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Beverly Hills, California, United States
Eli Kantor is a labor, employment and immigration law attorney. He has been practicing labor, employment and immigration law for more than 36 years. He has been featured in articles about labor, employment and immigration law in the L.A. Times, Business Week.com and Daily Variety. He is a regular columnist for the Daily Journal. Telephone (310)274-8216; eli@elikantorlaw.com. For more information, visit beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com and and beverlyhillsemploymentlaw.com

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Friday, July 31, 2015

Inaction On Immigration Is Economic Masochism

Forbes (Opinion)
By Terry Howerton
July 29, 2015

American immigration policy, long stalled by the leadership in the House, is driving an economic crisis of our own making. It’s hampering our ability to compete on the global stage. Official policy attracts high-skilled immigrant talent to our universities, only to push them back to their countries of origin once they are ready to work… countries that are rapidly catching up to the American innovation machine.

I grew up in a small town in the middle of the country where I can’t recall many foreign born neighbors. I didn’t spend much time thinking about immigration. Heck, my own family first came to this country way back in 1642. How I became an immigration reform advocate — speaking, writing and agitating on the issue — may not be obvious.

But I’ve spent a career building, funding and working with tech companies, an industry fueled by — and largely dependent on — engineering and entrepreneurial talent migrating to this country. I married a naturalized citizen who came here for college. By circumstance of life, on two different occasions we’ve taken into our home two different undocumented, immigrant children — school friends of our own kids — in need of care. In addition to raising them, we’re helping them navigate a complex immigration system antithetical to the American history lessons they’re taught in school.

I helped start an inner city high school in Chicago deeply immersed in tech skills and lessons of entrepreneurship, only to later discover a significant percentage of kids in that school — and across the school system — were undocumented immigrants with no clear path to becoming the professional we are preparing them to be.

I’ve seen the impact of bad immigration policy up close and personal. I’ve also seen the value and importance of legal immigration to my family and my work. For me, it’s a clear moral and social priority for our country.

But it’s also an economic priority and rising crisis for America. Lack of action by Congress threatens our global competitiveness, and compromises our ability to grow new jobs here at home.

The immigrant entrepreneur is steeped in American history, and a major force driving the growth of our economy in recent decades. The debate too often claims immigrants “take jobs away from Americans”, but rarely acknowledges immigrant “job creators”. In 2014, 28.5% of all new entrepreneurs in the United States were immigrants.

Immigrants founded more than 40% of the current Fortune 500, employing more than 3.5 million workers around the world and generating nearly $2 trillion in revenue each year.

A Kauffman Foundation study concluded that between 1995 and 2005, more than half of all Silicon Valley tech companies were created by immigrant founders. Just those companies, in just that region, employed 560,000 workers and generated $63 billion in sales. Those stats continue to grow, and today more than one-third of all venture backed companies across America were created by immigrants. Immigrants are twice as likely in America to start new businesses as native born citizens.

Our universities continue to attract the brightest minds around the world. More than 3 out of 4 patents produced by top American universities had an immigrant inventor. A decade ago we retained many of those minds in the United States. Today, those folks are increasingly educated here and then forced out of the country. At a time when it’s easier to innovate and compete from any place, American policy seems bent on self-sabotage, a sort of self-inflicted economic pain.

American immigration policy seems bent on self-sabotage, a sort of self-inflicted economic pain.

To be fair there are certainly bad actors that justify some arguments against expanding immigration. Washington DC remains paralyzed in search of “comprehensive immigration reform”, in an attempt to weed out the bad actors, hopefully to result in a smart and just immigration policy.

The path forward must include the tech industry stepping up to acknowledge bad actors among us, too. Large and small tech companies growing innovation by hiring the best available talent is a very different thing than a staffing firm simply importing low cost employees. Smart H1B reform would accommodate the innovation economy’s need for more talent and excise the staffing firms or others that might be taking advantage of the same programs.

H1B visas are critical to helping American companies attract high-skilled talent, and hundreds of thousands of jobs are unfilled today in search of qualified candidates. The small allocation of H1B visas disappear within days each year, leaving tech startups and large companies in the lurch.

For every 100 immigrants that earn advanced degrees and are allowed to stay in the United States, 262 new jobs are created. For every 1% increase in H1B STEM employment, there’s a 7% to 8% increase in wages for US workers.

Congress has been close to passing comprehensive immigration reform. The Senate has now passed three bipartisan bills. The last bill had enough bipartisan votes in the House to send it to a President who was ready to sign it. But taking a vote on the bill wasn’t a priority for many, primarily Republicans representing districts with very little foreign born populations. Republican congressional districts average 8.3% foreign born populations, versus Democratic districts with close 18.9%, all across America.

Howerton speaking with Senator Lindsey Graham on July 30, 2015 in Chicago, as part of a series of presidential candidate visits to discuss immigration reform. “It’s not about the Republican Party. It’s about us as a nation, right? If we don’t get immigration right, we’re going to die on the vine as a nation,” Graham said to the group.

