Bay Area groups critical of immigration reform proposal

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May 1 won't be the first immigrant rights march SF has seen. In 2010, racial profiling in AZ brought thousands out to protest.
GUARDIAN FILE PHOTO BY REBECCA BOWE

Olga Miranda, secretary treasurer of the San Francisco Labor Council and president of SEIU Local 87, did not mince words when sharing her initial reaction to the proposed federal immigration reform bill, which was unveiled April 16 by a bipartisan group of senators.

“If it was myself and our members at the bargaining table, we would walk away,” Miranda said. “This proposal is nothing more than an offense to the community.”

Miranda was speaking at an April 17 press conference held by the San Francisco Bay Coalition for Immigrant Justice, staged at the Asian Law Caucus’ San Francisco headquarters. While many speakers said they welcomed the immigration reform bill as an important “starting point,” all were clear that they saw serious flaws in the proposal and planned to spend the next several months pushing for improvements.

“We applaud the inclusion of a path to citizenship in the bipartisan legislation for millions of undocumented people currently living as second class citizens,” said Francisco Ugarte, senior immigration attorney at Dolores Street Community Services. “However, there are problems with the bill, which creates long waiting periods to adjust, excessive fines and unclear language and employment requirements.”

In a statement, coalition members described the bill’s proposed path to citizenship as “long and onerous” due to provisions such as a decade-long wait for a green card, and ineligibility for any undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. after 2011.

Concerns were raised that families would continue to be separated, a frequent consequence of deportation. “The bill, as it is, does not put an end to the deportations,” said Cinthya Muñoz of Causa Justa / Just Cause. “In California, close to 94,000 people were deported” last year, she added. “As Californians, our representatives need to stand strong to call for an end to deportations before negotiations continue.”

Miranda was critical of a proposal to require the use of the federal E-Verify system. “Forcing employers to check all workers’ immigration status against flawed databases like E-Verify reduces the power of all workers,” she said. “And it would threaten the jobs and privacy of many citizens and work-authorized immigrants.”

Anoop Prasad of the Asian Law Caucus criticized proposed changes to the existing process for legal, family-based immigration, saying the elimination of visas for entire groups of family members would particularly impact Asian communities, such as those residing in San Francisco’s Chinatown. The overwhelming majority of Chinatown residents came to the U.S. as sons and daughters or siblings of employment-based immigrants, he explained, but under the proposed rules, meeting the qualifications for a visa would be more difficult due to a the elimination of certain family immigration categories.

Instead of placing emphasis on the presence of a family member in the U.S., a proposed “merit based" visa would be scored on factors like higher education, English proficiency, and employment, Prasad added. But activists also raised concerns that requirements for English language proficiency would inevitably exclude many monolingual immigrants.

Amos Lim, representing Out 4 Immigration, said LGBT couples would face particular challenges too, because no specific language was included to allow same-sex partners the same immigration privileges as heterosexual married couples. “Immigration law in this country has always been about excluding people,” Lim told the Guardian. “We need to make sure that we are included.”

The coalition is planning a May 1 march and rally in San Francisco to call for improvements to the immigration reform bill. It will begin at 24th and Mission at 3pm and proceed to Civic Center for a 5pm rally.

Follow @byRebeccaBowe

Comments

These activists are quite right. The current proposal for a CIR bill is little better than the status quo right now (with no bill). It presents the same problems of long waits, a lack of clarity in the language of the law, etc. And, as immigration attorney Dave Bennion points out, "the starting point from which Democrats are negotiating could leave out half of the undocumented people in the U.S. or more. That is, a significant percentage of undocumented people are unlikely to benefit from legalization as it has been proposed.

http://www.citizenorange.com/orange/2013/02/who-will-be-left-out-of-immi...

Posted by Analisa on Apr. 18, 2013 @ 11:41 am

I find it interesting that the children progressives think we should base our laws on a sense of entitlement by those who are breaking our laws.

Posted by Matlock on Apr. 18, 2013 @ 11:25 pm

I realy can't follow what you're saying. A few commas might have helped.

