30 Issues: Immigration

Friday, October 03, 2008

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Julia Preston, New York Times immigration correspondent, compares the candidates' positions on immigration policy.

Marshall Fitz, director of advocacy with the American Immigration Lawyers Association, discusses how changes to immigration law would affect immigration attorneys and their clients.


Marshall Fitz and Julia Preston

Comments [47]


yes catherine 23 agree.

Oct. 03 2008 12:04 PM
Scott_A from Astoria

I have a good friend who was granted H1B worker status while he was in the States after getting his MBA. He took an job tightly connected to his special skills after getting the working permit, and was allowed to take a vacation from that job to see family back in India that he hadn't seen in 5 years.

But now the State Department mysteriously won't grant him a travel Visa to return to back here, to the country he's lived in for most of the past 14yrs). It's been an excessively long 9 months now, and his company has been struggling without him.

His company's lawyer sometimes does pro-bono work for illegal aliens among the Haitian community, and says he has never seen a Visa applicant treated so poorly, not even the illegal ones. After multiple unanswered letters to the State Dept., he went so far as to write a letter expressing how ashamed of his country he is for the way they've treated my friend.

I have to agree - it's been disgraceful. My friend has done everything right, every step of the way. He has a worker's permit which is running out of time as he's kept from traveling to his job, and the State Dept. is actively injuring his company by not allowing him to show up for work.

Oct. 03 2008 12:00 PM

sounds like if you speak english and pay your taxes you are pretty much in!

Oct. 03 2008 11:58 AM
thatgirlinnewyork from manhattan

requiring the somewhat unproven, side-effect laden HPV vaccine of immigrants is a reckless policy. it's expensive (first round of jabs is $300+, and two boosters are "recommended", because its efficacy range is largely unknown), and has caused death in enough legal residents of this country...why put up mis-directed hurdles like this for immigrants and not simply stick to requirements that would make them "responsible citizens"?

Oct. 03 2008 11:53 AM
Innocent Bystander from Paramus, NJ

If a Mexican corporation produced laborers and shipped them north, we'd call it dumping. Why is it any different?

What irritates me is how these pinky-waving, latte-drinking, affluent, elitest left claims, or agrees with the claim, that nobody in America would want to do the kind of work Mexicans do.

No. THEY wouldn't do it, unless they were stripped of their trust funds, over-paid jobs and/or comfortable lifestyles and found themselves hungry.

Trouble is, there are plenty of Americans here already who are hungry, and work they could do is taken by non-citizens.

What's more, "free" health care (Emergency Room welfare) and a variety of public services are consumed by these same non-citizens leaving less for needy Amerians, and a greater burden on those of us who pay the taxes which fund them.

Oct. 03 2008 11:53 AM
S from Manhattan

Why isnt your current guest discussing justice appointments as they relate to immigration policy? In terms of immigration policy, isn't the fundamental difference between McCain and Obama the type of justices they will appoint to the supreme court and the way those justices will interpret immigration law? Aren't conservative judges more likely to interpret the law more strictly and deny visa status to those seeking visas or asylum, while a liberal judge would more likely allow immigrants to obtain visas?

Oct. 03 2008 11:48 AM
norman from nyc

Gardasil is useless for any sexually active woman, because she has most likely already been exposed to HPV and therefore it's too late to protect her.

Oct. 03 2008 11:47 AM
peter from manhatten

politicans love illegal immigrants, despite what they may say in public. illegal immigrants are a massive source of easily exploitable, cheap labour who cannot organize or unionize. not to mention an enormous source of tax revenues. wake up.

Oct. 03 2008 11:46 AM
Chetan Patel from New York

I am here on H1B (employment base visa) and on my path to get a green card. One of the issue that always worried me was, that as a H1B holder I paid the tax, but if I were to lose my job and unable to find a new sponsor, I would have to go back to my country and not get any unemployment benefits.

Oct. 03 2008 11:45 AM
Diana from NYC

What´s the logic behind making Gardasil mandatory for citizenship applications except some scheme by the pharmaceuticals to increase their profit while using non-US citizens as their Guinea pigs?

Oct. 03 2008 11:44 AM
the truth from Atlanta/New York

What I have no doubt about is that the campaign (also referred to in the Post story) to rid the English language of the "tar baby" phrase, image, and story -- that vivid metaphor for some issue or problem that's better avoided, lest it entagle us in further and possibly insuperable difficulties -- is a crying shame. We're busily jettisoning one genuine bit of African-American culture, something that Americans of all races had made their own. And we're throwing it away in pursuit of a political correctness that pretends to improve interracial relations, but that in truth continually rachets up the tension between black and white Americans.

Oct. 03 2008 11:39 AM
the truth from Atlanta/New York

OK went to google instead:

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — Republican presidential contender John McCain on Friday used the term "tar baby," considered by some a racial epithet, and later said he regretted it.

