The most remarkable aspect of the recent Senate Oversight Hearing was the lack of any acknowledgement by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) backed American Immigration Council to even acknowledge well known abuses by Body Shops such as Wipro and Infosys. Given AILA represents business lawyers and law firms the question arises, why would Big Tech need Insourcers like Wipro Tata & Cognizant.
The answer lies in a counter-intuitive provision in the law that states the H-1B non-immigrant must be paid the higher of the two:
- the Department of Labor “prevailing wage” (minimum salary for a particular position in a specific geographic area) OR
- the actual wage paid for that position to an American worker by that employer.
Using Apple & Wipro in a hypothetical based on the above–
If Apple hires an H-1B Architect 2 directly, Apple must pay what they pay their own employees for that position as it is higher than the “prevailing wage” as declared by the Department of Labor. Here, Glassdoor reports a full compensation package of $188k/year.
But, if Apple contracts with Wipro to simple place a Wipro H-1B employee at Apple to do the job of Architect 2, Wipro will pay, according to this LCA, $78k—a difference of over $100k.
If Wipro charges Apple $100k to place the Wipro employee at Apple, Wipro will gross $22k for placing this employee with Apple and Apple will save $88k a year.
American Tech Workers Lose.
THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR CERTIFIES LABOR CONDITION APPLICATIONS
A Labor Condition Application (LCA) must be certified by the Department of Labor (DOL) as a condition precedent to the filing of an H-1B Visa Petition with US Citizenship & Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security (USCIS, DHS).
The LCA contains attestation of the employer’s ongoing responsibilities during the period of LCA certification (up to three years).
Whether or not an H-1B visa application is required to be amended due to material change in the job as defined by USCIS, DHS is irrelevant to the ongoing Wage and Labor obligations of the H-1B employer under 20 CFR 655.731 and 20 CFR 655.734.
DOL ISSUES GUIDANCE IN THE 90s ON LCAs AS WELL AS ON DHS-USCIS H-1B PETITIONS & SETS THE STAGE FOR ENFORCEMENT FRAGMENTATION THAT PERSISTS TO THIS DAY
On November 4, 1996 James Norris, Chief, Division of Foreign Labor Certifications, DOL issued a Guidance Letter to attorney Julia L. Stommes, reprinted in 73 Interpreter Releases 1634-1636 (Nov. 18, 1996) hereinafter the “Norris Letter,” discussing the necessity of amendments when there has been a change in the duties and salary of the Foreign National. Unfortunately, this Interpreter Release, although not widely available, is relied upon by most immigration lawyers and H-1B employers to justify not having to file a new LCA with DOL unless there is a material change in the underlying H-1B job. In this letter, the DOL makes clear that any change of a material nature on the LCA requires a filing of a new LCA. There is no provision for amending an LCA.
SKILL LEVEL OF H-1B EMPLOYEE
The level of skill required by the employer for the job opportunity is to be considered in making prevailing wage determinations. In the past, the DOL’s Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) wage survey produced two wage levels that distinguished between positions requiring significantly different degrees of skills in the occupation. Legislation enacted in 2004 (The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2005) provides that the DOL’s OES surveys are to provide at least four levels of wages commensurate with experience, education, and level of supervision in lieu of the previous two-level system. The four-tier wage system went into effect on March 8, 2005. The guidance provides a step-by-step procedure for selecting the appropriate wage level for prevailing wage purposes.
A redacted LCA (Form ETA 9035E) certified for 10/01/2004 to 10/1/2007 is below.
The “old LCA” is distinguishable from the current LCA in that the pre-2005 LCA does not include check boxes to identify any Wage Level and specifying the salary range is optional. In contrast, the current LCA clearly shows whether the H-1B employee is a Level 1, 2, 3, or 4 employee with the attendant required wage range for each level. DOL will certify LCAs in which the salary range is listed as the [minimum prevailing wage] to “N/A” or “$0.00” and has also certified LCAs for non-existent work sites.
