, sister of Garcia and former vice president of the two companies;
• Gina Luciano, director of Human Relations for Garcia Labor Company in Tennessee

Gregory G. Lockhart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Julie L. Myers, Assistant Secretary for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and William Cotter, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, Chicago Region, announced the indictment which was unsealed today when the defendants appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy S. Hogan.

The indictment alleges that the Garcia Labor Company Inc. and Garcia Labor Company of Ohio, Inc (together known as Garcia Labor Companies) entered into a contract in December 1999 to provide temporary workers to sort freight for ABX Air, Inc., an independent and publicly traded company that provides air cargo transportation services nationwide from its base in Ohio and 18 hubs throughout the country. As part of its contract, Garcia Labor agreed that it all workers would be in compliance with applicable laws.

According to the indictment, Garcia Labor and the other defendants instead knowingly employed illegal aliens and provided them as contract workers to ABX Air and other companies. From December 1999 until about January 2005, the defendants caused more than 1,000 illegal workers to be employed sorting freight at ABX Air, knowing that these employees were not authorized to work in this country.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:11 AM | Comments (0)

July 26, 2006

FY2007 H-1B Advanced Degree Cap Usage Figures Surpass 18,000

Just in from AILA;

On July 24, 2006, USCIS updated the current cap count with new data gathered as of July 23. The number of approved and receipted pending petitions has now reached 18,368. Approximately 374 H-1B Advanced Degree petitions have been received but not yet data-entered and receipted. As of July 23, the combined approximate total is 18,742.

Data gathered on July 18 and posted to the USCIS website on July 19 showed that approximately 17,351 petitions had been approved, data-entered, or received but not yet processed as of July 18. Thus, USCIS received approximately 1,391 petitions in the course of three business days.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:51 AM | Comments (0)

July 25, 2006

House and Senate Hearings on Immigration Reform—Attend If You Can!

Just in from AILA;

Rather than proceed directly with a conference committee to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate immigration bills, House Republicans have opted to hold a two-month series of hearings that are intended to whip up their conservative base and focus attacks on the Senate approach. In response, the Senate Judiciary Committee is also holding hearings. Chairman Specter plans to promote the temporary worker program and earned legalization provisions in S. 2611.

Information on the hearings appears below. Check this page often for updates! For more details about coordinated press and field events, please e-mail Jenny Levy at jlevy@aila.org.
City: Washington, DC
Date: July 25
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: 2154 Rayburn House Office Building
Committee: House Government Reform Committee, Regulatory Affairs Subcommittee
Additional information: Title of hearing is "Is the Federal Government Doing All It Can to Stem the Tide of Illegal Immigration?"

City: Washington, DC
Date: July 26
Time: 2:00 PM
Location: 1100 Longworth House Office Building
Committee: House Ways and Means Committee
Additional information: Hearing notice reads, "This hearing will focus on the effect of immigration and border security-related proposals on the costs and administration of certain entitlement programs within the jurisdiction of the Committee on Ways and Means (including Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Medicare, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), and the effect on tax revenues and compliance."

City: Washington, DC
Date: July 26
Time: 10:30 AM
Location: 2175 Rayburn House Office Building
Committee: House Education and the Workforce Committee, Education Reform Subcommittee
Additional information: Title of hearing is “What is the role of English in American education and society, and does the Reid-Kennedy bill undermine, rather that encourage, this role?”

City: Washington, DC
Date: July 26
Time: 2:00 PM
Location: 2172 Rayburn House Office Building
Committee: House International Relations Committee, Western Hemisphere Subcommittee
Additional information: Subject of hearing is "Responding to the regional immigration crisis." Scheduled witnesses include:

* Thomas A. Shannon, Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
* Adolfo A. Franco, Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, U.S. Agency for International Development
* Robert Charles, President, The Charles Group
* Eric Farnsworth, Vice President, Council of the Americas

City: Washington, DC
Date: July 26
Time: 2:00 PM
Location: 2318 Rayburn House Office Building
Committee: House Science Committee
Additional information: Title of hearing is “How Can Technologies Help Secure Our Borders?” Witnesses include:

* Gregory Giddens, Director, Secure Border Initiative Program Executive Office, Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
* Mervyn Leavitt, Deputy Director, Border and Transportation Portfolio, Science and Technology Directorate, DHS
* Anthony DiRienzo, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, COLSA Corp.
Barbara Toohill, Executive Director, Homeland Security Mission Area, The MITRE Corp.


City: Washington, DC
Date: July 27
Time: TBA
Location: TBA
Committee: House Homeland Security Committee
Additional information: Title of hearing is “Does the Reid-Kennedy bill make it more difficult for law enforcement to expedite the removal of illegal aliens from the United States?”

City: Washington, DC
Date: July 27
Time: 11:30 AM
Location: 2141 Rayburn House Office Building
Committee: House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims
Additional information: Title of hearing is "Whether Attempted Implementation of the Senate Immigration Bill Will Result in an Administrative and National Security Nightmare."

City: Washington, DC
Date: July 27
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: 2359 Rayburn House Office Building
Committee: House Appropriations, Subcommittee on Homeland Security

City: Plano, TX
Date: July 31
Time: 11:00 AM
Location: Plano City Council Chamber
Committee: House Education and the Workforce, Subcommittee on Employer-Employee Relations
Additional information: Field hearing is titled “Immigration: Enforcing Employee Work Eligibility Laws and Implementing a Stronger Employment Verification System.”

City: San Diego, CA
Date: August 2
Time: 2:00 PM
Location: TBA
Committee: House Judiciary Committee

City: Yuma, AZ
Date: Week of August 14
Time: TBD
Location: TBD
Committee: House Government Reform Committee
Additional information: Subject of hearing is "Costs to federal, state, and local governments of an unsecured border"

City: Fort Huachuca, AZ
Date: August 17
Time: TBD
Location: TBD
Committee: House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
Additional information: Subject of hearing is the role of intelligence in border security.

