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Congress Adjourns Without Enacting H-1B and EB Relief December 12, 2006

Posted by dsheen88 in Action, Employment-Based Immigration, H-1B visa, Simply Immigration!.
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Congress adjourned on Saturday, 12/9/06, without passing measures to provide relief from the restrictive H-1B visa cap and employment-based (EB) green card backlogs. However, Americam Immigration Lawyers Association plans to resume its push for H-1B and EB relief in early 2007, when new Congressional leaders, and committee and subcommittee chairs, are in place.

Improvements to the Visa Waiver Program November 29, 2006

Posted by dsheen88 in Action, Employment-Based Immigration, Immigration Laws and Policies, MyComments, News and politics, Simply Immigration!, Tips, USCIS Press Release.
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Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Michael Chertoff issued a statement on security improvements to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). It followed President Bush’s announced intention to work with Congress to reform the VWP to encourage some international allies to join the program.

Here is the complete press release–

Release Date: November 28, 2006

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: (202) 282-8010

President Bush has announced his intention to work with Congress to reform the Visa Waiver Program by strengthening security measures to better facilitate the increased interest among some international allies in joining the program. Americans rightly expect this Department to fulfill its legal and moral obligation to secure our borders from those who would do us harm, while maintaining our great legacy as a welcoming country to legitimate foreign visitors. These reforms will accomplish both objectives, and encourage international allies that their goal of joining the Visa Waiver Program is a realistic one.

The Visa Waiver Program began in 1988 in the pre-9/11 world. In a post-9/11 environment, homeland security must be the priority. We can achieve greater security and greater efficiency in our Visa Waiver Program.

We envision a secure travel authorization system that will allow us to receive data about travelers from countries before they get on the plane. Countries that are willing to assist the United States in doing effective checks on travelers could be put on track to enter the program soon. For countries seeking admission to the Visa Waiver Program, this would be an opportunity to set a standard that will be applied to the program generally.

We want to welcome people who are interested in working or traveling in the United States provided they abide by the terms of their admission and, also importantly, provided they don’t furnish a security threat. I want to stress that the United States will equally accept the burden of new security measures and will not require citizens of visa waiver countries to adopt measures that we are unwilling to undertake ourselves. The Department looks forward to working with Congress and our foreign allies to improve the visa waiver eligibility requirements.

Senate Appropriators Block Harsh Enforcement Provisions…on DHS Funding September 26, 2006

Posted by dsheen88 in Action, Immigration Laws and Policies, MyComments, News and politics, Politics and World Events, Simply Immigration!.
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House and Senate negotiators, on 9/25/06, agreed on a $34.8 billion conference report to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in FY 2007 (H.R. 5441). This sum is an increase of $2.3 billion above fiscal year 2006 and $2.7 billion above the President’s request (includes $1.8 in emergency spending). The conference agreement is expected to be cleared by both chambers by the end of the week. Thanks in part to the work of American Immigration Lawyers Associaation members, a group of Senate appropriators prevented the inclusion in the conference report of harsh immigration enforcement measures that House Republicans attempted to attach to it.

National Fast for Immigrant Justice – September 30! September 21, 2006

Posted by dsheen88 in Action, Immigration Laws and Policies, MyComments, News and politics, Simply Immigration!, Tips.
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The National Fast for Immigrant Justice will call attention to the horrors of IIRIRA, and put a human face on the suffering this terrible law is inflicting on the most vulnerable among us. Participants in the National Fast for Immigrant Justice will donate the money that they would have spent on food on September 30th to organizations that fight for justice for immigrants, and will contact elected officials and let them know that they are fasting, and why.

For more information please contact: John Gomez (312) 550-7036. You can also read more online at: http://www.nationalfastforimmigrantjustice.com/

“America is Immigration” September 18, 2006

Posted by dsheen88 in Action, MyComments, Simply Immigration!, Tips.
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Here is a heart-felt piece of writing that I came across…and would like to share with you..

“Asian-American, Cuban-American, European-American, African-American, Mexican-American”…”different backgrounds, different cultures, but all united by the fact that when the hyphen is eliminated we are all Americans.Over the years the United States has been called a nation of immigrants. The fact that we are a melting pot for so many different cultures, races, and religions makes us unique in the world. It is also what has helped mold our national character. For more than 300 years, various ethnic, cultural, and social groups have come to our shores to reunite with their loved ones, to seek economic opportunity, and to find a haven from religious and political persecution. They bring their hopes, their dreams, and, in turn, contribute, enrich, and energize America.

