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March 31, 2007

Policy Spotlight Summary of the STRIVE Act

Last Thursday, March 22, Representatives Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) introduced the Security Through Regularized Immigration and a Vibrant Economy (STRIVE) Act of 2007 (H.R. 1645). As the first bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill introduced this year, the STRIVE Act is expected to jump-start debate and - with the help of pro-immigrant advocates - could lead to an historic overhaul of our immigration system.

Fortunately for busy AILA members and immigration advocates, congressional staff have already provided a 12-page summary of the 697-page bill. The summary outlines key provisions contained in each of the bill's seven titles:

Title I - Border Enforcement
Title II - Interior Enforcement
Title III - Employment Verification
Title IV - New Worker Program
Title V - Visa Reforms
Title VI - Legalization of Undocumented Individuals
Title VII - Miscellaneous

As the summary makes clear, the STRIVE Act combines smart enforcement and border security provisions with an earned legalization program for undocumented immigrants already in the U.S. and a new worker program that provides legal channels for future immigrant workers. The legislation also addresses the backlogs and inefficiencies in the family-based and employment-based immigration system. AILA is hopeful that the STRIVE Act will serve as a catalyst to debate and generate the momentum, both in Congress and among pro-immigrant constituents, to make humane, comprehensive immigration reform a reality.

The 12-page summary, as well as a 4-page overview and all 697 pages of the STRIVE Act text, are available on InfoNet for AILA members.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:59 AM | Comments (0)

March 30, 2007

House Judiciary Committee to Hold Hearing on American Immigration

On Friday, March 30, the House Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security and International Law will convene on Ellis Island to hold a hearing entitled "Past, Present, and Future: A Historic and Personal Reflection on American Immigration." This hearing marks the first of what will likely be a series of immigration-focused hearings led by Subcommittee Chair Zoe Lofgren (D-CA). The hearing will take place at 11am in the Ellis Island Immigration Museum on Ellis Island, New York.

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

March 29, 2007

2nd Day to Take Action for CIR

Thursday, March 29 is a NATIONAL CALL-IN DAY in support of comprehensive immigration reform.

Congressmen Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) have just introduced bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform legislation. The immigration debate is moving forward and Congress needs to hear from you!

Call this number and follow the instructions to connect to your members of Congress:

1-800-417-7666

Tell your representative that we NEED COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM NOW! Comprehensive immigration reform is the solution to fixing our broken immigration system, and now is the time to act. Families, workers, and communities across the country are counting on Congress to get it done, get it right, and do it now.

You can help make it happen with your phone call. JOIN THE EFFORT!

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:05 AM | Comments (0)

March 28, 2007

Take Action for CIR!

3/28 and 3/29 are National Call-In Days for CIR!
Congressmen Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) have just introduced bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform legislation. The immigration debate is moving forward and Congress needs to hear from you!

Call this number and follow the instructions to connect to your members of Congress:
1-800-417-7666

Tell your representative that we NEED COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM NOW! Comprehensive immigration reform is the solution to fixing our broken immigration system, and now is the time to act. Families, workers, and communities across the country are counting on Congress to get it done, get it right, and do it now.

You can help make it happen with your phone call. JOIN THE EFFORT!

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:04 AM | Comments (0)

March 27, 2007

Getting Ready for the H-1B Tide: FedEx in Vermont, Bonded Couriers in California, Saturday Delivery, Signatures and LCAs

From AILA;

The USCIS has reiterated its statement that there is no advantage to submitting your cap-subject H-1B petition to either the Vermont Service Center or the California Service Center for Saturday delivery. In the "Helpful Hints" from the USCIS posted March 26, 2007, to InfoNet (part of AILA Document 07032666), the USCIS advises that "…the VSC and the CSC will not take possession of mail scheduled for delivery on Saturday (March 31) or Sunday (April 1) until Monday, the first business day of the FY '08 H-1B cap filing period."

An AILA member reports the following information learned from a visit to the FedEx office in Burlington, VT.: "They confirmed to me that everything would be delivered (or picked up by VSC) on Monday the 2nd. They also said that while the VSC generally makes pickups on Saturday, it will not be doing so on March 31. They were told to hold everything until Monday." SCOPS liaison and CSC liaison have both also confirmed that CSC will not be accepting deliveries on Saturday, March 31, 2007.

The CSC receives a large number of applications and petitions delivered by smaller courier services other than the major "name brand" ones like FedEx, UPS and DHL. For security reasons, it requires these courier services to be bonded. The CSC Liaison Committee has obtained a current list of bonded couriers from which the CSC will accept deliveries.

There is some confusion in the "Helpful Hints" about whether to file an LCA bearing the petitioner's original signature with the H-1B petition. Section 31.3(b) of the Adjudicator's Field Manual expressly permits the filing of a copy of the signed LCA: "The LCA, which may be a photocopy of the original, must be valid for the period of time requested for the petition." Moreover, DOL regulations governing the LCA at 20 CFR § 655.760(a)(1) direct that an employer using an electronic LCA sign and retain the LCA with the original signature as part of the public access file. AILA has pointed out this discrepancy to USCIS, which is reviewing the matter.

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

March 26, 2007

Changes to website

This weekend we made several changes to the website. Let us know how you like the improvements.

