Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘US Immigration Policy’

11th September 2010

The United States is an interesting country to analyze from the standpoint of immigration. Immigrants coming to the United States have provided the engine for economic growth throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. However, in recent years there have been those who have questioned US Immigration policy as spotty enforcement and a lack of clear Comprehensive Immigration Reform measures have left some feeling as though major change to the system is necessary for legal, political, and economic reasons. One aspect of US Immigration that some Americans fail to take into consideration when researching American immigration policy is the so-called “business argument”. Many feel that skilled immigrants can provide a much needed boost to the US economy particularly in economic areas where companies in United States are not as technically proficient compared to companies abroad. To quote a recent posting on the Financial Times website:

[T]he “business argument” for an increase in skilled immigrants is being politically sidelined because of the failure of the federal government to resolve the status of the more than 11m illegal and undocumented immigrants living in the shadows, and the unwillingness – not the inability – of the government to enforce current immigration laws.

This seeming lack of political will on the issue of Comprehensive Immigration Reform may stem from the current lack of a clear Immigration policy enshrined in American law. The United States Immigration system has not seen a large scale reform in many years and this has lead to systemic inefficiencies in dealing with real time issues. However, this author believes that American Citizens and American lawmakers have the ability to craft sound immigration policies. To quote the aforementioned publication further:

A world power – founded and built by immigrants – that has prospered, in large part due to its immigrant intake over the years, must do better than depend on an immigration policy that condones “don’t ask, don’t tell”.

Once a rational and comprehensive immigration policy is properly forged – and, more importantly, enforced – one hopes that business’s demand for additional skilled immigrants will be an integral part of it.

The idea of a “don’t ask, don’t tell” US Immigration policy is a bit controversial as there are laws on the books which speak directly to issues such as unlawful presence in the United States, but the enforcement of such laws is difficult as the problem of undocumented immigrants in the US has become ubiquitous and therefore difficult to deal with. Overcoming this problem will likely result in an overall benefit to the US economy as Comprehensive Immigration Reform could pave the way for legitimate business immigration to the USA.

The benefits which can be accrued to the American economy’s favor should not be underestimated. Foreign direct investment in the United States economy will likely come from immigrants who wish to invest in American business while maintaining lawful status through utilization of some form of US visa. Meanwhile, skilled technical labor from abroad would make the US economy that much more attractive to foreign and domestic investors and increase the likelihood of future American technological innovation: which has consistently remained the American economy’s “Ace in the Hole” when making comparisons to other economic areas around the globe.

For related information please see: E2 visa or EB5 visa.

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9th August 2010

Those who keep up with Immigration news have no doubt noticed the increasing tensions that have been caused by problems along the Southwestern Border of the United States. In a recent announcement distributed by the American Immigration Lawyers Association it was noted that a new Senate Bill was passed which could provide new funding for increased border security initiatives. To quote the announcement directly:

On 8/5/10, with hours left before the beginning on the August recess, the Senate passed a $600 million emergency spending bill aimed at increasing border security. The bill, titled the Emergency Border Security Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2010, was passed by a voice vote.

Senator Schumer (D-NY), along with several Democratic colleagues, introduced the Border Security Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2010 (S.3721) and used it as a substitute amendment to H.R. 5875, a bill passed by the House of Representatives on 7/28/10. Further action is required before H.R. 5875, as passed by the Senate, can be sent to President Obama’s desk for signature.

It is unclear at this point if the House of Representatives, which is set to return for a short two day session on 8/09/10, will take up the Senate measure or whether they will wait until September…

In response to the passage of this Bill, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, made the following statement:

“I commend the Senate for passing the Southwest Border bill to add important, permanent resources to continue bolstering security on our Southwest border. These assets are critical to bringing additional capabilities to crack down on transnational criminal organizations and reduce the illicit trafficking of people, drugs, currency and weapons. Over the past eighteen months, this Administration has dedicated unprecedented personnel, technology, and resources to the border and we will continue to take decisive action to disrupt criminal organizations and the networks they exploit. I encourage the House to act quickly on this bill to strengthen our historic border security efforts.”

The final resolution remains to be seen, but there are many who feel strongly about this issue and it is likely that the subject of undocumented immigration will remain controversial heading into the upcoming Congressional elections. That said, Comprehensive Immigration Reform may still be on the horizon notwithstanding bills passed in an effort to deal with the current issues along the US-Mexican border.

For related information please see: Comprehensive Immigration Reform. For information about bringing a loved one to the United States with proper documentation please see: K1 visa or US Marriage Visa.

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24th August 2009

Last week, United States President Barack Obama stated that reform of the US Immigration system is an important issue and one that will not be placed on the “backburner.” In the United States Congress and Senate, the Immigration debate is coming to the forefront with two proposed bills being brought to the floor in the next session. One proposed bill would stiffen enforcement and security measures with regard to illegal immigrants while creating more opportunities for immigrants to enter the United States legally.

The publication Businessweek reports that another proposed bill would, “limit the granting of H-1Bs, visas that are especially popular among U.S. tech companies like Microsoft as well as Indian IT services outsourcers like Infosys and Wipro.”

