About Me

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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


Friday, February 26, 2010

ABC's Jeffrey Kofman on Becoming an American Citizen

On February 25, 2010, Jeffrey Kofman, ABC’s Miami-based Correspondent for Florida, the Caribbean and Latin America, became a U.S. citizen. Kofman was born in Toronto, Canada. He moved to the United States in 1997 and joined ABC News in 2001. He was asked to deliver the keynote address to the 224 other New Americans who were sworn in at the same ceremony at the Miami headquarters of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Here are his remarks:

We are now Americans.
We ARE Americans.
To all of you – all 224 of you – congratulations!

Monday, February 22, 2010

One Small Step on Immigration: Comprehensive reform seems unlikely this year, but we applaud Rep. Jared Polis’ plan to create "Startup Visas."

Denver Post: Polis has proposed reforming the EB-5 Visa program to make it easier for foreign entrepreneurs to start businesses in the United States and, in the process, create much-needed jobs. The Boulder Democrat has written legislation that would increase the number of visas set aside for foreign investors and entrepreneurs who make sizable investments by opening businesses here. They're called Startup Visas. To qualify for the program, a foreign investor would be on the hook to create 10 jobs – or five jobs in low-income or rural areas.

U.S. - Cuba Talks Overshadowed by Recriminations

Los Angeles Times reported that: The highest-level meeting of U.S. and Cuban officials in Havana in years was overshadowed Saturday by a flourish of recriminations reminiscent of the Cold War-era tensions that have long polarized the two nations. The talks Friday in Havana focused on immigration issues, including visas and repatriation, part of a dialogue resumed in July after a six-year suspension. Both governments labeled the talks as positive. But U.S. delegates also met dissidents, infuriating Cuban officials.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Understanding Anti-Immigrant Sentiment

MIT News: IN NEW RESEARCH EXPERIMENT, MIT POLITICAL SCIENTIST SHOWS AMERICANS’ VIEWS ON IMMIGRATION MAY BE LESS BASED ON ECONOMIC SELF-INTEREST THAN IS COMMONLY BELIEVED. Immigration is a long-simmering issue in the politics of many countries, including the United States. A 2007 Pew poll found that three-quarters of all U.S. citizens want to further restrict immigration. But what’s behind such strongly held views? A new public-opinion research experiment by MIT political scientist Jens Hainmueller and his Harvard colleague Michael Hiscox paints a very different picture. American citizens, they find, are not necessarily afraid of job competition or supporting public services. Instead, the striking thing about Americans’ attitude toward immigration is that they collectively tend to prefer immigrant workers with refined job skills instead of those lacking good training: Citizens will welcome, say, a computer programmer more readily than a manual laborer. "Policy-makers need to better understand what causes anti-immigrant sentiments because resistant public opinion is the key roadblock for immigration reform in the U.S. and many other countries," explains Hainmueller. "From this perspective our results are both bad news and good news. They suggest that public opinion should be less of a problem for immigration policies that specifically target high-skilled immigrants. But the results also suggest that a fair amount of the anti-immigration sentiment is driven by deep-seated cultural factors that are difficult to change with policy tools."

Nation's First Immigration TV Network Launches in Houston

PR.COM News Release: Inmigrante TV, the nation’s first television network dedicated to immigration issues, has launched in the greater Houston area on Channel 61.2. The Spanish-language channel will become a hub of news about immigration topics, offering an alternative source of information and analysis from the more mainstream networks. It is heavily targeted at Hispanic immigrant communities.

Judge Keeps His Word to Immigrant Who Kept His

New York Times: The judge, who remembered the pitfalls of Little Italy in the 1950s, urged him to use his sentence — three to nine years in a reformatory — as a chance to turn his life around. "If you do that, I am here to stand behind you," the judge, Michael A. Corriero, promised. The youth, Qing Hong Wu, vowed to change. Mr. Wu kept his word. But almost 15 years after his crimes, by applying for citizenship, Mr. Wu, 29, came to the attention of immigration authorities in a parallel law enforcement system that makes no allowances for rehabilitation. He was abruptly locked up in November as a "criminal alien," subject to mandatory deportation to China — the nation he left at 5, when his family immigrated legally to the United States. Now Judge Corriero, 67, retired from the bench, is trying to keep his side of the bargain.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Tackling Illegal Immigration from the Top: A Crackdown on Alleged Smuggling Operations Is a Step in the Right Direction

Los Angeles Times: When President Obama took office, his administration promised to focus immigration enforcement resources on employers rather than workers, and on dangerous criminals rather than nannies and gardeners. To that end, the government has stepped up scrutiny of companies' employment paperwork, and audits are up tenfold. At the same time, the workplace roundups popular during the George W. Bush years, which punished illegal immigrants but not the companies that were enticing them into the country with jobs, have diminished. As hopes for comprehensive immigration legislation recede, reform advocates are growing concerned about the rate at which immigrants are still being rounded up. We too are anxious about the fate of reform. But the Houston raids should accord with everyone's priorities. Cracking down on smugglers who endanger and exploit migrants is a corrective that's long overdue.