City: El Paso, TX
Date: August 17
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: TBA
Committee: House Judiciary Committee

City: Detroit, MI/Windsor, Canada
Date: August 23
Time: TBD
Location: TBD
Committee: House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
Additional information: Subject of hearing is the role of intelligence in border security.

City: Concord, NH
Date: August 24
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: TBA
Committee: House Judiciary Committee

City: Upstate New York (City to be confirmed)
Date: August 25
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: TBA
Committee: House Judiciary Committee

City: Evansville, IN
Date: August 29
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: TBA
Committee: House Judiciary Committee

City: Dubuque, IA
Date: September 1
Time: 9:00 AM
Location: TBA
Committee: House Judiciary Committee

Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:36 AM | Comments (0)

July 24, 2006

American-born children shouldn't be deported

There is an article in the Christian Science Monitor by Noreen M. Sugrue who is a faculty member in the Women and Gender in Global Perspectives Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, dated 7/17/06.

Immigration reform must ensure that the best interest of American children determines the fate of their undocumented parents.

As the US government urgently seeks a unified policy to deal with illegal immigrants, law-enforcement officials seem to be paying more attention to enforcing current laws.

In June 2006, for example, more than 2,400 undocumented workers from across the country were seized. They are currently awaiting deportation hearings.

Their legal status in this country is one thing. But the status of their children is another. The overwhelming majority of those arrested in June are parents of American citizens - children born in the US - and the majority of those children are under the age of 10. These children are US citizens; they're no different from my child or the children of most of you. But because of the possible deportations of their parents, these children will probably be deported, too, if they want to stay with their parents.

If they find a way to stay, they will become policy orphans; that is, citizens with no parents in the US to care for them and no place to live except foster care or in the home of some generous community members.

at www.csmonitor.com

Posted by VisaLawyer at 05:41 AM | Comments (0)

July 23, 2006

Immigration crisis requires biblical response

Here are remarks by Richard Land, President of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, in support of comprehensive immigration reform. In Baptist Press April 27, 2006

“NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--The immigration crisis in the United States is a huge issue, impacting tens of millions of people in many different ways. How do we approach this problem? First, we have to identify "we." When I speak of "we," I am referring to Southern Baptists and other evangelical Christians who are American citizens. As such, we have responsibilities in two realms: as citizens of the nation and as citizens of the heavenly Kingdom (Philippians 3:20; Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 2:9).

As citizens of the United States, we have an obligation to support the government and the government's laws for conscience' sake (Romans 13:7). We also have a right to expect the government to fulfill its divinely ordained mandate to punish those who break the laws and reward those who do not (Romans 13:1-7). As citizens of the Lord's heavenly Kingdom and members of local colonies of that Kingdom (congregations of Christians), we also have a divine mandate to act redemptively and compassionately toward those who are in need. Jesus commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:39) and to do unto others as we would have them do unto us (Matthew 7:12). How do these twin divine mandates apply to the immigration crisis facing our nation? …”

Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:27 AM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2006

Remind Congress that We Are America in Picture Postcards!

Take Action

Building on the historic marches from March to May of this year, immigrant communities are seeking to unify their voices, grow the electorate with a million new voters and citizens, and hold members of Congress accountable on November 7 and beyond. Current reports indicate that pro-immigrant communities have out-mobilized anti-immigrants on the streets, but there is now a need to out-lobby anti-immigrants in the halls of Congress. Given that the House and the Senate are poised to move into conference committee to deliberate on a bill that will impact the lives of all Americans, the moment to act is now.

The "We Are America" Picture Postcard Campaign is a compelling way that we - immigrants and descendants of immigrants - can remind Congress that Americans must unite behind a common vision that immigration reform is good for America. In fact, immigration reform is key to our nation's prosperity, security and diversity. The initial goal is to send 20,000 picture postcards during the months of July and August.

You and Your Clients can Participate in the Picture Postcard Campaign

All you have to do is send a family photograph to your Members of Congress with a message on the back that says something like, "Immigrants are America's Families, Workers and Neighbors," "Just and Humane Immigration Reform Now," "Keep Families Together, Pathway to Citizenship for All, Basic Rights for All," or "Keep Families Together, Pathway to Citizenship for All, Deportations Are Not the Answer."

You can even include this SAMPLE TEXT- "I am deeply concerned that the current immigration debate criminalizes immigrants and divides America. We urge you to unite Americans behind a common vision of America because immigration reform is a key to our nation's economic prosperity and security. We should welcome immigrants' hard work, talents, cultural richness and family values."

You can also add a personal message explaining why you support immigration reform such as "I am a child of immigrants," "I am an immigrant worker," or "Immigration makes our culture dynamic."

This is an easy and creative way to remind Congress that We Are America. Send a Picture Postcard to your US Representative today!

Posted by VisaLawyer at 08:05 AM | Comments (0)

Letter supporting CIR; Comprehensive Immigratoin Reform

Here is a sample letter for the U.S. Congress in support of CIR;

As you know, both the House and Senate have passed immigration reform bills that must now be reconciled. The Senate bill (S. 2611) takes a realistic, comprehensive approach to fixing our broken system and includes a new temporary worker program and a path to permanent legal status for the current undocumented population. Without these essential components, any attempt at immigration reform is destined to fail. I strongly urge you to support these provisions through the conference.

To gain control of our borders and truly guarantee our security, we must implement a comprehensive approach to immigration reform that will address the 11 million people living here without papers. The vast majority of these undocumented immigrants are law-abiding, hardworking people who pay their taxes and contribute to our society. By allowing these people an opportunity to come out of the shadows, register with the government, pay a hefty fine, go through the security check process, and earn the privilege of legal status, we can restore the rule of law in our workplaces and communities and focus our enforcement resources on those who mean us harm.

Besides providing a path to citizenship with reasonable requirements for those who are already here, a realistic, comprehensive approach to immigration reform, like that contained in S. 2611, must include an effective guest worker program that would match willing workers with willing employers. It must also reunite close family members, some of whom have been separated for twenty years. Finally, comprehensive immigration reform must create a smart border security regime so that we know who is coming into our country. Such reform would facilitate the cross-border flow of people and goods that is essential to our economy. A vibrant economy, in turn, is essential to fund our security needs.