And yet, today, we are witnessing television shows that vilify newcomers as scam artists, news stories that showcase the growing backlash against immigration, and politicians and reporters who make no distinction between immigrants entering the country legally or illegally. Unfortunately, much of what we are reading, hearing, and seeing is based on fiction, not fact. So what is the true story?

Less than a million immigrants arrive in the United States each year. Of these, 700,000 enter as lawful permanent residents and another 100,000 to 150,000 enter legally as refugees or others fleeing persecution. Undocumented immigrants constitute only 1% of the total U.S. population and, contrary to popular belief, most of these immigrants do not enter the United States illegally by crossing our border with Canada or Mexico. Instead most immigrants here illegally, 6 out of 10, enter the U.S. legally with a student, tourist, or business visa and become illegal when they stay in the United States after their visas expire.

Most legal immigrants, about 8 out of 11, come to join close family members. Family-sponsored immigrants enter as either immediate relatives–spouses, unmarried minor children, parents– of U.S. citizens, or through the family preference system, for relatives of permanent residents and siblings of U.S. citizens. While there are unlimited number of visas issued for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, INS data shows that only around 235,000 visas have been issued annually in this category in recent years. The family preference system is far more restrictive and limits the number of visas issued in its four categories to a total of 226,000 per year. In addition, the waiting period for a visa can very long. For example, a sibling of a U.S. citizen who applies today to immigrate to this country could get a visa 30 years from now.

It is easy to see that family reunification is the cornerstone of our legal immigration policy. It is truly one of the most visible areas in government policy in which we support and strengthen family values. We acknowledge that family unification translates into strong families who build strong communities.

The second priority of our legal admissions system allows employers to bring in a relatively small number of skilled workers from overseas when there are no qualified Americans available to fill the job. This doesn’t mean that we shirk our responsibility to educate and train those already here. It only means that we recognize the need to be able to attract talented and hardworking individuals from all corners of the world and to acquire often needed expertise and experience.

This concept is not new. Throughout our history we have relied on the strength, expertise, and special skills of foreign workers and immigrants to build this country. As early as 1610 Italian craftsmen were brought to the New World by the Virginia Colony to start the glass trade. In the mid- 1800s American manufacturers advertised in European newspapers offering free passage to any man willing to come to the United States to work for them. Immigrant workers have altered American life and their contributions were, and still are, significant to the economic growth of our nation.

Finally, American immigration policy fulfills our commitment to religious and political freedom. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” is not rhetoric, it is America’s pledge to ensure that those brave men and women who face the prospect of ethnic cleansing, religious oppression, torture, and even death have a haven. Because this country was founded in large part by those who fled various kinds of political and religious persecution, it has become of our historical responsibility to serve as an advocate for human rights.

–AILA

Attention H-1B Employers! September 11, 2006

Posted by dsheen88 in Action, H-1B visa, MyComments, Tips.
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“The H-1B blackout is bad for business and only an increased cap will make it better.” 

We want to encourage all H-1B employers and businesses to urge Congress for H-1B relief with a personalized letter. We want to share share this model letter (prepared by AILA) with you and we want to ask you to copy the text onto your company letterhead and add specific examples of limitations imposed by the H-1B cap. This is a great way for American businesses to discreetly educate policy makers about the adverse impacts of the cap and express your support for reform.

Here is the sample letter…

September XX, 2006

The Honorable __________
United States Congress
Washington, DC ______

Dear [Senator/Representative] ________:I am writing to you regarding a crisis that is negatively impacting our company’s ability to stay at the cutting edge. There is a current H-1B visa “blackout” crisis that is detrimentally affecting American businesses. The H-1B visa is a vital tool necessary to keep the
U.S. economy competitive in the world market and to keep jobs in America.

[Add info here about your company; add any specific examples you may have re problems caused by the H-1B cap].

As you may be aware, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service announced that the numerical cap limiting the H-1B program for temporary professional workers was reached on May 26, 2006, over four months before the start of fiscal year (FY) 2007. As the situation now stands, companies seeking access to the best and brightest global talent must now wait until April 1, 2007 to begin the application process for hiring an H-1B, highly-skilled worker for FY 2008, which does not start until October 1, 2007. It is untenable for American businesses to be cut-off from this talent pool until late next year.