20 CFR 655.731(a)(1) states where the employer’s pay system or scale provides for adjustment during the period of the LCA—e.g., cost of living increase or other periodic adjustments, or the employee moves to a more advanced level in the same occupation—such adjustments shall be provided to similarly employed H-1B non-immigrants (unless the prevailing wage is higher than the actual wage).
It is not uncommon for H-1B employees to be promoted during the 3 year period of the LCA thus changing the LCA on its face. For example, by promoting a Level 1 entry level employee into a Level 3 manager or supervisor. That change, based on subsequent legislation (discussed below) now requires a new LCA to be filed, contradicting prior 90s era Guidance. However, it remains firmly entrenched in the immigration community that unless an amended H-1B Visa Petition must be filed with USCIS-DHS, a new LCA need not be filed with the DOL.
Because of the fragmentation between the DOL and USCIS-DHS, the three year term of the LCA provides what many lawyers and employers believe is a three year wage embargo on the salary of the H-1B employee.
DESPITE THE ARCANE “GUIDANCE” ON WHETHER OR NOT AN AMENDED H-1B APPLICATION IS TO BE FILED WITH USCIS-DHS, DOL OBLIGATIONS UPON THE H-1B EMPLOYER ARE ONGOING
The Norris Letter also goes on to say notwithstanding whether a new LCA is required to be filed, “… the underlying prevailing wage determination, must still be valid. For example, if the employer obtained a prevailing wage rate from a State Employment Security Agency (SESA) for an entry level worker and the promotion moves the H-1B non-immigrant into the experienced level category, the new rate of pay must be no less than the higher of the adjusted actual wage rate or prevailing wage rate for the new position….”
“Lastly, in accordance with §____,760(a)(2), the employer shall insert documentation in the public access file in support of the LCA which provides the wage rate to be paid to the H-1B foreign worker after the promotion and corresponding increase in pay.”
In reality what happens is a Level 1 Entry Level H-1B foreign worker is hired. He or she is promoted or simply is assigned Level 2, 3 or 4 job duties during the three year Level 1 LCA period. The Employer is under the mistaken belief, at best, or knowingly, at worst, that the Level 1 LCA provides the Employer safe harbor to continue to pay the foreign worker depressed wages.
Whether unintended or intentional, the result is that no Level 3 American Applicant can compete with an H-1B foreign worker who will perform a Level 3 management job at Level 1 entry level worker wages and who is bound to continue to do so for three years under the H-1B LCA.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY & INTENT OF DOL LABOR CONDITION REQUIREMENT
The LCA requirement was added to the Immigration and National Act by the Immigration Act of 1990. The requirement was extensively amended by the Miscellaneous and Technical Immigration and Nationality Amendments of 1991 and most recently in 1998 by the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement ACT. Its basic core remains intact: Employers must make several attestations before being given permission to hire H-1B workers. The congressional purpose in enacting the LCA requirements is to protect U.S. workers.
As originally enacted in 1990, Congress sought to assure that employment of H-1B workers did not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers. A corollary, but secondary, purpose of the LCA requirement was to assure that H-1B workers were not exploited by the U.S. employers through the payment of substandard wages. The LCA procedure was established to create a level playing field for U.S. and foreign workers by removing the incentive to prefer foreign workers who could be paid less than prevailing wages under the INA prior to the enactment of the 1990 Act. Mandating that H-1B workers be paid the “required wage rate,” which is at least the prevailing wage for similarly employed workers in the occupation in the area of intended employment, put U.S. workers on competitively equal footing with foreign workers, and in practice gave them an advantage because meeting the H-1B substantive and paperwork requirements places a burden on employers without commensurate benefit.
Under these circumstances, there are only two reasons to hire H-1B workers: (1) a labor shortage; or (2) a desire to hire a foreign national who has such superior skills, knowledge, expertise or accomplishments that, on balance, such hiring will enhance the employer’s economic position despite the attendant costs of the H-1B application process.
Excerpted in pertinent part from H-1B Handbook by Austin T. Fragoman, et al.
