Here is my Top Ten Immigration Wish List for 2012:
1. Abandon Comprehensive Immigration Reform: This might seem controversial to have at the top of the list. President Obama, by his words and not by his actions, has pushed for this. He has made repeated references to our ‘Broken Immigration System.’ When you live in a house that has a multitude of repair issues, what is your most likely course of action? Would you say, ‘let’s just knock down this house and build a new one?’ Or, would you say, ‘let’s see what repair issues we can deal with quickly, build momentum by making the repairs, and work up to the bigger repairs?’ I think the latter is the more logical choice. Neither the President nor Congress has the momentum for Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Let’s make some small repairs first, and then work up to the bigger repairs later.
2. Take ‘Secure The Border’ out of the Equation: Security is essential and vital. However, securing the border should not be a prerequisite to any kind of immigration reform. If it were a prerequisite, we would never have immigration reform because we can never make our borders 100% secure. Here is an earlier post on untangling the issue of exactly how many criminals are caught at the border: Untangling DHS Numbers. Also, here is what I feel about the idea floated by various politicians about fencing off the border: BACHMANN
3. Abandon the Secure Communities Program: This program has led to very questionnable results from a law enforcement standpoint and has been a lightning rod of criticism. Recent lowpoints include the detention of U.S. citizens and restricting the access of Maricopa County/Sheriff Arpaio to the program. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) has recently issued findings of discriminatory policing practices within the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and the County can no longer use the Secure Communities Program. See Secure Communities
4. Mandate Prosecutorial Discretion: This has been a big issue as many ICE agents simply chose to to ignore the Morton Memo on Prosecutorial Discretion. See Prosecutorial Discretion
5. Change the Culture at ICE: If the boss comes out with a memo, the employees should abide by it. The employees at ICE are public servants. Their positions are not personal fiefdoms. They should not be allowed to ignore the Morton Memo on Prosecutorial Discretion and carry on ‘business as usual.’ See Prosecutorial Discretion
6. Abandon or change the H-1B Cap: Why do we have a limit on these visas? H-1B visa holders have a positive ripple effect on our economy. They buy homes, spend money play influential roles in important start up companies. We should not have a static limit to these visas. If Congress still insists on having a limit, it should be a dynamic cap number. For example, if the economy is growing by a certain percentage, we should increase the cap numbers proportionally. As it stands right now, a Cap-Subject employer cannot have a new H-1B employee commence employment before October 1, 2012. Does that make sense?
7. Pass the Start Up Visa Act: This really relates to Step #1 from above. This is a small add-on to the home that could really improve the market value of the property. Congress should concentrate on passing just this Act, and not packaging it with other more complex issues. A bright foreign entrepreneur has investment money already lined up and wants to live in the United States. With this struggling economy, we should throw down the red carpet to welcome these individuals.
8. Expand the Parole in Place Program: Returing to #1 above, this is a small but powerful tool the Obama Administration could use without congressional approval . See my article: Parole in Place
9. Pass the DREAM ACT: This Act has had support in Congress. It has not had enough support to become law, however. I feel that we should not forget about this and it is therefore on my wish list.
10. Bring Back Section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act: You have a large number of people in this country who have waited long periods to obtain a current immigrant visa number, typically through a petition from one of their family members. 245(i) would allow them to pay a penalty and obtain their green cards in the United States. As it stands now, people with visa petitions dated after April 30, 2001 cannot pay the 245(i) penalty and obtain their green cards in the U.S. Most are also unwilling to proceed through their home consulates as exiting the country would trigger a three or ten year bar the U.S. Waivers do exist for those bars, but the government has taken a hard stance on approving those waivers. Many of the people are about to or already have current visa numbers would qualify under prosecutorial discretion as they have family ties in the United States and do not have criminal records. Why not allow them to obtain their green cards in the country and pay a penalty? That would certainly boost government revenues.
We will see what happens next year!