Thanks,

Mario Ramos

Posted by VisaLawyer at 02:19 PM | Comments (0)

March 24, 2007

Serving the Under-Served: Banking for Undocumented Immigrants

In February of 2007, Bank of America announced a pilot program in Los Angeles offering credit cards to individuals who lack either a social security number or a credit history, provided that they have Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN). The program was created as an effort to serve under priviledged individuals who are integral components of the communities in which they live and in which the banks operate. Predictably, however, some anti-immigrant critics interpreted the new program as an effort by Bank of America to reward the supposedly "illegal" behavior of individuals who crossed the border undocumented. This brought the program national attention, with supporters on both sides of the issue weighing in. It was not, however, the first time the issue has been in the spotlight.

Back in 2003, Bank Calumet, then headed by Chairman and CEO Calvin Bellamy, was a highly-rated community bank serving northwest Indiana and the southern Chicago metropolitan area. It has since been bought out by First Midwest Bank, but at the time, it had enjoyed a long tradition of community involvement and special outreach to under-served and minority individuals. In 2003, Mr. Bellamy and Bank Calumet developed a comprehensive program for serving the growing Hispanic population in the region. Part of this program involved allowing individuals to open accounts and secure mortgages using ITINs, and creating special savings accounts that facilitated easy financial transfers to family members in other countries. As a result, Bank Calumet was criticized for “rewarding illegal behavior” – a rebuke that has since been paraphrased and targeted at many businesses, including Bank of America.

Through it all, Mr. Bellamy remained true to his convictions and to the mission of Bank Calumet, and in the process helped thousands of undocumented individuals--individuals who by this time had become integral, even essential parts of the fabric of their communities--to lead prosperous and productive lives for themselves and to provide for their families. To read what Mr. Bellamy has to say in response to each one of the major criticisms he and Bank Calumet faced then, and that banking programs aimed at helping under priviledged and undocumented individuals face now, visit the Immigration Policy Center's website; http://www.ailf.org/ipc/2007_march_perspective.shtml

Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:28 AM | Comments (0)

March 23, 2007

AILA Welcomes Bipartisan Unveiling of the STRIVE Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 22, 2007
CONTACT: George Tzamaras, 202-216-2410

WASHINGTON - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) enthusiastically welcomes today's unveiling of the STRIVE Act, a bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill introduced by Representatives Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and other leading House Democrats and Republicans. "Introduction of this important bill creates a launching pad for the legislative process to take flight. Never has the need for a comprehensive overhaul of our system been more urgent and never has the legislative opportunity been so great," said Marshall Fitz, AILA Director of Advocacy.

AILA believes that we are far beyond the point where a piecemeal approach to fixing our immigration system represents a viable solution. The daunting immigration policy challenge confronting our country requires a bold, comprehensive approach like the one reflected in the STRIVE Act. "I believe this legislation contains the policy architecture needed to restore the integrity of our immigration system. It is both tough and fair and strikes the right balance between protecting our security, strengthening our economy, and treating people fairly and humanely," remarked Carlina Tapia-Ruano, President of AILA.

AILA maintains that to succeed in overcoming the chaos that characterizes the system today and restoring the rule of law, any serious legislative package must include: a new, flexible worker program to channel current migration flows into legal avenues, a tough but realistic path for undocumented workers to earn legal status, elimination of the unconscionable backlogs in family immigration, strong border security and worksite enforcement measures, and the restoration of basic legal protections for all non-citizens in this country.

"We urge the leaders on both sides of the aisle in both chambers of Congress to push beyond politics as usual and seize this historic opportunity. The status quo is failing American communities, businesses, and families and the American public is thirsting for a solution that this Congress and this President can and must deliver," said Tapia-Ruano. "The alternative - more suffering, more insecurity, more economic uncertainty, and more division - is untenable. I fervently hope that today's introduction of the STRIVE Act marks the beginning of the end of this failure."

The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

For more information contact George Tzamaras at 202-216-2410 or Brooke Hewson at 202-216-2435.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 11:51 AM | Comments (0)

March 22, 2007

Bill Gates backs immigration reform on Mexico trip

:MEXICO CITY – Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, the world's richest man, said Tuesday the United States should reform its immigration laws and give more flexibility to higher-skilled foreign workers.

Speaking at a conference in Mexico, the birthplace of millions of immigrants to the United States, Gates said reforms ”would be helpful so we are predictable, so we are clear.”

“I'm a big believer that as much as possible, and there's obviously political limitations, freedom of migration is a good thing,” Gates told reporters...".

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/mexico/20070320-2055-mexico-microsoft-immigration.html

Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:54 AM | Comments (0)

March 21, 2007

GUTIERREZ AND FLAKE TO INTRODUCE BIPARTISAN COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM BILL

March 20, 2007 * Media Advisory *

Media Contact: Scott Frotman (Gutierrez) 202-225-8203
Matthew Specht (Flake) 202-225-2635

GUTIERREZ AND FLAKE TO INTRODUCE BIPARTISAN COMPREHENSIVE

IMMIGRATION REFORM BILL

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Representatives Luis V. Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) will hold a press conference Thursday to announce the introduction of a bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill.

WHO: U.S. Representatives Luis V. Gutierrez and Jeff Flake

WHAT: Press conference to announce the introduction of The STRIVE ACT
of 2007 (Security Through Regularized Immigration and a Vibrant Economy Act of 2007)

WHEN: Thursday, March 22, 2007, at 10:00 a.m.

WHERE: House Radio & TV Gallery (H-321)

Thank you for your assistance.

