H-1B Visas Increase Opportunities for US Workers, NASDAQ CEO Reports

According to NASDAQ CEO, Robert Griefeld, H-1B visas do not take away available jobs from US citizens; instead, Griefeld says, for every H-1B visa, technology companies increase employment by five workers. In a recent Congressional hearing, Griefeld shared data from recent studies that refute the myth that H-1B visas limit opportunity for US workers.

“Let me take the job stealing issue head-on,” Griefeld said. “Opponents of enhanced legal immigration argue that when a foreign-born, highly skilled immigrant gets a job, American graduates are the losers … But my research and experience tell me quite a different story. For example, the National Federation for American Policy says that for every H-1B worker requested, US technology companies increase their overall employment by five workers.”

California Governor Signs Dream Act Legislation for Undocumented Students

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed legislation that would extend scholarship opportunities to undocumented immigrant students as part of the state’s Dream Act legislation, vetoed by former governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger. The new bill, signed into law by Governor Brown this Monday, will allow students who are undocumented, but qualify for in-state tuition, the ability to apply for private financial aid to attend college. In addition, it is expected that Governor Brown will soon sign another piece of legislation that will also enable such students to apply for public aid.

“Our future is uncertain if we neglect those children,” Brown said at a recent public event. “But it’s absolutely abundant if we invest in their education, their child care, their future, their neighborhoods.”

Economists Predict Alabama’s New Immigration Law Will Harm the State’s Economy

While supporters of Alabama’s new restrictive immigration enforcement legislation believe it is ultimately a jobs creation program for U.S. citizens, many economic advisors are now publicly stating that the law will harm the state’s economic health. The law, which is scheduled to take effect September 1, 2011, will, according to key economists, put the stigma of the 1960s back on Alabama.

According to the U.S Census Bureau, up to 54,000 Hispanics work in Alabama, about 2.7 percent of the state’s total workforce. The majority of Hispanics work in construction, manufacturing and production. It is feared that Alabama will feel the same negative consequences that other states with restrictive legislations (such as Arizona) have felt. With an already weakened economy, many economists fear the blowback from this law will have grave consequences.

U.S. Consulate General Warns of Potential Violence in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico

The U.S. Consulate General in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, has issued an emergency message for all U.S. citizens in the state of Chihuahua. According to the message, Mexican authorities have captured key members of cartels who are active in that region. Because of this, there is grave concern that there will be an increase in violence and retaliatory actions from the cartels against rival cartel members, Mexican law enforcement and, potentially, the general public.

According to U.S. officials, a cartel may be targeting the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez or ports of entry. It is strongly urged that U.S. citizens in this area remain vigilant and take extra precautions.

All Visa Services Suspended at U.S. Embassy in Damascus

The Department of State has just notified the public that all visa services at the U.S. Embassy in Damascus, Syria, have been suspended. According to the Embassy, visa operations will commence gradually as circumstances permit and the Embassy will continue to process visa applications of anyone interviewed prior to this suspension of services.

Anyone who needs to travel to the U.S. prior to the end of this suspension are guided to apply for a nonimmigrant visa at any U.S. Embassy outside Syria which provides visa services.

Secure Communities Program Scrutinized by Federal Judge

A federal judge in New York City has ordered the federal government to turn over information about the Secure Communities Program. According to U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin, “there is ample evidence that ICE and DHS have gone out of their way to mislead the public about its ‘Secure Communities’ program.” Judge Scheindlin specifically commented that the federal agencies had not acknowledged a shift in policy. In addition to Scheindlin’s 81-page ruling, the Office of the Inspector General has also noted that it plans to investigate misrepresentations made about the program’s opt-out policy.

In April 2010, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network and other organizations sued five agencies of the federal government to seek more information about Secure Communities under the Freedom of Information Act. In February 2011, Judge Scheindlin ordered the federal government to make nearly 3,000 pages of documents open to the public.

New North Carolina Law to Require Use of E-Verify

North Carolina is the latest state to require that employers use E-Verify, the federal government’s online employment eligibility verification system. A regulation requiring employers with 25 or more employees to use E-Verify for all new hires was signed into law by Governor Bev Perdue on June 23. Implementation of the new law will start in phases, based on company size:

October 1, 2012: Companies with 500 or more employees
January 1, 2013: Companies with 100-499 employees
July 1, 2013: Companies with 25-99 employees

All counties and state municipalities will be required to start using E-Verify to screen new hires on October 1, 2011. According to the law, the use of E-Verify is not required of seasonal workers who work 90 days or less during a single year.

ICE to Begin New Round of I-9 Audits

According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a new round of I-9 audits will soon be underway. The government agency announced last week that it plans to audit the employment eligibility hiring records of 1,000 companies throughout the United States. ICE had conducted similar reviews in February 2011; this current initiative will bring the total number of I-9 audits up to more than 2,000.

I-9 audits determine whether employees at companies are authorized to work in the United States. After ICE selects a company to audit, it will send a notice of inspection, which will include requests to review I-9 documentation, payroll records, immigration paperwork, SSA communications, details about contractors and other employment-related information. Typically, ICE asks for such material to be ready for review within three business days.

U.S. Mayors Call for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

In late June, the United States Conference of Mayors passed a resolution calling for comprehensive national immigration reform. Sponsors of the bill included Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Laredo Mayor Raul Salinas. The members of the conference passed the resolution at the 79th Annual Conference of Mayors, held in Baltimore, Maryland.

The two sponsors of the bill both explained in detail why it is necessarily to immediately enact immigration reform:

Villaraigosa: “Today’s immigration law lacks accountability and responsibility, exploits undocumented workers, and undermines the American workforce.

“The system must be reformed now. We must embrace the DREAM Act and the millions of young people who would be given a pathway to citizenship with it. We must embrace AgJobs to ensure that agricultural workers can earn residency and stabilize their workforce. And we must provide a path to citizenship for the undocumented persons who meet strict requirements.”

Salinas: “For too long, comprehensive immigration reform has been held hostage to political posturing and special-interest wrangling and to the pervasive sentiment in Washington that tackling such a thorny and emotional issue is inherently bad politics.

“As a mayor, as a Hispanic community leader, and as an American, I will not accept the polarization and pettiness that prevents this nation from addressing one of the great challenges of our times: comprehensive immigration reform.”