Immigration Newsletter

Friday, September 17, 2010

News Analysis - Immigration Path for Students Pushed in Senate -

News Analysis - Immigration Path for Students Pushed in Senate - "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

The DREAM ACT may be attached to a military spending bill coming up for a vote this fall. This NYT article by Julia Preston gives the impression that this is a purely political move by Harry Reid and that nobody believes that it will actually become law.

The DREAM ACT is a measure that would allow high school students who do not have legal status (because their parents either brought them to the US illegally or they overstayed their visas) to become legal residents if they have received good grades and have been accepted to college or military service.

The measure has received a decent amount of support in the past - perhaps because children generally do not choose to violate the law by coming here illegally with their parents, and because it would encourage students to work harder at school and to stay out of gangs and other trouble.

I hope this turns out to be more than just a meaningless gesture...time will tell.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Immigration in the NH Republican Primary

I don't mind if Bill Binnie or Bob Clegg wants to call for tougher immigration enforcement (or Kelly Ayotte for that matter) that is their right. However, I object to using the term "illegals" in this advertisement.

Human beings should not be objectified and reduced to a pejorative term based on one characteristic they may have. It is insidious to do this and the politicians who wish to be our leaders know better. This is the sort of thing that is done - not in civil society - but rather in war to make it easier to perform what must be the very psychologically difficult job of killing the enemy in battle. We can have debates about immigration policy in the United States without resorting to the kind of rhetoric that sums up a person's entire being in a derogatory epithet.

Can you imagine a politician going on television in this day and age and accusing their opponent of being soft on "blanks" or "blanks" or even "blanks"? -- (I was going to put a short list of current and historical nasty names for different groups in our society, but I'll let you imagine the ones that are most offensive to you).

I don't care if politicians don't use whatever the most politically correct term is these days; I'm not even sure what that would be - "undocumented workers" - perhaps. Just don't go down this road of cheapening the political public discourse in NH by using language that is clearly meant as invective rather than descriptive.

More Immigration History


The above link is to a paper at the Immigration Policy Center, written by Peter Schrag. It is drawn from a larger book available at University of California Press as well as Amazon. --------->

It just goes to show that as a country - we have been having arguments about immigration practically since the founding of the Nation (if not before actually). The fears raised have always been remarkably the same - crime, disease, education, lack of English, protection of Native workers, etc...

We call ourselves a Nation of Immigrants (although you don't hear that as much these days). It doesn't seem like we have always lived up to our national aspirations on that front however. The same kind of dehumanizing and hateful rhetoric used against people today - has been used by Nativists throughout the country's history. If all the complaints about immigrants were true - we would have long ago been consumed by the invasion of "Papists hordes" from Ireland and Southern/Eastern Europe or by the "inferior" races of "the Orient" in the 19th and 20th Centuries.

Of course those fears and prejudices were proven exaggerated and wrong then and they are wrong today. This country became the world power it is today largely because of our openness to immigration - despite the naysayers.

Fear, hate, and mistrust of "the other" and "the outsider" are all the rage today it seems...I hope some people will take the time to examine this book and others that can remind us that we have dealt with these fears before and overcome them to the benefit of all Americans.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Immigration Debate Steps Into the Kitchen -

Immigration Debate Steps Into the Kitchen - "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

here is a link to an interesting article by: Sarah Kershaw of the NYT

Click on the link above to read the article -- my comment starts here:

Undocumented workers are not just found in the fields harvesting crops; many businesses and even entire industries have a segment of their employee pool that consists of immigrant workers - and not all of them are in the country legally. They were here when the unemployment rate was in the 4% range and many still remain.

You may have heard or read recently that the number of illegal immigrants in the United States has dropped substantially over the past two years. The Department of Homeland Security does deport quite a number of people every year ( I have heard estimates in the area of 350 thousand). However, in the past, that has been more than offset by the number of new people either coming illegally or coming legally and then overstaying their visas. What has changed? The economy of course -- construction, for example, is one of the big employment categories where immigrant workers find jobs. Now that construction has slowed to a snail's pace some undocumented workers (mostly non-Mexicans as I read it) have left and fewer are making the journey to the United States.

My job as an immigration lawyer is to find ways for workers and employers here in New Hampshire and the rest of New England to comply with the always changing immigration laws. It is important for our economy that workers are here legally; it helps protect the workers themselves from exploitation, it helps ensure fair competition for labor so that US citizen workers are not put at an unfair disadvantage, it helps with the proper collection of employment related taxes, and it makes for a more stable and productive economic environment.

In years past - immigration law enforcement against business has been pretty spotty at best. Politicians and government agencies weren't interested in hearing flak from business and industry groups and chambers of commerce about stifling the economy with immigration enforcement. Businesses who have not been careful about their compliance activities with the immigration laws need to take notice because that policy is changing.