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

March 20, 2007

Bill Gates testimony at the U.S. Congress

Attracting and retaining the world’s best and brightest

For generations, America has prospered largely by attracting the world’s best and brightest to study, live and work in the United States. Our success at attracting the greatest talent has helped us become a global innovation leader, enriched our culture and created economic opportunities for all Americans.

Unfortunately, America’s immigration policies are driving away the world’s best and brightest precisely when we need them most. I appreciate the vital national security goals that motivate many of these policies. I am convinced, however, that we can protect our national security in ways that do less damage to our competitiveness and prosperity. Moreover, the terrible shortfall in our visa supply for the highly skilled stems not from security concerns, but from visa policies that have not been updated in over a decade and a half. We live in a different economy now. Simply put: It makes no sense to tell well-trained, highly skilled individuals — many of whom are educated at our top colleges and universities — that the United States does not welcome or value them. For too many foreign students and professionals, however, our immigration policies send precisely this message.

This should be deeply troubling to us, both in human terms and in terms of our own economic self-interest. America will find it infinitely more difficult to maintain its technological leadership if it shuts out the very people who are most able to help us compete. Other nations are recognizing and benefiting from this situation. They are crafting their immigration policies to attract highly talented students and professionals who would otherwise study, live and work here. Our lost opportunities are their gains.

I personally witness the ill effects of these policies on an almost daily basis at Microsoft. Under the current system, the number of H-1B visas available runs out faster and faster each year. The current base cap of 65,000 is arbitrarily set and bears no relation to U.S. industry’s demand for skilled professionals. For fiscal year 2007, the supply did not last even eight weeks into the filing period, and ran out more than four months before that fiscal year even began.
For fiscal year 2008, H-1Bs are expected to run out next month, the first month that it is possible to apply for them. This means that no new H-1B visas — often the only visa category available to recruit critically needed professional workers — will be available for a nearly 18-month period. Moreover, this year, for the first time in the history of the program, the supply will run out before the year’s graduating students get their degrees. This means that U.S. employers will not be able to get H-1B visas for an entire crop of U.S. graduates. We are essentially asking top talent to leave the U.S.
As with H-1B visas, the demand for green cards far exceeds the supply. Today, only 140,000 permanent employment-based visas are available each year, which must cover both key employees and their family members. There is a massive backlog in many of the employment-based green card categories, and wait times routinely reach five years. Ironically, waiting periods are even longer for nationals of India and China — the very countries that are key recruiting grounds for the professionals desperately needed in many innovative fields.

In the past, we have succeeded in attracting the world’s best and brightest to study and work in the United States, and we can and must do it again. We must move beyond the debate about numbers, quotas and caps. Rather, I urge Congress to ask, “How do we create a system that supports and sustains the innovation that drives American growth, economic opportunity and prosperity?” Congress can answer that question by acting immediately in two significant ways.

First, we need to encourage the best students from abroad to enroll in our colleges and universities, and to remain in the United States when their studies are completed. Today, we take exactly the opposite approach. Foreign students who apply for a student visa to the United States today must prove that they do not intend to remain here once they receive their degrees. This makes no sense. If we are going to invest in educating foreign students — which we should and must continue to do — why drive them away just when this investment starts to pay off for the American economy?

Barring high-skilled immigrants from entry to the U.S., and forcing the ones that are here to leave because they cannot obtain a visa, ultimately forces U.S. employers to shift development work and other critical projects offshore. This can also force U.S. companies to fill related management, design and business positions with foreign workers, thereby causing further lost U.S. job opportunities even in areas where America is strong, allowing other countries to “bootstrap” themselves into these areas, and further weakening our global competitive strength. If we can retain these research projects in the United States, by contrast, we can stimulate domestic job and economic growth. In short, where innovation and innovators go, jobs are soon to follow.

Second, Congress should expedite the path to permanent resident status for highly skilled workers. The reality for Microsoft and many other U.S. employers is that the H-1B visa program is temporary only in the sense that it is the visa we use while working assiduously to make our H-1B hires — whether educated in the U.S. or abroad — permanent U.S. residents. Rather than pretend that we want these highly skilled, well-trained innovators to remain for only a temporary period, we should accept and indeed embrace the fact that we want them to become permanent U.S. residents so that they can drive innovation and economic growth alongside America’s native born talent.

These reforms do not pit U.S. workers against those foreign born. They do not seek to make or perpetuate distinctions among the best and brightest on the basis of national origin. They simply recognize the fact that America’s need for highly skilled workers has never been greater, and that broad-based prosperity in America depends on having enough such workers to satisfy our demand. Far from displacing U.S. workers, highly skilled, foreign-born workers will continue to function as they always have: as net job creators.

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

March 19, 2007

US Needs Visa Program for ‘Essential Workers’

Bob Sakaniwa, AILA Associate Director of Advocacy

One of the major failings of our immigration system is the "disconnect" between current policy and the reality of economic and demographic forces. While the immigration system is broken in so many different areas, nowhere is it more apparent than in the "essential worker" context. Essential workers, those that are employed in occupations in all sectors of our economy (e.g., restaurant workers, retail clerks, carpenters, plumbers, roofers, manufacturing line workers, hotel service workers, food production workers, landscape workers, truck drivers, and health care aides), are typically manual jobs that increasingly skilled and educated Americans no longer choose, yet are vital in keeping our economy growing.

