Bloggings on Immigration Law

by Roger Algase

I am not a sociologist, so I have no intention of stepping into the controversy between ID's May 21 editorial and Representative Judy Chu over the relative importance (no pun intended) of sibling relationships for immigration purposes. Sibling relationships, one can be quite sure, have run the gamut from negative to positive in every culture and every era ever since (and no doubt long before) the question "Am I my brother's keeper?" was asked in the Book of Genesis.

To give, another, more recent and positive, example of the importance of a sibling relationship. one of my clients, who had been waiting more than a decade for a 245(i) F4 petition by her USC sister to be approved, was able to have her removal proceeding terminated and her green card approved when the sister's I-130 petition was finally approved. If CIR passes in its present form, many thousands of people like her will be denied an immigration lifeline of this type.

Of course, It can be argued that this client would have benefited from CIR's legalization provisions anyway, but this benefit would be only a provisional one, which would still leave her at least partly in the shadows.

Granted, one cannot argue with ID's conclusion that, US politics and election results being what they are, some people have to go under the bus to get CIR passed. But what are the actual benefits to America of throwing F4 siblngs and DV lottery applicants under the bus? Why them?

The official pretext is that America needs to switch from a "family-based" immigration system to a "skills-based" one. Anyone who believes that that is the real reason no doubt also believes that global warming is totally ruled out as a possible cause of extreme weather catastrophes such this week's devastating tornado in Oklahoma or Hurricane Sandy. A closed mind is a closed mind.

But if America really wants to switch from "family-based" to "skills-based immigration, why are virtually all H-1B employers and applicants (and not only Indian-staffing or consulting companies) also being thrown under the bus in the new CIR bill? Anyone who thinks that there will be a viable H-1B program left if these provisions become law should take a closer look at the bill.

The switch from family to skills (as if we did not already have any skills-based immigration) is little more than the sheerest form of hypocrisy. The real motivation for eliminating F4 siblings and DV lottery applicants is to make legal immigration just a little more white and a little less brown. Every good Republican knows that family immigration means more Latinos and Asians and DV-1 means more African immigrants. What better way to keep them out than by holding 11 million unauthorized immigrants hostage in CIR negotiations.

In the "CR" (Civil Rights) era, the issue was whether people of color would have to go to the back of the bus. Now, in the era of CIR, many of them will have to go under the bus instead.

About The Author

Roger Algase is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been practicing business immigration law in New York City for more than 20 years.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) alone and should not be imputed to ILW.COM.