Oct. 03 2008 11:38 AM
hjs from 11211

the US has harassed mexico for more than 100 years now, undermining their economy. now we have to pay for our empire.

Oct. 03 2008 11:36 AM
Inquiring Minds


I am sure, if we polled a group of illegal immigrants, they would 100% agree with you.

I am sure, if we polled citizens, Americans, with the right to vote -- they wouldn't!


Oct. 03 2008 11:36 AM
the truth from Atlanta/New York

WTF "tar baby" did I hear that with my own ears?? *off to get a QTip*

Oct. 03 2008 11:36 AM
Owen from Rochester

Hey, you cut out before the fun part of "Paper Planes"! Don't you want to give a couple of WNYC listeners heart attacks with that scandalous chorus?

Oct. 03 2008 11:34 AM

wake up, "inspiring minds". you cannot just tell 12 million illegal immigrants to "go home" when many of them have been here for over 15-20 years. for them, and their children, American IS there home now. i will not deny that some illegal immigrants are bad seeds in that they committ crimes, take and sell drugs, etc (but not all americans are model citizens either) BUT, most of them work, they pay taxes, they stimulate the economy, their kids go to school here and join our armed forces, they put down roots here. we need more avenues for legal immigration and help illegal immigrants get a path to citizenship so these people can stop living the shadows and stop being exploited.

Oct. 03 2008 11:34 AM
Inquiring Minds

@21 & @24

Anyone who comes here, breaking the law to do it, is not EARNING the right to be here...

They should never be REWARDED with citizenship, regardless of how highly they value it.

Oct. 03 2008 11:33 AM
hjs from 11211

and on H-1B visas????

Oct. 03 2008 11:32 AM
KC from NYC

It will never cease to amaze me that we create the economic conditions that necessitate illegal immigration, we have an economy dependent on illegal immigration, and then we rail against illegal immigration. Maybe I'm just particularly sensitive to hypocrisy.

It's also worth pointing out that an outright "crackdown" on all illegal immigrants would represent the largest mass deportation in the history of the world (after which we would lose much of our labor force). I'm not an economist, but I'm not sure we can afford that.

Oct. 03 2008 11:31 AM
Inquiring Minds


That is why I am in such favor of strict enforcement. The "sanctuary cities" are becoming magnets...

They will go broke under the weight of it...

Weren't half of all babes delivered in Los Angeles county this year to illegal immigrant mothers...?

Oct. 03 2008 11:31 AM

What does "tar baby issue" mean? The guest just used this term in her commentary and it bounced hard on my ears. Does anyone know where this term came from or what it means??

Oct. 03 2008 11:31 AM

Brian, there seems to be a huge influx of mexican illegal immigrants coming to nyc that no one seems to be addressing, and as laws on illegal immigrant are more inforced in the west and south west parts of the country, we seem to be getting a larger portion of these illegal immigrants to the north eastern part of the country no one seems to be addressing.

Oct. 03 2008 11:30 AM
Waheed Shams from Jamaica, NY

What about the honest, hard working, non-tax-abating, America loving non-documented immigrants? what is their fault? They want to be part of this beautiful system and true immigrant friendly country.

Oct. 03 2008 11:30 AM
Catherine from rockville centre

You're bumming me out Brian. Why aren't we questioning the assumptions about immigration policy and how it relates to "free trade"? The question couldn't be more relevant right now, when Republicans are arguing that nothing should be done to save the economy. Those "free traders" should be arguing that nothing should be done about the free movement of labor. Come on! Let's get to the heart of the issue-- it's ECONOMIC policy, not immigration policy.

Oct. 03 2008 11:29 AM
Brian from Manhattan

Can we talk about energy?

Oct. 03 2008 11:28 AM
Omar from Moosic pa

The reason why there are close to 12 Million illegal aliens in America is that there is no possibilty for a person to be legal once you're illegal in America. Is not that all these people came from 2000 to 2008. I came to New York back in 1990 when I was 16 and since then I have not been able to honestly apply for anything. I know so many people who have been here for 20 years , have kids and can't apply to be legal.

Oct. 03 2008 11:28 AM
jkl from manhattan

Hello? Without illegal immigration, the NYC economy would slow to a grinding halt. Seriously. $100 takeout Chinese, anyone?

Oct. 03 2008 11:28 AM
norman from nyc

The European Union has free trade, but that includes mobility for labor. A radiologist from Ireland can apply for a job in France, and they can't discriminate against him (even if he doesn't speak French that well).

We have free trade with Mexico and other countries, which hurts workers in competitive industries. But we don't have free trade for labor, which would let Mexicans look for work in the U.S., with anti-discrimination laws.

Why is the U.S. policy so different from Europe? We actually have less of a free market.

Oct. 03 2008 11:27 AM

Brian, there seems to be a huge influx of mexican illegal immigrants coming to nyc that no one seems to be addressing, and as laws in illegal immigrant are more inforced in the west ans south west, we seem to be getting a larger portion of these illegal immigrants to the notrth eastern part of the country.

