Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Comprehensive Immigration Reform

A very wise man (my Dad) told me, "It's a good thing we don't get all the government we pay for."

While looking for the H-1B temporary worker program publications which have been missing since Fy 2005, I found a report called, "The Triennial Comprehensive Report on Immigration." Browsing through the 162 page pdf file, I was looking for the information/concerns that would be relevant to U.S. citizens and permanent residents.


I happened upon this priceless quote:

"For the issue areas of the labor market, the housing market, and environmental quality, no specific material is included because the relevant Federal agencies could not provide sufficient information to support such a discussion."

In the 2006 and 2007 versions of Comprehensive Immigrations Reform (thankfully rejected by grassroots activism), the headline of the legislation was an amnesty for the 12 to 20 million illegal- immigrants, but the legislation also doubled the amount of legal immigration. How can our wise politicians, economists and lobbyists support doubling the amount of legal immigration, if they have no data on employment, housing and the environment?

Senator Schumer is taking the lead on the emerging version of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, here are a couple of quotes...

Remarks by U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer
6th Annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference
Migration Policy Institute
June 24, 2009

"Fifth, we need to recognize that reuniting families is an important value of our
immigration system. By dramatically reducing the number of illegal aliens
who are able to enter the United States, we will create room for both families
and employment-based immigrants so that the total number of immigrants to our
country is no greater than today."

I assume that it is yet to be determined whether the total number of immigrants means illegal-immigrants plus legal immigrants. I'm sure the cheap-labor lobby will insist upon some sort of increase. On the other hand, Senator Schumer seems to have a better understanding of the current highly-skilled labor-arbitrage problems/programs (non-immigrant employment visas).

"Sixth, we need to recognize the important contribution that high-skilled immigrants have already made, and must continue to make, toward revitalizing and reinventing the American economy. "

"No immigration system would be worthwhile if it is unable to attract the best and brightest minds of the world to come to the United States and create jobs for Americans—as has been the case for Yahoo, Google, Intel, E-Bay, and countless other companies."

"That being said, any reformed immigration system must be successful in encouraging the next Albert Einstein to emigrate permanently to the United States while, at the same time, discouraging underpaid, temporary workers from taking jobs that could and should be filled by qualified American workers.


The speech is a pretty good read, a vast improvement over the 2007 version, but I'll reserve any more judgement until after the lobbyists get ahold of the plan -- which again has no housing, employment and environmental input of "...sufficient information to support such a discussion."

Oh wait, here's the price tag for all that government we don't get -- courtesy of Wikipedia.

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