Far from harming U.S. workers and the U.S. economy, highly educated foreign professionals benefit our country by allowing U.S. employers to develop new products, undertake groundbreaking research, implement new projects, expand operations, create additional new jobs, and compete in the global marketplace. [Add any examples of how H-1B workers have helped your company]

An important step you can take to address this situation is to cosponsor [H.R. 5744/S. 2691], the “Securing Knowledge Innovation and Leadership Act of 2006,” also known as the SKIL Bill. The SKIL Bill was introduced by [Representative John Shadegg (R-AZ) on June 29, 2006/Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) on May 2, 2006], and is a positive sign that Congress is serious about correcting a growing competitiveness crisis for the United States.

Every day that passes without access to these highly-skilled workers is a lost opportunity for growth, productivity, and innovation. If U.S. companies do not have the ability to hire the best and brightest from around the world, our international competitors will continue to hire away these talented workers, causing our nation’s competitive advantage to suffer.

If you need any additional information or would like to meet regarding this matter, please do not hesitate to contact me at __________. Thank you for your attention in this urgent matter.

Sincerely,

[You name, title and business]

In-State tuition for undocumented students September 8, 2006

Posted by dsheen88 in Action, News and politics.
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On 9/1/06 the House Committee on Education and the Workforce held a field hearing entitled “Paying for College: Higher Education and the American Taxpayer” in Greeley, CO. Testimonies were given from Chairman Howard McKeon, Professor Kris Kobach, Honorable Cory Gardner, Jared Polis, Theresa S. Shaw, Debra L. DeMuth, and Dr. Marilynn Liddell.

Call for Action! Congress Reconvenes in Washington September 6, 2006

Posted by dsheen88 in Action, News and politics.
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The August recess–and the series of faux field hearings held by conservative Members of Congress–has come to a close, and Congress returns to Washington this week to consider remaining legislation before the November elections. Given the critical issues our nation must address, it is disappointing that the House appears to have abandoned work on vitally important immigration legislation in order to concentrate on more minor, and less controversial, bills.With the press already calling immigration reform “unlikely” this year, now is the time to urge your elected officials to push ahead and work to pass comprehensive immigration legislation. Write to your Senators and Representative, and tell them not to give up on comprehensive immigration reform!

Action Alert! House and Senate Hearings on Immigration Reform September 1, 2006

Posted by dsheen88 in Action, News and politics.
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Attend If You Can!  

City: Greeley, CO
Date: September 1
Time: 9:00 AM
Location: University of Northern Colorado, University Center, Panorama Room, 2045 10th Avenue
Committee: House Committee on Education and the Workforce
Additional information: Subject of hearing is “Paying for College: Higher Education and the American Taxpayer.” The first panel will provide testimony on a provision of the U.S. Senate-passed immigration bill to repeal a 1996 federal law that prohibits states from offering in-state tuition rates to undocumented immigrants unless that state also offers the same tuition rates to all U.S. citizens.
Witnesses will include:

  • Cory Gardner, Colorado State Representative, 63rd District, Yuma, CO
  • Kris Kobach, Professor of Law, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, Kansas City, MO
  • Theresa S. Shaw, Chief Operating Officer, Office of Federal Student Aid, Department of Education
  • Debra L. DeMuth, Director, College Access Network, Denver, CO

City: Dubuque, IA
Date: September 1
Time: 9:00 AM
Location: The Grand River Center, Meeting Rooms 1 & 2, 2nd Floor, 500 Bell Street
Committee: House Judiciary Committee
Additional information: Subject of hearing is “Is the Reid-Kennedy bill a repeat of the failed amnesty of 1986?”
Witnesses will include:

  • Honorable Charles Grassley, United States Senator from the State of Iowa
  • Michael W. Cutler, Former Inspector, Examiner, and Special Agent, Immigration and Naturalization Service
  • John Fonte, PhD, Director, Center for American Common Culture, Hudson Institute
  • Councilwoman Ann E. Michalski, City Council of Dubuque
  • Professor Robert Lee Maril, Chair, Department of Sociology, East Carolina University

Take Action August 30, 2006

Posted by dsheen88 in Action.
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 “We Are America Alliance” to Mobilize Millions Labor Day Weekend! Join the Movement!

Labor Day Weekend – Million-person mobilizations – Regional mobilizations in Los Angeles, Chicago, Phoneix, and Washington, DC are expected to attract a million supporters for comprehensive immigration reform…

City/State: Los Angeles, CA
Date/Time: September 9th
Where to Go: TBD
What’s Happening: Rally
Who to Contact: Elda Martinez
CARECEN
(213) 385-7800
Xiomara Corpeno
CHIRLA
(213) 353-1333