Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Alan Krueger, an economist at Princeton University has released a paper arguing that immigrants do not depress wages for US workers. Among the empirical examples cited is the influx of Cuban refugees during the Mariel boatlift in the late 1970s. The refugees were largely unskilled and swelled the local population by 7% virtually overnight. Wages should have declined if the anti-immigrant conventional wisdom were to be believed. But they did not. Professor Krueger argues that the key is to protect working conditions to ensure exploitation is kept to a minimum.
Q - I am currently on H1-B Visa. I recently got married and need to change my maiden name. I am not sure if you can answer this but, if the Indian Consulate in Houston issues a new passport with my married name, does that mean I need to go back to get my H1-B Visa stamped again?
A - Typically if you travel with all relevant documents, you should be fine. In other words, if you travel with the old passport, new passport and marriage license, you should be fine. The other options are to file an H amendment or apply for a visa with the new name depending on which document needs to be corrected.
If you have a question on immigration matters, write Askemail@example.com. We can't answer every question, but if you ask a short question that can be answered concisely, we'll consider it for publication. Remember, these questions are only intended to provide general information. You should consult with your own attorney before acting on information you see here.
While Republicans and Democrats held a highly contentious debate on the Senate floor today, Republicans were meeting behind closed doors to work further on a compromise plan on the legalization provisions in the Specter bill. An emerging counter-proposal would create two classes of applicants. Those here five years or more (roughly 60% of the estimated 11,000,000 undocumented immigrants in the country), would legalize under the Kennedy-McCain plan (pay a penalty, get in the back of the line, pass an English and civics test, undergo background checks, pay back taxes, etc.). Those here less than five years would have to do the same things, but they would also have to wait longer to apply for permanent residency, travel to a port of entry at a US border to file the paperwork and have to undertake some sort of community service or have a probation status.
The proposal met with a skeptical response from pro-immigration advocates and from Senator Kennedy himself. But if the bill faces prospects of failure, would pro-immigration groups be in a more compromising mood?
Democrats will attempt to force Republicans to go on the record tomorrow morning when they force a cloture vote. If 60 Senators vote to end debate on the Specter bill, then the threat of a filibuster will go away and the Judiciary Committee bill would likely move to passage. If, however, there are not 60 votes, then Democrats will have to decide whether to compromise or allow the bill to die.
At the end of debate today, Minority Leader Reid (D-NV), promised Senator Specter that he would allow several amendments to come up for a vote begining tomorrow morning.
Another day, another poll on immigration. The National Immigration Forum gives the quick summary of the results:· About 8-in-10 (79%) favor allowing illegal immigrants to register as “guest-workers.”
- About 8-in-10 (78%) favor allowing illegal immigrants in the
citizenship if they learn English, have a job and pay taxes. U.S.
- About 8-in-10 (82%) say the
is not doing enough to keep “illegals,” from entering the country. U.S.
- About 7-in-10 (71%) favor providing and enforcing penalties for employers convicted of hiring illegal immigrants.
- A majority (62%) favor stopping illegal immigrants from entering the
“by whatever steps necessary.” U.S.
- A minority (47%) support deporting all illegal immigrants.
A controversial amendment by Senator Kyl (R-AZ) to make all criminals inelible for guest worker status is currently being debated. It is not clear that the bill really changes anything since most crimes would bar someone from participating under current law and under the language of the Kennedy-McCain bill. But it's also not clear what the Democrats mean when they complain that the amendment is a backdoor attempt to attack the Kennedy-McCain provisions. An attempt to table the amendment is about to be defeated and probably unanimously. That should pave the way, hopefully, for consideration of some of the amendments already introduced.
Congressman James Sensenbrenner, the sponsor of H.R. 4337, the immigration enforcement bill that passed the US House of Representatives in December, sent the letter below to colleagues in the House of Representatives. The letter discusses the attitudes of business owners to immigration reform. The most interesting item is at that end where Sensenbrenner includes information that a sizable majority of employers favor a guest worker program, albeit one that is temporary in nature. Nevertheless, as we read tea leaves regarding where the House may be headed, the letter is interesting because it seems to indicate that a guest worker program is something that might be under consideration.
April 4, 2006
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) recently released the results of a scientific survey it conducted to determine the views of the small businesses it represents on the subject of immigration. The results of this survey demonstrate that small business owners - like most Americans - believe that our immigration laws must be vigorously enforced. The most significant findings are as follows:
- When asked whether an electronic employment eligibility verification system would be a burden, 76% of small businesses said it would be a "minimal burden" or "not a burden."
- Seventy-eight percent (78%) of employers surveyed support increased penalties for employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens.
- Over 90% of small-business owners believe illegal immigration is a problem, with 70% calling it a "serious" or "very serious" problem. Eighty-six percent (86%) say that immigration should be a "very high" or "high" priority for Congress.
- The primary reason small business owners see illegal immigration as a problem is the cost to taxpayers for illegal immigrants (47%). Eighty-six percent (86%) of small business owners would deny illegal immigrants access to public support.
- A plurality of small-business owners (43%) say that too many legal immigrants are admitted each year, with 38% saying the number is about right.
- About half of those surveyed said there should be no amnesty under any circumstances, but about 44% would support it for immigrants who are employed but not dependent on government assistance. Well over half (65%) do not favor offering amnesty even if a person can prove that they have lived in the U.S. 3 years or more.
- Sixty-two percent (62%) of respondents support a guest worker program that would allow immigrants to work for a specified period of time and return home.
Several findings are significant with regard to H.R. 4437, passed by the House in December 2005. First, small business owners overwhelmingly support tougher penalties for employers who hire illegal aliens. Second, employers - particularly small business owners - do not feel that an electronic employment eligibility program such as contained in H.R. 4437 would be burdensome.
F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, JR.
House Judiciary Committee
The Associated Press is reporting that Republican opponents of the Kennedy-McCain legalization provisions of the Senate Judiciary Committee's immigration bill are threatening to filibuster the bill and that Senator Specter does not have the 60 votes needed to overcome the filibuster. Behind the scenes, Republicans have been pushing a compromise plan along the lines of what I described in my post from last night - the so-called "roots" approach where those in the US longer than five years would be put on an easier path to citizenship than those here less than that amount of time. The Senate seems to have reached an impasse and no amendments are being voted on at this point.