Oct. 03 2008 11:26 AM
Inquiring Minds

"intimidation factor"

Every time my grandma gets frisked to get on an airplane, I think about ILLEGAL immigration.

I don't care if illegal immigrants get SCARED! My grandma does...

Oct. 03 2008 11:26 AM
Franny from Manhattan

Free trade: Why is it that neither the candidates nor the press take seriously the way that our trade policies have a direct impact on poverty abroad. When mexican markets are flooded with (government subsidized US)corn and wheat, FARMERS LOSE THEIR LIVELIHOODS people turn to emigration.

Oct. 03 2008 11:24 AM
Steve (the other one) from Manhattan

The illegals are coming to take out jobs? Put them in charge of the banks and insurance companies - they could hardly do worse.

Oct. 03 2008 11:23 AM
Laurence Passmore from New York, NY

Your guest amazingly misses a fundamental point about McCain running in the primaries: he was not to the left of his competitors because he *lied* about his own position on immigration. He claimed he would vote against his own bill before supporting it again once he seized the nomination. It's remarkable that this point has been missed, 22 minutes in.

Oct. 03 2008 11:22 AM
the truth from Atlanta/New York

News Flash! Illegals are not just from MEXICO!!!

Oct. 03 2008 11:17 AM
Inquiring Minds

Chiefly two groups benefit from illegal immigrants:
1) politicians and interest groups on the left, who benefit from swelling their influence & voter roles...
2) politicians and business interests on the right, who benefit from "exploiting" low cost labor

Shame on us -- all of us CITIZENS -- as we stand by and let this happen.

Oct. 03 2008 11:17 AM
Inquiring Minds


Illegal immigrants depress the wages of the working class and weaken collective bargaining.

Further, illegal immigrants compete for the same housing, schools, and services as working people, resulting in less choice and higher prices.

Illegal immigration is unambiguously bad for working Americans.

Oct. 03 2008 11:14 AM
Leonardo Andres

the real question is why we keep electing officials that do not represent us...

Oct. 03 2008 11:12 AM
Inquiring Minds

Nearly 80% of Americans polled want strict immigration enforcement and no amnesty.

Nearly 80% of Americans polled oppose the Wall St. bailout.

The real question is: Why does neither party leadership -- Democrat or Republican -- address this??


Oct. 03 2008 11:10 AM
MGM from brooklyn

I have hired an illegal immigrant from Hungary - a very nice young woman who through her desperation to remain here has become neurotic and incapable of telling the truth. Why did I hire her? She has skills which very few in NYC have.

We cannot continue to have this illegal immigration. It makes a person put into a position of lying to exist, do we want our new peoples to have a foundation of illegality? Also, it is so heavy with those from Spanish speaking countries. We need to change the policy to make it possible for Europeans to immigrate here and difficult for illegals to find work here. If we paid our gardeners a fair wage then we would have lots of legals doing the jobs.

Oct. 03 2008 11:09 AM
Leonardo Andres

in a couple of years if the economy goes the way it goes, illegal immigration will be a very small problem. does not mean that you shouldn't enforce the laws.

Oct. 03 2008 11:09 AM
Inquiring Minds

Build the fence!
Enforce the laws!
... illegals will self-deport. The data proves it.

How much do YOU value your citizenship if you stand idle as others STEAL it?!

Oct. 03 2008 11:06 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

Found article! I checked business, but not front page.

Oct. 03 2008 10:47 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

OT, but would appreciate assistance: I missed the article title, author of the article on the SEC decision 4 years ago.

Please post if you caught it. Not mentioned in the segment listings. Again, much appreciated.

Oct. 03 2008 10:46 AM
hjs from 11211

who is going to pick your lettuce, mow your lawn slaughter your chickens, build your luxury high rise condos?
poor mexicans are subsidizing the 'american' middle class allowing us all to buy more cheap plastic from the chinese.
my greater concern is the H-1B visas, for "educated" guest workers in "specialty occupations." why can't we educate citizens to do these jobs. is this a failure of the education system or a social failure?

Oct. 03 2008 10:28 AM
Ryan from Jersey City

I have been listening to commentary on the debate last night, and I am dumbfounded. Was anyone else watching the same debate as I was? Palin showed herself to be incapable of providing an answer to nearly every question she was asked. While Biden provided a straightforward response to most of the questions, Palin answered nearly every one with stammering, generic rhetoric.

There is something really wrong with this country if Gov Palin is considered to be a qualified applicant for this office.

Oct. 03 2008 10:17 AM
maya from NYC

the fact that immigration has barely been mentioned AT ALL in this campaign, not even in the debates, just goes to show what a third-rail, and still very controversial, issue this still is in this country..

Oct. 03 2008 10:11 AM

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