But this isn’t a Democratic issue, or a Republican issue. It’s an American issue.

Immigration reform must be comprehensive. It’s not enough to address the high-skilled talent, or the immigrant entrepreneur. We have to secure the borders, but we also have to create a path to citizenship for those already living here. Addressing our broad immigration policy would generate more than $1.5 trillion in economic gains for the US over the next ten years.

Though that doesn’t account for the real outliers… Sergey Brin immigrated and cofounded Google, which has generated nearly a third of that amount in revenue over the last decade. Add in an Elon Musk, or countless other innovators and entrepreneurs that successfully made it to America (and then made it IN America), and the countless others that are trying to immigrate today, and it’s clear American prosperity is dependent on getting this problem fixed.

It’s time to reopen America for innovation and growth.


It’s time to reopen America for innovation and growth. It’s time for immigration reform, now.

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Republican Illegal Immigration Policy Will Increase Crime

Huffington Post (Op-Ed)
By Anhvinh Doanvo
July 30, 2015

The murder of Kathyrn Steinle by an undocumented immigrant has reignited the national debate on illegal immigration, with Republicans politicizing the murder to pass the "Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act" (H.R. 3009), a bill that would defund state and local law enforcement associated with "sanctuary cities". Though Steinle's murder may seem to be powerful evidence of a criminal problem the US has with undocumented immigrants, H.R. 3009 is a dangerous attempt at the single-issue politicization of law enforcement and is based upon fallacious reasoning unsupported by peer-reviewed literature.

Robert J. Sampson, a Harvard professor of sociology and former President of the American Criminological Society, published a study in 2008 in the aftermath of the murder of three teenagers in Newark, NJ by undocumented immigrants, when politicians including Newt Gingrich had declared that the "war at home" against such immigrants was more deadly than the War in Iraq. In the study of 3,000 individuals in Chicago, including undocumented immigrants, regression analysis found that Hispanic Americans do better on many social indicators than socioeconomic factors predict, including the propensity to violence.

Even when controlling for environmental and economic factors, first-generation immigrants were 45% less likely to commit violence than third-generation Americans while second-generation immigrants were 22% less likely. This trend was seen in other races as well. Since undocumented immigrants tend to move to neighborhoods already networked with legal first-generation immigrants, and since there was little evidence of sampling bias due to confidential reporting mechanisms, it was concluded that immigration diversity, whether undocumented or documented, is protective against violence, especially in high poverty neighborhoods.

The above graphic is excerpted from Sampson's paper, "Rethinking Crime and Immigration". It indicates that immigration, whether documented or undocumented, is strongly correlated with reduced crime in high-poverty neighborhoods.

How is this possible, given all of the media reports on undocumented immigrant crime? Sampson noted that both undocumented and legal immigrants tend to self-select when moving to the US--those moving tend to be associated with a motivation to work, ambition, desire to not be deported, and cultures where violence is not rewarded, even when socioeconomic factors are controlled. Furthermore, it was found that racist attitudes have persisted--opinions on neighborhood crime were strongly predicted by concentrations of Latino populations, regardless of actual crime records.

Other papers published by the American Society of Criminology and Connecticut Law Review have found similar conclusions, with the latter publication finding that the lowest imprisonment rates among Latin American immigrants were actually seen among the least educated ethnicities--Salvadorans and Guatemalans (0.52%) and Mexicans (0.70%), as opposed to the non-immigrant incarceration rate of 3.51%.

And yet, H.R. 3009, as introduced into the Senate, would bar funding if passed, under the Byrne Justice Assistant Grant (JAG) and Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) programs, two of the largest Department of Justice (DOJ) grant programs, to state and local law enforcement not fully complying with federal detainment requests. Byrne JAG and COPS gave $395 million and $257 million in grants respectively in Fiscal Year 2014.

Ironically, Republican attempts to bar funding to these programs may result in an increase in crime. The COPS program, according to the Government Accountability Office, has been associated with a 1.3% decline in overall crime rate and a 2.5% decline in the violent crime rate from 1993-2000. Apparently GOP seeks to fight crime among undocumented immigrants specifically at the expense of effective overall crime prevention programs, even when undocumented immigrants may be less likely to commit crime.

H.R. 3009 may affect up to 43 states and 276 local jurisdictions that have laws restricting federal detainment request compliance. These laws are oftentimes far more reasonable than Republican politicians suggest. Many jurisdictions, like Connecticut, require that deportations be accompanied by the fulfillment of a single criterion like a final order of removal, an arrest warrant, or gang membership. Many others, like Washoe County in Nevada, simply require warrants. GOP's attempts to compel local jurisdictions to comply regardless of whether warrants are presented epitomizes their politics, as they are willing to sacrifice the rights of targeted individuals that may be legal immigrants to further their agenda on illegal immigration.

The Republicans' only statistical justification for the matter, however fallacious, is an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) report obtained by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) through a Freedom of Information Act request. It has been noted that CIS has long been opposed to not only illegal immigration but legal immigration as well.

