Tuesday, July 30, 2013


The New York Times reports that over 100 big name donors to the Republican Party have written a letter to Republican members of the House urging them to pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
The letter says: "Immigrants are often entrepreneurial, family-minded and guided by faith. These are Republican values. Immigrants play key roles at every level of the American economy. From high-skill workers to seasonal laborers, from big-city neighborhoods to small-town main streets, immigrants help drive our economic growth. These are Republican issues. Republicans ought to be welcoming immigrants and be seen as doing so."
The effort was organized by Carlos Gutierrez, who was secretary of commerce under President George W. Bush and was a founder of a “super PAC,” Republicans for Immigration Reform.
It's great to start having pressure on these politicians from within. If they are all afraid to lose their seats maybe losing some donors for their re-election campaign will force them to do the right thing for this country and support immigration reform.

Monday, July 29, 2013


In a very lengthy interview and opinion, the Washington Post talks to Rep. Gutierrez (D-IL), one of the influential House members on the immigration reform bill.
In short, Rep. Gutierrez explains that E-Verify is here to stay, and will be a part of a final bill. More enforcement for everyone.
He is optimistic about the passage of some form of DREAM Act with a pathway to citizenship for people who arrived here as children, even though it did not pass Congress in 2010.
Interesting read on one politician's take on the issue.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Who knew?
The New York Times blog wrote an op-ed piece on how House Speaker Boehner is all of a sudden optimistic about immigration reform. If that is really true - great!
On the other hand he does not want to pass anything close to the Senate bill - which sends a signal that he would not be supportive of reform. Perhaps if the House votes in favor of some immigration reform, however partial, it will advance somewhere in conference committee.

Monday, July 22, 2013


CNN reports that the influx of immigrants into the United States has boosted the American economy by driving the housing market recovery.
U.S. Census Data suggests that immigrants have contributed approximately $3.7 trillion to the U.S. housing market. When there are more immigrants coming into the nation or a neighborhood, there is a higher demand for housing, which essentially renews local housing markets.
When immigrants stimulate neighborhoods, the local community prospers which in turn attracts U.S. native to it as well.
Because many immigrants look towards neighborhoods with low-cost housing, they are able to spur growth in once declining neighborhoods.
Immigration is good for the housing market recovery and economy as a whole.

Friday, July 12, 2013


Surprising news this morning. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, one of the longest serving members of the President's Cabinet, announced this morning that she is resigning as of early September to accept a position as the head of the University of California system. No word yet on replacements. Conceivably, this could make it a little easier to negotiate an immigration reform bill as Secretary Napolitano has - unfairly in our view - been labeled as soft on immigration enforcement and has been the frequent target of criticism from Republicans.
It may also make it much more difficult for reform to pass the House, giving them the perfect excuse not to act because they do not know who will lead the agency.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


A general pessimism has settled over the pro-immigration community after the House GOP caucus failed to endorse a comprehensive Senate-ish approach to immigration reform after meeting to talk about dealing with immigration this year. But I’d argue that the news is a bit or a mix.
House Republican Leaders issued the following statement after the caucus meeting today:
Today House Republicans affirmed that rather than take up the flawed legislation rushed through the Senate, House committees will continue their work on a step-by-step, common-sense approach to fixing what has long been a broken system. The American people want our border secured, our laws enforced, and the problems in our immigration system fixed to strengthen our economy. But they don’t trust a Democratic-controlled Washington, and they’re alarmed by the president’s ongoing insistence on enacting a single, massive, Obamacare-like bill rather than pursuing a step-by-step, common-sense approach to actually fix the problem. The president has also demonstrated he is willing to unilaterally delay or ignore significant portions of laws he himself has signed, raising concerns among Americans that this administration cannot be trusted to deliver on its promises to secure the border and enforce laws as part of a single, massive bill like the one passed by the Senate.
So we know that the leadership is not a fan of a comprehensive bill and wants individual bills. And they emphasized that they want border security measures before a legalization program starts.
Other statements that emerged today from people like Raul Labrador and Daryl Issa made it sound like a legalization program is not off the table, but there should not be a special path to citizenship with the exception of DREAMers.
So while many are assuming immigration reform is dead, I can see the House – after the August recess – considering a legalization bill that would create a legal status similar to the RPI status in the Senate bill but which would not begin until after various border security triggers are met. There would only be a special path to citizenship for DREAMers but others could eventually get green cards through existing green card categories after more triggers are hit.
The question would then be whether Democrats would consider such a plan or simply ignore the House. Politically, the Democrats can do nothing and reap major rewards down the road since no matter what GOP members may be saying, the WILL be blamed for this failure and they will eventually lose the House when gerrymandering can no longer disguise demographic realities. On the other hand, Democrats could take a deal like this and wait until they've retaken the House to get a better program. And they WILL retake the House. Even if an immigration bill passes, the GOP's handling of the issue has effectively branded them as the anti-immigrant party and that is suicidal in 21st century America.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


USCIS just issued a Questions and Answers following SCOTUS' ruling that DOMA was unconstitutional. USCIS says that same-sex married couples may file a Form I-130 to petition for a spouse and can no longer  be automatically denied as a result of the same-sex nature of the marriage.
If the couple was married in a U.S. state that recognizes same-sex marriage, or in a foreign jurisdiction that allows it, even though they are living in a state that does not recognizes same-sex marriage the couple can still file the petition. In evaluating the petition, as a general matter, USCIS looks to the law of the place where the marriage took place when determining whether it is valid for immigration law purposes.


Great news!
The House Judiciary Committee has just passed the Supplying Knowledge Based Immigrants and Lifting Levels of STEM Visa Act (SKILLS Act), sponsored by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) along with 20 co-sponsors.
The SKILLS Act would nearly triple the H-1B cap and also increase employment-based green card numbers and add 4,000 immigrant visas for health care occupations, including nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and other allied health care workers who work in rural or undeserved areas.
Unlike the current situation where these employees are subject to 6-7 year backlogs in the EB-3 category, these additional  immigrant visas are immediately available and not subject to retrogression.
This is the first step toward a House comprehensive immigration bill like the one passed in the Senate. However, the House is expected to debate the Senate bill and change many of its provisions. The House may administratively decide to have several smaller bills, rather than one large immigration bill. We hopefully await and see.