This same article makes note of the major contributions that many immigrant groups have made to the economy of the United States of America. There is a pervasive belief that only immigrant groups in the distant past have made a substantial positive impact upon the United States economy. As Businessweek points out, the Technology sector of the American economy has been greatly enhanced by immigrants to the United States as companies such as Google, Coca Cola, Pepsi, Motorola, and Berkshire Hathaway were either founded by, or currently managed by members of the American immigrant community.

An interesting aspect of the current immigration debate is the fact that it will occur at a time of decreased immigration to the USA. To further quote Businessweek:

“Ironically, the latest immigration fight will take place at a time when the U.S. has become a less attractive destination for many immigrants. Because of the recession, there’s less demand for low-cost labor. But the U.S. is also turning out to be less attractive for highly educated workers, too.”

As the People’s Republic of China and Asia generally becomes a more important region of the global economy, it stands to reason that more immigrants will be drawn to that continent in order to seek business opportunities. Hopefully, this fact will be taken into account when legislation regarding comprehensive immigration reform is drafted because in order to remain on the cutting edge of innovation the United States must continue to be viewed as the “land of opportunity,” by talented and ambitious prospective immigrants. Ideally, the proposed legislation to reform the American Immigration system will contain provisions that will make it easier for highly educated and highly skilled foreign labor to enter the United States.

For related information please see:

K1 visa

K3 visa

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13th August 2009

As mentioned in previous posts on this blog, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service  (USCIS) is the relatively new incarnation of the agency formerly known as the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). Currently USCIS is headed by a director who reports to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Since the election of President Barack Obama there have been many new appointments to the upper echelons of the United States Federal bureaucracy. This week has seen the appointment of  a new Director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service. Through their website, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) is reporting information on the appointment:

“Director Alejandro Mayorkas was confirmed on August 7, 2009, to lead the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. A hearing to consider his nomination was held on June 24, 2009. On July 28, 2009, the Judiciary Committee ordered the nomination reported to the Senate for consideration.”

We here at Integrity Legal wish to congratulate Mr. Mayorkas on his recent appointment and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors as Director of USCIS. Many proposed changes are in store for USCIS in the coming months and years and Mr. Mayorkas will oversee what will likely be great change within the agency.

Until reading this report, I was unaware that USCIS Director’s even needed Senatorial approval before taking office. Many United States Federal appointments must be confirmed by the United States Senate before the appointee will be allowed to take office. I was aware that this process was common for high ranking American officials like cabinet appointees or Supreme Court Justices, but I was under the misperception that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service was headed by a career federal civil servant and was not a political appointment. That being said, it makes a certain degree of sense to have the holder of this office politically appointed. USCIS is charged with bringing immigration policies into practice on behalf of the administration and as a result USCIS wields a tremendous amount of power with regard to how federal immigration law is practically implemented. Therefore, to keep USCIS policy in line with that of the administration it makes sense to politically appoint the head of that agency.

There are career civil servants who work for USCIS as the agency must remain functional during periods in which a director has yet to be confirmed by the US Senate. Career officers are appointed largely based upon merit and politics likely does not factor into their advancement within the agency.

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30th April 2009

Comprehensive Immigration Reform has been a major issue in Washington throughout this current congressional term. However, another issue that has been gaining support in both Houses of Congress is the Uniting American Families Act, which would amend current US Immigration law to allow same sex couples US Immigration benefits.

Although there is a great deal of controversy surrounding Comprehensive Immigration reform, the UAFA is gaining momentum and may be passed sooner rather than later.

Currently the following anglophone nations allow same sex immigration based upon family relationships: Australia, Canada,  New Zealand, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.  By passing the Uniting American Families Act, the US Congress would bring America into this community of nations with a similar legal tradition who have opted not to discriminate against same-sex families for immigration purposes.

A major obstacle with regard to US Immigration for same sex couples is the Defense of Marriage Act which defined marriage as a union between a man and woman. The UAFA makes no claim to change the definition of marriage, nor does it attempt to legalize the couple’s relationship in some sort of quasi marriage or civil union. Instead, the UAFA only creates new right and entitlements with regard to US Immigration. The UAFA’s language is somewhat sublime in that it bypasses a conflict with the Defense of Marriage Act by creating the term “permanent partner,” therefore not placing the two laws at odds with one another. By simply creating a new definition a conflict of laws is avoided and, in turn, a great deal less political controversy results.

The Uniting American Families Act (S. 1328/H.R. 2221) would alter the Immigration and Nationality Act to authorize visas for same sex partners of lawful permanent residents and U.S. citizens. The act would regularize immigration status for same sex couples by adopting and placing the phrase “permanent partners” in the statutory definition of those entitled to US Family Immigration benefits.

As stated previously on this blog, we at Integrity Legal feel that this bill would bring US Immigration Law and policy into the 21st century by making US Immigration options open to US families of all types. The law would also create a many criminal and civil penalties for those who would use this legislation as a means of fraudulently obtaining US Visas.

Current President, Barack Obama has in the past described US Immigration rights for gay couples as being, “a moral imperative” this phrase succinctly sums up this issue.

For more on US Immigration generally please see:

K-1 Visa

US Visa Thailand

k3 Visa

(Note: Nothing contained herein should be construed as legal advice or as forming an attorney-client relationship, all legal advice should be obtained from a competent licensed attorney.)

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