The report notes that of 8145 individual associated with declined detainment requests from January to August 2014, 1867 were associated with criminal rearrest. But what Republicans fail to note is that it's unclear exactly how many of the individuals were rearrested for serious or violent crimes--ICE notes that many were rearrested for drinking and driving and traffic offences, but there's nothing supporting the assumption that these 1867 individuals were violent.


If we hope to prevent violent crime in the US, we cannot constantly blame our problems on newcomers to our nation. Complex problems like urban crime demand nuanced sociological analysis, and the politicking of Republicans and Donald Trump is bound to worsen the problem and cement xenophobic attitudes in our society.

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Stop demonizing Mexico in immigration debate

Arizona Republic (Opinion-Arizona)
By Dave Shedd
July 29, 2015

Kathryn Steinle was gunned down July 1 on San Francisco’s Pier 14. Within an hour, police arrested Francisco Sanchez and charged him with the murder. An uproar ensued.

Sanchez was in the country illegally. A native of Mexico, he had racked up seven felony convictions in the U.S. and been deported five times. U.S. Customs officials had picked him up on a drug charge and handed him over to local authorities in March. But San Francisco, a “sanctuary” city, set him free.

The story was as maddening as it was tragic. Politicians were quick to register their outrage regarding sanctuary cities and illegal immigration.

Unfortunately, the renewed discussion of illegal immigration has included scant mention of the great contributions immigrants make to our country. Instead, the debate has too often devolved into crude stereotyping of immigrants, particularly Mexican immigrants, as spongers and criminals. There have been suggestions that Mexico is willfully exporting its “undesirables” across our border.

Balderdash.

Sure, Mexico has difficult security problems, and yes, some Mexicans entering the U.S. unlawfully are hardened criminals. But it’s ridiculous to suggest that an entire country, its people and its government are actively trying to foist their criminals on another country.

Let’s leaven the discussion with important facts. Approximately 33.5 million residents in the U.S. are of Mexican heritage, and two thirds of those residents are U.S. born. They produce approximately 8 percent of our nation’s GDP and own nearly one of every 25 businesses.

As for Mexicans entering this country illegally, that problem has been getting better. Migration from Mexico has decreased annually for 10 consecutive years. Since 2012, it’s been largely non-existent. Many estimate it to be a net zero at this point.

While people continue to enter the U.S. illegally via Mexico, most of their journeys begin in Guatemala, El Salvador or Honduras.

In Central America, criminal bands kill, kidnap and rape innocent people with virtual impunity. As long as these deplorable security conditions prevail, citizens of these three nations will remain highly motivated to seek refuge in a safer, more promising environment.

This is not to condone illegal immigration, but to better understand what drives it: weak civil society and rule of law in Central American countries. The U.S. can and should do much more to help address those issues.

Certainly illegal immigration presents the U.S. and Mexico with serious challenges. Border security can always be improved and should remain a top priority. The U.S. immigration system needs reform. But the challenges we face are far better addressed by good will than hateful rhetoric. Finger pointing with unsubstantiated accusations is highly counterproductive.

Mexico has been a strong partner in addressing the Central American immigration problem. In July 2013, Mexico entered into the U.S.-Mexico Cross Border Security Communications Network, which has increased intelligence sharing on human trafficking and other illicit activities along the border. The Mexican Federal Police conduct patrols coordinated with the U.S. Border Patrol. Without such cooperation, the situation along our southern border would be much worse.

So let us not lose sight of the assistance we receive from the Mexican government or the many contributions of Mexican migrants to our country. They and other immigrants who lawfully choose to call America home should be welcomed with open arms.

The tragic killing in San Francisco can and should promote a constructive discussion about combating illegal immigration by enforcing existing laws and, where necessary, instituting reforms.


But if we allow it to divide us and erode our engagement with Mexico and the Central American countries to improve our mutual security, Kate Steinle’s murder will be doubly tragic.

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Jindal won't say how he'll handle 11 million undocumented immigrants

CNN
By Jeremy Diamond
July 30, 2015

Republican presidential candidate and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal refused to say Thursday what he would do with the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.

"What we need from the federal government is to secure the border," Jindal said on CNN's "New Day," adding that the U.S. doesn't need an amnesty plan or a "comprehensive approach" to dealing with the undocumented immigrant population living in the U.S.

Jindal didn't directly answer whether he would support or rule out a path to "legal status," like the one Florida Gov. Jeb Bush supports, and continued to insist that he would not discuss a plan for the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. until the U.S.-Mexico border is secured.

"I think the American people will be pragmatic and compassionate about the people here. But I don't think they want that as part of the discussion on securing border. We need to secure the border first," Jindal said, when pressed on his plan.

Jindal insisted that previous efforts to address illegal immigration have failed because politicians have looked to remedy both border security and the status of undocumented immigrants living in the country at the same time.

Jindal's comments come one day after Republican frontrunner Donald Trump told CNN that he would support a path to "legal status" for undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., but only after they leave the country and return through what Trump described as an "expedited process."

