Newt Gingrich is trying to carve out a middle way on illegal immigration, pushing a “Red Card Solution” that would essentially expand the guest-worker program without giving those immigrants a pathway to citizenship.
But Gingrich’s compromise isn’t eliciting much praise within the immigration community: Activists on both on left and right say that Red Carding fails to address fundamental problems with the U.S. immigration system.
On the right, advocates who want greater restrictions on immigration say the Red Card Solution simply gives businesses a pool of cheap labor at the expense of native-born workers. The Kriebel Foundation, which developed the idea, “has an interest in a modern-day form of slavery while wages have atrophied for less-skilled American workers,” says Dan Stein, president of the conservative Federation for American Immigration Reform. “This is effort to create a stratified labor force that provides wealthy employers with a way to get employees at below-market rates.” What’s more, he warns, guest workers with Red Cards might simply overstay their visit when their work permits expire.
Pro-immigration advocates argue that the Red Card plan would undermine the rights of immigrants and would be massively difficult to put in place. “It virtually guarantees that we create second-class status for workers and their families — lawful but with no real rights,” says Mary Giovagnoli, director of the Immigration Policy Center. She described plan’s the elimination of birthright citizenship for Red Card workers as “eradicating rights.” She also says the proposal ignores the need to reform the legal immigration system.Read more...
Moksheda Thapa joined the American Immigration Council in October 2012 as a Program Specialist. Ms. Thapa was a J-1 visa recipient under the Partnership for Learning Undergraduate Studies (PLUS) program from 2005-2007. After completing her two years residency requirement in her home country, Nepal, she returned to the US in 2009. Ms. Thapa holds a Master of Public Service degree from the University Of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.
Jai Misra joined the American Immigration Council in April 2012 and works with the International Exchange Center's J-1 visa sponsorship program. Mr. Misra graduated from Gettysburg College with a degree in Globalization Studies, and he spent a year at the American University in Cairo (AUC) where he helped design cultural exchange programs for study abroad students at AUC's International Student Services Office.
Lois C. Magee was named Director of the American Immigration Council's International Exchange Center in January 2006. Ms. Magee has been affiliated with a number of citizen exchange organizations including the International Christian Youth Exchange, AFS Intercultural Programs, and the YMCA International Branch. She has worked with and written on J-1 visa programs for over twenty years. Ms. Magee holds a Master's degree in International Administration from the School for International Training in Brattleboro, VT.
During its nine-year history, issues have arisen with respect to restrictions on counsel by the Department of Homeland Security’s immigration agencies. Tuesday, in response to calls from the American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued immediate, comprehensive changes to their policies to ensure an appropriate role for attorneys in the immigration process.
Many non-citizens are forced to navigate the immigration process without representation because they cannot afford an attorney. But even persons who can afford one, or are represented by a pro bono attorney, have at times faced severe restrictions on their representation. This is particularly troublesome given the significant power USCIS officers wield. For example, they decide whether a non-citizen is entitled to stay in the U.S. or not. The assistance of an attorney well versed in the complexities of immigration law can help safeguard the rights of these non-citizens and ensure just outcomes.
By revising its guidance, USCIS has responded to some of the most serious access concerns. For example, the new guidance provides that an attorney generally may sit next to his or her client during an interview, may be permitted to submit relevant documents to the USCIS officer, and may raise objections to inappropriate lines of questioning.
The American Immigration Council looks forward to commenting on the new guidance and working with the agency to make sure it is followed. The other immigration agencies – Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement – should take note of USCIS’s commitment to improving access to counsel and take similar steps to recognize the meaningful role that attorneys play in protecting noncitizens’ rights.
America arrived at the Annual Society of the United Nations and walked in, seeing other countries dancing and chatting. Instead of discussing important topics, their meetings were always just fun and games. America sat down and drank a cup of punch. Then she chatted with Indonesia until Canada asked her to dance, because they were neighbors. While they were dancing, Canada asked, "Why are you so prosperous?" America thought a little and answered, "Between 1880 and 1920, many people immigrated to me, arriving in the millions. In all, there were 25 million people that came."
"There is no way that there were 25 million immigrants passed through your borders! It is impossible!" cried China, who had been listening. "Impossible!"
"I am like this punch I am drinking, made up of various ingredients. Immigrants from all over the world brought different foods, clothing, and religions. I am proud of the diversity. The exchange of ideas makes everybody more open-minded and accepting. If you walk down one of my busy streets nowadays, you will see many different shops: Chinese, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, all side by side and getting along.
President Obama’s inability to pass much-needed comprehensive immigration reform could cost him the 2012 election.
Though recent news of a rebounding economy, coupled with Republican Party infighting suggest otherwise, the Hispanic vote is neither uniform nor clearly aligned with the Democratic Party. If Hispanics fail to support the president in four key swing states — Florida, New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado — the election could go to the likely Republican candidate, former Gov. Mitt Romney.
Time magazine kicked off the topic of Hispanic electoral power with their March 5 cover story “Yo Decido.” The author noted demographic trends that favor Hispanic predominance in certain places in the nation, and last week, it was widely reported in the U.S. media that about one in six Americans are Hispanic. Additionally, one in six workers in the U.S. are Hispanic and of legal status.
While the Republicans may have learned from earlier egregious mistakes, like former candidate Herman Cain’s jocular comment about electrifying the fence between the U.S. and Mexico, they seem to have a collective tin ear when it comes to Hispanic culture, issues, voting patterns and history. They don’t understand the importance of Hispanics among us, and, surprisingly, they don’t seem to really care.
Romney is hardly progressive or nuanced when it comes to Hispanic issues; he opposes the critically important DREAM Act, which would allow people who arrived in the U.S. as children to earn an education in America beyond high school. Common sense suggests we support a policy whereby our nation, struggling to compete in an increasingly technical, global environment, supports the education of young people who want to contribute to the social and economic development of the U.S.Read more...
American Immigration Council director Ben Johnson was quoted in an article discussing reactions to the SB 1070 ruling:
Benjamin Johnson, executive director of the American Immigration Council, said it "makes clear that the federal government — and only the federal government — has the power and authority to set the nation's immigration policies."
IPC staff lawyer Ben Winograd was also quoted in the article:
"The fact that Kennedy wrote the majority opinion is itself kind of a firewall," said Ben Winograd, an attorney with the American Immigration Council. Kennedy is widely recognized as the court's key swing vote.