Monthly Archives: May 2007

ANON BLOGGERS BEWARE!

Funny story from www.boston.com!  A physician who blogged using the name “flea” had his identity revealed to the world, during his malpractice trial.  The case quickly settled.  A reminder that we must all remember to blog cautiously.  It probably helps to use one’s real name to avoid getting too comfortable babbling.  Link to the Boston.com article to the left.

WILL US IMMIGRATION BENEFITS BE ONLY FOR THE WEALTHY?

Immigrating to the US is expensive.  The laws are complex, tricky and constantly evolving (this is without CIR!).  In most cases, an alien should hire a qualified immigration lawyer to avoid making errors that could prove fatal to his or her immigration status and options while in the US.  Immigration lawyers, like most professionals are not cheap.  Having said that, the choice to hire a lawyer is still just that, a choice.

USCIS filing fees are not a choice however.  More than in any area of government, it seems like the the CIS and Congress believe that most immigrants have money-growing trees in their yards.  The CIS filing fees effective July 30, 2007 are arguably excessive but the percentage increase from the existing fees for most filings is objectively unreasonable.

WILL CIR SURVIVE THE MEMORIAL DAY BREAK?

Apparently GOP Senators are getting a lot of angry calls from restrictionists this week. Shouldn’t be a surprise, but Senators are saying that they did not expect this passionate reaction. I expected it, the press expected it, why would the Senators be surprised by it?

The restrictionists do not want any benefits whatsoever to be offered to undocumented aliens. Even though most rational folks admit that all 12 million cannot be deported, they recommend “starving” the undocumented by cutting off jobs and health benefits. I guess that would mean greater employer enforcement and hospitals refusing to treat the sick. These suggestions are nonsense.

Let’s hope that our Senators have the brains and the courage to not get derailed by a loud minority. It is clear from the 2006 mid-term elections and recent polling that most Americans support a path to earned legalization for the undocumented. Most of the immigration hardliners in 2006 lost their elections.

The loud restrictionists remind me of a friend of mine who frequently complains in restaurants. Although he feels his complaints are validated, the waiters and managers spend an inordinate amount of time addressing his subjective complaints to the exclusion of offering great service to the other patrons. In the end the restaurant loses. At least my friend’s nonsense doesn’t cause the restaurants to go out of business which is essentially what many of these senators will have happen to them if they fail to pass a fair, balanced immigration bill.

In other words, Senators, do what’s best for the country and ignore the screaming minority. It’s not a good allocation of resources to concentrate on those who will never be happy.  I heard Bose makes good noise-canceling headphones.

USCIS FILING FEES REACH A NEW HIGH

Remember just a few (four or five) years back when the filing fee for an H-1B petition was $130? Total H-1B filing, training and fraud fees are now as high as $2190, and as of July 30, 2007, they’ll be going up again.

The new USCIS Fee Schedule will raise the filing fee for an I-129 Petition from $190 to $320, an I-485 application will go up from $395 ($325 + $70 biometric fee) to a whopping $1010. If only wages would increase at these rates! Please see the link to the new USCIS Fee Schedule for more details.

MEMORIAL DAY BREAK FOR CONGRESS WILL BE TELLING

The Senate will be taking a full week off for Memorial Day. Time spent in their home states will be predictive of the attitudes they will have upon their return.  Most Senators have the common sense to know that just because there are 90 calls to their office opposing CIR and 10 supporting it, this number is certainly not reflective of the attitude of most Americans.

Remember the loudmouths in grade school?  They always seemed to hog an inordinate amount of attention.  Those who support solving our immigration crisis should give their Senators a call to let them know.  Even if it will only dilute the anti-immigrant screaming.  CNN or FOX showed that a couple of Senators (Graham from South Carolina and another one whose name escapes me) were “booed” at speeches in which immigration was mentioned. It was all over the news.  One of the speeches was recorded with a camera-phone (probably by one of the “booers”).  These are cheap publicity stunts, but they work.  How many people booing does it take to get a reaction, 3 or 4?  The antis are well-organized and make it a point to show up.  Supporters must do the same.  Have a great weekend.

PASSIONS FLARE AS DEBATE PROGRESSES

House Minority Leader John Boehner today referred to the immigration bill being debated in the Senate as a “piece of shi*.”  So much for political correctness.  However, I tend to agree with Senator Reid who believes that the anger and passion on this issue will lead to a better bill.

My only concern is that the vocal minority of anti-immigrants will influence some naive members of congress because of the shear volumes of calls they make to their offices.  Those of us who support fixing this broken system need to call our Senators and ask them to support workable comprehensive immigration reform.  I called and e-mailed my Senators, but I’m in Massachusetts,and I know how Kennedy and Kerry will be voting!

DOL REQUIRES EMPLOYERS TO PAY LABOR CERT COSTS

New regulations published by the DOL will require that employers pay costs associated with the filing of a Labor Certification Application.  This includes all legal fees related to the employer portion of the PERM process as well as all recruitment and other costs.

This is one of many provisions in the new regulations that will hurt smaller employers and non-profit organizations that need foreign workers.  This will put an additional financial burden on employers that may already be hesitant to sponsor an alien due to the myriad of existing attestations and responsibilities.  The DOL’s view is that if employers really want to hire these people, they should have to pay all expenses associated with the process.

CALL YOUR SENATORS REGARDING AMENDMENTS

According to the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Immigration Restrictionists (the loud, vocal minority) are outnumbering immigrant supporters by 10 to 1. PLEASE call your Senators to support Comprehensive Immigration Reform that is good for America and treats everyone with the dignity and respect they deserve. For information on specific amendments and contact information for all US Senators, please go to www.aila.org.

A JAB FROM THE LEFT

Two amendments to the Grand Bargain were introduced in the Senate today. Both are democratic amendments and both take aim at the Guest Worker Program (Y Visa). The first would remove the Guest Worker provisions from the bill completely and the second would cut the number in half. Republicans generally favor the Guest Worker provisions as they provide a pool of cheap foreign workers to US corporations. Democrats in large oppose the Guest Worker provisions on the grounds that they take jobs from American workers, lower Americans’ wages, and are unfair to the foreign workers who must leave the US upon the expiration of the visas.

The amendment to eliminate the Y visa  was defeated by a vote of 31-64. However, other amendments seeking to curtail the program are likely to follow, beginning with a possible amendment from Senator Bingaman (D-NM) as early as tomorrow morning, cutting the number of Y visas from 400,000 down to 200,000 annually.