H-1B Lawyers and Employers are under the overwhelming misconception that where an amended or new H-1B Visa Petition is not required, neither is a new LCA. That notion is contrary to the Legislative History and Intent of Congress in enacting the requirement of the LCA and the plain meaning of the law.
ONGOING, INDUSTRYWIDE VIOLATIONS
Notwithstanding the irresponsible reliance on outdated 90s era “Guidance,” H-1B employers must nonetheless meet their ongoing obligations under 20 CFR 655.760(a)(2), 655.760(a)(3) and 655.750(b)(3) to otherwise document that the H-1B foreign workers’ salaries currently meet either the actual or prevailing wage when the foreign worker’s duties move him or her from a lower Level to a higher Level Position, even if only in execution of the foreign worker’s duties and in the absence of a formal promotion.
Relying on 90s era guidance and ignoring the Congressional intent of substantial subsequent legislation has resulted in the firmly entrenched belief by lawyers and employers that the certification of a low level LCA by the Department of Labor provides a de facto three year salary embargo upon H-1B foreign workers.
Reflecting the height of irony or grievous abuse, the result is an American Job Market wide open to exactly what the LCA legislation was intended to circumvent—the depression of American wages and the displacement of American workers.
All this Obama bashing for not stopping all deportations right now turns my stomach.
First, some people who are deportable under the originally passed immigration & Nationality Act of 1952 should be deported. Take child pornographers or meth makers, for example.
Second, America is not JUST immigrants. We face international threats from a nuclearized Iran, Israeli Dahiya, ISIS terrorism, the Syrian Civil War, Psychopathic Imperialists, and climate change. Closer to home, many Americans including Veterans, the children & the elderly are going to sleep hungry, can’t get a job, afford a good education, or simply just can’t make it as a working single mom.
The Supreme Court has undone a century of progress by declaring corporations are people and money is free speech. Justice Scalia is so out of touch that he says women cursing is eroding society. Mass shootings by children and homicides by law enforcement are routine. Being openly discriminated against for being gay or trans is no longer just practice– it is slowly becoming the law across the U.S.
Third, before Obama takes any executive action risking impeachment or the lives of Americans either here or abroad, his first priority is to ensure the full spectrum of constitutional protections to African Americans.
African Americans’ families were brought to America as slaves, built this nation, and are long overdue their first class citizenship, equality and dignity– promises yet unfulfilled even 50 years after their legislation.
Fourth, I am astounded by the prevalence of a just-under-the-surface plantation mentality that persists even amongst liberals. The latest example being the group of over 100 law professors sending a letter to President Obama outlining the legal basis of a President’s discretionary authority.
I read in absolute amazement the “memo” written to our President who is a Harvard Law Grad, who was a Constitutional Law professor for 12 years and who is now a second term POTUS. I was embarrassed to see in that letter the ugly air of supremacy in this legally simplistic letter written as “instructive” to our President and Commander in Chief.
I am not an Obama sycophant but God bless him for being the first to have to suffer the foolishness of sophomoric, “explanatory” memos by Lexus Liberals.
Wrongheaded immigrant groups are re-writing the narrative of immigrants who understand why Obama is delaying action for a mere 6 weeks. Self appointed talking heads are, by their hubris, misleading the rest of America into concluding immigrants have a remarkable lack of disregard for the collateral damage that would ensue if Obama succumbed to the non-sensical #Not1More deportation demands.
It is well known in the working class undocumented community that groups such as United We Dream and National Council of La Raza are just multi-million dollar self licking lollipops with half million dollar salaries in bed with many of the enemies of Immigration Reform. But even more insidious is their simultaneous destruction of the authentic moral authority of the regular, hard working undocumented American who wishes for nothing more than to offer his loyalty to this still great Nation.
The relentless ego-centric Obama bashing resounds with voting Americans but not the way you think. Americans are now asking themselves if the undocumented understand that being American means being willing to lay down your life for country and flag. Country first– always above and beyond our individual needs. Voting Americans are asking if the undocumented are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for this Nation or are they just here to live out an individual and self-serving life? Special interest groups have silenced the voice of authenticity and replaced it with hubris– not unlike so many other political machines polluting the people with disinformation.
