Monthly Archives: April 2009

GOP TO “REBRAND”?

According to an article on cnn.com:  “Coming soon to a battleground state near you: a new effort to revive the image of the Republican Party and to counter President Obama’s characterization of Republicans as “the party of ‘no.'”

Not a bad idea to rebrand before they have anymore deflections from the Party including members of Congress!  The key to success for the GOP will be a shift to the middle and an effort to tone down the right-winged rhetoric.  Immigration is a prime example of where the right has lost its way.  When elected officials vote on policies shaped by the media rather than on what is best for the country, they miss the boat. 

Rush, Lou and others like them want high ratings, controversy is entertaining and it sells.  The more people who watch, the more money their stations make from advertisers.  Being disagreeable makes for engaging radio and television.  On the other hand, as the Republican Party has so aptly demonstrated, being the “party of no” is not what the voters want from their elected officials.  It is probably a safe bet that most Americans want improvement, change, and progress.  If we trust those at the helm, we generally should let them make the decisions that they truly believe are in the best interest of the country. 

During President Obama’s Presidential campaign, he made it clear that he supported Comprehensive Immigration Reform and he is keeping true to his word and giving it a good-faith effort.  Those who follow immigration would undoubtedly agree that the laws are outdated and need to be changed.  Our current system is not working.  The question becomes what elements should be included in a CIR bill.  Border Security, vast improvement of the existing laws for legal immigration and a solution to deal with the undocumented are three major elements.  Will it be easy?  No, but neither are most worthwhile endeavors.

SENATOR ARLEN SPECTER DEFECTION TO DEMOCRATS GOOD FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM PROSPECTS

The last two attempts at Comprehensive Immigration Reform died in the US Senate.  As the issue resurges, and it repeatedly will until the current system is reformed, it is most helpful to have as many independent-minded supporters of CIR as possible in both Houses of Congress.  I always found Senator Specter to be a moderate Republican on the issue of immigration as were Senator McCain and Senator Graham.  The conservative base of the Republican party, to its peril, tends to demonize and alienate anyone who supports a workable solution to our immigration crisis.  It is tough for a politician to simultaneously vote in favor of a legalization program for the undocumented and be a respected conservative in this age of trash talk radion and cable “news” shows.

IS NOW A GOOD TIME FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM?

According to an interesting opinion piece by T. Alexander Aleinikoff that appeared on washingtonpost.com, there are several reasons why now might be an ideal time to re-introduce comprehensive immigration reform.

On a related note, the Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to hold a hearing on CIR this week.  Bringing the undocumented out of the shadows would increase the country’s level of security and having them pay fines and taxes on earnings should increase revenue for states and the federal government.

It will be interesting to see:  (1) how the Obama administration will present the issue and (2) whether the American people will be moved by the anti-immigrant sentiment that prevailed in the previous immigration debates.

USCIS ACTING DIRECTOR DISCUSSES EMPLOYMENT-BASED VISA WAIT TIMES

According to an entry by USCIS Acting Deputy Director Mike Aytes in the agency’s Leadership Journal:  “We attribute the increase in adjustment application filings to a couple things. First, customers’ anticipation of USCIS’ filing fee increase in July 2007. Second, a unique opportunity for workers and their families to file adjustment applications based on the visa availability date announced in the July 2007 Immigrant Visa Bulletin. Many of these availability dates have since reverted, creating a backlog of adjustment applications that cannot be adjudicated until a visa becomes available.”

JUDGE ORDERS USCIS TO REOPEN WIDOWS’ GREEN CARD CASES

According to the Associated Press:  “A federal judge tentatively ordered the Department of Homeland Security to reopen the cases of 22 people who were denied green cards because their American spouses died during the application process.”

If this case leads to a policy change, it would be another example of fair immigration policy stemming from litigation rather than common-sense legislation and regulations.