He did not detail how that process would work.

As for the details of Jindal's immigration plan that he would share, Jindal said the U.S. needed a "higher wall" at the border and more resources to stop people from crossing into the U.S. illegally.

And he said that he wanted to make legal immigration into the U.S. easier, insisting that the immigration of individuals willing to assimilate and learn English would "make our country stronger."

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Santorum pitches border security, immigration caps

The Hill
By Mark Hensch
July 30, 2015

GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum writes in an op-ed published on Thursday that America’s immigration policies should reward migrants who obey the law.

The former Pennsylvania senator argues for stricter border security and immigration caps in The Iowa Republican.

“America is worth the wait and it is worth doing it right,” Santorum writes.

“This means we need an immigration policy that rewards those who do it right, an immigration policy that fits our economic needs and an immigration policy that puts the American worker first,” he adds. “That will be my policy as president.”

Santorum charges that neither President Obama nor Congress had properly addressed America’s border security and immigration reform issues.

“Immigration and border security must be addressed by our next president, and it must be a prominent part of the national debate over the next two years,” he writes.

“Yet it is clear that this administration, and sadly this Congress, has no intention of addressing an issue so vital to our economic and national security.”

Santorum also criticizes Obama for acting particularly unconcerned with immigration’s effect on everyday Americans.

“The president had filibuster-proof majorities in Congress his first two years in office, majorities so strong that he was able to ram through his monstrosity of ObamaCare despite overwhelming public criticism — yet he never even introduced an immigration reform bill,” Santorum writes.

“For the president to attack Republicans today for not addressing this problem is disingenuous at best, identity politics at its worst,” he adds.

Santorum then proposes that securing America’s borders is the first step toward fixing the nation’s immigration problem.

“Yes, we must secure our border and we must fully implement e-verify so the market for illegal immigrants to hold jobs American workers would otherwise hold is closed, but we must do more,” he writes.

The former Pennsylvania lawmaker argues that lowering the number of legal immigrants would also improve the U.S. and its economic fortunes.

“I believe immigration can be a very good thing,” Santorum writes. “But as with anything, there can also be too much of a good thing.

“When our labor markets cannot manage the influx we are receiving, then it is time to recalibrate.

“This is not anti-immigrant, it is common-sense because stagnant wages and joblessness is not good for anyone regardless of race, gender or immigration status,” Santorum adds.

Santorum proposes reducing the ceiling on America’s legal immigration numbers by 25 percent.

“There are over one million legal immigrants coming into America each year, and most of my fellow Republican presidential candidates have proposed increasing this number even further,” he writes. “I don’t.”

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

GOP presidential hopeful Lindsey Graham talks immigration in Pilsen

Chicago Tribune
By Rick Pearson
July 30, 2015
GOP presidential hopeful Lindsey Graham talks immigration in Pilsen


Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina brought his Republican presidential campaign to Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood Thursday, where he received accolades for backing a comprehensive immigration reform plan that includes an eventual pathway to citizenship.

Graham has long backed a Senate-passed comprehensive reform plan that would require immigrants living in the country illegally to learn English, pay a fine and pay taxes in order to gain legal status and would eventually allow them a way to become citizens. "(If I'm elected) president of the United States, don't send me a bill without a pathway to citizenship or I'll veto it," he said.

Graham criticized GOP national front-runner, real estate tycoon and reality TV celebrity Donald Trump for his attacks on immigrants and for a vow Trump made a day earlier to deport the nation's estimated 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.

"They're not being made to come here, Mr. Trump. They want to come here. They risk their lives to come here," Graham said of Trump's contention that the Mexican government is sending criminals to cross the border into the U.S.

Graham, who has served in the Senate for a dozen years, trails in national polls among the 17 major Republican presidential contenders, with a Quinnipiac University survey released Thursday showing him with 1 percent support. His national poll standing makes it unlikely that he will be among the top 10 contenders who get to participate in the first prime-time GOP debate of the presidential campaign Aug. 6.

"National polling means nothing at this point. I think it's a dumb idea by the Republican Party to limit admission to a debate based on national polling in 2015. It rewards those who have run before from large states and people who are celebrities," he said. "Over time, I'm going to rise in Iowa and New Hampshire, where I'm spending my time."

Graham also stood by Illinois Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, who has been under fire from some elements of the state GOP over a series of verbal gaffes. In June, Kirk referred to Graham, who is single, as a "bro with no ho" into an open committee hearing microphone. Kirk later apologized.

"I am totally in Mark's camp," Graham said of Kirk, who is seeking re-election next year in what's expected to be a top-tier contest. "He's a good friend. He's very knowledgeable on foreign policy. He's a problem-solver. He has supported comprehensive immigration reform. I think he has a lot to offer the people of Illinois."

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Graham: GOP will get 'killed' if Trump is nominee

The Hill
By Mark Hensch
July 30, 2015

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Thursday said Republicans should expect dire consequences if they nominate Donald Trump as their standard-bearer in the 2016 White House race.

Graham argued Trump would lose any general election he enters next year.