As much as some Tea Party Leaders like to talk about their principled, steadfast positions on immigration, they seem to turn a blind eye to real criminality when it suits them.
Take the case of Idaho Republican Raul Labrador, who is fighting to win the leadership position left vacant by Eric “Steakhouse” Cantor, largely with the frenzied support of Tea Party ideologue, Mark Kibbe, author of Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto.
Raul Labrador was an immigration lawyer in Idaho for years but when you look at his record, Kibbe’s hero doesn’t seem be quite in line with Tea Party Principles.
Actually, Raul Labrador’s immigration case files read more like Saul Goodman’s, the ethically challenged lawyer from Breaking Bad.
A Washington Post article portrays Labrador as a weepy Tea Party longshot for the GOP Majority Leader’s position; someone supported by FreedomWorks, lumped in with Rep. Justin Amash and maybe just maybe (Raul coyly won’t say) urged to run by the likes of Ted Cruz.
This is the far-right Tea Party crowd with an unyielding, uncompromising position on tossing every immigrant man, woman and child back over the border. These are law and order people.
Have the people pushing Raul actually looked into his record as an immigration attorney?
I have and let me tell you — it’s astounding.
Raul handled case after case with clients who had serious criminal convictions. There’s a reason that some attorneys take those cases and it has nothing to do with patriotism or law and order. It’s not about the red, white and blue… these are cases you take strictly for the green.
Did Matt Kibbe from Freedomworks ever talk to Raul about his client Carlos Araiza, who was busted for drugs and distribution and then failed to show up in court? Freedom didn’t seem to work for Carlos.
Did Raul ever tell Sen. Ted Cruz how proud he was to represent Javier Sotelo, a human smuggler who had a murder charge in Mexico?
Would the Tea Party get furious fast if they knew Raul represented Abel German-German, a Mexican national unlawfully present in the United States who had an illegal gun? Or would they give him a pass for having a name that sounds doubly German?
Raul Labrador’s Big List of Troubling Clients goes on and on. It’s not a couple of bad apples; it’s a business model of taking the clients that reputable immigration attorneys don’t want to touch. The lawyers who take those clients rack up a lot of losses and usually are the first to plea out their clients, but that’s no surprise.
Here’s a political reality check: if Raul Labrador was a Democratic Congressman, Conservatives would be all over this story. They’d scream to high heaven about what a low life Labrador is.
So, why is Raul Labrador getting a free pass?
FreedomWorks, like many Koch funded PACs, is more adept at dictating what Tea Party Conservatives should do rather than providing them with the information they demand and deserve to make their own informed and intelligent decisions.
In whipping up the frenzied support of Raul Labrador, FreedomWorks has done a remarkably effective job at getting Tea Party Conservatives to wholeheartedly back a pro-amnesty immigration lawyer.
Whether that’s a testament to Freedom Works and ideologues like Mark Kibbe dictating the actions of Tea Party Conservatives or a case of the Conservative Leadership providing sophisticated political cover for Raul Labrador remains to be seen.
Under the cry of States Rights, Congress has disallowed any meaningful control of firearms or ammunition, has allowed the Voting Rights Act to be gutted after a 48 year battle to assure equal voting rights to the traditionally disenfranchised, has let Stand Your Ground thrive and spread, and has allowed the passage of blatantly discriminatory laws against LGBT and women under the guise of “sincerely held religious beliefs.”
Despite the federalist foothold on so called State’s Rights, these Republicans and Democrats want to be able to sue President Obama for NOT arresting Americans who are using marijuana LEGALLY (including children who are using it medically) under their State Laws.
Yes, that includes the Representative from Alaska, Don Young, who just last year co-sponsored the “Respect Your State’s Marijuana Laws” Act.
As the Sponsor of this act HR4138 reiterates the words of his good friend, Allen West, “the race card is the last one in the deck.” Indeed.
