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Angelo A. Paparelli, Sept. 5, 2018 - "As hard to spot as a well-camouflaged Waldo or surreptitious Carmen San Diego, Francis Cissna, Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), is almost nowhere to be found. The exception – aside from mandatory appearances at congressional oversight hearings and the occasional press interview – is among the pols he deigns to address who staunchly oppose a functioning and welcoming legal immigration system, or who are sure there’s fraud in every request for immigration benefits. In gatherings of that sort, he’s as ubiquitous as Zelig.
Regrettably, no Cissna sightings have been reported among immigration stakeholders who yearn for a just immigration system founded on due process, one that is simply functional, albeit with tolerable case processing backlogs that people and businesses can anticipate and act upon. Their importunings that he speak at their national conferences or meet with them in liaison discussions have been spurned or ignored (including my own).
Despite his public absences from all but his fawning admirers, Mr. Cissna has been busy. He’s occupied himself with the task of dismantling the legal immigration system. His machinations make omnipresent the fears, tears and dashed American dreams that this director and his antifraud minions engender every business day.
Unlike his many predecessors who rightly viewed themselves as leading and inspiring the primary federal agency tasked with deciding eligibility for legal immigration benefits and charged with protecting our country’s hallowed tradition as a nation of immigrants, Mr. Cissna has a new mission, one which — as the passing months confirm — demonstrates that he is apparently oblivious to the benefits that a reasonably functioning immigration system have long conferred on American citizens and the U.S. economy.
At a time when willing U.S. workers are few and jobs go begging, Mr. Cissna sees a zero-sum game where a job filled by an immigrant worker means one stolen from an American. Apparently, he is blind to the virtuous law of abundance, widely reported in scholarly research, where productive noncitizens create more and better jobs and higher standards of living in the homeland.
Mr. Cissna has been in situ long enough now to cause law-abiding noncitizens and their sponsors — American employers and close relatives — to tremble with understandable foreboding as they try to play by the rules and work within a heretofore roughly functioning system that he has caused to devolve into chaos and dystopia.
Balderdash, you say. This blogger’s rants, you’re sure, are but the Cassandra cries of an embittered, hyperventilating immigration lawyer who can’t accept that no means no. Think so? Let’s look at the evidence of Mr. Cissna’s baleful misdeeds:
Beyond the psychological and physical costs, taking away [the right of H-4 spouses on the path to a green card] to work is likely to reduce the economic returns of the H-1B programme itself. . . . [Researchers] found that restrictions on spousal employment were associated with financial concerns, lower satisfaction at work and lower overall life satisfaction—in turn significant factors in both worker employment and retention. . . . If it is reversed, the most skilled migrant workers may go to jurisdictions with more generous policies. Reversing the programme will also directly remove skilled employees from the workforce. [Other researchers found that H-4 spouses] were employed at similar levels to immigrants with the same demographic and educational characteristics but who already have the legal right to a job, . . . 46% of the spouses would be working. In aggregate, they would be earning about $2.1 [billion].
[Allow] the federal government to take into account use of health, nutrition, and other non-cash programs when making public charge determinations, . . . [Thus,] use of these programs, including Medicaid, CHIP [the Children’s Health Insurance Program], and subsidies for [Affordable Care Act] Marketplace coverage, by an individual or family member, including a citizen child, could result in the federal government denying an individual a “green card” or adjustment to lawful permanent status or entry into the U.S. These changes would likely result in reduced participation in Medicaid, CHIP, Marketplace coverage, and other programs by immigrant families, including citizen children, even though they would remain eligible. . . .
If the public charge policy change leads to Medicaid/CHIP disenrollment rates ranging from 15% to 35%, an estimated 875,000 to 2 million citizen children with a noncitizen parent could drop Medicaid/CHIP coverage despite remaining eligible, and their uninsured rate would rise from 8% to between 14% and 22%. (Emphasis in original.)
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Now that Labor Day has marked the official run-up to the mid-term elections, immigration stakeholders await a message from the voting public and the results of exit polling. Do Mr. Cissna’s actions warrant plaudits or plum tomatoes? Time will tell."