President Obama gave a speech in June about immigration.
President Obama gave a speech in June about immigration.
As of June 17, 2011, USCIS had receipted 16,300 petitions towards the H-1B Regular Cap and 10,800 petitions towards the H-1B Master’s Exemption.
The H-1B nonimmigrant visa category allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. Unless determined to be exempt, H-1B petitions are subject to either the 65,000 annual cap or the 20,000 annual cap exemption. By statute, H-1B visas are subject to an annual numerical limit, or cap, of 65,000 visas each fiscal year. The first 20,000 petitions for these visas filed on behalf of individuals with U.S. master’s degrees or higher are exempt from this cap.
President Barack Obama on Monday told an audience of predominantly Latinos that he’s hopeful an immigration overhaul bill will be able to pass Congress soon, even though he was unable to shepherd legislation for the DREAM Act to his desk before the first half of his first term, when Democrats controlled both houses. (Read Article here)
That is an interesting statement. The DREAM Act was considered a bit of a ‘crown jewel’ of immigration reform. If the Democrats cannot pass the DREAM Act with control over both houses how can we hope for an immigration overhaul? We will see what efforts the Administration makes in the near future.
The buzz words Obama has used in all of his recent clippings on immigration is that we need ‘to fix or reform our broken immigration system. ‘ But, has anything really happened on this front? Unfortunately, we have not had very much news. Comprehensive immigration did not pass, and does not look like it will happen either. The Dream Act did not pass, either attached to or as a stand-alone bill. Well, what has the Administration done to fix our broken system? I can only highlight a couple of minor items recently. Here they are:
You can click here for the full text of the speech
Reflecting growing liberal frustration with President Barack Obama’s lack of progress on immigration reform, U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill. is barnstorming through the Bay Area this week to demand the administration slow down its record-high number of deportations. “He’s our champion,” said U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., who lands in the Bay Area on Tuesday. “He’s the one we want to support. But there’s a community of people he made a promise and commitment to, and we want him to keep it.” Obama continues to get high popularity ratings from Latinos and most immigrant groups, but Gutierrez is among a growing chorus of immigrant advocates who have expressed waning enthusiasm as the president launches his re-election campaign.
President Obama, who has repeatedly referred to the immigration system as ‘broken’ was visiting California last week. While here, he made quite a few promising statements about immigration. Here are just a few of the headlines from his recent statements:
1. Obama wants immigration reform a fact before presidency ends
2. Obama at Facebook. Townhall transcript – Lynn Sweet
Rep. Gutierrez is correct in his goal of maintaining pressure on President Obama. Does Mr. Obama really want change, or are his recent pro-reform statements merely campaign rhetoric? Despite the President’s statements, immigration has clearly been a low priority for this administration. The economy, the war on terror, health care, and reforming the financial industry have clearly been more important. How committed is President Obama to immigration reform? His statements are encouraging, but, to date, his actions have been lacking
Tom Brokaw submitted an excellent article on this topic March 3 on NBC. For the full report click here.
The creator of SnapDeal is an Indian entrepreneur. SnapDeal has created 300 jobs in India — and counting. The founder of this company is Kunar Bahl. “I put my chips in the American basket and said let me try my hand here,” said Bahl, who earned an engineering degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a business degree from its Wharton School. But Bahl’s visa ran out, and he took his skills back to India.
Why are we losing individuals such as Mr. Bahl? He could have created those jobs in the United States. But, the H-1B is a a strange visa. The visa has a bizarre cap system—65,000 total visas with and an advanced degree exemption provided to the first 20,000 petitions filed for a beneficiary who has obtained a U.S. master’s degree or higher.
Why do we have this H-1B cap system? If the economy is shrinking we do not need a visa cap. Companies are shrinking not hiring, rendering the visa cap irrelevant. If the economy is booming, the H-1B visa cap system is actually hurting the economy in aggregate. If the economy is growing why would we turn away skilled professionals such as Mr. Bahl? Such an individual, if allowed to stay, would have created job opportunities domestically. This would have allowed the continued growth of the domestic economy. Instead, the H-1B cap system is creating reverse brain drain, as documented in Mr. Brokaw’s NBC article.
Congress should do away with the H-1B cap system. If Congress insists on keeping the cap, perhaps it should consider a dynamic cap number, rather than a static one. What I mean by a dynamic limit is that if the economy grows by a particular amount, Congress should raise the 65,000 amount based on that growth figure. We will see what, if anything, Congress decides to do.
Please click this link to see the application fees that will increase after November 23, 2010.
On Wednesday, the day after the defense authorization bill failed to clear a motion for cloture in the U.S. Senate and stalled efforts to attach the immigration bill and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal as amendments, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin reintroduced the DREAM Act. The move clears the way for the bill, which would offer undocumented youth raised in the U.S. an opportunity to gain citizenship if they commit to two years in the military or college. In order to qualify for the DREAM Act, young people must have been brought to the U.S. before the age of 16, have lived in the country for at least five years, hold a high school diploma and have a clean criminal record.