The demand for essential workers is largely driven by economics and demographics. New immigrants are more likely to be younger than native-born workers, to have a high school education or less, and to participate in the labor force. And while the number of younger native-born workers with relatively little formal education is declining, the number of lesser-skilled jobs continues to grow. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that during the 2004-2014 time period, the number of jobs in service occupations will likely increase by 5.3 million (19 percent). Under the current immigration system, there is no way to fill these job openings with legal immigrant workers because there are only 5,000 visas available annually for these types of jobs. Furthermore, it seems highly unlikely that our native-born population that is becoming older and better educated will be interested in filling these jobs.

So as the demand for more essential workers continues, there is a concomitant lack of sufficient visas available to foreign workers to meet this demand in these industries. The immigration system in this country must have a new, well-crafted visa program that would not only take pressure off our borders, but also benefit both American businesses and American workers.

To protect the interests of both American and immigrant workers, a new essential worker visa program would have to afford foreign workers all of the labor protections that U.S. workers enjoy, allow them to change employers, and provide them an opportunity to apply for legal status. Such safeguards are indispensable, for they not only protect immigrant workers from abusive labor practices, but also prevent employers from driving down wages for all workers by exploiting immigrant labor.

The current lack of legal channels for immigrants to fill our nation's essential worker needs has spurred some bad actors to profit from and exploit undocumented workers who have almost no meaningful legal protections. We need a fair and workable program that establishes a legal flow of new workers that would allow employers to hire the workers they need, protect American workers, and eliminate a major cause of undocumented immigration.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 04:34 AM | Comments (0)

March 18, 2007

The Characteristics of Unauthorized Immigrants in California, Los Angeles County, and the United States

http://www.urban.org/url.cfm?ID=411425&renderforprint=1
http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/411425_Characteristics_Immigrantspdf

Urban Institute > The Characteristics of Unauthorized Immigrants in California, Los Angeles County, and the United States; Author(s): Randolph Capps, Karina Fortuny, March 06, 2007

Permanent Link: http://www.urban.org/url.cfm?ID=411425

The nonpartisan Urban Institute publishes studies, reports, and books on timely topics worthy of public consideration. The views expressed are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the Urban Institute, its trustees, or its funders.

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Abstract
This report hopes to fill some of the knowledge gaps in the current immigration debate by describing the unauthorized population nationally and in California and Los Angeles—the state and urban area with the largest numbers of these immigrants. Unauthorized immigrants numbered 2.45 million in California in 2004, representing almost one-quarter (24 percent) of the nation's total (10.3 million). There are about 1 million unauthorized immigrants in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, almost twice the number of any other metro area; the unauthorized are one-tenth of the area's population (10 million). The report presents findings about these populations, including their socio-economic characteristics, such as national origin, education, employment, and poverty.

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The text below is an excerpt from the complete document. Read the full paper in PDF format.

Executive Summary
The unauthorized population has become a hot political topic yet again, with various solutions to the illegal immigration "problem" being debated in Washington, D.C., and across the country. In June 2006, as this report was written, the U.S. Congress was debating whether to grant legal status to the more than 11 million unauthorized immigrants estimated to be in the country. The House of Representatives had passed a bill that would further criminalize unauthorized presence, while the Senate passed a bill granting temporary work permits to unauthorized workers and providing a path to eventual citizenship for those in the country at least two years. The two pieces of legislation are very far apart, reflecting the fact that no consensus exists—in Congress, within or between the political parties, or in the public at large—on the best solution to the long-range integration issues that such a large unauthorized population presents. The debate has centered on stereotypes about unauthorized immigrants—as workers and taxpayers on the positive side, or as lawbreakers and service users on the negative side—but the debate has not been well informed by research on the characteristics of the unauthorized population.

This report hopes to fill some of the knowledge gaps in the current immigration debate by describing the unauthorized population nationally and in California and Los Angeles—the state and urban area with the largest numbers of these immigrants. The report presents estimates for the sizes of these populations as well as findings about socio-economic characteristics, such as national origin, education, employment, and poverty. Throughout the report, the characteristics of unauthorized immigrants are contrasted with legal immigrants and the native-born population. In addition, the report discusses national trends in the number of unauthorized immigrants, and compares California and Los Angeles unauthorized immigrants to the national population.

California has the largest unauthorized population of any state—almost 2.5 million; almost a quarter of the nation's unauthorized immigrants live there. Unauthorized immigrants numbered 2.45 million in California in 2004, representing almost one-quarter (24 percent) of the nation's total (10.3 million). The unauthorized share of the total population was almost twice as high in California (6.9 percent) as in the United States (3.6 percent). Thus, the debate over legalizing the unauthorized population will likely have more impact on California than any other state.

There are about 1 million unauthorized immigrants in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, almost twice the number of any other metro area; the unauthorized are one-tenth of the area's population (10 million). In 2004, about two-fifths (41 percent) of California's unauthorized population resided in Los Angeles. No other metropolitan area had as many unauthorized immigrants as Los Angeles—New York had the second largest metropolitan concentration with slightly more than half a million unauthorized immigrants. The other metropolitan areas with very large numbers of unauthorized immigrants were Dallas (460,000), Chicago (400,000), Houston (390,000), Phoenix (350,000), Washington, D.C. (345,000), and Atlanta (235,000). Two Southern California metropolitan areas that border Los Angeles—Orange County (220,000) and Riverside–San Bernardino (215,000)— rounded out the top 10.