We have spent the last 20 years tightening immigration enforcement, but it hasn't worked. Until our immigration laws are in sync with our economic realities and provide a safe, legal, and orderly way for migrants to enter our country to work and reunite with family, and for those who are here to come out of the shadows and become integrated with society, we cannot hope to gain control of our broken immigration system.

I strongly urge you to enact realistic, comprehensive immigration reform by preserving and strengthening the provisions in S. 2611 that would provide earned legalization for the current undocumented population. I would also ask you to work hard to strike or modify those provisions in both the House and Senate bills that would diminish due process and access to the courts. I hope you will take advantage of this historic opportunity to help forge a visionary, bipartisan solution for our badly broken immigration system.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 08:01 AM | Comments (0)

July 21, 2006

Letter to Congress re H-1B "blackout"

Dear all,

Here is a sample letter to the U.S. Congress that you can send to support the Skil Bill;

American businesses are once again facing a serious crisis: the now annual H-1B "blackout." I urge you to cosponsor H.R. 5744, the "Securing Knowledge Innovation and Leadership Act of 2006," also known as the SKIL Bill. The SKIL Bill was introduced by Representative John Shadegg (R-AZ) on June 29, and is a positive sign that Congress is serious about correcting a growing competitiveness crisis for the United States.

As you may know, USCIS announced on June 1, 2006, that the FY 2007 numerical cap limiting the H-1B program for temporary professional workers has been exhausted, four full months before 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 their businesses. This is the fourth year in a row that the cap has been reached, and the eighth time since 1997.

The H-1B visa is a vital tool necessary to keep the U.S. economy competitive in the world market and to keep jobs in America. Far from harming U.S. workers and the U.S. economy, highly educated foreign professionals benefit our country by allowing U.S. employers to develop new products, undertake groundbreaking research, implement new projects, expand operations, create additional new jobs, and compete in the global marketplace. As President Bush remarked recently, if these professionals are not permitted to come to the U.S. to share their expertise, they will go to other countries and benefit companies abroad instead. The end result will be American jobs lost and American projects losing out to foreign competition, with devastating long-term consequences for the U.S. economy.

But this need not be the case. The SKIL Bill offers a solution to this perennial problem. The bill addresses the H-1B cap problem by:

* increasing the H-1B cap from 65,000 to a more realistic 115,000 per fiscal year
* providing for a market-based cap escalator that takes effect in years when U.S. employers have an increased need for more H-1B professionals
* creating an exemption from the overall H-1B cap for those foreign professionals who have earned a medical specialty certification through post-doctoral U.S. training and experience
* creating an exemption from the overall H-1B cap for those foreign professionals who have earned a U.S. master's or higher degree

The provisions contained in H.R. 5744 have already been debated and passed in the Senate's comprehensive immigration reform proposal, S. 261l. By cosponsoring H.R. 5744, you will be showing your support for enabling the best and brightest from around the globe to contribute their skills and knowledge to the U.S. economy, which is good for American workers, American businesses, and our long-term economic health.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:57 AM | Comments (0)

July 20, 2006

Why The Hell is Phyllis Schlafly Testifying on Immigration?

Here is a great article on the insane hearings being conducted by the U.S. House to support its warped view of immigration. They are having to scrape the bottom of the barrel to find supporters for their extremist position. This post was in the huffingtonpost;

"Let me get this straight: Phyllis Schlafly is testifying at the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims as an expert witness? What the hell is going on? If you don't already know Phyllis, let me give you a brief intro by highlighting some best-ofs:

"Sexual harassment on the job is not a problem for virtuous women."
"Sex education classes are like in-home sales parties for abortions."

"Men should stop treating feminists like ladies, and instead treat them like the men they say they want to be."
Ah, wisdom. Anyways, Phyllis was supposed to go to Washington to speak nicey about the House immigration bill, instead she spent her time, according to the New York Times, blasting the President for supporting the Senate bill because she wrongly believes it provides amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants currently in this country. Why talk about how we create a bill that actually meets the needs of Americans trying to take care of their families when you can throw the word "amnesty" around like it was on fire (in which case hopefully the word isn't written on a flag)?

Arguments for progressive immigration policy aside, is this the kind of "expert" witness that the House believes needed a hearing before they could negotiate in earnest with the Senate?

Between Phyllis and Heather "deport the illegal alien rapists" MacDonald at the Manhattan Institute, I think it's time to start judging the conservative right, or House Republicans for that matter, by the people they put forth as speaking for America. The only thing either of them are expert in is ideology, and on an issue as important to the health of our families and communities as immigration, ideology must take a backseat to reality".

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrea-batista-schlesinger/why-the-hell-is-phyllis-s_b_25438.html

Posted by VisaLawyer at 03:29 PM | Comments (0)

Rejections of U.S. Advanced Degree H-1B Petitions

Just in from AILA;

In the SCOPS call of 7/17/2006, SCOPS confirmed with AILA that the latest numbers available had been posted to the USCIS website on 7/12/2006. They also confirmed that the cap has not been reached but that numbers are going quickly.

Members have been reporting rejections from VSC stating that the cap has been reached. SCOPS is aware of this and if any case was erroneously rejected, it can be resubmitted. For now, please resend the application to the VSC, indicating that it is a resubmission. AILA is working with VSC to establish a more specific procedure.

However, before resubmitting the application, please make sure that the rejection was inappropriate. On the “H-1B Data Collection and Filing Fee Exemption Supplement” (formerly the I-129W), there are two different places where an advanced degree must be noted. The first is Part A, Question 5. The second is Part C, Question 7. You must answer “Yes” to both questions. Please also make sure that the filing date requested is 10/01/2006 or later.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 12:46 PM | Comments (0)

July 19, 2006

Mexican Mobile Consulate visits Nashville

The Atlanta based Mexican consul continues to field the program called Mobile Consulate. This program functions normally on week ends, and through visits to the Mexican communities that are distant from Atlanta.

