Yesterday was a travel day for me so I didn't get to hear a lot of the hearing until late in the evening. I don't think we heard much we haven't heard before, but a couple of quick observations.
The first panel sounded like a new day in the House. Lots of general agreement on the benefits of immigration. And the debate was more about HOW we legalize people rather than IF we do. A path to citizenship or just some type of lesser status? Piecemeal reform or comprehensive. But the second panel was what we've come to expect. FAIR's think tank, the Center for Immigration Studies, had a spot at the table as did Chris Crain, an ICE union chief who opposes legalization and generally thinks DACA is just a vehicle for fraud.
In terms of tone, I was a little encouraged that the two most important Republicans in the room - Reps. Goodlatte and Gowdy who chair the Judiciary Committee and the Immigration Subscommittee. Both seemed to be trying to be interested in talking about the value of immigration while balancing the rule of law. Both seemed open to hearing a discuss of a variety of options rather than falling back on the old talking points (a few others in the hearing didn't seem to have a problem doing that).
It was nice seeing my friends Vivek Wadhwa and Puneet Arora testify and both spoke eloquently on the need for skilled immigration and the litany of problems with the current system. And I'm glad each made a point of talking about the need to address our problems comprehensively rather than selling out people who would benefit from other parts of a reform bill.
C-Span has the hearing on their web site here.
What did those of you who watched the hearing think?
Greg Siskind is a partner in Siskind Susser's Memphis, Tennessee, office. After graduating magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University, he received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago. Mr. Siskind is a member of AILA, a board member of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and a member of the ABA, where he serves on the LPM Publishing Board as Marketing Vice Chairman. He is the author of several books, including the J Visa Guidebook and The Lawyer's Guide to Marketing on the Internet. Mr. Siskind practices all areas of immigration law, specializing in immigration matters of the health care and technology industries. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.