Mexico president seeks immigration reform: ‘This is a matter of justice’

August 26, 2014

08/26/14 The Guardian

Enrique Pena NietoMexico’s president spoke of the need for US immigration reform on a two-day visit to migrant-friendly California, saying those who reject diversity and inclusion will ultimately be proven wrong.

“We want to be a factor of cohesion, not division, with full respect for the sovereignty of the United States,” President Enrique Pena Nieto said Monday. “This, at the end, is about — and only about — a matter of justice for those who contribute so much to the development of the American society.”

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Should the ‘school of life’ count for immigration?

July 1, 2014

06/30/14 Futurity

Migrant farmworkersThe United States should re-evaluate its immigration policy’s definition of skilled workers to include the informal skills of migrant workers.

A new study draws on a research project that involved interviews with 320 Mexican migrants and return migrants in North Carolina and Guanajuato, Mexico. The study identifies lifelong human capital—knowledge and technical and social skills—acquired and transferred throughout these migrants’ careers.

Skills among these migrants not only include basic education and English, but also technical and social skills and competencies acquired informally on and off the job throughout their lives—skills used in construction, domestic, retail, and hospitality work.

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Read the actual study here…


How Local Governments Are Hacking Immigration Reform

May 14, 2014

Minneapolis Protest Against SB 1070

The Atlantic, 5/13/14

States and cities are taking immigration reform into their own hands. With prospects for comprehensive legislation bleak in Washington, local governments have begun making decisions about who gets deported and who doesn’t by refusing to participate in a system that has come to rely on them. After a few years of slow but steady progress, local reform is now taking off.

In the last three weeks, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Denver, and counties in Oregon, Colorado, Washington, and California have announced they will no longer help federal immigration police carry out deportations. These decisions, spurred by recent federal-court rulings, add to the growing chorus of state and local governments that have recently backed away from the deportation system: dozens of major cities and counties, two states, and counting.

This movement is a big deal, because local jails have become the frontline for immigration enforcement during the Obama Administration. As the wait for administrative action from the White House continues, local resistance is already stopping thousands of deportations every month. Even if Congress is able to pass a comprehensive reform bill, the current wave of local policy changes and judicial decisions will have altered the structure of immigration enforcement by making it much harder for federal officials to rely on local police and sheriffs. National reform is still crucial. But once you understand the depths of federal-local collaboration—and the recent pattern of resistance—it’s clear that the backbone of the immigration-enforcement dragnet is starting to weaken. Pushback is coming from places with some of the largest undocumented populations, and yet many outside the immigration policy world have overlooked it.

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Obama: 2-3 months for immigration reform

May 14, 2014

440px-Official_portrait_of_Barack_ObamaPOLITICO, 5/13/14

President Barack Obama laid down a deadline for immigration reform on Tuesday, saying House Republicans have two or three months to start acting on an overhaul before midterm election politics take over.

As he met with more than 40 law enforcement officials, Obama pressed the case that Congress has a “very narrow window” to complete immigration reform this year. He accused a “handful” of House GOP lawmakers of stalling reform but added that a number of Republicans are “realizing that blocking immigration reform is not a good idea.”

“The closer we get to the midterm elections, the harder it is to get things done around here … it’s just very hard right before an election,” Obama said Tuesday. “So we’ve got maybe a window of two, three months to get the ball rolling in the House of Representatives.”

His comments reflect a sense on and off Capitol Hill that lawmakers could still act on immigration reform this year, but that it’s dead unless that happens before the August recess. Obama has previously emphasized the truncated timeframe — for instance, at a Cinco de Mayo reception earlier this month, he urged reformers to mobilize “over the next two months” — but Tuesday’s comments appear to be the firmest yet on a deadline.

The Democratic-led Senate passed a comprehensive bill last June, but House Republican leaders have ruled out that legislation in favor of their own approach. Obama stressed Tuesday that he was not “hell-bent” on making sure every word of the Senate bill, written by a bipartisan group of eight senators, reaches his desk.

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U.S. proposes immigration rules to help high-skilled workers

May 7, 2014

shutterstock_93480406Reuters, 5/6/14

Newly proposed rules for highly skilled immigrants to the United States, including a provision to allow their spouses to work, are aimed at making it easier to keep those talented science, technology and engineering workers in the country, officials said on Tuesday.

“These individuals are American families in waiting,” Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said. “Many tire of waiting for green cards and leave the country to work for our competition. The fact is we have to do more to retain and attract world-class talent to the United States and these regulations put us on a path to do that.”

One of the two proposed regulation changes would allow the spouses of holders of H-1B visas, which are given to workers in fields such as science, technology and engineering, to have jobs in the United States while their spouses’ green card applications are being considered. Spouses of U.S. visaholders currently are not given permission to work.

Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who announced the new regulations with Pritzker, said that change could affect as many as 97,000 people in the first year and some 30,000 annually after that.

The other proposed regulation change would give employers a wider range of methods to document that immigrant researchers and professors are among the best in their fields. The regulations would go into effect after a 60-day public comment period.

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Cinco de Mayo: Obama uses holiday to push immigration reform

May 7, 2014

obama_nieto_featureThe Christian Science Monitor, 5/5/14

President Barack Obama is telling Latino lawmakers and Hispanic advocates that they should press House Republicans to act on a broad overhaul of immigration laws. Obama says, “Tell them to get on board.”

Obama was observing the Mexican national holiday of Cinco de Mayo, or fifth of May, in the White House on Monday. Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are using the day’s celebration to pressure House Republicans to follow up on legislation that passed the Senate last year.

The Senate bill would expand border security and provide a path to citizenship for many of the 11 million immigrants who are in the United States illegally. Earlier Monday, Biden said those immigrants shared American values. Biden says, “They may not be citizens, but they are Americans.”

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Immigration Reform Isn’t Just About Numbers—It’s About Skills, Too

May 6, 2014

people - paper chain - community  working togetherThe Atlantic, 5/5/14

At a Hollywood conference on innovation on Friday, Vice President Joe Biden credited “constant and overwhelming” immigration for American creativity. Obviously, immigrants have contributed hugely to America’s legendary dynamism. From Alexander Hamilton to Sergey Brin, people born off these shores have founded new companies, invented new products, and disseminated new ideas. All the most enthusiastic tributes to immigration as a source of renewal are true. But those tributes are not the whole truth.

Since 1965, American immigration policy has tilted further and further in favor of the poorly educated and the unskilled. In consequence—and with full acknowledgement of the many, many spectacular individual success stories—American immigration policy in the aggregate has degraded the country’s skill levels and pushed the United States down to the bottom of the developed world in literacy, numeracy, and problem-solving.

A new OECD report delivers grim news about how poorly Americans score in the skills necessary to a modern economy: “Larger proportions of adults in the United States than in other [advanced] countries have poor literacy and numeracy skills, and the proportion of adults with poor skills in problem solving is slightly larger than average, despite the relatively high educational attainments among adults in the United States.”

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