Mexican immigrants account for a higher share of the foreign-born in California and Los Angeles (43 percent) than in the nation as a whole (32 percent). California also had a higher share of unauthorized immigrants from Mexico (65 percent) than the United States or Los Angeles (57 percent) in 2004. Due to its proximity to the Southwestern border, California's immigrant population—both legal and unauthorized—is more heavily Mexican than most other states. Thus, the debate surrounding legalization mostly affects Mexican immigrants in California. Nonetheless, about one-third of California's unauthorized immigrants come from other countries, suggesting that there is great diversity in this population.

One in 10 California residents is in a family headed by an unauthorized immigrant, compared with one in 20 nationally. An even higher share of Los Angeles residents (14 percent) lived in unauthorized households in 2004. The debate surrounding unauthorized immigrants' future affects not only these migrants but also a large number of adults and children who live with them.

About half of California's children have immigrant parents, and about oneseventh have unauthorized parents, in contrast to the nation as a whole, where one-fifth of children have immigrant parents. In 2004, 48 percent of children in California were children of immigrants—that is, they had at least one foreign-born parent: 34 percent had legal immigrant parents, and 14 percent had unauthorized parents.

Nationally, just 15 percent of children had legal immigrant parents, and 6 percent had unauthorized parents. California's schools represent the future of most states in the country, a future in which a majority or near majority of school children will have immigrant parents.
In Los Angeles, almost two-thirds of children (62 percent) have immigrant parents. In 2004, 43 percent of children in the metropolitan area had legal immigrant parents, and 19 percent had unauthorized parents. Los Angeles is setting the pace for other major metropolitan areas in the country, where a growing majority of children will have immigrant parents and a significant share have unauthorized parents.
Large majorities of children with unauthorized parents are U.S.-born citizens: 68 percent in California and 76 percent in Los Angeles. These shares were slightly higher than nationally (66 percent) in 2004. Thus, despite the fact that there are more children in unauthorized immigrant families in California than in the United States overall, children in these families are more likely to be citizens in California than nationally. This means that a large majority of California's children in unauthorized families are eligible for the full range of state and federal public benefits due to their citizenship, even if the parents are ineligible due to their lack of legal status.

Almost all unauthorized men work, and labor force participation rates are substantially higher for unauthorized men than for legal immigrant or U.S.-born men. In California, 94 percent of unauthorized men age 18–64 were in the labor force in 2004, versus 84 percent of legal immigrants and 82 percent of native-born men. The shares were similar nationally and in Los Angeles. Unauthorized men have higher labor force participation rates than other men because they are younger and are less likely to be disabled, retired, or enrolled in higher education. These statistics show that virtually all unauthorized men come to California to work.

By contrast, labor force participation is much lower for both unauthorized and legal immigrant women than for U.S.-born women, mostly because unauthorized women are more likely to have children. In 2004 in California, unauthorized women participated in the labor force at a similar rate as legal immigrant women (58 percent versus 59 percent), but the labor force participation rate was much higher for native-born women (72 percent). Women's labor force participation patterns were similar in the United States and Los Angeles. The main reason for immigrant women's lower rates of participation is childbearing: immigrant women are younger and have more children on average than native-born women.

Unauthorized immigrants represent over a quarter of all workers in many low-skilled occupations in California, especially in Los Angeles. For example, in 2004 in Los Angeles, about 80 percent of production workers were foreign-born (50 percent were legal immigrants, and 30 percent unauthorized); only 20 percent were natives. Nationally, immigrants were also over represented in production occupations but 77 percent of production workers were natives. Because of the high share of unauthorized immigrants in Los Angeles overall, they represented more than a quarter of all workers in production, construction, and service occupations. These figures suggest that Los Angeles is heavily dependent on unauthorized labor in many lowskilled occupations, and that any effort to deport large numbers of immigrants or deny them employment could have a deleterious impact on the California economy.
Unauthorized family incomes are about half of incomes of families headed by U.S.-born citizens, nationally and in California. In 2003 in California, unauthorized families had an average income of $29,700, compared with $54,600 for native-born citizens. The average family income for unauthorized immigrants was lower still in Los Angeles ($26,300). Moreover, unauthorized immigrant families were much larger than native-born families (by 37 percent in California and 43 percent in Los Angeles), which further reduced the income available to individual members of these families. The low incomes of unauthorized families are explained primarily by the low-skilled, low-paying jobs held by unauthorized workers. Almost all of these families, however, include workers, and many include multiple workers.

In California, almost a quarter of children with legal immigrant parents, and almost two-fifths of children with unauthorized parents, are poor. In 2003, 24 percent of children of legal immigrants and 38 percent of children of unauthorized immigrants were poor in California, compared with 15 percent for children of U.S.-born citizens. Poverty rates were similarly high for children of immigrants in Los Angeles and the United States. Since such high shares of children in California live in immigrant families, these high poverty rates present many challenges to policymakers in the state. Anti-poverty programs must consider the high number of children in immigrant families and devise ways to disseminate information and reach children that are eligible. These challenges are even more apparent for Los Angeles, where the shares of children of immigrants are even higher.

