As hard to spot as a well-camouflaged Waldo or surreptitious Carmen San Diego, Francis Cissna, Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), is almost nowhere to be found. The exception – aside from mandatory appearances at congressional oversight hearings and the occasional press interview – is among the pols he deigns to address who staunchly oppose a functioning and … Continue Reading
As the Obama presidency nears its twilight, let me tell you about our leader’s eight-year, largely-disappointing record on immigration.
But first a bias alert: I voted for the President twice; I like and respect him; and I marvel at how glib, cool, incisive, studious, and otherwise mostly big-hearted he’s been. With favorability ratings nearing 60 percent, he’s seen by most … Continue Reading
Two hundred days ago President Obama stoked the hopes of immigration advocates with his announcement of wide-ranging executive actions to try — as far as his authority would carry him — to change America’s broken immigration system for the better.
Ellis Island, which opened as an immigration processing post on January 1st 122 years ago, symbolizes for many Americans of immigrant descent the place where would-be entrants to the U.S. learned whether they would be admitted to the country. Perhaps the most famous and wrenching location within this hallowed landmark are the “stairs of separation,” a staircase divided into … Continue Reading
The dictionary defines the adjective, “passive-aggressive,” as “a type of behavior or personality characterized by indirect resistance to the demands of others and an avoidance of direct confrontation.” That is an apt characterization describing how federal bureaucrats work their will in the immigration ecosphere. The passive-aggressive behaviors show up in efforts by federal immigration officials to enlist and “deputize” third … Continue Reading
Samuel Herbert, Her Majesty’s Home Secretary from 1931-32 (the British equivalent of the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security), could well have been speaking about two recent immigration-related events when he quipped that “bureaucracy” is “a difficulty for every solution.”
While most of the nation fixated this week on black and brown American heroes in Cleveland, the attention of immigration advocates diverged. They vacillated between delight with the imploding anti-immigration conservative movement and nail-biting over votes on a flood of amendments to the massive, bipartisan Gang of Eight bill in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Schadenfreude abounded over the fall … Continue Reading
Much has been written since April 17 when the bipartisan Gang of Eight senators introduced S. 744, a brobdingnagian immigration reform bill that overlays 844 pages of turgid text on top of the already gargantuan and complex Immigration and Nationality Act. The Migration Policy Institute, the National Immigration Law Center, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) have … Continue Reading
One of the most challenging elements of comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) has long been the need for consensus on the legal, temporary entry of essential foreign workers. This plan for “future flows” of guest workers is critical if we are to reduce the incentive of unauthorized migrants to crash the border.
The lack of agreement between business and labor over guest-worker … Continue Reading
As we count out the final hours of 2012, let’s recall the highs and lows of the past year in America’s dysfunctional immigration ecosphere.
Nation of Immigrators is pleased to confer its third annual IMMI Awards. (Full disclosure: As in past years, these are my personal choices. If you disagree or believe I’ve missed an obvious awardee, feel free to … Continue Reading
As Republicans join Democrats in contemplating reform of the nation’s dysfunctional immigration system, the final line of the Pledge of Allegiance (“with liberty and justice for all”) is the best place to start.
Revitalizing our broken and outdated 20th Century immigration laws to respond to the needs of 21st Century America will turn in large part on how we face … Continue Reading
At least by 1602 with the chartering of the Dutch East India Company, and perhaps as early as the 1300s with the formation of the first colleganza, a rudimentary joint-stock company set up in Venice to share the cost of a trade expedition, human beings and corporations have cohabited the earth.
Although the shared habitation of human and juridical beings has never been … Continue Reading
Youthful fans of Saturday Night Live may be forgiven for assuming, however mistakenly, that SNL invented satirical television comedy. The patent for this invention probably ought to go instead to other earlier contenders, Jack Paar, Sid Caesar, Imogene Coco or Steve Allen. While I love these past and present paragons of humor, I’ll never forget the laughs my Dad … Continue Reading
At President Obama’s signing ceremony for the JOBS Act last week, White House guests slapped high fives with bipartisan glee. They came to the Rose Garden to help “Jumpstart Our Business Startups,” as the new law’s title optimistically promises to do. With pen in hand, the President joined in the merriment, observing that it’s not about blather but action:
One … Continue Reading
Last week marked the end of the second annual National Coming out of the Shadows Week, a rite of passage for undocumented youth — Americans in all but the eyes of the law — who support enactment of the DREAM Act.
Blogging this weekend from my hotel room in Mumbai, I vividly recall my first trip to India in 1993. Invited as part of an American Bar Association delegation, I spoke in New Delhi on “Nonimmigrant Visa Options for Computer Software Professionals.”
My talk took … Continue Reading
The dog days of August are behind us, yet the economic doldrums persist. Unemployment remains unchanged and unacceptably high at 9.1%. The White House forecasts that it will stay there through the New Year and then likely drop only a tenth of a percentage point for all of 2012.
Congress returns this week to Washington. Vituperation in lieu of legislative action … Continue Reading
I think that . . . there’s no doubt about the seriousness of the problem . . . We have a cancer–within, close to the Presidency, that’s growing. It’s growing daily. It’s compounding, it grows geometrically now because it compounds itself.
[John] Dean [recapping] the history of the Watergate break-in and subsequent cover-up for . . . President [Nixon]. March 21, 1973… Continue Reading
Are we a trustworthy nation? The world waits to see if the American government becomes a deadbeat on August 2, when the debt ceiling is hit. Will the country break faith with its creditors? Will it stiff Social Security recipients, the ill and disabled, fallen warriors and others whose lives or fortunes depend on Uncle Sam’s unflagging reliability.
The sage of the current age, Wikipedia, defines the term “nonmaleficence” — from the Latin primum non nocere — as a principle of medical ethics, one that in my view is equally applicable to the immigration sphere. The princple holds that “given an existing problem, it may be better not to do something, or even to do nothing, than to risk causing … Continue Reading
President Obama has put on a good show lately about the need for the populace to rise up and pressure the GOP to enact comprehensive immigration reform. He urges citizens to begin “a national conversation on immigration reform that builds a bipartisan consensus to fix our broken immigration system so it works for America’s 21st century economy.” With the White House claiming that … Continue Reading
On the first day of the second quarter of 2011, I fell for a joke. As the Urban Dictionary (definition #2) would word it, I was “punk’d“! I didn’t merely fall for just any immigration-related ersatz news item (like the passage of the CIRAF bill reported by my colleagues in ABIL), I breathlessly embraced as the truth an emailed report I quote … Continue Reading
On February 18 and 19, the University of California (Irvine) hosted a symposium where many of U.S. immigration’s Rock-Star professors came together to try and solve “Persistent Puzzles in Immigration Law.” The topics covered a wide expanse. A subject discussed that particularly interested me is Congress’s often inexplicable delegation of regulatory authority among a surfeit of federal agencies that administer and … Continue Reading