The main Mobile Consulate obejctives are:
• Recognize problems and needs of Mexicans that live in that area.
• Provide consular services.
• Review cases that may need protection.
• Promote activities of the Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior.
• Promote the Paisano program.
• Keep an ongoing dialogue with community leaders from that area.

With the Mobile Consulate program, Mexico’s government is ever closer to its nationals living in places as far away as Alaska and Hawaii.

The primary services that the Consulate offers in its visits are:
• Issue bonafide consulate ID’s (matricula consular).
• Issue passports.

The next visit of the Mexican Mobile Consulate to Nashville will be
July 22, 2006
Woodbine Community Center,
222 Orel Ave., Nashville, TN 37210

If you would like to support this event please call Leticia Alvarez, @ 293-3717 or Terry Horgan @ 850-3449
Email: Leticia@tnimmigrant.org

Posted by VisaLawyer at 02:35 PM | Comments (0)

July 18, 2006

House and Senate Hearings on Immigration Reform—Attend If You Can! (Updated 7/13/06)

Rather than proceed directly with a conference committee to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate immigration bills, House Republicans have opted to hold a two-month series of hearings that are intended to whip up their conservative base and focus attacks on the Senate approach. In response, the Senate Judiciary Committee is also holding hearings. Chairman Specter plans to promote the temporary worker program and earned legalization provisions in S. 2611.
Information on the hearings appears below;
City: Washington, DC
Date: July 18
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: 2237 Rayburn House Office Building
Committee: House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims
Additional information: Title of hearing is “Do the Reid-Kennedy bill’s amnesty provisions repeat the mistakes of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986?”
Scheduled witnesses:
• Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas
• Phyllis Schlafly, President, Eagle Forum, Alton, Ill.
• Steven Camarota, Director of Research, Center for Immigration Studies
• James R. Edwards Jr., Adjunct Fellow, Hudson Institute

City: Washington, DC
Date: July 19
Time: 10:30 AM
Location: 2175 Rayburn House Office Building
Committee: House Education and the Workforce Committee
Additional information: Title of hearing is “What is the impact of the Reid-Kennedy bill on American workers and their workplaces?”

City: Washington, DC
Date: July 20
Time: TBA
Location: TBA
Committee: House Homeland Security Committee
Additional information: Title of hearing is “How does the Reid-Kennedy bill compare to the House Border Security bill when it comes to enhancing border infrastructure?”

City: Washington, DC
Date: July 26
Time: TBA
Location: TBA
Committee: House Education and the Workforce Committee
Additional information: Title of hearing is “What is the role of English in American education and society, and does the Reid-Kennedy bill undermine, rather that encourage, this role?”

City: Washington, DC
Date: July 27
Time: TBAv Location: TBA
Committee: House Homeland Security Committee
Additional information: Title of hearing is “Does the Reid-Kennedy bill make it more difficult for law enforcement to expedite the removal of illegal aliens from the United States?”

City: Washington, DC
Date: July 27
Time: TBAv Location: 2237 Rayburn House Office Building
Committee: House Judiciary Committee
Additional information: Title of hearing is “Will the Reid-Kennedy bill’s amnesty provisions overwhelm the already overburdened U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services? Will 10-20 million new applicants for citizenship make it easier for criminals and terrorists to evade background checks?”

City: Washington, DC
Date: July 27
Time: TBAv Location: 2172 Rayburn House Office Building
Committee: House International Relations Committee
Additional information: Title of hearing is “To what degree is illegal immigration an issue for countries in the Western Hemisphere, and does the Reid-Kennedy bill undercut American diplomatic efforts aimed at curbing illegal immigration?”

City: Yuma, AZ
Date: Week of August 14
Time: TBD
Location: TBD
Committee: House Government Reform Committee
Additional information: Subject of hearing is "Costs to federal, state, and local governments of an unsecured border"

City: TBD, Washington, DC, and locations outside Washington
Date: TBD, July and August
Location: TBD
Committee: House Education and the Workforce Committee
Additional information: The House Education and the Workforce Committee will hold a series of hearings on the following subjects:
• English as the official language
• DREAM Act
• The impact of current and potential changes to immigration laws on employers
• An overview of the enforcement of current immigration laws and their impact on the workforce

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:01 AM | Comments (0)

Immigration reform unlikely soon, Bush tells Fox

On July 17, 2006;

“Mexico City (Reuters) - President Bush told Mexican President Vicente Fox the U.S. Congress is unlikely to pass immigration reforms before November congressional elections, Fox said on Monday.
The Mexican president asked Bush about Congress' negotiations on immigration when the two leaders met at the Group of Eight summit in Russia during the weekend.

Bush cautioned that time was running out.
"He pointed out that this period is very short, there are only two or three weeks before Congress members go on the election campaign," Fox told Mexican radio on a flight from St. Petersburg, Russia, to Madrid.

"So the chance of the immigration issue reaching approval in the House of Representatives and reaching joint approval isn't very high," Fox said”.

At the washingtonpost.com

Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:56 AM | Comments (0)

July 17, 2006

Update of the Social Security Administration's Policy Operations Manual System (POMS) includes L and E spouses among the categories of "aliens work authorized without specific DHS authorization.

The following sections list non-immigrants, by alien class of admission codes, who are authorized to work in the U.S. without specific authorization from DHS. The person’s I-94 will not have the DHS employment authorization stamp and the alien will generally not have an EAD.

For those with an asterisk (*), the principal alien, spouse, and child all have the same classification code. In some instances, both the husband and wife are both principal aliens when the classification is E-1, E-2. Accept their statements that both are principals.