HR4138 Act by Trey Gowdy (SC-4) was passed by the House on March 12, 2014
Cosponsors who joined Elvish King Gowdey want to arrest Americans who are using Marijuana legally in their states:
Republican Darrell Issa (CA-40)
Republican Jim Gerlach (PA-6)
Republican Bob Goodlatte (VA-6)
But, there were also FIVE DEMOCRATS who voted WITH THE REPUBLICANS to begin arresting Americans for LEGAL marijuana use:
Democrat Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
Democrat Pete Gallego (TX-23)
Democrat George Barrow (GA-12)
Democrat Nick Rahal (West Virginia -3)
Democrat Collin Peterson (Minnesota-7)
The following Republicans did a flip flop on Thursday by voting for the ENFORCE ACT, while in the past, supporting the relaxation of marijuana in their states:
Republican Mike Coffman (CO-6)
Republican Dana Rohroabacher (CA-48)
Republican Justin Amash (Michigan-3)
Republican Don Young (Alaska- at large)
Alaska Republican Don Young actually cosponsored the “Respect State Marijuana’s Law Act in 2013”
I’m addressing this to Republicans, especially Tea Party conservatives who may be opposed to comprehensive immigration reform and in favor of tough enforcement.
We may not agree on many issues, but I want to tell you about giant, wasteful government program you’ve probably never heard of called the Congressional Bed Mandate. It’s a costly boondoggle that needs to go away as soon as possible.
It was introduced a few years ago by Democrat Robert Byrd and it creates an arbitrary requirement that the government detain 34,000 men, women and children every day of the year. The 34,000 number is set in stone right now and the cost is shocking. At $120 per person, that’s two billion dollars a year.
That two billion dollars doesn’t even take into the amount of money that the economy is losing every day that the 34,000 people aren’t out there and buying things like food and clothes. Instead, detainees are treated to government welfare.
You might think this sounds like a tough enforcement policy to crack down on illegal immigrants but don’t be fooled; the Congressional Bed Mandate is just crony capitalism at its worst. Your tax dollars are going right into the pockets of for-profit prison companies who’ve made back room deals with politicians.
It’s not about enforcement. If you want to keep track of people in deportation hearings, there are much more affordable ways to do it, including simply checking in with a case worker or wearing an ankle bracelet.
The Bed Mandate is ineffective central planning. As the number of immigrants crossing the border gone down to half what it was a few years ago, the mandate has stayed in place.
If you’re concerned about deportations, remember that the Bed Mandate is such a colossal waste of money that it’s taking dollars away from deporting the real criminals. The Bed Mandate grabs the low-hanging fruit and lets the worst of the bad guys skate.
The Congressional Bed Mandate also takes the power away from ICE agents and forces them to adapt to arbitrary system that doesn’t take day-to-day realities in account.
Aside from the money being wasted, the system is pointlessly cruel.
Welcoming the stranger is the most often repeated commandment in the Hebrew Scriptures, with the exception of the imperative to worship only the one God. And the love of neighbor (especially the vulnerable) is doubtlessly the New Testament’s constant command… Whatever the cause of immigration today, there can be no doubt as to where the Church must stand when it comes to defending the immigrant (Ref: Theologian Orlando O. Espín).
The Obama White House has suggested cuts in the system that only serve to keep the money flowing to this ridiculous government pork barreling. It’s not enough.
Call or write your Congressmen and Senator and tell them to dump the Congressional Bed Mandate entirely.
Congratulate Senator Bachus (AL-6) for being true to his faith in standing up for what is right. Encourage this man to stay in office. He announced he will not run again this year. But, this is the kind of man we need and want in Congress.
“The Lord watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.” Psalm 146:9
“Do not oppress the window or the fatherless, the alien or the poor.” Ezekiel 22:7; Zecharaiah 7:10
Really, Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez? You didn’t even bother to show up for the vote that continued the mandatory jailing of 34,000 immigrants DAILY and you have the nerve to blame President Obama for the House authorized Appropriations Bill #HR3547 that is DRIVING those record deportations??!?
