What can we expect by way of immigration reform and policy changes in 2008? My prediction is that not much will change from this year. The overall tone on the issue will remain negative and we are unlikely to see any changes to the legal immigration system, such as more H-1B visas or other temporary programs.
The rhetoric against the undocumented will continue to be a hot topic on slow news days, and enforcement will increase, especially as efforts that started being put into play this year start to take effect. By the end of the year, there will have been a fair number of undocumented who would have returned to their countries of origin voluntarily, although this will be a very small percentage of the 10 to 20 million estimated to be in the US. States will continue to try to implement their own immigration laws on both sides of the spectrum, some will welcome the undocumented and many will repel them. Existing businesses may move out of those states that have heavily punish them for hiring the undocumented (such as Arizona) to other states or may outsource some work to other countries.
Most would agree that 2007 was a terrible year for those who would have liked to have seen improvements to our broken immigration system. 2008 is not expected to be much better, mainly because it will be an election year.
I wish all of you a happy, healthy and successful New Year!
It seems that everything lately is about illegal immigration. The latest is that Huckabee, in an apparent effort to garner votes in Iowa is linking Bhutto’s death to illegal immigration according to an article on cbsnews.com.
Perhaps this effort is simply a tactic Huckabee is using to divert attention from his apparent lack of knowledge about the current state of affairs in Pakistan. According to thinkprogress.org: “Forced to respond to the tragic assassination of former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee has spent the last 24 hours constantly fumbling and apologizing for his cluelessness and incompetence on a key foreign policy issue.”
According to an article on washingtonpost.com: “The European Union took a step recently that the U.S. Congress can’t seem to muster the courage to take. By proposing a simple change in immigration policy, E.U. politicians served notice that they are serious about competing with the United States and Asia to attract the world’s top talent to live, work and innovate in Europe. With Congress gridlocked on immigration, it’s clear that the next Silicon Valley will not be in the United States.”
The latest version of the I-9 Employment Verification Form must be used by all employers beginning today, December 26, 2007. The Form and Instructions are available for free.
Many citizens from the town of Burlington, Massachusetts, where our office is located, are unhappy with ICE moving into their backyard. According to an article on Boston.com: “Now that Burlington Town Meeting has voted to challenge the relocation of a federal immigration-enforcement office to town, a special committee will audition lawyers to be plaintiff’s counsel in what could be a Burlington vs. Burlington lawsuit.”
If the lawsuit moves forward, Burlington taxpayers will flip the bill for attorneys representing both sides in this dispute.
According to a Reuters article: “As campaigning builds for the Democratic and Republican nominations for the U.S. presidential election in November, taking a tough stance on illegal immigration has become vital to their chances of being selected to represent their parties.”
Primaries, the general election, and the Hispanic vote make immigration a hot issue that may burn those candidates who make it the focus of their campaigns.
The USCIS has released its Application and Receipting Update for the week ending 12/21/2007.
The USCIS has posted its Holiday Closures.
According to denverpost.com: “Sources close to the Tancredo campaign confirmed this afternoon that the Littleton Republican intends to officially announce his exit from the race at a Thursday press conference in Des Moines, Iowa.”
I think that Tancredo simply ran to make immigration a campaign issue rather than to win the nomination, and he succeeded. However, it remains to be seem how the remaining candidates who concentrate on immigration will fare when it comes to the general election. My guess is that they would be best to not try to “out-Tancredo Tancredo.”
On a related note, Tancredo also recently announced that he will not be running to keep his seat in the House.
According to an article on chicagotribune.com: “Responding to what they perceive as anti-immigrant rhetoric from presidential candidates, dozens of Roman Catholic priests Tuesday used the religious message of Advent to express support for immigrants and call for legislative reform.”
Sounds familiar. The same groups will continue coming out in favor of immigration reform because our current system is dysfunctional. However, no positive changes will occur until 2009, when the political heat has subsided. The quality of any changes will depend more on who gets voted into Congress than who becomes President.