Over half of unauthorized adults and a quarter of children in unauthorized families lack health insurance coverage in California, and even higher shares of the unauthorized are uninsured in Los Angeles. In 2004 in California, unauthorized adults were almost four times as likely as U.S.-born adults to lack health insurance coverage (53 versus 14 percent), and children with unauthorized parents were almost three times as likely as those with U.S.-born parents to lack coverage (26 versus 9 percent). However, children of unauthorized immigrants in California were less likely to lack insurance than nationally (26 versus 35 percent). In fact, among children who were themselves unauthorized—and therefore ineligible for federal- or state-funded coverage—the uninsured share actually fell in California (from 49 to 32 percent) and in Los Angeles (from 58 to 44 percent) between 2000 and 2004. These findings strongly support the efforts of Los Angeles and other California counties to provide universal coverage to low-income children regardless of their legal status, and show that these county programs are beginning to have an impact on insurance coverage in unauthorized families.

The complete paper is available in PDF format.

http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/411425_Characteristics_Immigrantspdf

Related Research
Trends in the Low-Wage Immigrant Labor Force, 2000-2005 >>
Immigrants and the Low-Wage Economy
Urban Institute Book Looks at Preparing Workforce for Labor Market Turmoil >>


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

March 17, 2007

The Business of Immigration Lobbying

To achieve comprehensive immigration reform businesses have to be engaged for their own self interest. To realize their interest they have to be educate on the impact of immigration on them. The process can be realized by working through their trade association. Another way is by creating a relationship with the Chamber of Commerce where they are located. This is the target for immigration reform. To achieve institutional change we have to address the institutions; chambers, rotary clubs and trade groups.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 02:04 PM | Comments (0)

March 16, 2007

Mood for Change

For the last five years I have lobbied in Congress for immigration reform. This year I sense an openness for change. In the past most members were not open to change. I sense that only one representative Marsha Blackburn is close minded on reform This change allows for the possibility of reform as the other representatives and senators are willing to discuss reform. There is still a lot of work to be done to achieve reform.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 01:55 PM | Comments (0)

March 15, 2007

Lobby Day 2007

Today I am in Washington to participate in the AILA lobby day. This is the 6th time in 5 years that I have traveled to Washington to lobby for immigration reform. I am traveling to DC as part of the AILA Mid-South Chapter with four other attorneys from Tennessee; Greg Siskin, Ari Sauer, Cheryl Williams and Samira Nichols. We will meet with both Senator from Tennessee; Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker & 7 out of 9 of the Representatives. This is a very important day as over 400 immigration lawyers from around the U.S. will be in Washington to lobby for immigration reform. We hope to educate and motivate the members of Congress to start the immigration reform process.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 02:54 PM | Comments (0)

House Lobbying

This morning myself and four other attorneys from Tennessee will visit the House congressional delegations. We have prepared by knowing the law and policy issues. This will help our meetings.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 06:17 AM | Comments (0)

March 14, 2007

The Time Is Now

Marshall Fitz, AILA Advocacy Director

The anti-immigrant storm unleashed in the House of Representatives during the last Congress threatened to beat an unstoppable path to the President's desk. Fortunately, the Senate's commitment to a bipartisan proposal offering real solutions, not cheap political sound bites, served as an effective bulwark against the storm's surge. The hurricane that immigration restrictionists were banking on petered out into little more than a summer shower and now, with a new Congress under way, the winds of true immigration reform are in our sails.

What started out in December 2005 as a potentially epic disaster for immigration policy has evolved into an opportunity of equally historic proportions. To those who have followed the treacherous course of this debate, such optimism may sound Pollyannaish, but this assessment is grounded in post-election political realities. The leadership teams of the 110th Congress have shown clear signs that they have internalized three key electoral lessons from the 2006 campaign.

First, the election results demonstrated that Americans will not be hoodwinked by efforts to demagogue this issue. House Republican leadership tried and failed to leverage illegal immigration into a wedge issue, but losses by high-profile restrictionist candidates and extensive exit polling confirmed the findings of numerous pre-election surveys: Americans take a pragmatic view of this issue and overwhelmingly reject an "enforcement-only" approach in favor of a practical, comprehensive model for immigration reform.

Second, the Latino vote swung strongly back towards Democrats in this election, due in no small part to the immigration issue and what Latinos saw as the vilification of immigrants in Republican-backed immigration proposals. The Democratic Party has been presented with an historic opportunity to show their commitment to Latino issues by moving ahead with immigration reform. But a failure to advance comprehensive legislation would throw the loyalty of the Latino electorate right back up for grabs.

Third, Independents voted for Democrats in record numbers because of frustration with the Republican-controlled Congress's failure to make headway on priority voter issues. With discontent over our inept immigration system boiling over, reform has become a top-tier voter issue. A failure by Democrats to make headway on this issue could lead Independents to roll back away from them in 2008.

It would be naive to think that simply because the lessons are self-evident, our elected politicians will heed them. This writer's optimism, however, rises from the unmistakable signals emerging from House and Senate leadership that they consider comprehensive reform a legislative priority and that they have, in fact, learned the foregoing lessons.

The anti-immigrant storm may not have subsided completely, but this time the political winds are with us. We may encounter choppy waters, but reform cannot wait, and we will press on. Congress must and, I believe, will pass comprehensive immigration reform in 2007. Now is the time, so let's all get on board and enjoy the ride.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 04:29 AM | Comments (0)

March 13, 2007

FAQ; How can I contact my US Representative or Senator to lobby for comprehensive immigration reform?