“I see [the GOP] getting killed if he is the nominee,” he told the Boston Herald.

“We are not going to elect a man president of the United States who has said the things he’s said about John McCain, who believes that most illegal immigrants are drug dealers and rapists, who has openly espoused the fact that he thinks the president of the United States was born in Kenya,” said Graham, himself a 2016 contender.

Graham criticized Trump for his long 2011 campaign demanding that President Obama prove he was born in the U.S.

“I am confident that President Obama was born in Hawaii and that he’s a decent guy who’s a bad president,” he said.

“But Donald Trump is a guy who went around the country and openly said he spent thousands of dollars ... claiming that the president was born in Kenya,” Graham said.

“I don’t see a birther becoming president,” he added.

Graham also attacked Trump for his feud with McCain, an Arizona senator and close friend of Graham's.

“John McCain is not a loser because he was captured, John McCain is a hero because he risked his life in the service of his country in an unpopular war,” he said.

“When it comes to the military member, military service and understanding the needs of our armed forces, there is no better voice in Washington than John McCain,” added Graham, who achieved the rank of colonel in the Air Force.

Trump sparked national controversy earlier this month by mocking McCain’s time as a prisoner during the Vietnam War.

“He's a war hero because he was captured,” Trump told hold Frank Luntz during the 2015 Family Leadership Summit on July 18. “I like people that weren’t captured.”

McCain and Trump have sparred over the businessman's anti-illegal-immigration rally in Phoenix on July 11.

McCain said earlier this month Trump “fired up the crazies” by conducting the event.

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com


Bernie Sanders Is Walking A Tightrope On Immigration

Huffington Post
By Daniel Marans and Elise Foley
July 30, 2015

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders bristled on Thursday at the idea that his opposition to open borders and frequent criticism of employers’ exploitation of immigrant labor amounted to a dismissal of the good that immigration does the country.

The independent Vermont senator didn't clarify, however, whether he agrees with economists who say immigration helps the economy or has a neutral effect, setting him up for continued criticism from advocates of increased immigration who say his thinking on the issue is too simplistic. Indeed, Sanders' remarks at an event hosted by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on Thursday failed to win over Javier Palomarez, the group’s leader.

After talking about the importance of providing a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, Sanders shifted to say that foreign-born workers who come to the U.S. sometimes hurt wages.

"There is a reason why Wall Street and all of corporate America likes immigration reform, and it is not, in my view, that they're staying up nights worrying about undocumented workers in this country," Sanders said Thursday. "What I think they are interested in is seeing a process by which we can bring low-wage labor of all levels into this country to depress wages in America, and I strongly disagree with that."

Rep. Luis Gutierrez called on Sanders to emphasize immigration reform more in June.

Sanders had already caused some controversy earlier in the week with remarks that some advocates interpreted as critical of immigration.

"What right-wing people in this country would love is an open-border policy," Sanders said in a Vox interview posted Tuesday. "Bring in all kinds of people, work for $2 or $3 an hour, that would be great for them. I don't believe in that. I think we have to raise wages in this country, I think we have to do everything we can to create millions of jobs."

The senator said Thursday that he stood by his remarks opposing open borders, adding that "there is no question in my mind that that would substantially lower wages in this country."

The comments reinforce a perception voiced by immigration leaders in Congress that Sanders has not sufficiently emphasized immigration reform in his campaign. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), a top proponent of comprehensive immigration reform in Congress, called on the presidential candidate to emphasize the issue more in June.

Some immigration reform advocates argued that Sanders' remarks in the Vox interview wrongly implied that more immigration has a negative impact on U.S. workers. By increasing overall consumption in the economy, they said, new immigrants more than compensate for the depressing effect that a larger supply of workers could have on employment or wages.

"Here's the issue: when Senator Sanders falsely pits immigrants as an obstacle to tackling unemployment, he’s just plain wrong," said Todd Schulte in a Wednesday statement. Schulte is president of FWD.us, a political action group backed by tech companies that focuses on immigration reform.

“The economic data is clear that immigrants create American jobs," he said, adding that Sanders' argument is "exactly the sort of backward-looking thinking that progressives have rightly moved away from in the past years."

Indeed, a 2010 study by the liberal-leaning Economic Policy Institute found that immigration had a negligible overall influence on wages. The study, which looked at the years 1994 to 2007, concluded that immigration had a neutral effect on the wages of workers with a high school degree and actually increased the wages of workers with some college training by 0.4 percent. It did show that immigration had reduced wages significantly for some groups of foreign-born workers.

Still, if Sanders is ambivalent about the effects of immigration on American workers, he would not be alone among progressives.

Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research and a supporter of legislation giving undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship, argues that the Economic Policy Institute study and others like it fail to account for the indirect ways in which immigration reduces the real income of middle- and lower-income workers. Specifically, Baker said there is evidence that high immigration increases the cost of housing, which makes up a large share of low-income families’ budgets.