Durbin’s latest move clears the way for the DREAM Act to be reintroduced as a stand-alone bill, bypassing the judiciary committee. Source: (Color Lines)
Go to the Dream Act website for more info.
What can you do if you would like to advocate for the Dream Act?
1. Make phone calls to your Senators. In California:
Senator Barbara Boxer
Email/Web Form: boxer.senate.gov/en/contact/
Senator Dianne Feinstein
Phone: (202) 224-3841
2. Another option to contact Congress is to go to Reform Immigration for America website .
You can donate $30 to sponsor calls.
3. You can also make phone calls to other Senate offices.
Dial: 1-888-254-5087 (if you get a message that the number has been “disconnected”, wait a while and it will be back – that has occurred during particularly high call times) and ask for the following people and leave a message with their office asking the Senator to vote YES for the DREAM Act.
Sen. Hatch of Utah
Sen. Bunning of Kentucky
Sen. Bennet of Utah
Sen. Gregg of New Hampshire
Sen. Bailey-Hutchison of Texas
Sen. McCain of Arizona
Sen. Voinovich of Ohio
Sen. Snowe of Maine
Sen. Collins of Maine
Sen. LeMeiux of Florida
Sen. Brownback of Kansas
Sen. Roberts of Kansas
Sen. Hagan of North Carolina
Sen. Pryor of Arkansas
Sen. Landrieu of Louisiana
Sen. Conrad of North Dakota
Sen. Dorgan of North Dakota
Sen. Nelson of Florida
Sen. Baucus of Montana
Sen. Tester of Montana
Sen. Feinstein of California
At this stage of the game, one of the main factors that Senators will consider are the numbers of contacts made in favor and in opposition to the DREAM Act.
4. Last, but not least, please encourage everyone you know to contact Congress and urge support for the DREAM Act.
The long time romance between the US Spanish-language media and the Obama administration seems to be over. “Latinos overwhelmingly voted for Obama because he promised immigration reform within a year, but now the White House has lost control of the debate”, says Univision presenter Jorge Ramos, who is seen by many as the leading voice of a movement within the Spanish-language media that is turning its back on the president. Some observers credit the growing Hispanic media criticism with the recent decline in Mr. Obama’s approval ratings among Hispanics. [Source: BBC]
An immigration overhaul does not appear to be on the horizon right now. The White House and the Democrats simply do not have the momentum to carry this forward. It appears that President Obama is simply overwhelmed by the recession, the war on terrorism, health care reform, financial industry reform, etc…
The White House does have a web site that it devotes to immigration reform progress. Here is the link
I can spare you some time by not clicking this link. I have monitored this site just about every month. I see a few new blog posts. However, I have not seen any substantive change in months. The “Progress” section has not changed at all.
My prediction is that we will not have any progress on the immigration reform issue for at least the next three months. If the democrats are still in the majority after congressional elections in November, we could see some progress on this issue after the elections.
The Democrats, however, may need to begin the process now, especially if they would like to continue to hold the majority vote in Congress. Latino voters made a difference in yesterday’s Arizona and Florida primaries, advocates for comprehensive immigration told reporters today .
Latino voters are flexing their muscles. The message is clear: this important constituency wants progress on immigration reform now, not later. Why not begin now? Many people would like to see immigration reform.
Napolitano, in a speech this week (June 24, 2010) to Hispanic Leaders provided no details of what an immigration bill would look like, but said that it would be a “big goal” requiring bipartisanship.
Napolitano stressed that the administration was committed to tough enforcement on the U.S.-Mexico border while working to formulate a bill. “And the word secure really becomes, effectively, ‘seal’ the border,” she said.
Whether it is Napolitano or Obama, we are getting the same speech over and over from Washington. I have 3 main questions here:
1. WHERE ARE THE DETAILS OF THIS IMMIGRATION BILL?
Many people are asking this question. Here is a quote from one of the Hispanic leaders who listened to Napolitano’s speech: Nicolas Dominguez, 54, a trustee at El Paso Community College, said he was satisfied with Napolitano’s speech, but added, “I think these speeches need to be followed up by actual actions.” He also said he wanted more details about what an immigration bill would look like.
2. WHY DO WE NEED HUGE, COMPREHENSIVE REFORM?
If the Administration is aiming for an amnesty-like program, it should prepare for trench warfare. This will be a healthcare equivalent type fight. Why not concentrate on passing some small reform measures that could have a very positive impact? Why not pass either the Dream Act or the Start Up Visa Act? Both of these potential laws seem popular in Congress. Instead of tying these to some huge, complicated reform package, why not pass them now?
3. BORDER SECURITY AS A PRE-CONDITION
I have had the impression that republicans want border security as a precondition to any immigration reform debate. If the Administration wants a huge immigration reform package, they will have to make this the central feature of such a package. My reply to that is when have our borders ever been completely secure? We have hundreds of miles of desert border with Mexico and even more with Canada that have never been secure. Do we need to fence the entire area off before even beginning a debate on immigration reform?