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Most Americans Are Still Believers in Immigration Reform

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The comprehensive immigration reform bill may have stalled in Congress, but support for the reform effort is as strong as ever across the nation. Polls show Americans still back the path to legalization for unauthorized immigrants and still want Washington to fix the broken system. Photo/Getty Images

Immigration Issues Spotlight10

Jeb Bush Defends His Comments About Unauthorized Immigrants

Monday April 14, 2014

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is feeling the heat from his comment earlier this month that unauthorized immigrants are not committing a felony but rather, an "act of love."

"I think we need to kind of get beyond the harsh political rhetoric to a better place," Bush told Fox News on April 6. "The way I look at this is someone who comes to our country because they couldn't come legally ... and they crossed the border because they had no other means to work, to be able to provide for their family, yes, they broke the law, but it's not a felony. It's an act of love, it's an act of commitment to your family."

Bush quickly became the target for criticism from the right wing of the Republican Party. Conservatives and Tea Party members charged him with condoning illegal immigration, undermining the rule of law and compromising the party's principles.

At a GOP dinner in Connecticut last week, Bush defended his remarks: "I made some statements about immigration reform (that) apparently generated a little more news than I anticipated," said Bush, adding "You know I've been saying the for the past three or four years. I said the exact same thing that I've said regularly."

However, in March 2013, Bush released a book on U.S. immigration in which he appeared to reverse his longstanding position that unauthorized immigrants should be allowed a pathway to citizenship. In Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution, written with attorney Clint Bolick, Bush rejects the idea of U.S. citizenship for undocumented residents. So it's easy to see why many are confused about where Bush stands on immigration.

Bush now says that with the right approach to comprehensive immigration reform, the country could enforce its laws and still treat immigrants fairly and with sensitivity.

Republicans have been working overtime trying to agree on a plan for reform since Mitt Romney lost the 2012 election, due largely to a huge advantage for President Obama among Hispanics and Latinos.

Immigrant Baseball Players Will Contribute Mightily to MLB

Monday April 7, 2014

The Major League Baseball season is underway and once again, with 223 foreign-born players on opening-day rosters, immigrants will have a lot to say about deciding who wins the World Series.

Foreign-born players make up 26.1% of MLB rosters, according to the commissioner's office, down from 28.2% last year and 28.4% in 2012.

Not only are the immigrants here in big numbers they are also bringing big talent, with stars such as Jose Fernandez, Luis Pujols, Yasiel Puig, Miguel Cabrera and Robbie Cano primed for huge seasons.

Immigrant players come from 16 countries, the most since MLB started tracking the numbers six years ago. The Dominican Republic continues to lead the way with 82 players, down from a high of 99 in 2007.

Venezuela follows with 59 players, followed by Cuba with 19, Puerto Rico (players who by birth are U.S. citizens) with 11 and Canada with 10. Japan and Mexico have nine each. Cleveland catcher Yan Gomes became the first Brazilian to make an opening-day roster.

The minor leagues are even more reliant on foreign-grown talent with immigrants making up 47.8% of the players.

Most foreign-born players come to the United States with visas reserved for talented athletes, and many of them have gone on to become permanent residents or even naturalized U.S. citizens.

Supreme Court's Inaction Is Victory For Immigrant Rights Advocates

Monday March 31, 2014

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to rule on two much-anticipated cases involving local immigration enforcement in March, and the justices' inaction was good news for advocates for immigrant rights.

The high court decided against hearing the appeals of cases involving Farmers Branch, Texas, and Hazleton, Pa. The two towns had sought to overturn appeals court rulings that found their immigration ordinances had overreached and infringed on federal immigration law. The justices let stand the appeals court rulings.

The court also stayed out of the debate over local authorities' power to arrest people on immigration violations by not hearing a Frederick County, Md., case involving a Salvadoran immigrant.

In that case, Roxana Orellana Santos said she was arrested in October 2008 after being questioned by county sheriff's deputies while she was eating her lunch in an outdoor area at the restaurant where she worked as a dishwasher. Santos sued the county after 45 days in jail, saying that the arrest violated her Fourth Amendment rights against illegal search and seizure.

Immigrant advocates said it was a clear case of profiling by police who used "Arizona-style tactics."

Two years ago, the justices struck down several provisions of the controversial Arizona law that has become the model for local immigration lawmaking in places like Farmers Branch and Hazleton.

USCIS To Start Accepting Petitions For H-1B Visa Program on April 1

Sunday March 30, 2014

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is ready to begin accepting petitions for H-1B visas beginning Tuesday, April 1, for the 2015 fiscal cap.

The government restricts the number of H-1B visas to 65,000 per year, with an exemption for the first 20,000 petitioners who have earned master's degrees or higher in the United States.

The H-1B program is an important immigration tool for U.S. businesses because it allows companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require "theoretical or practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge."

Leaders in both political parties have supported the H-1B program as a way to bring in the foreign talent that can help the U.S. economic recovery. The Obama administration and members of Congress have been particularly supportive of H-1B visas for professionals in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics).

Demand for the visas is high. USCIS says it expects to receive more than enough petitions to reach both H-1B caps by April 7.

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