Answer; to reach your U.S. Representative by Name or State go to ;

http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW.shtml

Answer; to find your U.S. Senator by Name, State or Party go to;

http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:38 AM | Comments (0)

March 12, 2007

Lobby Day in Washington

During the last two weeks I have set up AILA Mid-South Chapter meetings with the Tennessee Congressional Delegation. As of today, there are 9 people registered for Lobby Day from the Mid-South Chapter. We will be attending meeting with both offices of the Senators and 7 out of 9 Representatives. The lobby day will be on this Thursday; March 15, 2007.



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

March 11, 2007

Getting the LCA In Hand Before April 1

Great advice from AILA;

Because you cannot submit an LCA earlier than six months prior to the beginning date of the period of intended employment (20 CFR § 655.730(b)), if you want your LCA in hand before April 1, then set your employment start date on the LCA for a date in September, and set the expiration date for a date no more than three years hence. File the I-129 with a start date of October 1, but with an expiration date that coincides with the expiration date of the LCA. You will lose a couple of days on the back end of the petition by doing this, but you will get the LCA filed and back before April 1.

Example:

LCA start date: 9/1/07

LCA end date: 8/31/10

Form I-129 start date: 10/1/07

Form I-129 end date: 8/31/10

Posted by VisaLawyer at 09:06 AM | Comments (0)

March 10, 2007

Take a Deep Breath: H-1B Cap Prognostications

From AILA;

There is a quite a bit of chatter about how soon the FY 2008 H-1B quota will be exhausted, with some predictions that the regular cap will be reached within the first day or first two days of filing. There is, of course, no way to know if this speculation will be true, but it appears that many attorneys are operating on the assumption that it could be so.

USCIS has advised that there is no advantage to submitting a petition for delivery on Saturday, March 31st, as all petitions delivered on Saturday will be processed on Monday, April 2nd. Be aware also that a petition for a cap-subject alien received on Friday, March 30th, will be rejected. Moreover, if a sufficient number of petitions to exhaust the quota is received on the first day, the USCIS will apply the "random selection" lottery to petitions received on the first and second days as provided for in the regulations at 8 CFR 214.2(h)(8)(ii)(B). That regulation reads:

(B) When calculating the numerical limitations for a given fiscal year, USCIS will make numbers available to petitions in the order in which the petitions are filed. USCIS will make projections of the number of petitions necessary to achieve the numerical limit of approvals, taking into account historical data related to approvals, denials, revocations, and other relevant factors. USCIS will monitor the number of petitions (including the number of beneficiaries requested when necessary) received and will notify the public of the date that USCIS has received the necessary number of petitions (the "final receipt date"). The date of publication will not control the final receipt date. When necessary to ensure the fair and orderly allocation of numbers in a particular classification subject to numerical limits, USCIS may randomly select from among the petitions received on the final receipt date the remaining number of petitions deemed necessary to generate the numerical limit of approvals. This random selection will be made via computer-generated selection as validated by the Office of Immigration Statistics. Petitions not randomly selected, and petitions received after the final receipt date, will be rejected. If the final receipt date is the same as the first date on which petitions subject to the applicable cap may be filed (i.e., if the cap is reached on the first day filings can be made), USCIS will randomly apply all of the numbers among the petitions filed on the final receipt date and the following day. (Revised 5/5/05; 70 FR 23775 ).

Posted by VisaLawyer at 09:14 AM | Comments (0)

March 09, 2007

Immigration: Victims of violent crime sue feds over visa issues

I have a case that is similar to this story by Juliana Barbass, Associated Press, March 8, 2007

"Immigrants not offered permanent residency for protection as promised

SAN FRANCISCO -- Undocumented immigrants who have suffered violent crimes sued the federal government Wednesday for failing to issue them protective visas approved by Congress more than six years ago.

The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, signed in 2000, created a visa category that would let victims of violent crimes who overcome their fear of deportation and cooperate with law enforcement remain in the country and eventually apply for permanent residency.

But federal immigration authorities still have not issued application forms or regulations for the "U" visa, making it impossible for qualifying immigrants to take advantage of the protection, attorneys said.

"We finally decided that without the intervention of the federal courts, we could easily be waiting for another six years before an application form is made available," said Peter A. Schey, president of the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law and lead counsel for the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco...".

at; http://www.freenewmexican.com/news/58182.html

Posted by VisaLawyer at 04:32 AM | Comments (0)

March 08, 2007

FAQ; H-1B1 & E-3 Job offer in the U.S.

Question; I am from Singapore, how can I find a job offer in the U.S.?

Answer; Go to www.SACVisa.com; there our website will help you locate a job offer in the U.S. There is no cost to apply. If you are a specialty worker or university graduate or will graduate soon we can help you locate a job.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 09:11 AM | Comments (0)

March 07, 2007

Construction Jobs Expand for Latinos Despite Slump in Housing Market

The Pew Hispanic Center today released a fact sheet that examines recent trends in the employment of Latino workers in the U.S. labor market and focuses specifically on the construction industry.

Hispanic workers landed two out of every three new construction jobs in 2006, according to the analysis. They benefited from strong employment growth in the industry even as the housing market endured a year-long slump. Indeed, the construction industry continues to be a key source of jobs for Hispanics and especially for those who are foreign born and recently arrived.

