Saturday, May 13, 2006

All talk and no action on immigration

A Washington Post article points out the reality of immigration enforcement:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/13/AR2006051301173.html

An example:

'Beefed-up enforcement at the U.S.-Mexico border since Sept. 11, 2001, has substantially increased the number of arrests of illegal immigrants, but tens of thousands of captured non-Mexicans continue to be released into the United States because there is no place to hold them, according to experts and immigration officials....The success of border crossers who stay in the United States through this "catch-and-release" process has encouraged others who hope to enter the country the same way.'

'arrests of non-Mexican border crossers have tripled, from 49,545 in 2003 to 155,000 in 2005. But presidents and Congress for 20 years have not shown corresponding support for detention beds, courts, inland enforcement or diplomatic and administrative changes'

By comparison, the entire population of the Federal Prison system in the US is only a bit over 180,000:

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/press/p04pr.htm

Those non-Mexicans who cross the border can't be sent back to Mexico -- they aren't Mexicans! Indeed many illegals truly have nowhere to go -- their own country won't accept them back. Sort of like European Jews in 1941.

If you really want a crackdown in illegal immigration, you really want a massive increase in either taxes or government borrowing in order to fund the prisons needed -- not to mention judges and prosecutors. In any case, it is clear that if there is a problem with illegal immigration, it is not one that enforcement will solve.

15 Comments:

Anonymous malachai said...

Charlie, if you like overpopulation and social dislocation, environmental and social collapse which we are seeing in america, you are free to stay and suffer. Many americans are sick of it, not because they are racists, but simply because this country is becomming uninhabitable because of the overpopulation and environmental collapse. It is only big business interests that support the overpopulation of america because they use the immigrants to supress wages and exploit the labor force. America is run by big business interests, and i dought the people will be heard on this issue.

I hope to move to israel by 2010, but if I was not jewish, i would be heading to canada, where population is stable, and also there are better social benifits.

6:21 AM  
Anonymous malachia said...

We can not overemphesise the point that big business is using immigration to exploit the labor force. Microsoft and intel are pushing for more immigration because they do not want to pay decent wages or provide training to american workers. I know many computer programmers and engineers who would be thrilled to get a decent job with microsoft, but they need to support a family, which microsoft is unwilling to do, bill gates is only the richest man in the world and has a monopoly on operating systems, he wants more, and we must slave for his prosperity.

Microsoft, Intel Push U.S. to Welcome More Skilled Immigrants
May 15 (Bloomberg) -- Microsoft Corp. currently does almost all its product-development work at its Redmond, Washington, headquarters. That may change if Congress doesn't make it easier to hire skilled immigrants, company officials say.

Microsoft, Intel Corp. and other technology companies are warning that they may be forced to move more work overseas unless Congress increases the number of U.S. visas available for such workers.

``We have a couple thousand open technical spots that we cannot find people to fill,'' says Jack Krumholtz, managing director of federal government affairs for Microsoft, the world's largest software maker. If that situation persists, he says, ``we're going to have to do more of our development work abroad.''

The Senate resumes debate today on a broad overhaul of immigration legislation that includes a proposal to raise the annual cap on so-called H-1B visas for skilled workers to 115,000 -- a 77 percent increase -- and make it easier for such workers to gain permanent residency.

While lobbying efforts for these provisions have been publicly overshadowed by the intense debate over how to handle a flood of unskilled, undocumented immigrants, corporate officials have quietly continued to press their case.

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates met in March with congressional leaders, including Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, to discuss the company's ``top legislative priority,'' Krumholtz says.

Intel, Oracle

Craig Barrett, chairman of Santa Clara, California-based Intel, the world's biggest semiconductor maker, says he has spent almost 10 years pressing for changes to the H-1B program.

``These people are the people that can help drive U.S. competitiveness and our economy,'' he says. ``Let's make the U.S. the place where they want to come by choice. Let's welcome them with open arms.''

Because of the visa cap, Intel has begun placing some foreign engineers in countries with more lenient immigration rules, such as Canada, Ireland and Israel, says Jenny Verdery, director of workforce policy. ``That trend will continue until Congress fixes the problem,'' she says.

The need for more skilled immigrants is also a top issue of discussion whenever executives from Redwood City, California- based Oracle Corp. meet with members of Congress, says Robert Hoffman, vice president of government and public affairs for the world's third-largest software maker.

``It's in our mutual interests, company and country, to change our immigration laws to be much more conducive to our economic growth,'' he says.

House Opposition

Increasing visas for skilled workers faces opposition in the House of Representatives, where lawmakers favor enforcing current immigration laws and tightening border security before creating new ways for more immigrants to enter the country. The changes are also opposed by the Washington-based public-policy arm of the 365,000-member Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Paul Kostek, the group's former president and current chairman of its committee on workplace issues, says an increase in the visa cap would cost American workers jobs and wages. Technology companies, he says, could fill their skilled-worker needs by paying higher salaries.

``There are some companies that may not be able to find people if they're not willing to pay more,'' he says. ``It's a supply-and-demand market.''

Rise and Fall

U.S. companies are now limited to hiring 65,000 skilled immigrant workers annually under the H-1B program. The cap rose to 195,000 per year in 2001 after Congress responded to increased demand from technology companies. It was lowered to 65,000 in 2004 after the technology economy slowed.

Demand for the visas exhausted the 2006 supply two months before the year began.

