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  • Article: Monty Python and the Battle for CIR by Robert P. Webber

    Monty Python and the Battle for CIR

    by Robert P. Webber

    In one of the most memorable scenes from the 1970s cult classic, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” King Arthur does battle against the Black Knight. If you are unfamiliar with the scene, you can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhRUe-gz690.

    In light of the news on Friday, September 20, reported on ilw.com (via Politico) and elsewhere that 2 Republicans have left the House Gang of 7 (making it a Gang of 5 with 1 lone Republican), I can’t help but feeling CIR activists are channeling the Black Knight in their efforts. In the CIR version of this battle, the CIR activists slayed the Green Knight (Romney) but are overconfident and irrationally uncompromising, taking hits and dismissing them as ‘but a flesh wound’. To carry the analogy a bit too far, GOP House Judiciary Chairman (and former AILA member) Bob Goodlatte is King Arthur, just marching along with his proposals for a Dream Act, reinstatement of 245(i) and EB reform via Darrell Issa’s Skills Visa Act.

    Of course these proposals by Goodlatte and others could use improvement, but the Black Knight doesn’t really want to negotiate. He wants to shout about his greatness and his demographic inevitability. If you ask the Black Knight, he’s invincible; although objective observation would suggest otherwise.

    It remains peculiar that CIR activists continue to do battle with the House GOP when there is so much low-hanging fruit available via unilateral executive branch action. It was just a few years ago when the Bush Administration used the H-1B cap as justification for creating 3 year TN visas and 17-month month STEM-based OPT extensions. And of course there have been many other executive actions including I-601A waiver processing, prosecutorial discretion, and most notably DACA. The swiftness of implementation of “DOMA is dead” benefits shows that the Administration can act quickly if it wants. All of these things have been done without Congressional action. Presumably President Obama and his Administration are more open-minded about changes to improve the U.S. immigration system than the knuckle-dragging Republicans; but the CIR activists choose to spend their time and money taking their battle to the knuckle-draggers. Why?

    I am not the first one to mention this, but one thing that could be done immediately is what I might call DA4 (“Deferred Action for All Age Arrivals”). The age requirements of DACA were pulled out of the air; so clearly the Administration could adjust their guidance to allow deferred action benefits to all age arrivals. Further, the Obama Administration could change the regulations and allow any person to file an I-485 adjustment of status application if that person has an approved I-140 or I-130, regardless of their priority date. It is true that this will not get people into legal permanent resident status faster, given the limited number of immigrant visas, and it will not lead to what some cynics think is the real goal – a fast track for millions of new Democratic Party voters; but hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals and their families would benefit from EADs and social security numbers and the possibility of improving their lives and the lives of their children. Ask any immigrant whether they would rather be an applicant for adjustment of status with an EAD, or not.

    The most mind-boggling aspect of the CIR activists is their obsession that all the changes needs to be done at one time and in one bill, as if that is the only way democracy can work, to get everything you want all at one time and accept nothing else. Why not push for the changes you can get today; and keep pushing for other changes you might get next year or in 3 years? One of the most brutal examples of that will come this fall if the House GOP passes a Dream Act, and the Senate fails to take it up as being too little, too late.

    Someone with influence among the CIR activists should write a 2-3 page immigration reform proposal that combines statutory 245i, with executive action on DA4, and what I like to call the “Dinesh Shenoy rule” - http://www.ilw.com/articles/2005,0916-shenoy.shtm.

    It is hard to say but perhaps it is not too late for the Black Knight (those seeking immigration reform), if they will make some adjustments to their expectations and develop some awareness of where they stand in the world: We live in a democracy where people vary on policy issues. Sit up in the apple cart! Show the world CIR “is not dead yet” -- rather “it’s getting better.” Make us all “feel happy!” – to quote another classic scene from the same film; although I realize now I am getting way off my analogy and probably outing myself as a Monty Python geek. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGFXGwHsD_A

    About The Author

    Robert P. Webber is the Principal Attorney at Webber Law Firm, LLC. He limits his practice to employment-based and family-based immigration law matters. Bob graduated from Wheaton College (Wheaton, IL) with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, and earned his law degree at William Mitchell College of Law (St. Paul, MN). Bob is licensed to practice law by the Supreme Court of Minnesota and because immigration law is federal law, he is permitted to represent clients throughout the United States and worldwide on U.S. immigration law matters. He blogs at www.immpolicy.com.

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