visas

Should Foreign workers take American jobs?

Last year the U.S. Department of Forestry received $13 million in federal stimulus money to pay for some pre-commercial timber harvesting and thinning in Deschutes and Crook County in Central Oregon. With unemployment close to 20% in those counties one would think that it would be good news for out of work Americans - jobs paying $12 to $22 per hour.  Unfortunately the jobs did not go to citizens; they went to foreign workers from Mexico.
 

Using the H-2B visa program, employment contractors brought in foreign workers. The H-2B visa program is theoretically in place to provide non-agricultural, unskilled labors to be used if American workers are unavailable. H-2B visas can be used for hotel maids, fry cooks, landscapers, loggers and other so-called unskilled labor.  The U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, after studying the operation of temporary worker provisions recommended the elimination entirely of the H-2B visa program.

“The Commission recommends the elimination of the admission of unskilled workers. Unless there is another compelling interest, such as in the entry of nuclear families and refugees, it is not in the national interest to admit unskilled workers. This is especially true when the U.S. economy is showing difficulty in absorbing disadvantaged workers and when efforts towards welfare reform indicate that many unskilled Americans will be entering the labor force.”

While nibbling at the edge of the cookie is a move in the right direction, instead of ending the idiocy of the H-2B visa program, Senator Jeff Merkley and Congressman Peter DeFazio want it refined. Do we really need to import fry cooks, hotel maids, loggers and people to cut our lawns?


Please consider calling these legislators and asking them to end the scam of the H-2B visa program:


Senator Jeff Merkley (202) 224-3753; Portland office: 503-326-3386
webform for email: http://www.merkley.senate.gov/contact/

 

Congressman Peter DeFazio (202) 225-6416; Toll Free in Oregon: 800-944-9603

webform for email: https://forms.house.gov/defazio/IMA/contact.html

 

 

Senate to Take Action on Bill to Grant 10,500 Additional Work Visas BEFORE St. Paddy’s Day!

In a pre-St. Patrick’s Day gift to the Irish, the latest news from Capitol Hill is that Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Scott Brown (R-MA) are trying to get legislation to the Senate floor this week that would add at least 10,500 annual guest worker visas for Irish nationals. The legislation could come in the form of either an amended version of S.1983 by Sen. Schumer or S.2005 by Sen. Brown, and would double the number of E-3 visa holders to the U.S. each year. The number of workers brought into the country could grow exponentially once an unlimited number of visas are handed out to the spouses and children (up to the age of 21) of these visa holders.

This legislation not only hurts Americans because it brings in more guest workers at a time of high unemployment, it represents terrible immigration policy because it carves out a special rule for one particular nationality. Moreover, to qualify for this visa, aliens would need to meet only nominal requirements. The legislation, as amended, only requires visa recipients to have two years of work experience in a particular field, OR to have obtained a high school diploma or its equivalent. Employers are not required to look for U.S. workers first before sponsoring an E-3 visa holder.

CALL your Senators TODAY and tell them:

  • You oppose S.1983 and S.2005;
  • The U.S. should NOT add an additional 10,500 guest workers to compete with the already 13 million unemployed Americans seeking jobs; and
  • Congress should not be in the business of carving out special rules for members of a single nationality. Congress should draft immigration law so that it is uniform in application and is blind to the home country of an alien applicant.

Find your Senators’ phone numbers http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
 

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SENATE to Take Action on Bill to Grant 10,500 Additional Work Visas

Sens. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Scott Brown (R-MA) are trying to get legislation to the Senate floor this week that would add at least 10,500 annual guest worker visas for Irish nationals. This bill, an amended version of S.1983, would double the number of E-3 visa holders to the U.S. each year. The number of workers brought into the country could grow exponentially once an unlimited number of visas are handed out to the spouses and children (up to the age of 21) of these visa holders.

This legislation not only hurts Americans because it brings in more guest workers at a time of high unemployment, it represents terrible immigration policy because it carves out a special rule for one particular nationality. Moreover, to qualify for this visa, aliens would need to meet only nominal requirements. The legislation, as amended, only requires visa recipients to have two years of work experience in a particular field, OR to have obtained a high school diploma or its equivalent. Employers are not required to look for U.S. workers first before sponsoring an E-3 visa holder.

CALL your Senators TODAY and tell them:
• You oppose S.1983;
• The U.S. should NOT add an additional 10,500 guest workers to compete with the already 13 million unemployed Americans seeking jobs; and
• Congress should not be in the business of carving out special rules for members of a single nationality. Congress should draft immigration law so that it is uniform in application and is blind to the home country of an alien applicant.
________________________________________
Senator Jeff Merkley
(202) 224-3753
Web Form for email at: www.merkley.senate.gov/contact/

Senator Ron Wyden
(202) 224-5244
Web Form for email at: www.wyden.senate.gov/contact/

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New immigration rule to help citizen relatives

The Obama administration plans a rule change to help reduce the time illegal immigrant spouses and children are separated from citizen relatives while they try to win legal status in the United States, a senior administration official said.

Currently, illegal immigrants must leave the country before they can ask the government to waive a three- to 10-year ban on legally coming back to the U.S. The length of the ban depends on how long they have lived in the U.S. without permission.

The official said Thursday the new rule would let children and spouses of citizens ask the government to decide on the waiver request before the illegal immigrant heads to his or her home country to apply for a visa. The illegal immigrants still must go home to finish the visa process to come back to the U.S., but getting the waiver ahead of time could reduce the time an illegal immigrant is out of the country.

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the proposed policy change had not been made public.

The waiver shift is the latest move by President Barack Obama to make changes to immigration policy without congressional action. Congressional Republicans repeatedly have criticized the administration for policy changes they describe as providing "backdoor amnesty" to illegal immigrants.

Immigrants who do not have criminal records and who have only violated immigration laws can win a waiver if they can prove that their absence would cause an "extreme hardship" for their citizen spouse or parent. The government received about 23,000 hardship applications in 2011 and more than 70 percent were approved, the official said.

Applications for the waiver can take as long as six months to be acted upon, the official said. The new rule is expected to reduce that processing time to just days or weeks, the official added.

"This would streamline the process (and) reduce the time of separation between family members," the official said.

The proposal will be published in the Federal Register on Friday. The official said the administration hopes to change the rule later this year.

Immigration has become a difficult issue for Mr. Obama ahead of the November election. As a presidential candidate, he pledged to change what many consider to be a broken immigration system.

To that end, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced plans last year to review some 300,000 pending deportation cases in an effort to target criminal illegal immigrants, repeat immigration law violators and those who pose a national security or public safety threat. Napolitano said the DHS would delay indefinitely the cases of many illegal immigrants who have no criminal record and those who have been arrested for only minor traffic violations or other misdemeanors.

A pilot program to review about 12,000 cases pending in immigration court in Baltimore and Denver was launched in November and ends next week. The review is expected to expand to other jurisdictions later this year.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton also issued a memo in June outlining how immigration authorities could use discretion in deciding which illegal immigrants to arrest and put into deportation proceedings. Morton wrote in the memo that discretion could be used in a variety of cases, including for people with no criminal record and young people brought to the country illegally as children.

Congressional Republicans have decried the policy changes, arguing that the Obama administration is circumventing Congress to essentially provide amnesty to countless illegal immigrants.

Rep. Lamar Smith, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, has been among the most vocal critics and has accused Obama repeatedly of not enforcing immigration law.

Several attempts at an immigration law overhaul have failed in recent years, including the so-called DREAM Act, which would have allowed for some young illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to earn legal status if they went to college or joined the military.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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