Posted by Guest ethan davidson on May. 01, 2013 @ 10:05 am

Comma, comma, comma, comma, comma chameleon?

Posted by marcos on May. 01, 2013 @ 10:18 am

Anything short of deporting these invaders when detected and telling them that the proverbial "back of the line" starts at the U.S. embassy in their home country is amnesty. The reason we have a "de facto amnesty" (as nitwit RINO Rubio calls it) now is because we have a treasonous socialist POS in the White House.

Posted by BajaRat on Apr. 18, 2013 @ 3:29 pm

exactly right, thousand of people in other countries that are more educated are being denied entrance due to the fact that millions of illegals have cut in line.

Send them back and make them wait in line and apply like everyone else, they are not a protected class

Posted by Guest oldfart on Apr. 18, 2013 @ 3:54 pm

"The image of 'the line' presumes that anyone in the world who is willing to wait it out should be able to immigrate to the United States 'the right way,' where the simple truth is that upwards of 99% of the population of the Earth simply has no legal ability to do so. It provides haters with more fuel (“why can’t those line-jumpers just wait their turn?”), policymakers with a flawed and incomplete perspective, and citizens and immigrants alike with a way of thinking about immigration which has no grounding in reality. There is no line.

"Perhaps a better way to think about current U.S. immigration policy would be to imagine an unbelievably exclusive after-hours nightclub. Everyone who’s not already on the list wants an invitation, but almost no one can actually get one. And there are only a few select ways to join... There has been no line for at least 86 years."

http://thereisnoline.com/2010/12/there-is-no-line/

Posted by Analisa on Apr. 19, 2013 @ 1:51 pm

The USA has made a set of criteria to become a citizen, if you do not meet that criteria, then I suppose you are SOL.

Is it fair that because of my age I can not become an astronaut?

Do you even think about your positions?

Posted by Matlock on Apr. 20, 2013 @ 7:31 pm

Not a word from labor about H1-B.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 18, 2013 @ 4:05 pm

Don't worry Marcos! Good News Is Coming!

From TechCrunch:

"Most of the technology industry will be pleased that it nearly doubles the number of high-skilled visas (H1-B), from the 65,000 to 110,000, with a maximum of 185,000 in the future."

Aren't you glad you voted for Obama?

Open the floodgates to foreign IT workers - it's good for the country!

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Apr. 18, 2013 @ 5:41 pm

I did not vote for Obama.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 18, 2013 @ 6:19 pm

fairly well paid.

Unions exist to help lower paid workers. IT workers are not "Labor" according to the usual definition.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 19, 2013 @ 7:49 am

Today's tech workers are the contemporaries of yesterday's auto workers. While the auto workers were able to increase wages via industrial organization, tech workers get high wages due to the high value we add, due to the requirement for an aptitude in abstract cognition and due to the unwillingness of US education to invest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).

The H1-B program continues on that by putting downward pressure on already flatlined tech wages that are only high when compared to how labor has failed the rest of the workforce to arrest declining wages. The lack of remuneration further discourages American students from studying STEM.

The auto workers were not low paid workers, they were high paid workers. They maintained their status as long as they did due to their union. But once their unions got into bed with the Democrat Party and the Democrat Party got into bed with the "globalization crowd," the race to the bottom is what we got.

Forgive me for learning from that debacle and conditioning my support on the good aspects of immigration reform on immigration reform proponents reciprocating against the bad aspects of immigration reform.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 19, 2013 @ 8:16 am

"Forgive me for learning from that debacle and conditioning my support on the good aspects of immigration reform on immigration reform proponents reciprocating against the bad aspects of immigration reform."

Shorter Marcos:

Unskilled Immigrants - Good!

Skilled IT Immigrants - Bad!

Most countries have that the other way around...

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Apr. 19, 2013 @ 8:43 am

People who are already here should not be deported. With California's poverty rate at 25%, the last thing we need is more unskilled immigrants to jump into that dry pool.

We need to invest in increasing the skill level of Americans first, and if that fails, then open up immigration to skilled foreigners.