``We are critically dependent on foreign talent to fill the jobs we generate in the United States,'' says William Brody, president of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. ``To the extent to which we don't have the talented people here, the Intels of the world are going to go find the talent wherever they can.''

Companies are also seeking changes that would make it easier to apply for and renew the work permits and qualify for legal U.S. permanent residency. Getting legal residency, and the certificate of proof known as a ``green card,'' can now cost thousands of dollars and take more than a decade to complete.

Shreyas Desai, a software engineer who came to the U.S. from India on a student visa in 2000 and got an H-1B visa two years later, can't apply for permanent residency because of limits on the number given to Indians. He says he can't be promoted or get a new job because changes to his employment status would require him to resubmit his application for a green card, sending him to the back of the line.

`Literally Suffering'

``We're just suffering, literally suffering,'' said Desai, 27, of Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania, who is one of the founders of Immigration Voice, a five-month-old, 3,500-member advocacy group for skilled immigrants, based in Dayton, New Jersey.

Congressional debate has focused on illegal immigration and a guest-worker program for unskilled workers, spurred in part by street protests across the U.S. on April 10 and May 1 in which hundreds of thousands of demonstrators demanded legal status for undocumented immigrants. A guest-worker program would have no effect on skilled workers.

``Most of the media attention is on the illegal aliens,'' says Desai. ``We just feel like we have been legal, we have been paying our taxes, we've been playing by the book. We've just been ignored.''

Presidential Support

President George W. Bush, who will speak to the nation tonight on immigration, supports raising the cap on skilled visas as part of a broader legal overhaul. ``I think it's a mistake not to encourage more really bright folks who can fill the jobs that are having trouble being filled here in America,'' Bush said in a February visit to 3M Co.'s headquarters in Maplewood, Minnesota.

The provision increasing H-1B visas is part of immigration legislation on which the Senate will resume debate today after resolving a procedural dispute over amendments. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has pledged to finish the measure by the end of the month.

The Senate proposal raises the visa cap to 115,000 and allows further increases of 20 percent each year based on demand. It also temporarily increases the number of green cards available to 450,000 per year to clear out a backlog of applications, while streamlining the application process.

``There is a tremendous demand for technology workers,'' says Republican Senator George Allen of Virginia. If employers ``don't have the talent to do that work, the research and development could be off-shored to other countries.''

Companies Cope

The costs borne by companies because of visa problems and jobs unfilled is difficult to quantify because companies have been coping by delaying some projects or shifting work overseas, says Stuart Anderson, executive director of the National Foundation for American Policy, a group based in Arlington, Virginia, that researches trade and immigration issues.

``The continuing problems, because of congressional inaction, are going to further accelerate that,'' says Anderson, who advocates restoring the old 195,000 limit. Employers ``end up taking their next best option, which is to do more of the work outside the United States.''

6:44 AM  
Blogger Charlie Hall said...

Malachai,

The US is not overpopulated; I've mentioned before that much of the country now has population densities lower than that of 1890.

Also, the reason US business need those H1B visas is that Americans aren't pursuing the educational programs whose graduates are needed in industry. The H1B program also gives the US a chance to skim the cream of other countries' brains. Increased pay won't do anything if the supply just isn't there.

Regarding your second post, I'd like to make aliyah as well, but Israel is not a country that offers many opportunities to well-educated immigrants, especially those with high levels of educational debt. Would that I had gone into the construction business! My wife and I have pretty much concluded that we will just have to be patient and retire there.

8:59 AM  
Anonymous malachia said...

Charlie, the US is overpopulated. While we have huge expanses of mostly open land, they are largely uninhabitable. Try living in a 110 degree desert or a place where temperatures rarely exceed freezing in winter, and are frequently below zero, and pay your energy bill, especially with high energy prices now! I wouldn't mind if most immigrants moved to iowa or kansas, but there is a great reason why they pack into the east and west coast like sardines, and they are making it impossible for the rest of us to afford living here.

The reality is that american business does not want to hire american born people and pay them a living wage, they want to pick the cream of the crop of india and china, pay them half what americans make with no benifits, instead of hiring the best americans. I have a degree in computers, there is a good reason why i did not work in that field, instead i work in the telephone union, and have been working steadily for 13 years with better pay and benifits, and much steadier compared to everyone i know in the computer field. It is simply exploitation of white collar workers, plain and simple, there are plenty of good american computer programmers, but bill gates is not happy with 100 billion dollars wealth. America is a sick society that doesn't care about it's own people, we are too greedy of a society to take care of our own.

I am thankful that i took up a somewhat blue collar career, and also that i went to public college with no debt, because i do have the freedom to go to israel, i am not tied down to my college career path, but i do understand your situation, you are stuck here for a while, and it is not very pleasant. In our time it is better to get a skilled craft position, electric and plumbing are among the best fields to go into, and they make more than most college grads. Medical technician and nursing are great field also, they do not require too much overhead investment, just a 2 year degree, and the pay is good. As the wizard of oz said, "a brain is a very mediocre commodity".

1:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Study Suggests Why Men Have Shorter Life Expectancy Than Women

this is quite something

9:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

we should focus on this as well

Fatah Gunmen Go on Anti-Hamas Rampage

12:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Iran Defies U.N. Deadline to End Uranium Enrichment Program

this is sick

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It is a pity, that now I can not express - I hurry up on job. I will return - I will necessarily express the opinion on this question.

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