Archive for October 2013

Remaining an Optimist on CIR Is Becoming Harder and Harder Even After House Democrats Introduce a Comprehensive Reform Measure

October 15th, 2013 — 4:51pm

In an effort to jumpstart stalled comprehensive immigration reform deliberations, the Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives introduced their version of a comprehensive immigration reform bill on October 2. “The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act,” is modeled after S.744, the Senate bill that passed that chamber in late June. The introduction of the H.R.15 was part of an orchestrated series of events, including marches and vigils that took place across the country to remind the public that immigration reform is among the many pieces of business that remain unfinished while Congress is in fiscal lockdown. While perhaps more symbolic than realistic – the bill is unlikely go anywhere given the Republican House members’ preference for piecemeal legislation and a refusal to vote for any measure that includes a pathway for citizenship for the undocumented – it is at least an important step toward keeping immigration reform in the conversation. Nevertheless, the stalemate on immigration continues, as does other important legislative matters.

To recap where we are on immigration reform: In late June, the Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) bill, a sweeping and long overdue overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws. For months since its passage, the House of Representatives dragged its collective feet to consider the bill.  Instead, four piecemeal bills were approved by House committees, but have yet to be sent to the full House of Representatives for a floor vote, and none addresses legalization. Then, in mid September, two House Republicans who had been trying to draft a comprehensive immigration package dropped out of bipartisan negotiations. Texas Republican Representatives John Carter and Sam Johnson said that they had “reached a tipping point” in the talks and could no longer continue working on a broad approach to rewrite the country’s immigration laws. Their leaving basically dismantled the so-called Gang of Seven bipartisan group in the House that has struggled to draft legislation.   H.R. 15 has no Republican sponsors.

Meanwhile, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee,  has promised action on immigration reform legislation and has been working on four separate bills in addition to the four already approved by the committee.  Optimists note that a piecemeal approach could result in House approval of a series of bills that could lead to negotiations with the Senate on a compromise immigration reform bill.  Pessimists, on the other hand, point to the remarks of House Speaker John Boehner, who has expressed reluctance to bring the bill to a vote.  The refusal appears to be an acknowledgment of the so-called “Hastert Rule,” a principle used to limit voting to only those bills supported by a majority of the majority party. This is the same rule that has prevented a vote in the full House of Representatives on a “clean” continuing resolution to keep the government open from going forward.

Finding congressional common ground on the various immigration reform bills seems formidable – it always is – but a bigger obstacle may be the full agenda still awaiting lawmakers, including the budget and debt ceiling. According to one insider, the chance of CIR becoming law in 2013 is zero percent; the chance of enactment in 2014 is greater than zero.

Comment » | Immigration reform

Immigration Policy: The Challenges of Attracting A Global Talent Pool

October 2nd, 2013 — 8:35am

When it comes to attracting the best and the brightest to lead innovative industries in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, the United States is no longer the first choice on everyone’s list.  The supply and demand for these top-tier workers is growing by leaps and bounds. The 34 countries of the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) are now competing for the very same talent we are every day.

A new report from the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) explains that OCED countries realize attracting individuals from this talented global talent pool can propel both firms and economies into a higher level of worldwide competition and growth. And that’s not our only challenge. As developing countries continue to grow, their immigration policies become less bureaucratic, which opens up even more destinations for those looking for top-paying, international careers.

As the rest of the world is welcoming international talent with open arms, what does this mean for the United States?  Trouble.  Our current immigration system is frozen and inert.  Because Congress has not made any significant changes for the past 20 years, our innovation economy has stopped attracting and retaining skilled workers from the global talent pool. In addition to the necessary internal immigration policy changes needed for our nation to become an inclusive and welcoming country, we must also design policies that pinpoint the immigrants who have the best chance for success and determine ways to encourage them to remain.

The MPI report explains, “The role of employees in both attracting and selecting immigrants is crucial.  Immigration policy is not a two-way relationship between governments and immigrants, but a three-way interaction in which employers are front and center.”  U.S. employers create the jobs and opportunities for a skilled global workforce and must be included in the discussions leading to immigration policy change.

Because global competition is only becoming more cutthroat, our immigration policy needs to become nimble, straightforward and accountable.  We are putting our competitive advantage in peril as a world leader if we don’t work to bring our immigration system into the 21st century.

Zulkie Partners is nationally recognized for its command of immigration law.  We offer services that cover all aspects of corporate immigration law, including nonimmigrant work visas, permanent residence sponsorship and more.

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Comment » | Immigration reform

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