Baker pointed to the difference between housing costs in Los Angeles, a city with high immigration, and those in Cleveland, a city with lower immigration. The Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that the "fair market rent" of a one-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles is $1,103 per month, while a comparable apartment in Cleveland costs $603 per month.

"Let's say the wages of people without a college degree remain the same under immigration," Baker said. "The person in Cleveland is doing a lot better."

Regardless of Sanders’ views on the larger economics of immigration, the candidate's public criticism of immigration policies has focused on employers who hire foreign workers when U.S. workers are available for the same jobs. He said Thursday that he does "not believe that we should be bringing in significant numbers of unskilled workers to compete with" unemployed high school graduates.

It is a criticism shared by lawmakers in both parties. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), one of the most outspoken advocates of immigration reform in the Senate, joined with Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), one of its staunchest opponents, in calling for an investigation of Southern California Edison and other companies that use H1-B visas to hire foreign workers while laying off American ones.

Sen. Jeff Sessions has shared Sanders' criticism of programs that allow employers to hire foreign workers for jobs that Americans are able to do.

Sanders has not just spoken out against these practices. In the past, he has bucked Democratic leaders over immigration policies that he believed would undermine U.S. workers. In 2007, Sanders voted against bipartisan immigration reform because of concerns that a guest worker program in the bill could end up depressing wages and depriving Americans of jobs. Some immigration advocates criticized Sanders at the time, but organized labor officials, who supported immigration reform but opposed the guest worker program, commended Sanders for his stance.

“Sanders was basically one of our only allies” in the 2007 fight, Ana AvendaƱo, a former top immigration official at the AFL-CIO, told Politico. “He adamantly put his foot down and said these kinds of programs [allow] employers to bring in more and more vulnerable workers.”

Sanders voted for the 2013 comprehensive immigration reform bill, which also received support from the AFL-CIO. He said on Thursday that the 2013 bill was better, in part because of a $1.5 billion youth jobs program he offered as an amendment.

He has promised to push for immigration reform if elected president, and he insisted Thursday that it's not incongruous with his concerns that open borders could hurt U.S. workers.


"There is a great difference in saying that we welcome immigrants, that we're going to provide a path toward citizenship for those people and those families that are in this country today, and saying, oh, we're not going to have any borders at all," Sanders said.

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Bernie Sanders doesn’t easily fit either side of the immigration debate. Here’s why.

Vox
By Dara Lind
July 30, 2015

We're used to thinking about immigration policy as a one-dimensional spectrum: either "pro-immigrant" or "anti-immigrant." But "immigrant" covers both people who are already here, and people who might come in the future. So "pro-immigrant" politicians tend to support legal status for the 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the US now, and increased legal immigration in the future.

Bernie Sanders doesn't fit that mold. He's dovish on the treatment of unauthorized workers, but he's a hawk when it comes to expanding legal immigration.

This position used to be a lot more common among Democrats, because it's the default position of the labor movement. Unions traditionally seek to protect their members from foreign competition, but they worry that a large pool of unregulated immigrant labor could undermine labor rights protections for everyone. But as immigration activists have displaced skeptical labor unions as the defining voice on immigration within the Democratic Party, that worry has seemed increasingly out of step.

That's why it was so jarring when Sanders told Vox's Ezra Klein that opening America's borders to immigrants was a "Koch brothers proposal" — a statement he defended when asked by MSNBC's Alex Seitz-Wald about it on Thursday. Democrats increasingly expect their leaders to be pro-immigrant across the board. But for Sanders, the debate isn't so much about being for or against immigrants than it is about being for or against workers. And that leads him to different positions than many others in his party.

Bernie Sanders supports legalizing unauthorized immigrants so they can stop being exploited by employers

Bernie Sanders has voted both for and against comprehensive immigration reform bills that included a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants. He voted against a comprehensive Senate bill in 2007, and in favor of a different one in 2013.

Does that mean Sanders is ambivalent about a path to citizenship — something  that has become an article of faith for Democrats in the Obama era? Hardly. Sanders is perfectly in step with his party on this issue. From all appearances, he supports allowing unauthorized immigrants to apply for legal status and, eventually, citizenship — just like any other Democrat in the race (as well as Republican candidates Lindsey Graham and, perhaps, Marco Rubio).

And unlike Donald Trump and some other Republican candidates, Sanders isn't going around saying that current immigrants are taking American jobs or disrupting their communities.

When Sanders spoke to the National Association of Latino Elected Officials in June, he made it clear that he was mostly concerned for unauthorized immigrants as workers. It's very easy for employers to exploit workers who aren't subject to minimum wage laws and may be afraid to report worker abuse. So for someone like Sanders who's concerned about worker exploitation, giving those workers legal status is an important way to protect them.

Sanders is specifically worried about guest-worker programs

For most politicians, what to do with the unauthorized is the trickiest part of the immigration debate. But for labor and business groups, the most important question is whether, and how, the immigration system should be changed for future legal immigration — what's called "future flow." Of course, labor and business have very different answers to that question.