For those with a double asterisk (**) (non-immigrant E-1, E-2, and L-2 classifications), the spouse is also authorized to work without specific DHS authorization. The E-1, E-2, and L-2 spouse is not required to apply to DHS for an EAD card as documentary evidence of work authorization but may choose to do so. When the E-1, E-2, or L-2 spouse applies for an SSN card and does not submit an EAD as evidence of employment authorization, he/she must submit, in addition to evidence of immigration status, evidence of a marital relationship to the principal E-1, E-2, or L-1 alien. The evidence of marital relationship between the applicant and the principal E-1, E-2, or L-1 alien is a marriage document (issued prior to admission to the U.S. as an E-1, E-2, or L-2 non-immigrant

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:02 AM | Comments (0)

July 16, 2006

Hispanics energized by immigration debate

There is an article in the United Press International from July 15, 2006 which refers to an article by the Pew Hispanic Center (http://pewhispanic.org);

A poll of Hispanic-Americans finds that the debate on immigration has politically energized many Latinos.

The Pew Hispanic Center found that 54 percent of those surveyed say discrimination against Hispanics has increased, and 75 percent said they believe more Hispanics will vote in November.

The poll found that 63 percent of Latinos believe the recent marches against a proposed immigration law, which focused on enforcing U.S. borders, represent the beginning of a permanent movement. Millions of Hispanics participated in marches and rallies from coast to coast.

More than half of those polled, 58 percent, said they believe the Latino community is working together on a common goal, up from 43 percent four years ago.

The percentage of Hispanics who said they believe the Republican Party has the best position on immigration has dropped from 25 percent to 16 percent in two years, the survey found. But the poll found growing distrust of both parties.

http://washingtontimes.com/upi/20060714-113653-6964r.htm

Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:49 AM | Comments (0)

Those fighting immigration should visit Ellis Island

July 15, 2006

There is an article by Tom Ehrich in the indystar detailing a trip to New York;

"A trip to Ellis Island requires long lines and long waits.

But it's nothing like the anxious hours, sometimes days, of scrutiny once imposed on poorer immigrants seeking entry into the United States after two weeks in steerage on an ocean liner.
Our wait was more like the processing time for immigrants who could afford first- or second-class tickets; after brief inspection onboard ship, they were allowed straight into America. The theory was that anyone who could afford a decent berth wouldn't become a burden on American society.

Others, however, needed to prove their viability as citizens by passing through a gantlet that rose higher and higher during the 1892-1924 peak immigration period, when up to 5,000 immigrants passed through Ellis Island each day.

On this side of the pier, nativists demanded that the border be closed to those who would change the ethnic balance of America. They believed the 8 million early immigrants from Northern and Western Europe were the most desirable and that later waves from Southern and Eastern Europe -- eventually totaling 12 million at Ellis Island alone -- were inferior human beings, as were immigrants from Asia and Africa.

Anti-immigration rhetoric, ironically, has been a constant in a nation built by immigrants. Each generation of arrivals has tried to justify exclusion of the next".

http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060715/LIVING09/607150401/-1/ZONES01

Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:45 AM | Comments (0)

July 15, 2006

FY2007 H-1B Advanced Degree Cap Usage Figures Continue to Grow

On July 12, 2006, USCIS updated the current cap count with new data gathered as of July 11, 2006. The number of approved and receipted pending petitions now has reached 15,208. Approximately 800 H-1B Advanced Degree petitions have been received but have not yet been data-entered and receipted. The combined approximate total as of July 11 is 16,008.

Data gathered July 6 and posted to the USCIS website July 7 showed that approximately 14,187 petitions had been approved, data-entered, or received but not yet processed as of July 6. Thus, USCIS received a little over 1,800 petitions in the course of 3 to 4 business days. The pace for a similar number of business days (June 30 to July 6, which included a weekend and a holiday) had been 760. Clearly, as we approach the cap, the pace of filings is increasing.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 10:31 AM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2006

Santorum staffers help put together site on illegal immigration

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. - Two members of Sen. Rick Santorum's re-election campaign helped put together a Web site promoting a proposed Hazleton ordinance that would crack down on illegal immigration.
Eric Miller, a member of Santorum's campaign staff, created and registered http://www.smalltowndefenders.com at the request of Luke Bernstein, Santorum's deputy campaign manager, Hazleton solicitor Christopher Slusser told The Citizens' Voice for a story published Wednesday.

The ordinance was proposed by Lou Barletta, the Republican mayor of Hazleton. Barletta is a regional campaign coordinator for Santorum, a two-term Republican incumbent who is challenged by Democrat Bob Casey. Santorum has made cracking down on illegal immigration a major issue in his campaign.

Virginia Davis, a Santorum spokeswoman, said the campaign is not connected to the Hazleton ordinance, and that the work performed for Barletta is a "non-issue" since it was done on personal time.
Slusser said the site was "not ever intended to be a site that was created at the behest of (Santorum)."

http://www.timesleader.com/mld/timesleader/15023042.htm

Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:39 AM | Comments (0)

July 13, 2006

Sick of Bricks? Send a Work Glove to Congress!

As elected leaders and the American public continue to debate what should be done to fix our nation's broken immigration system, the anti-immigrant forces, led by the Minutemen, are mailing thousands of bricks to Members of Congress. These bricks are symbols of division, of isolation, and of an enforcement-only approach to immigration reform.

It's time to show the strength of the pro-immigrant community by doing our own mailing. Let's answer the anti-immigrant bricks with a symbol of the positive contributions that immigrants make to the U.S. - a WORK GLOVE.

Now, more than ever, immigrants and their allies must act. We must show Congress that all the bricks in the world won't hide the fact that what this country needs is comprehensive immigration reform that values immigrants' hard work and their desire to be reunited with their families.

Here's what you can do:

Send your Senators and Representatives a WORK GLOVE from your garage, your local hardware store, or your place of employment along with a letter urging them to support fair and just immigration reform. Visit the New American Opportunity Campaign's website at http://www.cirnow.org for a sample letter and more information about this campaign!

Posted by VisaLawyer at 08:07 AM | Comments (0)

July 12, 2006

Take Action Remind Congress that We Are America in Picture Postcards!

