Sometimes "smart" immigration reform is counter-intuitive. In an opinion piece in the Milwaukee Journal today by Kurt R. Bauer and Jay Timmons wrote that "Manufacturers need immigration reform". With unemployment still hovering near 7.5% it seems counter-intuitive to suggest that we need more immigration, especially in manufacturing. Despite the unemployment rate, employers are struggling to fill jobs. Bauer and Timmons report that 600,000 manufacturing jobs are open because employers can't find workers with the right skills. The situation is even more extreme in "STEM" fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In a 2012 report done by the Information Technology Industry Council, Partnership for a New American Economy, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, concluded that there were 1.9 job openings for every unemployed worker in a STEM field. THAT is a shortage of qualified workers! That report further concluded that "every foreign-born student who graduates from a U.S. university with an advanced degree and stays to work in STEM has been shown to create on average 2.62 jobs for American workers-often because they help lead in innovation, research, and development." In a June 2011 report by the Partnership for a New American Economy (a consortium of major corporate CEO's and Mayors), highlights the significant benefit we receive from immigrant entrepreneurs by looking at the Fortune 500. "The companies that populate the list - names like Kraft, Ford, General Electric, Procter & Gamble, AT&T, Mattel, Google, McDonald's, Heinz, Home Depot, Hertz, Estée Lauder, UPS, Boeing and Disney - are synonymous with America's leading role in the global marketplace. But the great American companies listed above are also "New American" companies - companies founded by immigrants or their children - a characteristic they share with more than 200 others on the 2010 Fortune 500 list."
It appears that comprehensive immigration reform with a path toward legalization and eventual citizenship is still alive and well. This, despite the House of Representatives seeming unwillingness to take up comprehensive immigration reform. During the Congressional recess that will end on September 9th, more and more House Republicans are announcing their support for a comprehensive bill that would provide a road map toward legalization and eventual citizenship for the nearly 11 million aspiring Americans who currently do not have documents. This seems to be the result of the many town hall meetings where the issue of immigration has been a frequent topic. One stumbling block for the reform is confusion or misinformation regarding the concept of a road map to citizenship. This is not a "special" pathway being created especially for undocumented immigrants. Rather, eventual citizenship is the natural consequence that follows from finding a way for these 11 million people to become documented or "legalized". The piecemeal approach relied upon so far by the House of Representatives is a disastrous boondoggle. Comprehensive immigration reform is a much smarter approach to fixing out broken immigration system. And, there is very likely a sufficient bi-partisan majority in the House to pass a bill similar to that passed by the Senate if only the Speaker would allow such a bill to come to the floor for a vote. While Congress is in recess is an excellent time to contact your Congressional delegate to urge Speaker Boehner and other House leadership to schedule a vote on comprehensive immigration reform. You can contact your Congressional delegate by going to www.mileybrown.com and selecting Contact Congress or you may contact one of our attorneys here at Miley & Brown, P.C..
Earned immigration reform for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants is a reasonable solution. There is, however, a substantial lack of understanding about who those 11 million people are and about their impact on the United States. Nearly every credible economic study on the impact of immigration reform, from conservative and centrist to liberal think tanks, has come to the same conclusion: that a reform that brings 11 million undocumented immigrants "into the fold" will boost Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by billions of dollars over the next decade. It would also increase our tax revenues (without raising taxes) AND, more importantly, put hundreds of thousands of Americans back to work.
Take Action Now on Immigration Reform. Now is the time to be proactive on immigration matters. Congress has taken their August recess from August 5th through September 8th. During this time, members of Congress head back to their districts for a five week in-district work period. Many will be hosting public events such as town hall meetings, forums, and other constituent events. This is a perfect opportunity for us to encourage Representatives to support bipartisan, common sense immigration reform with a road map to legalization and eventual citizenship. Another possible tack is to encourage members of the House to allow a reform bill to come to the floor of the House for a vote. There are probably enough House members to pass such a bill if the Speaker, John Boehner, would allow a reform bill to go to the floor for a vote.
Many Immigration Implications for Same Sex Couples. On August 3rd, the U.S. Department of State sent a cable to posts throughout the world outlining the next steps for immigration related issues for same sex couples. This cable clarifies many issues for same sex couples and family members.
Immigration reform that includes a roadmap to citizenship is probably a long shot. The Republicans in the House seem to be adverse to any legislation that could provide a benefit to undocumented immigrants or people they see as "law breakers". That is why they are moving forward very slowly with piecemeal enforcement measures such as heightened border security, strengthened internal enforcement, and mandatory E-Verify (an internet-based system that compares information from an employee's Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to data from U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration records to confirm employment eligibility).
Immigration and CBP Automated Form I-94 Admissions. On April 30, 2013, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) began implementing its plan to automate the Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record. Pursuant to regulations published in the Federal Register on March 27, 2013, CBP is no longer using the paper Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record and will be substituting an annotated passport stamp and an electronic record for certain aliens arriving at air and sea ports of entry. Aliens arriving at a land border will continue to receive a paper Form I-94 from CBP.