Sanders also sees unauthorized immigrants and future flow as different issues, as he made clear to Jose Antonio Vargas during his town hall at Netroots Nation earlier this month (the relevant exchange starts at about 13:00):

This isn't just a question of how many people should be allowed to come into the US. It's a question of what terms they're let in on. We could have a labor-friendly system in which immigrants can work at any job they want and get the same minimum wage guarantee American workers do. Or we could have a business-friendly system where the same number of people come here on time-limited visas to work for a single employer, perhaps with fewer protections than the law gives to US citizens and green card holders.

Right now we're closer to the latter than the former. Most of the people who come to the US to work are on "non-immigrant" visas. They're supposed to work for a specific employer for a specific amount of time. If the employer doesn't want to sponsor them for permanent residency, they have to go home. When Sanders attacks the H-1B program, which is a non-immigrant visa for high-skilled workers, he makes it clear that what he's particularly afraid of is giving employers that much power over even more immigrants.

Sanders is clearly worried that more immigration to the US is going to drive down wages for the native-born. In that respect, he is drawing a clear line: He cares a lot about the treatment of workers in the United States, whatever their legal status, and is not equally concerned with workers who aren't yet living in the US. And of course, his logic could just as easily be used by someone arguing that immigrants currently in the US are bad. But that's not what Sanders is saying. His specific "Koch brothers" fear is of a future where there are lots of immigrant workers whose status is under their employers' control.

Sanders is a moderate on immigration — and that might not be good enough

If Bernie Sanders is going to be a viable candidate for the Democratic nomination, he's going to have to do better than the single-digit support he's currently attracting from Latino voters. And his immigration position isn't a deal breaker. But it is a liability.

Latino voters are personally invested in immigration reform — but they're especially invested in the fate of the unauthorized. While future flows matter to Latinos — many of whom have relatives stuck in years-long immigration backlogs — they'll be affected much more by preserving and expanding family-based immigration than by what happens with employment-based immigration.

Sanders certainly isn't winning over any Latino voters by talking about how more immigrants would drive down wages, and the rhetoric alone could be a turn-off. But there's no reason it would have to be a deal breaker on its own. When it comes to the most important immigration issues to Latino voters, Sanders is saying all the right things.

The problem for Sanders is that his opponents haven't left him much room to appeal to Latino voters on immigration. Hillary Clinton took a surprisingly strong stand on immigration early in her campaign, and she enjoys an intimidating 68 percent approval rating among Latinos. And to her left is Martin O'Malley, a conspicuously pro-immigrant governor of Maryland. While O'Malley has struggled to distinguish himself on other issues, he's been forceful in defending immigrant rights against Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and anyone else.


Sanders is more willing to restrict immigration than Clinton and O'Malley are. But even if he weren't, it would be hard for him to appeal to Latinos who really care about immigration — because there would be better options out there anyway.

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Bernie Sanders Again Links Low Wages With Immigration

New York Times
By Maggie Haberman
July 30, 2015

Senator Bernie Sanders addressed the hot-button topic of immigration for the second day in a row on Thursday, saying at a Hispanic Chamber of Commerce event that lower wages were tethered to an influx of immigrants.

Mr. Sanders, the Vermont independent who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, repeated the tenor of comments he made in an interview with Vox’s Ezra Klein that was released on Monday about how wage stagnation was linked to a porous immigration policy.

At the Chamber of Commerce event in Washington, Mr. Sanders said in response to a reporter’s question, “You’ve got to be careful about defining the word, ‘immigrants.’”

The question is whether there should be “a completely open border, so that anybody can come into the United States of America,” the senator said. “If that were to happen, which I strongly disagree with, there is no question in my mind that that would substantially lower wages in this country.”

Mr. Sanders voted against an immigration overhaul bill in 2007. Since then, the issue has gained support among Democrats, who see Hispanics as a fast-growing voting bloc and a key part of President Obama’s coalition. The topic is one of the few areas where Democrats can position themselves to Mr. Sanders’s left.

“I don’t think there’s any presidential candidate, none, who thinks we should open up the borders,” Mr. Sanders said, adding that the percentages of black and Hispanic people searching for work would only become worse in that case.

Mr. Sanders told another reporter that an increase in worker visas, an issue in the most recent efforts at comprehensive change in the immigration system, was not necessary to revamp the nation’s policies. Mr. Sanders favors a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants who are currently in the country.

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Stakes for Donald Trump in First G.O.P. Debate (in a Word): Huge

New York Times
By Maggie Haberman and Nick Corasanti
July 30, 2015

The most pressing question that Donald J. Trump could face next week in the first debate of the 2016 presidential race may not be about Iran or immigration, but this: Can he deploy enough adjectives (“huge!”), superlatives (“the worst!”) and invectives (“loser!”) for him to use up his time without being challenged successfully on the substance of policy?

Mr. Trump could come away a winner if he makes cogent points without sounding too hostile, presenting himself as more of a serious-minded, anti-establishment voice in a primary crowded with career Republican politicians. But there are risks for him if he turns the debate stage in Cleveland into another episode of the reality show his campaign has sometimes resembled.

