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Weeks of ups and downs and high points and low points in the Immigration Reform debate have left the stakeholder community wondering how next to proceed. Last week, Washington Post opinion writer George Will crystalized the issues raised by House Republicans, and addressed the reasons not to move forward. See article here and key items from the article included below in italics.

Political Excuses

  • Republicans should focus on the problems of the Obama Health Care Reform Bill. This has already been done very effectively.
  • This is a divisive issue for the Republicans and should be avoided. Republicans say the Immigration System is broken and it is a matter of how to fix it, not when to fix it.
  • Immigration Reform will create Democratic voters. Voters gravitate to candidates with similar values and offer opportunity.
  • President Obama cannot be trusted to enforce immigration reforms. This distrust may be addressed by crafting legislation to ensure enforcement with checks and balances.

Substantive Excuses

  • Immigrants could negatively impact American culture and not assimilate. Assimilation will be an important part of any immigration reform proposal and nearly 60 percent of the illegal population has already been in the U.S. more than 10 years and have been assimilating.
  • Enforcement is a key component of Immigration Reform. I am in agreement that enforcement is a key component of sensible Immigration Reform.
  • Immigration Reform will encourage low skilled and less educated workers that will depress wages of Americans. Lesser-skilled and lower skilled jobs must be done and U.S. workers are not taking them. The Congressional Budget Office says that immigration may causes a slight reduction is wages, but there will be an increase in economic growth overall attributable to immigrants. The economy needs workers at all levels to grow. When there is a need, there should be a mechanism to allow immigrant workers to fill that need.

Let’s move forward and do what everyone thinks should be done – sensible Immigration Reform in 2014.

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Photo of Laura Foote Reiff‡ Laura Foote Reiff‡

Laura Foote Reiff is the Co-Managing Shareholder of the Northern Virginia Office. She also Co-Chairs the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice’s International Employment, Immigration & Workforce Strategies group. Laura focuses her practice on business immigration laws and regulations affecting U.S. and foreign companies,

Laura Foote Reiff is the Co-Managing Shareholder of the Northern Virginia Office. She also Co-Chairs the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice’s International Employment, Immigration & Workforce Strategies group. Laura focuses her practice on business immigration laws and regulations affecting U.S. and foreign companies, as well as related employment compliance and legislative issues.

Laura advises corporations on a variety of compliance-related issues, particularly related to Form I-9 eligibility employment verification matters. Laura has been involved in audits and internal investigations and has successfully minimized monetary exposure as well as civil and criminal liabilities on behalf of her clients. She develops immigration compliance strategies and programs for both small and large companies. Laura performs I-9, H-1B and H-2B compliance inspections during routine internal reviews, while performing due diligence (in the context of a merger, acquisition or sale) or while defending a company against a government investigation.

Laura represents many businesses in creating, managing and using “Regional Centers” that can create indirect jobs toward the 10 new U.S. jobs whose creation can give rise to EB-5 permanent residence for investment. She coordinates this work with attorneys practicing in securities law compliance, with economists identifying “targeted employment areas” and projecting indirect job creation, and with licensed securities brokers coordinating offerings. She also represents individual investors in obtaining conditional permanent residence and in removing conditions from permanent residence.

Laura’s practice also consists of managing business immigration matters and providing immigration counsel to address the visa and work authorization needs of U.S. and global personnel including professionals, managers and executives, treaty investors/ traders, essential workers, persons of extraordinary ability, corporate trainees, and students. She is an immigration policy advocacy expert and works on immigration reform policies.