Archive for the ‘Immigration’ Category

Passport Photos on the cheap

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

Since I always seem to be needing passport photos I thought I would see if there is a cheaper way of doing it rather than going into a camera shop. The last time I did it they used a digital camera and printed them off in house, the rub is they charged me almost $7 for for this. This time I got a co worker to take the photo, a quick online search and I came up with where they crop and format your photo to give you a 4×6 jpeg with 6 photos for free. A few minutes later I have uploaded the jpg to Ritz Camera and I am about to go grab the picture. Total cost $0.22. That sure beats the $8 they would have charged me if I went into the shop and asked them to do it.

Councilman Husch’s poposal to confiscate bikes in Herndon

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

In response to Councilman Husch’s proposal to confiscate all bicycles that are chained, tied to trees or road sign posts in the public right-of-ways, I decided to take a trip out to Historic Herndon and see who would be affected by his proposal.

I saw a lot of bikers, most of them were using the trail to travel through Herndon. Other were stopping to buy drinks or ice cream. Two bikes were locked outside Jimmy’s Tavern. Another outside the bread shop.

What I didn’t find were any people who would fit the profile of an illegal, instead I found mostly white Americans.

As a biked a little further along the trail I spotted this couple locking up their bikes to a street sign next to an open house.

The couple had biked to Herndon and were looking to buy a town house in Herndon specifically because it was close to the trail. They chose to lock up their bike to the street sign at Branch Drive because it was close to their destination and was a solid secure object.

If Councilman Husch’s proposal becomes law, I wonder what their reaction would have been to coming back to find their bikes had been confiscated?

Councilman Husch said that a Virginia Law already prohibits bicycles from being chained to signposts or left in the public right of way. I searched the Virginia law and didn’t find anything that would appear to give them the authority to confiscate bikes parked in the public right of way. So I would ask Mr Husch to let us know the section of the code he is referring to so we can review it.

More on Herndon wanting to confiscate bikes

Friday, August 15th, 2008

The Washington Post has picked up on a memo from Dennis D. Husch on his proposal to confiscate bikes in Herndon.

Town officials want to step up police activity and zoning enforcement where the workers gather, ban carryout alcoholic beverage sales downtown and remove the pay phones that the workers use to call their home countries. They want to institute a permitting process for homeowners to rent out rooms, in hopes of reducing the number of workers living in crowded conditions. They also want to confiscate bicycles — a common mode of transport for the workers — that are parked illegally in public places. Dennis D. Husch

I wrote an email to Mr Husch, which he hasn’t taken the time to reply to yet. I did get an email from Connie Hutchinson the Vice Mayor of Herndon saying the Council, as a whole, has not discussed Councilman Husch’s proposal yet and she is against the proposal of confiscating bikes in the public right of way.

I also had a lengthy emails conversation with Bill Tirrell who is on the Herndon Council. Although he has been supportive of installation of the traffic signal at W&OD and Elden and agrees that we need more bike racks in Herndon, he is siding with Mr Husch and feels that confiscating bikes in the public right of way is an appropriate response to illegal residents in the Town of Herndon even though it will also be targeting legal residents.

This make me feel old

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

Mike Saylor is going to ring the bell on NASQ tomorrow to calibrate it’s 10 year anniversary since it first went public. I can’t believe it has been 10 years since they went public. That means it is 10 1/2 years since since I moved to the US on the basis of a job offer and not knowing much else about living in America. I am now married, on my second house and about to file to have my 2 year temporary status removed from my green card.

Illegal Immgration in Prince William County

Sunday, July 15th, 2007

The immigration system is broken in the US. Last week the Washington Post ran an article talking about a peaceful protest by those who had been been waiting many years for visa numbers to become available so they can move to the next stage and finally get a green card.

Then this week Prince William County County in Virginia approved a resolution denying county services to illegal immigrants and ordering police to take a more vigorous approach in checking immigration status. The only problem is the USCIS is slow and primarily paper based, so there is no easy way to verify immigration status. Even if you are US Citizen and never had to deal with the immigration services look at this list of acceptable forms of proof of citizenship in Fredrick Country Maryland. The website lists over 400 agencies it can supply a birth certificate for. With all these variations do you really think it will be possible for the average traffic cop in Prince William county to quickly verify citizenship?

Immigration and Customs Enforcement raided Swift, a meat processing plants in December 06 and arrested 1,300 undocumented employees. The employees had been run through the federal employment verification system but the system can’t detect stolen social security numbers and birth certificates.

The more that states crackdown on illegal immigration with out a working federal citizenship verification scheme the more risk that citizens or legal aliens will be stopped and held by mistake. Just look at the Security Theatre we have to endure in the name of anti-terrorism. Think about the documentation you might have to carry in the future just to proves you are a US citizen.

Immigration in the DC area

Monday, June 18th, 2007

The washington post is running an article on the impact of immigration on the DC area. America has always been called the mixing pot of the world, for the metro DC area this is especially true. I came to the US as part of the IT Boom in the in the late nineties. The first company I worked for was a micro united nations. You would walk down the corridor and would see people from china, mexico, india, uk, germany, and the us. We some times joked that the us team members were our token americans. We were all young, and starting a new life in a different place.

I don’t think I will ever work in an other company that is so culturally diverse ever again. If for no other reason than it is harder for non us citizens to come to the us on a temporary work visa.

US IT company to pay 2.4 million to H1b workers

Monday, June 11th, 2007

cnet reported that a Cambridge, Mass company is having to pay back 2.4 million to 607 workers who were paid below the prevailing wage. In order for a US company to hire an H1b person they must pay them a similar wage to a US employee. This is supposed to mean that H1b workers aren’t brought into the country as cheap labor. If you take the 2.4 million and divide it between the 600 workers you come up with about $4000 per person. The Department of labor website doesn’t mention how they were able to detect this underpayment but my guess is it was related to employees not being paid when they are on the bench i.e. didn’t have work to do since calculating the prevailing wage is hard.

US companies don’t like employees to talk about how much employees earn which makes it very hard for an H1b employee to know if they are being paid at a lower wage or not. The opposite is not true for US employees, if a company applies for a new H1b visa they must post in a public location copies of the application for other employees to review. This can be very interesting reading if you company hires a lot of foreign nationals. It also means you can view what the current new hire wage is.

Immigration debate

Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

It has been interesting hearing the media coverage of the debate on the immigration laws being worked on at the moment. I saw this on cnet and started reading thinking I would hear the same argument that the new points system for green cards are bad for business since they won’t be able to bring in the right people. This is way it started but did at least go on to explain H1b visas.

The media coverage I have been hearing is very misleading they make it sound like an employer is going to have to use the new points system for bringing the right people into the county. The first thing to remember it is very very rare that a company will sponsor a green card for an employee not working in the US since it can end up taking three or more years to get. Instead they bring them into the country on an H1B specialst worker visa or an L1 inter company transfer visa. An H1b is good for up to 6 years. For companies it is going to be, if anything easier to bring a new employee to the US since the proposal is going to increase the number of H1b visas available per year.

What I think business is complaining about, is that if it is harder to get perminant residancy then people won’t want to come to the US.

I am not a huge fan of a visa or greencard appliction being tied to single company, since it opens up the employee to abuse by the employer. I think the point system potentially could be a fairer approach. However being able to covert from an H1b to a greencard is a key part of attracting talented people to work and stay in US.

Fortunately I am out of the immigration waiting game. I was able to get a greencard after getting married. Giving me the chance to abandon my work based application and change jobs.