He boasts about spending no time preparing for the event, which will be broadcast on Fox News on Aug. 6, even as his aides have put together briefing papers for him on policy and pungent lines of attack. He already knows plenty about the issues, he says, so much that, rather than cramming, he will be in Scotland over the weekend at a golf tournament on one of his courses.

And after weeks of slashing at his opponents in interviews, he refuses to say whom he may single out when the 10 leading primary contenders stand side by side. “I have great respect for some of the candidates,” Mr. Trump said in an interview. “I don’t have great respect for others.”

He cannot know who will try to embarrass him. Then again, he suggested, he may just choose targets of opportunity. “It depends on the feel,” he said. “It depends on what’s taking place.”

No candidate is more likely to wing it than the mercurial Mr. Trump. But the man who read Senator Lindsey Graham’s cellphone number aloud on a South Carolina stage has set the bar fairly high for himself to do something that would qualify as outrageous.

He is likely to arrive in Cleveland ready with cutting “observations” about each of his rivals, according to a person briefed on Mr. Trump’s debate preparations who was not authorized to speak publicly. (A recent example: He said former Gov. Rick Perry of Texas “put glasses on so people will think he’s smart.” He added, “It just doesn’t work.”)

Mr. Trump’s mantra, in his books and in his paid speeches, is to counterattack harder when anyone throws a punch. (As he did when gently chastised by Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin. “Wisconsin is a mess,” Mr. Trump retorted.)

He could also single out just one of his rivals, especially a formidable one, for ridicule and provocation. (Jeb Bush, he said not long ago, is “an unhappy person.”)

In a 90-minute debate with 10 candidates, Mr. Trump’s speaking time is unlikely to reach 10 minutes, even with rebuttals, leaving little time for him to delve into policy details. But he could be pressed to do more than trash the Iran nuclear deal or the Obama administration’s foreign policy in broad terms, or claim he has a secret plan to defeat the Islamic State, as he has done so far.

“He’s gotten away with just blustery criticisms and sweeping generalizations until now,” Kevin Madden, a Republican strategist who advised Mitt Romney in 2012, said in an email. “It will be interesting to see if the Fox moderators, who are trusted validators among Republican primary voters, force him to provide more specifics on important policy issues.”

Who Is Running for President?

“He can’t just complain about the media to a Republican audience when it’s Bret Baier asking the question,” he said, referring to a Fox News anchor.

There have already been glimpses of less-than-sure-footedness from Mr. Trump on the campaign trail. On a trip last week to Laredo, Tex., to visit the border with Mexico, he had difficulty summoning details when pressed on how he would fix the immigration system.

“We have to have legal immigration, legal immigration,” he said repeatedly. “We want to get legal immigration in. We want legal immigration.”

He seemed relieved when a reporter changed the subject for him, asking about Mr. Perry — and allowing him to return to the offensive.

Mr. Trump betrays no anxiety about his command of the issues. In fact, he maintains that his rivals are afraid of him. So much so that, he claimed, some of them, he declined to say which, have privately asked him to go easy on them in the debate.

It is possible, of course, that Mr. Trump could choose to disarm his opponents not by finding new ways to humiliate them but by being statesmanlike and courteous.

“If we live in a world where he is a serious candidate and intends to prove that he’s a serious candidate, then it is a real opportunity,” said Stuart Stevens, another former Romney adviser. “I think for Donald Trump, a boring debate would probably help.”

Brett O’Donnell, who is coaching Mr. Graham on debate skills, ventured that if Mr. Trump insulted his rivals incessantly or indiscriminately, he could alienate viewers. If he refrains, Mr. O’Donnell added, “I think he helps himself if he comes off as a serious candidate who is viewed by folks as competent enough to be president of the United States.”

But others think there is little chance that the format will allow for such a thing.

“The debate moderators will pride themselves on throwing one candidate against another,” said Alex Castellanos, a veteran Republican strategist. “A fistfight is unavoidable,” he added.

Unlike on “The Apprentice,” though, Mr. Trump’s rivals will not be under orders to take his abuse stoically. One of them could, conceivably, hit back even harder.

“The most memorable debates are defined by moments of strength or moments of weakness,” Mr. Madden said. “One of the other candidates has to be the one to make that moment of weakness happen for Trump. It’s like the big-talking bully who goes around the neighborhood popping off about how he’s the toughest kid on the block. Kick his tail fair and square in front of everyone, and you own the neighborhood.”

Perhaps mindful that the night could prove something other than an unbridled success, Mr. Trump has repeatedly said he has never debated before and denigrated the whole enterprise: Debates, he said in the interview, are “really irrelevant to running the country and making the country great again.”

What is clear is that his goals for the debate are not what other candidates’ goals are.

He needs only to earn praise from the supporters who have driven him to the top of the Republican primary polls — and not to disappoint them.

And he brims with confidence that he will succeed at that, whether other people admit it or not.


“No matter how well I do,” he said, “everyone will say I lost.”

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com