Bloggings on Immigration Law and Policy

by Greg Siskind

Violence Against Women Act Extension Will Help Abused Immigrants

The ability of abused illegally present women to be able to escape violent domestic relationship and get a visa was one of the hot button issues in the legislation. These individuals have had this right for several years, so we're not talking about something new, but there are many who would not want to "reward" these lawbreakers no matter how horrific their individual situations. Fortunately, public shaming pressured Republican leaders to allow for a vote on the bill in the House (the Democratic Senate was not a problem) and enough moderate Republicans supported the measure for it to pass. Some wise GOP elder statesmen (and women) presumably figured out that the one-two punch of angering women and Hispanics was probably not going to help get the Republican brand out of the dumps.

Which raises a broader question for the Republicans. Do you think it helps your image when you appear to be dragging your feet on immigration, VAWA and other issues only to eventually give in or does it make more sense to step out front and actually lead boldly on these issues? The Center for Immigration Studies is probably right when they say Latino voters probably won't switch to the GOP even if immigration reform passes. But that's probably because they sense that you don't really like them and are doing only what you need to do to survive as a viable national party. The rhetoric matters. How you deal with people in your party who regularly trash immigrants matters. What's in your national platform matters. What your presidential candidates say in debates matters. Which candidates you allocate your party's funds to matters. In short, just passing a bill alone won't cut it.

Labrador Softens Position on Pathway to Citizenship

He is now against a "new pathway" to citizenship. From Spokane's Spokesman-Review:

"If anyone wants to apply for citizenship, they must do that in the same way as any other immigrant."

This is essentially what Bob Goodlatte said yesterday and it is the compromise path I've been suggesting - direct legalized immigrants through existing pathways to citizenship and make adequate numbers of visas available to absorb them after those in line today are finished processing.

House Holds Hearing on Ag Workers

Democrats and Republicans apparently agree the H-2A program is a failure and needs major reworking.

Start Up Visa Could Add Up to 1.65% Per Year to US GDP

From a report from the Kaufman Foundation. That's a quarter of a trillion dollars a year for those of you playing at home. Plus as many as 1.65 million new jobs after ten years. This is a no brainer, people.

Goodlatte Endorses Conventional Path to Citizenship Rather Than a Special One

A few days back I noted that Bob Goodlatte, the House Judiciary Chairman, hinted that he might support a conventional path to citizenship rather than a special path for the millions of people who would legalize under comprehensive immigration reform. He got more specific yesterday. What's the difference? In short, to qualify for a green card, legalized individuals would need to apply under existing green card categories like those available to close relatives of US citizens and individuals working in jobs employers cannot find Americans to do. A special path would allow legalized individuals to apply simply by waiting until a certain period of time has passed or enforcement benchmarks are met.

I personally prefer the conventional path approach as it makes clear that those who have been waiting it out get the highest priority and we also first reward individuals who meet American priorities like family reunification and filling unmet labor needs. The approach would require a massive expansion of green card numbers or people could face 50 year waits given how miniscule the current quota system is compared to the population we're talking about. But if we did expand overall numbers, using the conventional approach, legalized individuals would still need to get to the back of the line.

There might still be a way after a long period of time has passed for individuals who can't qualify in the conventional categories to still secure a green card. But I think the Goodlatte approach is worth further discussing as the potential basis for a plan..

Hat tip to reader George Chell for the link.

About The Author 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

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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