Building on the historic marches from March to May of this year, immigrant communities are seeking to unify their voices, grow the electorate with a million new voters and citizens, and hold members of Congress accountable on November 7 and beyond. Current reports indicate that pro-immigrant communities have out-mobilized anti-immigrants on the streets, but there is now a need to out-lobby anti-immigrants in the halls of Congress. Given that the House and the Senate are poised to move into conference committee to deliberate on a bill that will impact the lives of all Americans, the moment to act is now.

The "We Are America" Picture Postcard Campaign is a compelling way that we - immigrants and descendants of immigrants - can remind Congress that Americans must unite behind a common vision that immigration reform is good for America. In fact, immigration reform is key to our nation's prosperity, security and diversity. The initial goal is to send 20,000 picture postcards during the months of July and August.

You and Your Clients can Participate in the Picture Postcard Campaign

All you have to do is send a family photograph to your Members of Congress with a message on the back that says something like, "Immigrants are America's Families, Workers and Neighbors," "Just and Humane Immigration Reform Now," "Keep Families Together, Pathway to Citizenship for All, Basic Rights for All," or "Keep Families Together, Pathway to Citizenship for All, Deportations Are Not the Answer."

You can even include this SAMPLE TEXT- "I am deeply concerned that the current immigration debate criminalizes immigrants and divides America. We urge you to unite Americans behind a common vision of America because immigration reform is a key to our nation's economic prosperity and security. We should welcome immigrants' hard work, talents, cultural richness and family values."

You can also add a personal message explaining why you support immigration reform such as "I am a child of immigrants," "I am an immigrant worker," or "Immigration makes our culture dynamic."

This is an easy and creative way to remind Congress that We Are America. Send a Picture Postcard to your US Representative today!

Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:22 AM | Comments (0)

July 11, 2006

Top US general testifies immigrants important in US military

Here is an article sent to me by Victor Nieblas;

"The top US general, the son of Italian parents, gave emotional testimony about the importance of immigrants in the US armed forces.
"They are reliable, they are courageous, they bring diversity especially in the current environment, where cultural awareness and language skills are so important," said General Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

He spoke at a Senate hearing held in in Miami as bills to tighten immigration laws remained stymied by differences between the House and the Senate.

Pace recalled fighting in the Vietnam war alongside immigrant soldiers.

"I'm still on active duty today for one primary reason, and that is I still owe those who served with me in Vietnam," he told the Senate Armed Services Committee, his voice chocked with emotion.

He also spoke of naturalization ceremonies at which foreign-born soldiers swear allegiance to the US flag, saying, "It just sends a thrill through your body, it just energizes the whole unit."
The Marine general pointed out he and his siblings were first-generation Americans".

At www.afp.org

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:23 AM | Comments (0)

July 10, 2006

Lawmakers seek details on DHS plans for detainee surge

Here is an example of the government waste in not dealing with immigration reform.

DAILY BRIEFING, July 6, 2006, By Jonathan Marino, jmarino@govexec.com

"Two House Democrats on Thursday called for the Homeland Security Department to disclose more details on possible plans to buy or lease aging cruise ships to detain illegal immigrants awaiting trial and deportation.

The letter, sent to DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff by Reps. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., seeks all documents pertaining to the Customs and Border Protection agency's potential use of cruise ships to hold illegal immigrants, which was first reported by Government Executive.

It cited "costly mistakes" the last time the government rented cruise ships -- immediately following Hurricane Katrina -- as the impetus for a congressional review of any plans to use ships again. In September 2005, the Military Sealift Command, acting for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, spent $236 million on three contracts with Carnival Cruise Lines to house hurricane evacuees and emergency responders.

This equated to $50,000 to give shelter to one person for six months, or nearly $300 a night. Lynch said in a recent committee hearing that posh digs at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, or at New York's Trump World Tower, could be rented for less".

This document is located at http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0706/070606j2.htm

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:41 AM | Comments (0)

July 09, 2006

Learning From IRCA: Lessons For Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Executive Summary

If the current political stalemate over immigration reform is any indication, many U.S. policymakers have yet to heed the lessons of recent history when it comes to formulating a realistic strategy to control undocumented immigration. In 1986, lawmakers passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) in an attempt to reign in undocumented immigration through heightened worksite and border enforcement, combined with legalization of most undocumented immigrants already in the country. Unfortunately, IRCA failed to offer a long-term solution to the problem of undocumented immigration because: (1) it did not expand avenues for legal immigration to match the U.S. economy’s continuing demand for immigrant workers; (2) it did not create an effective system through which employers could verify that their employees are authorized to work in the United States; and (3) the employer sanctions provisions of the bill were weakly enforced. Lawmakers should take care not to make the same mistakes in crafting new immigration reform legislation.

At; http://www.ilw.com/articles/2006,0710-gomez.shtm

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:35 AM | Comments (0)

July 08, 2006

Report finds that there are 14.25 million potential voters among legal immigrants who are currently eligible to naturalize

As millions of immigrants marched across the U.S. in the historic mobilizations for immigration reform this past spring, they chanted: "Today We March, Tomorrow We Vote". Skeptics dismissed the marchers, pointing out that neither the undocumented nor legal permanent residents (green card holders) can vote. This report finds that there are 14.25 million potential voters among legal immigrants who are currently eligible to naturalize and the 16 - 24 year old U.S. born children of immigrants. This includes 12.4 million potential new voters who can be eligible to participate in the 2008 elections.

Findings and Implications:

There are 14.25 million potential voters among immigrant legal permanent residents (green card holders) who are currently eligible for citizenship and 16 – 24 year old U.S. born children of immigrants who will be eligible to vote in the 2008 elections. (See Tables 1 and 2 below.) This number includes:

• Nearly nine and a half million immigrants who are currently eligible to naturalize, become U.S. citizens, and vote.

• Almost two million U.S.-born children of immigrants between the ages of 18 and 24 years who are not currently registered to vote.

