Archive for January, 2013

Comprehensive Immigration is indeed a Bipartisan issue

January 29, 2013

Unlike gun control, abortion or gay marriage, Immigration is not a for or against issue.  Both Democrats and Republicans want to reforms Immigration, they just want different things.

The Republicans want business immigration, and the Democrats want to help the illegal Hispanic population. And both sides are tied to their voting blocks.  Democrats think that they can get the Hispanic votes, and the Republicans think they can get the business owner votes.  However there are Hispanics who vote Republican and the business using the most number of Employment based visas, the Computer Industry in Silicon Valley, largely vote Democrat. Both sides need to compromise to get Comprehensive Immigration done.

The Senate Schumer-McCain bill has four broad categories:

1. Establish a hard path of citizenship to the 11 million illegal immigrants

2. Somehow prioritize Immigration to recognize how the American economy will grow by retaining the brightest and the best

3. Create an effective Employment verification system

4. Admit future workers to meet America’s needs, ie protect the borders for future influx of illegal immigrants.

These are broad goals. The debate will be in the details. Would immigration be prioritized by the education of the workers? Would country specific quotas be removed?

President Obama has said that more visas would be added to one time to move the lines. Right now Bachelor Degree holders from India, legal residents , have to wait in line for 10.5 years, while Master’s Degree holders have to wait for 8.5 years before they get their Immigration. It simply wont be fair for Dreamers with a basic high school education ( and most dreamers have only a high school education) to jump in front of them.

Yet unlike the Indians and Chinese, Mexicans hold more political clout. And Obama and the Democrats seem more focused on painting a bright life for dreamers rather than the Indian and Chinese legal residents with Bachelors degrees or higher. The media highlight the one or two dreamers who have college degrees. But there are no statistics as to how many people have college degrees versus a mere high school degree in DACA applications.

The same unfairness will be in the gay and lesbian couples. If someone can get their visa for having a straight partner, why should a gay or lesbian couple be denied the same right? And will the religious right go for equality in benefits, even if DOMA is struck down?

Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, or Houston Immigration Attorney Annie Banerjee, for more information

Is “Comprehensive” Immigration solely a Latino Issue?

January 14, 2013

The Senate has formed a bi partisan committee to work on Immigration issues and plans to put forward a bill as early as March. The committee is headed by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D, NY) who said that the main purpose of the bill was to make sure that illegal immigrants be given a “clear path to citizenship.” I understand that the 11 million illegal immigrants are performing a valuable service to this country and SHOULD be made citizens. What I don’t understand is why the Democrats and the Obama Administration is so opposed to highly skilled workers legally here, in the United States, and have to wait for years to get their citizenship. These are the “STEM” people, (Science Tech, Engineering and Math) graduates  (mostly masters degree holders and higher) from India and China.

The Democrats have been issuing Executive orders like DACA and making 601 waivers easier. I firmly believe that this is necessary.  But why do they keep the unconstitutional Neufeld memo of Jan 08, 2010 injecting a inane “control” issue into H-1Bs and then using it selectively against the Computer Consulting Industry ONLY, thereby trying to cripple that industry?  What does that say about the intent of Democrats?

Why did ALMOST ALL democrats vote against the Marco Rubio Sponsored STEM bill? If they are so opposed to piecemeal legislation, why issue piecemeal Executive orders?

I am a Democrat, I voted for Obama.  I am just saying the word COMPREHENSIVE means all, not just the Latino issue.  Silicon Valley also votes and pays for campaigns. And we do need highly qualified Science and Math jobs because America does not have enough of them, more than we need the blue colored Latino jobs. Lets make it COMPREHENSIVE, not just a Latino issue.

Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, or Houston Immigration Attorney,  Annie Banerjee, for more information

Why I came to America

January 9, 2013

I want to start this first blog of the year on a personal note.  I came to this country in 1985 because I wanted liberty.  I was a women in India. The rape case in India and the ensuing uproar about women’s status brought all those memories back to me afresh.

Back in the early 80s I was a student in the English Department of a prestigious liberal arts college in India, Presidency College, Kolkata. I remember the very day that  I formed a resolution to leave India. A Rhode Scholar, Oxford educated female Professor said, “we are happy when our male students get a good job, but for our female students, we are happy when they get married.” I sat there devastated. I was planning to sit the Administrative Services Exam and get a job in India.  But if a liberal women said things like this, what were my chances of success as a women.

Of course this was not the ONLY instance of being treated as a second class citizen for being a women, that I had experienced. In India we did not have the freedom to go around as we wanted. In crowded trams and buses, or even in roads,  males routinely groped women. We could not say anything, because the “shame” would be for the women, not the men who freely violated us, or made cat calls. After dusk, we women were not allowed to go out by ourselves.  Even when I was 18, I had to take my 6 or 7 year old brother to go a short distance to my friend’s house. This was humiliating to say the least.

I had to wear a saree in grades 11 and 12 to school. Not only did I not know how to tie the yards of plain cloth to my body, but it restricted lower body movement and in hot summer months it was painful. Life’s little inconveniences, but they do add up. I did not run, bike or swim—-apart from studying and music,  the only other activity I did was walking to College and libraries. We were bred to be wives and mothers and were given no success ethics in terms of a career. And we had to conform to the mores of what the “village” thought, not free thinking. I dont think I ever questioned the fact that I had an option to not marry or have children. My daughter is choosing that option, and my mother simply cannot understand it. After all, that’s what a female does in a society of 1.2 billion people.

When I came to America, I had to fight all those years of pre-programming. Law School taught me free thinking. I learned to bike and swim in my 40s. And yes, I developed a strong hatred for the saree.

There is a popular myth that these days  unless you are an asylee,  people  to America for economic freedom.  That is simply not true. Ever since the dawn of immigration with the Pilgrims, people came to this country to seek freedom.  Even if the means of Immigration is through employment, the reason for Immigration may be freedom. And we in America should strive to preserve those freedom, to become the beacon for people of all colors, nationality and sexual orientation.  The country that our forefathers left behind is changing. Lets not,  in the name of  preservation,  restrict abortion or gay rights. For in the end, we want to become the haven that people all over the world covet.


Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, or Houston Immigration Attorney Annie Banerjee, for more information