Saturday, May 26, 2007

Misleading poll on immigration

Yesterday's lead NY Times front page story announced that poll results favor the current immigration reform bill in Congress. It said:
Taking a pragmatic view on a divisive issue, a large majority of Americans want to change the immigration laws to allow illegal immigrants to gain legal status and to create a new guest worker program to meet future labor demands, the poll found.
Here is the actual poll question:
61. If you had to choose, what do you think should happen to most illegal immigrants who have lived and worked in the United States for at least two years: They should be given a chance to keep their jobs and eventually apply for legal status, OR They should be deported back to their native country?

5/18-23/07 Results: 62% Chance to apply for legal status, 33% Deported, 4% DK/NA
The new immigration bill does not just give illegal aliens a "chance to apply for legal status", it gives them legal status immediately. No chance, and no wait. All they have to do is to prove that they were here before Jan. 2007.

So that 62% includes all of those who want to give illegal aliens legal status immediately, as in the Kyl-Kennedy bill, as well as those want some more moderate procedure in which illegals could apply for legal status, and some would be granted it and some would not.

There are also people who want to continue the status quo where illegal aliens do not get legal status, but are not deported either. I don't know how they would have answered.

Meanwhile, the Wash. Post reports on another aspect of the bill:
NEW YORK - Would America open its doors for the next Albert Einstein? Under the new immigration reform bill, the answer is maybe, but maybe not.

For years, foreign-born Nobel Prize winners, corporate officers and the top talents in sports, arts and sciences have had a fast-track to permanent residency and, eventually, citizenship in the United States. In the name of attracting the world's greatest and brightest, authorities have granted these luminaries priority access to green cards under a little-known provision offered to "aliens of extraordinary abilities." ...

But the bill now being debated in Congress does away with the special "EB-1" preferred status category, effectively forcing foreign VIPs to take a number and get in line with everyone else. ...

Last year, 36,960 individuals and family members were granted "priority" permanent resident status under the "extraordinary abilities" category. Under the new 100-point system outlined in the bill, both "extraordinary or ordinary" abilities in specialized fields would offer, at most, eight additional points to a candidate. That is less than the 10 points awarded to those applicants holding a two-year college degree.
This is bizarre. I have complained that the H-1B visas are supposed to goto foreigners filling jobs for which no American is available, but in fact they nearly all goto recent graduates who displace Americans.

But these EB-1 visas really goto for foreigners of unusual merit. I say that we should keep the EB-1 visas and scrap the H-1Bs.

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