• The almost two million U.S.-born children of immigrants between the ages of 18 – 24 who are already registered to vote.

• Another one million U.S.-born children of immigrants who are not yet voting age, but will reach 18 years of age by the time of the 2008 elections, and will be eligible to register and to vote.

• There are over 2.6 million Mexican immigrants who are currently eligible to become U.S. citizens. (Table 3, Column 1)

These numbers reveal a massive population whose entry into the electorate holds the potential to substantially and quickly alter the political status quo:

• There are 16 states where the number of immigrants eligible for citizenship and unregistered young U.S. born children of immigrants in 2008 total more than the vote differential between George Bush and John Kerry in 2004. This includes 11 states considered presidential “swing states” (Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, and Wisconsin.)

• There are 27 states where the numbers of immigrants eligible to become citizens and vote and unregistered young U.S. born children of immigrants who could vote in the 2008 election cycle total more than 50,000 potential new voters.

• There are 17 states with gubernatorial races in 2006 where the voting potential of the 4.25 million children of immigrants is either large enough to be a significant voting block, or where the race is close enough (according to the Cook Political Report) for the immigrant vote to be a determinative “swing”. (Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin)

• The harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric and legislation initiated by some Republican legislators is already pushing these potential voters to march and has spurred
close to a 20% increase in citizenship filings.

• It appears that the Bush administration and some Republican legislators understand and are threatened by the large numbers of immigrants who might become citizens. They are creating numerous new walls to deny citizenship to legal immigrants, and thereby delay democracy. New barriers that prevent legal immigrants from becoming U.S. citizens include: higher citizenship fees, more bureaucracy, electronic pre-applications, and a substantially more difficult citizenship exam.

See http://www.icirr.org/index_files/tomorrowwevote.pdf for the full report

Posted by VisaLawyer at 08:10 AM | Comments (0)

July 07, 2006

Radio Ad: Everyday by Congressman Harold Ford, Jr…

To all,

We need to question why Harold Ford, Jr is using immigration to scapegoat his way into a possible Senate seat. Howard Dean, the head of the Democratic Party told LULCA, the nation's oldest Hispanic rights group that Democrats will not use immigration to divide the country and win in the upcoming midterm elections.

"Immigrant bashing and scapegoating is wrong in order to win elections and we're not going to do it," Howard Dean said at the League of United Latin American Citizens convention in Milwaukee".

See my entry on July 3, 2006.

Apparently Congressman Ford has not heard the words of Chairman Dean.

Here is the text of Congressman Ford's radio Ad titled "Everyday".

"Everyday almost 2,000 people enter America illegally…Everyday hundreds of employers look the other way, handing out jobs that keep illegals coming…

And everyday the rest of us pay the price…

I’m Congressman Harold Ford, Jr…

For too many years Democrat and Republican presidents alike have looked the other way. Now 11 million people live here illegally… and while most come for jobs, the odds are any terrorist with a map can also get in undetected.

It must stop

In Congress, I put party aside and voted for the toughest immigration plan – to get control of our borders.

But remember this -- if employers didn’t hire illegals, there’d be no reason for them to come. They too should be held accountable.

I’m Harold Ford, Jr., and if you send me to the Senate I’ll open my heart and prayers to those who come following the rules. But the days of open borders must end… and that’s why I approved this message

Rep. Harold Ford, Jr., D- Tenn.
Ford is running for the Senate seat being given up by retiring Majority Leader Bill Frist. In a conservative state, Ford airs a conservative radio ad on immigration -- a message out of tune with most House Democrats".

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:02 AM | Comments (0)

July 06, 2006

House and Senate Hearings on Immigration Reform—Attend If You Can!

From AILA;

Rather than proceed directly with a conference committee to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate immigration bills, House Republicans have opted to hold a two-month series of hearings that are intended to whip up their conservative base and focus attacks on the Senate approach. In response, the Senate Judiciary Committee is also holding hearings. Chairman Specter plans to promote the temporary worker program and earned legalization provisions in S. 2611.

Information on the hearings appears below. Check this page often for updates! For more details about coordinated press and field events, please e-mail Jenny Levy at jlevy@aila.org.

City: Laredo, TX
Date: July 7
Time: 10:00 am
Location: La Posada Hotel and Suites, 1000 Zaragoza St.
Committee: House International Relations Subcommittee on International Terrorism
Additional information: Hearing is titled "Border Vulnerabilities and International Terrorism, Part 2." Scheduled witnesses include the following:

Panel One:
* Reynaldo Garza, Acting Chief Patrol Agent, Laredo Sector, U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Panel Two:
* Rick Flores, Sheriff of Webb County, TX
* Sigifredo 'Sigi' Gonzales Jr., Sheriff, Zapata County, TX

Panel Three:
* Gregory D. Kutz, Managing Director, Forensic Audits and Special Investigations, GAO (to discuss the GAO's recent investigative report on transporting dirty bomb material across the border)
* Blas Nunez-Neto, Domestic Social Policy Division, Congressional Research Service


City: Washington, DC
Date: July 12
Time: TBD
Location: TBD
Committee: Senate Judiciary Committee

City: Yuma, AZ
Date: Week of August 14
Time: TBD
Location: TBD
Committee: House Government Reform Committee
Additional information: Subject of hearing is "Costs to federal, state, and local governments of an unsecured border"

City: TBD, Washington, DC, and locations outside Washington
Date: TBD, July and August
Location: TBD
Committee: House Education and the Workforce Committee
Additional information: The House Education and the Workforce Committee will hold a series of hearings on the following subjects:

* English as the official language
* DREAM Act
* The impact of current and potential changes to immigration laws on employers
* An overview of the enforcement of current immigration laws and their impact on the workforce

Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:36 AM | Comments (0)

July 05, 2006

Republicans launch immigration hearings

By Elliot Spagat, Associated Press Writer, July 4, 2006, (AP)

"One day after the Fourth of July, congressional Republicans will offer a fireworks show of their own with the launch of summer field hearings on how to overhaul immigration laws.