But this disinvesting in STEM education and making up for the breach by importing cheap labor from the global south is pure bullshit. The US is not a new frontier that is trying to augment its population to make it through next winter, there is no need to import talent when we have the capacity to grow our own right here unless the goal is to drive up profits and drive down the standard of living.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 19, 2013 @ 9:07 am

We must have a biometric National identification Card, to safeguard our jobs, for citizen voting and our credit fraud. No Comprehensive immigration Reform by the Gang of Eight without immediately constructing the 700 miles of double layer fencing, complete with rolls of razor wire, as according to the 2006 Secure Fence Act. No new law until employers can strictly held accountable for hiring foreign labor with fines and mandatory prison sentences. No more family chain migration that taxpayers end up paying? The Senate Gang of Eight introduced their massive, 844-page bill that includes an amnesty for most of the 11-18 million illegal aliens, increases in both legal immigration and guest-worker visas, and promises of border security that have repeatedly been broken since the 1986 amnesty. CALL YOUR TWO U.S. SENATORS TODAY and urge them to oppose S.744! You can call the Capitol Switchboard toll-free at 1-888-978-3094. You can also petition Congress at NumbersUSA and get a daily dose of what is concealed by the Democrats at American Patrol site.

Posted by Guest Dave Francis on Apr. 18, 2013 @ 7:19 pm

NumbersUSA is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, together with the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), and the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS). Marc Potok of SPLC reveals the racist agenda of these groups in his piece "The Nativist Lobby: Three Faces of Intolerance":

"FAIR, CIS and NumbersUSA are all part of a network of restrictionist organizations conceived and created by John Tanton, the 'puppeteer' of the nativist movement and a man with deep racist roots. As the first article in this report shows, Tanton has for decades been at the heart of the white nationalist scene. He has met with leading white supremacists, promoted anti-Semitic ideas, and associated closely with the leaders of a eugenicist foundation once described by a leading newspaper as a 'neo-Nazi organization.' He has made a series of racist statements about Latinos and worried that they were outbreeding whites. At one point, he wrote candidly that to maintain American culture, 'a European-American majority' is required."

http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/publications/the-nativist-lobby-th...

Posted by Analisa on Apr. 19, 2013 @ 1:26 pm

Anyone who does not agree with the ravings of the left is a hate group.

The further decontexualization of language and meanings by the moronic left.

It's odd that the goofy left that tries to claim this vast righteousness is populated by such pedestrian imbeciles and gullible dimwits.

Posted by Matlock on Apr. 19, 2013 @ 5:07 pm

Lots of big SAT words there, but Matlock doesn't seem to understand what those words mean. If you're going to work as a professional troll, at least learn how to use words properly.

Posted by Hemlock on Apr. 30, 2013 @ 12:46 am

I think Old Matlock is kind of entertaining.

Posted by pete moss on May. 01, 2013 @ 10:56 am

If a family member chooses to move to the USA why should other family members go to the head of the line. They are welcome to move back to where they came from of familial relations are so important to them.

Posted by Matlock on Apr. 18, 2013 @ 11:24 pm

The system is broken. That's why our reps are trying so hard to fix it. From the Editorial Board of the Washington Post~

"..there is no line, not even a relevant visa category, for millions of immigrants.

"Here’s why. A large majority of the 11 million illegal immigrants are unskilled or low-skilled Mexicans. Many of them have no relatives over age 18 who are either U.S. citizens or permanent residents in possession of green cards.

"That makes them ineligible for any realistic visa category. They are barred in most cases from employment-based visas, which favor skilled and well-educated applicants, and from family-based visas, which require applicants to have spouses, parents or siblings who are U.S. citizens or hold green cards. (Even the “line” for those visas often takes 15 to 20 years or more.) There is simply no immigrant visa category for which most unskilled Mexicans qualify and no realistic prospect they could be legally admitted to the United States. About half of the unauthorized adults in the country are Mexicans who probably have no category for admission, according to Pew Hispanic Center senior demographer Jeffrey S. Passel.

