Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The incomparable (whichever way you take that word) Rick
Sanchez, former Miami news anchor/buffoon, not only got a great gig with CNN
after being giggled out of South Florida, but he’s done quite well.  As I sat this afternoon at the St. Thomas
airport waiting for my flight, Rick was anchoring a piece  covering the changes in immigration
enforcement patterns being seen already in the Obama Administration.  It was a good story and I thought it was
worth a mention.


Basically, as we all see, the so-called “First 100 Days” of
President Obama’s emerging legacy has been spent in large part with the
dismantling of former President Bush’s hodge-podge of ill-conceived
policies.  In the area of immigration
policy, it is notable that Mr. Obama has not only looked “within” (as in with
internal migratory policy) but also “without” (as in eliminating the
mean-spirited and just-plain-stupid restrictions which kept my 87 year old mother
from visiting her 89 year old cousin in Cuba because she was a cousin…not a
sister; sadly, as I was looking into FINALLY taking my mother back to Cuba for
one final visit, her cousin died, only days after the rule change.)


But what you guys care about is how Obama’s folks are
handling the “within” immigration issues…especially in the area of
enforcement.  As my employer clients are
well aware, I have written quite often about the incongruity seen in Bush’s
final months in office:  a
supposedly-business friendly administration out on an aggressive “seek and
deport” mission which left hundreds if not thousands of U.S. employers without
the workers they needed…and facing massive fines.  Companies like Tyson Foods were rocked to the
point of serious economic turmoil as a result of large scale raids targeting
those undocumented evil chicken pluckers, here to steal jobs away from the
American workers who are so eager to pluck poultry perspicaciously. (Trust me: you’ve eaten very few chickens which have not  been plucked and processed by someone with a Hispanic or Asian last name.


Well, according to Rick and his guest expert, the raids are
slowing down significantly and as the expert put it, it is “a good start”.  I realize that during this crisis of
unemployment a reduction in enforcement raids is politically risky in a sense…but
it is also the right thing to do.  The
facts are clear: our current chaotic rules linking E-Verify with random audits,
nebulous I-9 enforcement policies and SSA “No Match” letters is what Jeff
Foxworthy calls “sheer pandelerium”. 
Ignorance of the law IS an excuse when those enforcing the laws themselves don’t
understand the law, as is the case today.


Of course, the LAST thing the Obama administration wants is
more moronic hysteria by the Glenn Becks of the world, so a policy of curtailed
raids will not be making the headlines anytime soon.  I have long said that if the government took
just half the money it spends tormenting undocumented but otherwise hardworking laborers and leaving alone the businesses which have no choice  but to hire them
and spent that money on teaching employers
how to readily comply
, it would be the beginning of the end of the problem.


The great irony:  the
President some flakes have accused of being Marxist has, with this subtle
change in policy, squarely proven himself to be the true friend of beleaguered
U.S. employers.


In the meantime, I’ll stay tuned to Rick Sanchez to see what
more he has on immigration, but I will secretly hope that his irreverence doesn’t
fade:  if you didn’t see Jon Stewart’s
piece on Rick and his wonderful voluntary self-tasar-ing video...well, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Immigration Sage of Manhattan Speaks on H-1B Visas

I know my dear friend Sam Udani will be absolutely mortified when he sees today’s blog entry, but too bad.  He simply has to come to terms with his insight and what it means to those of us with our ear to the ground, listening for the distant thundering hooves of immigration changes to come. 


Sam, of course, is the founder of ILW.COM, the most comprehensive U.S. immigration website on the Internet.  Sam is not an attorney, and my theory is that this explains (in part, at least) why his analysis of things immigration is as incisive as it is.  You mentioned the Sage of Omaha, Sam, so suck it up and handle the well-deserved kudos, my perpetually self-effacing friend…(-;


Here are a few of his predictions:


-The downturn in H1-B employment in the financial sector, at the largest employers, and at smaller H-1B-dependant employers is likely in the 50%-80% range.


-The larger H-1B dependents, who are the largest users of the H-1B program, appear to be down less, perhaps in the neighborhood of 30%.


-This year will see greater usage by smaller companies (translation: more RFEs per I-129).


Sam investigated informally, spoke to a lot of folks and has concluded that:


- the H-1B quota will not be reached in the initial days of April.

- Instead, the Bachelor's quota will likely be reached in mid-April

- The Master's quota not before late- April.

- Business immigration is down overall in the 30% range

- Family immigration in the 10% range.

- Those who deal with deportation matters, however, have seen a 30% increase  in biz.

-The immigration field as a whole is shrinking in the 15% range currently, the sharpest contraction ever.


I encourage you to read Sam’s full article at: