PROSPECTS FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM UNDER THE SECOND TERM BUSH PRESIDENCY
Hello Everybody. This is Cyrus Mehta. Welcome to my new edition of Immigration Matters with Namaste America where we provide you with updates on the latest developments in US immigration law.
Now that President Bush has been reelected for another four years, it is time to assess whether there will be any changes to immigration law and policy in his second term.
Although President Bush did say the right things about immigration in his first term, nothing much happened in the past four years with respect to positive immigration legislation. He announced a bold program early in 2004 that would grant temporary status to undocumented persons in the US. However, that proposal remained only a proposal and met with a lot of opposition from conservatives even in his own party.
Although the President has said many times that he supported the ability of an US employer to hire a willing worker, there has not been much movement on the business immigration front too. The H-1B visa cap for fiscal year 2005 was reached on the very first day of the new fiscal year. At present, there is an H-1B blackout, and US companies are unable to compete globally because of their inability to hire professional foreign workers.
On the other hand, this administration amended the rules to make it easier to arrest and deport immigrants in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. The administration launched a dragnet against Muslim immigrants and other non-citizens of middle-Eastern and South Asian descent shortly after the 9/11 attacks. It detained for prolonged periods immigrants with minor violations under the pretext that they were involved with terrorism. These people were incarcerated and deported in secret. There have also been confirmed reports of abuse while they were detained. None of the approximately 1,200 detainees snared in this dragnet had any association with terrorism. Yet, these issues did not make a dent to Mr. Bush’s prospects in the November 2 elections.
This administration also initiated a Special Registration Program for men who were nationals of countries with significant Islamic populations. Tens of thousands of these people reported in good faith to comply with the registration provisions, only to realize that they were being put into deportation proceedings and separated from family members. Even the Special Registration Program did not result in any charges or convictions based on terrorism.
Now that President Bush has won the election decisively, it is hoped that he will also move forward on immigration policy consistent with his earlier positive statements. It is imperative that he influences the US Congress to do something about the H-1B cap. It is also important that he move on his proposal to legalize the status of millions of undocumented immigrants who are contributing significantly to the US. He should also lend support to the DREAM Act, which legalizes the status of immigrant students, as well as the AGJOBS bill, which legalizes the status of farm workers. Finally, the President must ensure that a Republican-dominated Congress does not further erode the due process rights of immigrants. H.R. 10, which is a proposal to create a new intelligence czar, attempts to broaden expedited removal and strip federal courts from reviewing immigration detentions, among many other provisions that limit immigrants’ due process rights.
We will keep you abreast of further developments.
This segment is brought to you by Cyrus D. Mehta & Associates, PLLC. If you have any questions on this or related matters, please contact us at 212-425-0555. The number once again is 212-425-0555. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.cyrusmehta.com. We are located at 67 Wall Street, Suite 1801, New York, NY 10005. This is Cyrus Mehta wishing you a wonderful weekend. See you again in 2 weeks!