A Fatal Ending for a Family Forced Apart by Immigration Law

New York Times: Elizabeth Drummond was a single mother from a hardscrabble family whose roots go back to the Mayflower and an American Indian tribe. The man she married, Segundo Encalada, was a relative newcomer to the United States, sent illegally by his parents from Ecuador when he was 17. In an earlier era of America's immigration history, they could have stayed together, and Mr. Encalada might still be alive. But in July 2006, when Mrs. Encalada was pregnant with their third daughter and immigration crackdowns were sweeping the country, her husband was ordered by immigration authorities to take "voluntary departure" back to Ecuador. Mrs. Encalada, 32, wrote the White House, the State Department and Congressional offices to plead for help. When most did not respond, she found a new lawyer and started over. But her husband, 28, apparently lost hope. On Dec. 15, facing another Christmas far from his family, he drank poison.

New Guest-Worker Rules Seek to Increase Wages

New York Times: Labor Secretary Hilda Solis announced new rules on Thursday for the temporary immigrant farm workers program, saying they would raise wages and strengthen labor protections for foreign and American workers. Under the new rules, growers will no longer be able to attest that they tried to find American workers to fill jobs given to migrants, but will have to prove they conducted job searches. The Labor Department will establish a national electronic registry of farm jobs to assist the effort.

What Caring for Immigrants Costs

New York Times: Medical care for immigrants who are in the country illegally has long been a sore subject. Emotions boiled over last fall when Representative Joe Wilson, Republican of South Carolina, shouted "You lie!" after President Obama, in a speech before Congress, denied that undocumented immigrants would receive free coverage under the Democrats' proposed health care legislation. Now, a new study published online in the journal Health Affairs suggests that, contrary to popular perception, immigrants actually cost the health care system less per person than do natives of the United States. Nor do illegal immigrants make up a disproportionate share of the costs to public programs like Medicaid, researchers found.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Unauthorized Immigrant Population Declines

New York Times reports: The population of unauthorized workers in the United States declined in the year ending January 2009, according to a new report from the Department of Homeland Security. An estimated 10.8 million unauthorized immigrants were in the country in January 2009 compared with 11.6 million the previous year. That decrease – nearly 7 percent – is probably related to the country's declining economy in the first year of the recession. Other scholars have found a correlation between arrests at the Mexican border and labor market in the United States.

Arizona Sheriff, U.S. in Standoff Over Immigration Enforcement

Wall Street Journal: An Arizona sheriff said he planned to defy Washington’s attempts to roll back his staunch enforcement of federal immigration law, a move that could put him on a collision course with the U.S. government. Mr. Arpaio has partnered with Kris Kobach, a law professor who has gained prominence as a national advocate for stricter measures against illegal immigrants. Mr. Arpaio said, "We don't engage in racial profiling." He noted that the training for his deputies would include a lesson on how to avoid the practice.

USA Today: Evangelical Leader Calls for Kinder, Gentler Immigration Laws

Galen Carey of the National Association of Evangelicals called for Congress to "pass meaningful immigration reform this year" today in a conference call with other faith leaders. Members of the group said they are trying to create a grassroots, church-based movement to press for passage of legislation. "The Catholic Church and all its sister organizations will step up our efforts to educate across the economic and political divide," said Father Jon Pedigo, pastor of St. Julie Billiart parish in San Jose.

Friday, February 05, 2010

When President Obama's Kenyan Aunt Appears Before a U.S. Immigration Judge in BostonToday, She Says She Will Literally Be Making the Case for Her Life

ABC News: When President Obama's Kenyan aunt appears before a U.S. immigration judge in Boston today, she says she will literally be making the case for her life. Zeituni Onyango, 56, is fighting a 2004 deportation order by seeking asylum in this country – a status granted to those who cannot return home out of fear of being persecuted. But just what persecution Onyango claims to face and whether a judge will find her fears well-founded is uncertain. Onyango first applied for asylum in 2002 "due to violence in Kenya," but was denied and ordered to leave the country.

Suit Points to Guest Worker Program Flaws

New York Times: Immigration authorities worked closely with a marine oil-rig company in Mississippi to discourage protests by temporary guest workers from India over their job conditions, including advising managers to send some workers back to India, according to new testimony in a federal lawsuit against the company, Signal International. Since then, hundreds of the Indian workers have brought a civil rights lawsuit against the company, claiming they were victims of human trafficking and labor abuse. The Signal case has come to represent some of the flaws and pitfalls, for immigrants and for employers, in the H-2B temporary guest worker program.