You wrongfully accuse President Obama of spending record $$$ on record deportations when it was YOU and YOUR House Colleagues who voted this Bill into Law. Well, actully you, Castro and Grijalva DIDN’T EVEN SHOW UP TO VOTE ON THIS BILL.
That’s right. YOU DIDN’T EVEN BOTHER TO SHOW UP TO VOTE LET ALONE SAY ONE DAMN THING ABOUT THE MANDATORY $5 MILLION SPEND TO JAIL 34,000 IMMIGRANTS DAILY.
You dropped the ball on this one, my friend. You and your House colleagues have failed us.
This is no way to run a country.
Make this right and sign Discharge Petition NOW.
Douglas Rivlin responded directly to my article re Obama NOT being able to stop all deportations.
No, I did not go after Luis Gutierrez even after his bizarro speech about Obama enforcing Immigration Laws (which, quite frankly, I thought was just silly as it was a response to the disingenuous Republican proposition that they can’t pass Immigration Reform because they can’t trust Obama to enforce it). But, I did go after National Council of La Raza for declaring the President is the Deporter in Chief without saying a word about Speaker Boehner and the Republicans’ BS obstruction of CIR under the fake as* Hastert Rule. NCLR’s declaration of President Obama as the “Deporter in Chief,” Doug’s response, along with Gutierrez’ speech and similar “concerted messaging” leads me to believe the “Obama is Deporter in Chief” is now a Coalition Move– a wrongheaded one, at that.
The euphamistically named “Congressional Bed Mandate” requiring the detention of a minimum of 34,000 immigrants each and every day makes ANY act of discretion by the President just that– an act of discretion. No expansion of DACA, PIP, or other exercise of discretion IS ANYWHERE CLOSE TO ANY KIND OF REAL FIX to our pathetic, embarrassing and utterly broken immigration system where US veterans and pregnant women are deported and 7 year old children represent themselves in court.
Because of the Congressional Bed Mandate, any exercise protecting any class of detainees/deportees merely pushes the air in the balloon. The balloon is full of 34,000 Immigrants who must be in custody every night at a cost to taxpayers of $5 million a day. The 2013-2014 mandatory jailing of 34,000 immigrants a night was introduced by House Republicans last summer
and passed January 2014 as 3547 “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014”
THE SENATE, HOUSE, DEMOCRATS & REPUBLICANS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR INCLUDING THE CONTINUATION OF THE CONGRESSIONAL BED MANDATE WHICH CLEARLY DRIVES DEPORTATIONS.
Immigrants are only in detention because the deportation machine is working against them. The deportation machine is fueled by a body of laws that preceded Obama’s election, the INA (Immigration and Nationality Act).
Nevertheless, here is a record of EXACTLY who voted for continuation of the mandatory minimum of jailed immigrants and who voted AGAINST it. Not being present for a vote as important as this should also tell you about the absentee. The votes are mostly down party lines but not a few Democrats voted for the continuation of DHS appropriations, including the Congressional Bed Mandate, along with most Republicans. Here you can see exactly who voted for the House introduced bill both in the House and the Senate.
DHS isn’t a hotel; if they don’t fill those beds every night, they answer to House Republicans who will and have accused DHS of breaking the law when too few immigrants are jailed. It’s the mandatory detention balloon. The ignorant don’t understand the analogy of executive discretion just being a pushing around of air in the balloon. So, you save this one million over here and that one million over there becomes more of a target for arrest, detention & deportation.
By the way – Luis Gutierrez – shame on you for saying President Obama has spent more on deportations than any other president before him. No, actually it was YOU, the House, that presented and passed the DHS appropriations bill. DHS, as far as my searches from 2002 on the ICE website, has NEVER requested a mandatory spend to jail a minimum number of immmigrants every night. THAT is something a HOUSE DEMOCRAT conceived of following high migratory patterns from Mexico during the economic boom and REPUBLICANS have been defending ever since… even as net migration to/from Mexico has fallen to zero. Additionally, in this last Appropriations Bill, the House proposed to fund the mandatory detention of immigrants at an amount HIGHER than what was requested by DHS.