The made-for-media display begins Wednesday with dueling hearings 2,400 miles apart. A House subcommittee will meet at a San Diego Border Patrol station to discuss the vulnerability of the nation's borders to terrorists. The same day, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., will host a hearing in Philadelphia about a need for foreign workers".

At; http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2006/07/04/state/n110844D86.DTL&type=politics

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:24 AM | Comments (0)

July 04, 2006

Open Letter Signed by 500 Economists on the Benefits of Immigration

Open Letter on Immigration
June 19, 2006

Contents

* Open Letter on Immigration
* American Signatories
* Foreign Signatories
* References

Dear President George W. Bush and All Members of Congress:

People from around the world are drawn to America for its promise of freedom and opportunity. That promise has been fulfilled for the tens of millions of immigrants who came here in the twentieth century.

Throughout our history as an immigrant nation, those who were already here have worried about the impact of newcomers. Yet, over time, immigrants have become part of a richer America, richer both economically and culturally. The current debate over immigration is a healthy part of a democratic society, but as economists and other social scientists we are concerned that some of the fundamental economics of immigration are too often obscured by misguided commentary.

Overall, immigration has been a net gain for American citizens, though a modest one in proportion to the size of our 13 trillion-dollar economy.

Immigrants do not take American jobs. The American economy can create as many jobs as there are workers willing to work so long as labor markets remain free, flexible and open to all workers on an equal basis.

In recent decades, immigration of low-skilled workers may have lowered the wages of domestic low-skilled workers, but the effect is likely to have been small, with estimates of wage reductions for high-school dropouts ranging from eight percent to as little as zero percent.

While a small percentage of native-born Americans may be harmed by immigration, vastly more Americans benefit from the contributions that immigrants make to our economy, including lower consumer prices. As with trade in goods and services, the gains from immigration outweigh the losses. The effect of all immigration on low-skilled workers is very likely positive as many immigrants bring skills, capital and entrepreneurship to the American economy.

Legitimate concerns about the impact of immigration on the poorest Americans should not be addressed by penalizing even poorer immigrants. Instead, we should promote policies, such as improving our education system, that enable Americans to be more productive with high-wage skills.

We must not forget that the gains to immigrants coming to the United States are immense. Immigration is the greatest anti-poverty program ever devised. The American dream is a reality for many immigrants who not only increase their own living standards but who also send billions of dollars of their money back to their families in their home countries—a form of truly effective foreign aid.

America is a generous and open country and these qualities make America a beacon to the world. We should not let exaggerated fears dim that beacon.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 12:44 PM | Comments (0)

July 03, 2006

Dean Says Democrats Won't Use Immigration;going against the partisan grain is Rep. Harold Ford, Jr., D-Tenn

There is an article by Emily Fredrix in the Associated Press on June 28, 2006;

"MILWAUKEE -- The head of the Democratic Party told the nation's oldest Hispanic rights group on Wednesday that Democrats will not use immigration to divide the country and win in the upcoming midterm elections.

"Immigrant bashing and scapegoating is wrong in order to win elections and we're not going to do it," Howard Dean said at the League of United Latin American Citizens convention in Milwaukee".

at; http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/28/AR2006062801773.html

However in Tennessee as reported on MSNBC;

"On immigration, going against the partisan grain is Rep. Harold Ford, Jr., D-Tenn., who is running for the Senate.
He is airing a radio ad making a connection between illegal immigrants and the risk of terrorists slipping across U.S. borders.
The Democrat reminds the radio audience that he voted for the House Republicans’ immigration bill. “In Congress, I put party aside and voted for the toughest immigration plan: to get control of our borders,” Ford says".

at; http://msnbc.msn.com/id/13581776/page/2/

Posted by VisaLawyer at 08:55 AM | Comments (0)

July 02, 2006

FY2007 H-1B Advanced Degree Cap Usage Figures Exceed 12,000

Just in from AILA;

On June 27, 2006, USCIS posted an updated H-1B U.S. Advanced Degree exemption cap count based upon data collected on June 23, 2006. As of that date, USCIS counted 11,918 U.S. Advanced Degree exemption petitions. However, this figure does not include an additional 800 U.S. Advanced Degree exemption petitions received but not yet data-entered. If history is our guide, members should expect to see a steady increase in submissions now that will continue until the cap is reached. The updated figures are available on http://www.uscis.gov/graphics/services/tempbenefits/cap.htm

On a related note: On June 20, 2006, USCIS SCOPS confirmed to AILA that all H-1B cap-subject petitions received on May 26 were data-entered and receipts were issued. The number of petitions data-entered and for which receipts were issued exceeded the cap by approximately 90-100 petitions. USCIS will notify petitioners who were not selected in the lottery in the near future.

Also note: The GAO released a report on the H-1B visa program entitled, "Labor Could Improve Its Oversight and Increase Information Sharing with Homeland Security." The report is available on http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d06720.pdf

Posted by VisaLawyer at 02:21 PM | Comments (0)

July 01, 2006

US Lawmakers Continue Work on Immigration Reform

By Deborah Tate, Voice Of America, Capitol Hill, 28 June 2006

“Several U.S. lawmakers are working behind the scenes to try to forge a compromise between very different plans for immigration reform passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The House and Senate have passed widely differing proposals for overhauling the nation's immigration system.

The Senate bill - which President Bush supports - includes a guest worker program that would give many illegal immigrants in the United States the opportunity to pursue citizenship if they meet certain conditions. It also includes border security provisions.

The House bill, by contrast, emphasizes border security - and proposes building a fence along much of the U.S.-Mexican border. The House measure does not include a guest worker program.

Supporters of the Senate bill say any immigration reform bill must include a guest worker plan to address the 11 to 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States.

But those who back the House measure generally oppose a guest worker program, arguing it amounts to amnesty.

For weeks it looked as though compromise was impossible”.

At; http://www.voanews.com/english/2006-06-28-voa73.cfm

Posted by VisaLawyer at 08:58 AM | Comments (0)