"However, there will continue to be a demand for their labor. At least 7 million illegal immigrants are in the American work force, in many cases doing jobs most Americans consider too dirty or unsuited to their educational attainment."

http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-02-05/opinions/35442231_1_visa-c...

Posted by Analisa on Apr. 19, 2013 @ 2:28 pm

Pass the bong and then consider how cheap labor drives down wages.

The progressive belief that hectoring capital into sending jobs elsewhere has worked out for unions and the average working asshole. It has not.

Posted by Matlock on Apr. 19, 2013 @ 5:22 pm

"Some stories in the popular press suggest that immigrants diminish the job opportunities of workers born in the United States. Others portray immigrants as filling essential jobs that are shunned by other workers. Economists who have analyzed local labor markets have mostly failed to find large effects of immigrants on employment and wages of U.S.-born workers.

"This Economic Letter summarizes recent research by Peri (2009) and Peri and Sparber (2009) examining the impact of immigrants on the broader U.S. economy. These studies systematically analyze how immigrants affect total output, income per worker, and employment in the short and long run. Consistent with previous research, the analysis finds no significant effect of immigration on net job growth for U.S.-born workers in these time horizons. This suggests that the economy absorbs immigrants by expanding job opportunities rather than by displacing workers born in the United States. Second, at the state level, the presence of immigrants is associated with increased output per worker."

http://www.frbsf.org/publications/economics/letter/2010/el2010-26.html

Posted by Analisa on Apr. 20, 2013 @ 10:52 am

Are you suggesting that the impact of a path to citizenship for Mexican and Latin American immigrants on American wages is the same as the H1-B visa for highly skilled tech workers?

Is the claim that south Asian tech workers have poor English skills?

This mixes apples and oranges and strains your credibility.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 20, 2013 @ 11:02 am

No, I am combatting the constant drumbeat of disinformation spewed by certain trolls, like 'Memelock'. If you had bothered to follow the link, you'd find that the authors were looking at the overall impact of immigration on the U.S. economy. (This was a 2009 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of S.F.) The economists found that "local labor markets have mostly failed to find large effects of immigrants on employment and wages of U.S.-born workers."

IMO, the H-1B is a special case. I have my own reservations about it. This "non-immigrant visa", as it's called, is inherently temporary. And since the workers know they cannot remain in the U.S. permanently, they are discouraged from forming labor unions, hence they are easily exploited. The program needs major reform to protect the rights of both H-1B and U.S. workers. That's my view.

However, this is a small subset of the immigration issue. The study addresses some of the myths about immigration and its impact on workers overall. Just personally, I believe that immigrants of all stripes do more to enrich this nation than they take away from it~ even the so-called "NonImmigrants" who include visiting professors and researchers, foreign students, sports figures, people in the arts, etc. As immigration attorney Patrick Young says:
"When you hear some TV pundit talk about closing the border, remember that tens of millions of NonImmigrants cross the border every year. They bring their tourist dollars, their business expertise, and their desire for education. They enrich us though the arts, sports, and the sciences. Those who call for a fortress America keeping the outside world at bay would make us a cultural, scientific, and economic backwater of the third degree."

Posted by Analisa on Apr. 20, 2013 @ 2:35 pm

I would be interested in any anti-illegal type who is opposed to such things as you mentioned in the last paragraph?

That was close to your moronic race theory post in free association weirdness.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 20, 2013 @ 3:20 pm

Apologies if I don't accept the research of the Fed, the cartel of the Wall Street banks that destroyed the economy, on anything related to my economic circumstance.

There is an immigration bill before us. That bill contains both H1-B and pathway to citizenship provisions. The H1-B visa provisions are important to many in the Bay Area. The pathway to citizenship is important to others. I find them onerous and punitive.

We need solidarity in confronting the anti-tech worker biases in his bill if we're to see solidarity in supporting the pathway to citizenship. Ain't nothing racist or nativist about that.

And left unsaid is the major role that US foreign policy has played and continues to play in pushing people and families out of their home towns into the US for purely economic or refugee reasons. Most folks would not leave their families and networks lightly, it is a very stressful process, especially for kids.