Hispanic employment increased by almost 1 million from 2005 to 2006. Even though Latinos account for only 13.6% of total employment, they accounted for 36.7% of the increase in employment. The comparatively high share of employment reflects demographic changes in the U.S. About 40% of the total increase in the working-age population (16 and older) in 2006 was Hispanic and of these three-fourths are foreign born Latino workers.

Foreign-born Latinos who arrived since 2000 were responsible for about 24% of the total increase in employment in the U.S. labor market last year. Estimates by the Pew Hispanic Center suggest that in recent years about two-thirds of the increase in the employment of recently-arrived Hispanic workers has been due to unauthorized migration.

The estimates in the fact sheet are derived from data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau. Most of the data is from the Current Population Survey, a monthly Census Bureau survey of approximately 60,000 households. Monthly data are combined to create larger sample sizes and to conduct the analysis on either an annual or quarterly basis. The analysis is for 2004-2006.

The fact sheet, titled Construction Jobs Expand for Latinos Despite Slump in Housing Market, can be obtained on the Center's website; http://pewhispanic.org/

The Pew Hispanic Center, a nonpartisan research organization, is a project of the Pew Research Center and is funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 07:12 AM | Comments (0)

March 06, 2007

Delegations from 120 Community Groups to Participate in NCLR National Advocacy Day

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, March 5, 2007
Contact: Marie Watteau or Jacqueline Pacheco (202) 785-1670

LATINO ORGANIZATIONS URGE CONGRESS TO BUILD STRONGER COMMUNITIES AND A STRONGER AMERICA

Washington, DC - On March 7-8, more than 250 Latino advocates representing 120 community-based Latino organizations from 32 states and the District of Columbia will meet with members of Congress on issues of importance to the Latino community and on how to build stronger communities and a stronger America.

As participants in the National Council of La Raza's (NCLR) National Issue Briefing and Advocacy Day, the community representatives will give voice to the concerns and goals shared by many of the 42 million Hispanics in the U.S. Latinos are a growing proportion of the U.S. electorate, and their registration and voting rates are growing at a faster rate than those of other racial/ethnic groups; the 2006 midterm elections saw an increase of 16% in new Latino registered voters since the 2004 elections, signaling a need to address the concerns of the growing Latino electorate. Participants will discuss issues critical to strengthening Latino communities, such as early childhood education, health care, financial literacy, housing, comprehensive immigration reform, voting rights, and youth violence prevention.

The community representatives are available for media interviews and photo opportunities. For more information, please call Marie Watteau or Jacqueline Pacheco at (202) 785-1670.

MEDIA ADVISORY

WHO: NCLR will host community groups from 32 states and the District of Columbia
WHEN: Wednesday and Thursday, March 7-8
WHERE: U.S. Capitol and House/Senate Buildings, Washington, DC
WHY: With more than 42 million Hispanics living in the U.S., Latinos constitute 14% of the population and are a significant and growing presence in the school system, the workforce, and the broader fabric of American economic and social life. NCLR and its Affiliates urge Congress to act now to build stronger communities and a stronger America.

www.nclr.org

Posted by VisaLawyer at 08:25 AM | Comments (0)

March 04, 2007

Oppose the Fee Increase!!

The proposed fee increases by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) are beyond excessive-they're exorbitant. For example, the current fee to apply for permanent residency is $325; USCIS proposes to raise this fee to $905 (a 178 percent increase). The fee for naturalization ("citizenship") applications would increase from $330 to $595 (an 80 percent increase).

Please take action today by contacting USCIS and letting them know that the proposed increases are exorbitant and unfair. Encourage USCIS to work with Congressional leaders to identify an alternative and permanent funding stream that supports USCIS operations. View the AFSC website for more information; http://www.afsc.org/immigrants-rights/news/fee-increase2007.htm

Posted by VisaLawyer at 09:15 AM | Comments (0)

March 03, 2007

FAQ How soon can I enter the US with an H-1B1?

Answer; If you are out of the country once approved you may enter the U.S. 10 days prior to the starting date of your H-1B1 visa.

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

March 02, 2007

FAQ do I need a job offer to receive an H-1B1 visa?

Answer; Yes To qualify you need (1) Letter from U.S. employer stating activity to be engaged in, anticipated length of stay and arrangements for remuneration & Labor attestation.

Posted by VisaLawyer at 02:12 PM | Comments (0)

March 01, 2007

Lobby Day Priority Issues

On March 15, 2007 I will attend the American Immigration Lobby Day in Washington D.C. This will be my six trip in five years to the U.S. Congress to lobby on behalf of immigration reform.

Lobby Day represents a unique opportunity for AILA to deliver a strong, unified message to hundreds of congressional offices. This year, because Congress appears ready to push Comprehensive Immigration Reform over the finish line, our Lobby Day message will focus on four components that are essential to any realistic solution:

* Earned Adjustment for the Current Undocumented Population;
* Enhanced Channels for Legal Workers (including Essential Workers and H-1Bs);
* Reduction of Employment-Based and Family-Based Visa Backlogs; and,
* Preservation of Judicial Review and Restoration of Due Process.

National Day of Action

Lobby Day is just one part of AILA's broader National Day of Action. If you can't make it to Washington, DC, on March 15, you can still join hundreds of AILA members in advocating for Comprehensive Immigration Reform. View our National Day of Action flyer for ideas about creating an in-district Lobby Day and coordinating other pro-immigrant events in your area.

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