The fact that this town square stoning of President Obama, who has exercised UNPRECEDENTED discretion in stopping the deportation of over one million Dreamers, appears to be a Coalition Move is distressing in its utter wrongheadedness. What is so hard to understand? No, Obama isn’t CHOOSING TO DEPORT RECORD NUMBERS OF PEOPLE, CONGRESS MANDATED IT!!!
If you, Ladies and Gentleman of the House and Senate let the Congressional Bed Mandate slip under your noses because you didn’t READ THE BILL (as I’m learning is more the rule than the exception) then you need to get better “reader reporters” or you can put that Ivy League Degree to work and actually READ THE DAMN BILLS YOU VOTE ON!!!
So, Congress, you messed up. You let the Congressional Bed Mandate pass because you weren’t paying attention or because of the private prison lobby $$$. Whose fault is that??? CONGRESS MADE IT ILLEGAL FOR DHS NOT TO DETAIN 34,000 IMMIGRANTS A DAY!
The Senate has passed a bipartisan bill, the House refuses to vote on it or the House version of it, HR 15 and President Obama will sign either today.
One thing all these Deporter in Chief people have in common, including Gutierrez, is that they have been trying UNSUCCESSFULLY for 10 years funded by millions perhaps billions in grants and contributions to get the Dream Act passed and they can’t even do that… let alone get Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
Enough politicking. Now is the time to put all our cards on the table.
We want a vote on Comprehensive Immigration Reform in the House (HR15).
If there is no vote, we want to see who will sign a discharge petition, even if the discharge does not garner enough signatures.
Anyone who won’t sign the discharge petition WILL NOT GET OUR VOTE– Republican or Democrat.
If you, Representative A, B & C, support Comprehensive Immigration Reform, then prove it by signing a discharge petition. If you don’t, we will vote in someone who will.
Status Quo has not worked for the last 10 years so now, it’s time for a change all around if need be.
On October 23rd, 2013, Republican Darrell Issa announced that he was going to introduce an immigration proposal called the Alien Accountability Act. Even though an article ran in Politico about the AAA, it was never actually proposed as law. It just vanished as House Republicans pulled back on immigration reform until after this year’s midterm elections.
I’ve gotten my hands on the leaked one page memo from Issa’s office summarizing the Alien Accountability act and I’m publishing it here for the first time.
Click here for Darrell’s Issa’s Alien Accountability Act Memo
(Note: Handwritten marks on document are mine, not from Issa’s office.)
In his Politico interview from October, Rep. Issa tried to make the Alien Accountability Act sound fair and balanced. (You know, just like Fox News.) He said:
“It’s halfway – and it always has been – halfway between full amnesty and simply rejecting people,” Issa told POLITICO on Wednesday. “I think if we’re going to break this logjam that’s occurred for my whole 13 years I’ve been in Congress, we have to find middle ground.”
This leaked memo proves that Issa’s approach to removing immigrants from the United States isn’t just draconian, it’s ready and willing to shred the U.S. Constitution to please the anti-immigrant Republican base.
The Outrages In The Issa Memo
Issa’s proposal is that all undocumented immigrants need to register and cooperate with the Department of Homeland Security within six months (according to a prior version of the bill)… but of course, not all immigrants are eligible.
There are two outrageous shockers in Issa’s Alien Accountability Act memo. Immigrants who Issa says aren’t allowed to participate and must leave immediately include:
- Relatives of participating aliens
- Aliens with a pending deportation case
The ‘relative of participating aliens’ proposal creates an immediate and obvious problem; a race among immigrant relatives to see which family member cooperates with the DHS first. The winner of this Amazingly Cruel Race gets to (possibly) stay in America while everyone else in their family become The Biggest Immigration Losers.
Excluding “aliens with a pending deportation case” isn’t merely cruel but unconstitutional and borderline insane.
The idea here must be that the people in immigration proceedings already are the low hanging fruit: the people already out of the shadows with names and addresses on file, so they are easy to detain and deport.
Sure, it throws out the U.S. Constitution and the right to due process but it gives Issa an easy way to say he deported half a million people or so who’d put their faith in the American legal system.