The only commonality across this bill is that big business gets a reliable supply of less expensive labor, that is why it is viable before this corrupt congress.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 20, 2013 @ 5:34 pm

The only reason that tech workers need visas is because the tech companies can't get away with hiring undocumented immigrants.

marcos is right to dispute the Fed report.

While I can't get behind the immigrant bashing that goes on, my view is a bit more nuanced with regard to the effects of immigrants on U.S. labor.

U.S. foreign and economic policies have exacerbated pressures on foreigners in their home countries to emigrate to this country. The immigrants are not to be assigned the same blame for their situation that we assign to those who created it in the first place; in corporate boardrooms and the back halls of Congress.

While, to be sure, it is a very mixed bag, immigrantion often hurts the lowest-rung American workers and in particular younger less-skilled Americans.

Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 20, 2013 @ 6:01 pm

If America is a nation of laws we should all be against immigration bashing.

What are you so called progressives so hysterical about then?

Posted by Matlock on Apr. 20, 2013 @ 7:20 pm

for decades, India has been

Same with China.

Most of these tech workers seem to come from those two countries, how the USA has made people want to escape the workers paradise of China is a mystery.

Posted by Matlock on Apr. 20, 2013 @ 7:26 pm

Exactly, the Brits did the dirty work there. The issue on H1-B visas has nothing to do with a path to citizenship for Latino low skilled immigrants except that it is in the same bill.

If the poverty immigration crowd showed some solidarity with US tech workers, then this bill might be convertible into one that is centered on folks who are already here instead of on corporations and the cheap highly skilled labor they want to import to undercut US tech workers.

Yes, we are relatively highly paid now, but our jobs are not cake walks, they often require tremendous intellectual commitment. Just as the auto workers thought that they were on top of the world in the 1960s, the path to a solid middle class lifestyle that tech offers without an advanced degree or a degree at all should remain open.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 20, 2013 @ 7:54 pm

the auto workers helped dig their own grave, the actual companies by making such crappy products tossed the dirt on top of that grave.

Detroit went from making some of the best cars in the world to making cars slightly better than those made in Eastern Europe.

The confluence of terrible management, garbage design, and union stupidity combined to kill off the auto industry.

Posted by Matlock on Apr. 20, 2013 @ 8:39 pm

Yes, from the 'Mustang to the Pinto in five short years is pretty pathetic. I drove a '67 3 speed 6 cyl (200ci) Mustang when I was 19, minimalist excellence in design.

2 out of the 3 reasons for Detroit's demise was management.

The industry as a vector into the sustainable middle class was finally, decisively crushed by foreign competition. We should learn from labor's part in that debacle, recalcitrance and failing to contest mismanagement and not repeat it in other industries.

That said, the tech industry is quite profitable, does not face the capital costs of manufacturing yet is still taking steps to cut labor costs as revenues rise. It is not about to be pushed over the brink.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 20, 2013 @ 9:03 pm

Well Analisa, the cats wrote this piece have impressive academic credentials. But what they are saying directly contradicts my 1st hand life experience.

In other words they should spend a year doing construction labor or restaurant work in California besides just studying other academics studies.

Posted by pete moss on May. 01, 2013 @ 11:04 am

Spend a year digging ditches then, because that's what most undocumented laborers in construction do. I know from my own experience because my brother was a carpenter before he became an engineer. I am also aquainted with several people in the construction trades. The American workers do all the skilled work, while the immigrants get stuck with the hard manual labor~ ya know, the work most Americans won't do. And they get paid a lot less, too.

Or wash dishes, bus tables, if that's your inclination. If you don't trust the scholars, don't complain to me about it, because you're obviously not open to anything that challenges your views.

Posted by Analisa on May. 01, 2013 @ 12:02 pm

Americans want to do tech jobs. Why do advocates for legalization of those who did not follow the rules tie their aspirations to screwing American tech workers who did follow the rules by carving out special immigration exceptions that undercut our economic position in favor of greater corporate profits?

Why do you allow the ruling class to play working people against one another, where is the solidarity?

Posted by Anony on Jul. 16, 2013 @ 8:12 am

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