While this maneuver might bring cheers from the Republican base who imagine Mexican and Central American immigrants currently in deportation proceedings being tossed over the fence and back south of the border, conservatives would do well to remember that the immigrants Issa’s plan would kick out include every immigrant, not just the brown skinned people who cut your lawn and who built your home.
Darrell Issa mandates that if you’re in an immigration proceeding, back you go. That means everybody goes back; from Castro-hating Cubans seeking a better life to pale skinned Brits who fell in love with an American to Iranian Christians fearing religious persecution.
The History: Why Did Issa Pull The Bill?
If you want to understand why Republican leader Issa first hinted that he was going to announce the Alien Accountability Act and then made it disappear, it helps to look at the history.
After both President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders spent most of 2013 saying that they planned to make immigration reform a real legislative priority and finally fix the problems in the system, the GOP’s government shutdown took over the news cycle in October and smothered any hope of bipartisanship.
For two weeks at the beginning of October, the obstructionist Republicans brought the federal government to a grinding halt with their shutdown. Over two million federal workers were either furloughed or forced to work without knowing whether they’d be paid.
The impact on the immigration reform movement was immediate and brutal. This headline from The Christian Science Monitor says it all– Government Shutdown Overshadows Immigration Reform Efforts.
Immigration reform advocates held out hope and planned nationwide rallies, as reported on October 9th.
This marks the beginning of the escalation for the pro-immigrant-rights movement,” says Dawn Le, deputy campaign manager for the Alliance for Citizenship in Washington.
But reviving immigration reform in 2013 wasn’t meant to be. The government shutdown was the only story in town, it seemed.
However, the Republican’s blockade wasn’t going as well as they’d hoped, either. When the shutdown ended, the Republican right was rightfully facing a public relations disaster.
The more clear headed Republicans wanted to show the America public that they could actually be part of a functioning government. They announced that they were willing to work on immigration reform, again.
That’s the atmosphere that Darrell Issa was in when he told Politico he was about to propose the Alien Accountability Act.
So, what happened? The “Obamacare Website” happened.
The GOP caught a lucky break when the website that allowed people to sign up for the Affordable Care Act experienced glitches. By October 21st, President Obama was taking responsibility for the technical problems and trying to make things right. The Republican rampage continued, however.
By October 29th the Republicans realized that they had a political winner on their hands by declaring an ‘Obamacare disaster’ and creating pointless Congressional panels to annoy the people trying to fix the problems. For Americans with a short attention span, the Republican government shutdown was forgotten and so was any talk of immigration reform in 2013.
Issa’s bill was never introduced and until now, nobody knew exactly how outrageous it really was. It does provide an ominous glimpse of things to come, however.
Immigration Reform Today
Right now, Republicans are using their usual shtick of scaring the Fox News faithful by blaming Obama for everything, saying immigration legislation is dead for now because the Obama administration supposedly won’t enforce their piecemeal edicts.
In reality, everyone knows that the House Republicans pulled back because immigration reform is a losing issue for them. The only bill their base will accept is one as crazy or somehow ever crazier than Issa’s Alien Accountability Act. The problem is that a crazy, unconstitutional bill won’t pass the current Senate. The GOP has to cross their fingers and hope they can turn the Senate crazy in the November elections, too.
In the meantime, immigrants and their families will continue to suffer from a system desperately in need of reform.
Update: February 10, 2014 @ 14:56 EST: Right Wing Press (Breitbart News) Responds Predictably
Frederick Hill, a spokesman for Issa, said the proposal, including its title, is still being refined.
“Rep. Issa continues to update and refine a proposal, however the lack of trust in this Administration’s commitment to border security and enforcement is a substantial obstacle to achieving broader reforms. Ongoing discussions have continually identified new issues to address – key provisions and even the bill title are still under development,” Hill said. [emphasis added].
Issa’s response is “mostly false.” The Alien Accountability Act leaked by this blogger today, is remarkably similar to the Criminal Alien Accountability Act proposed by Darrell Issa ten years ago, in 2003.