Chance For You And Your Family To Meet Bright Young Folk From Other Countries: Hosts Needed

Three up-coming events, specifically related to visiting young people from 1) Mexico and 2) Kosovo and other places (3rd event). What a great experience you could have as a host family.

Bright young Mexican students coming for two weeks. Kosovo students are looking for families who can host them for the upcoming school year.

The last event is also very cool. Fulbright scholars coming to town for Fulbright Scholarship Weekend.

Sponsored by the Cleveland Council On World Affairs. Remember back to the days when students would come in and study for a year with you or your children? I do. Sam, from Yugoslavia. Great mind, hysterically funny, even wound up as my prom date! I can tell you this is an experience, whether it’s one of the short-term or longer term events, your family will never forget.


House Judiciary Chair Goodlatte on House Approach to Immigration Reform

NPR’s Audie Cornish interviewed Rep. (VA) Bob Goodlatte, who is the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, on the Senate/House efforts towards immigration reform. This is the transcript provided on the site but if you want to hear the entire interview for yourself, you can click on  the above link and listen to the audio.

Rep. Goodlatte: Immigration Changes Should Be ‘Step-By-Step’



Here to talk more about immigration from the House point of view is Virginia Congressman Bob Goodlatte, a Republican and chair of the House Judiciary Committee. Welcome to the program.

REPRESENTATIVE BOB GOODLATTE: Good to be with you and your listeners, Audie.

CORNISH: Now, do any of these provisions from the Senate make the proposal any more palatable to Republicans in the House?

GOODLATTE: Well, certainly securing the border is important and these are additional steps that I think are very helpful in that regard. The House Judiciary Committee, however, is focused on the problem of enforcement of the laws once somebody is in the United States. You know, about 35 to 40 percent of the people who are on lawfully present in the United States entered lawfully on student visas, visitors visas, business visas, visa waivers and so on, and then simply overstayed their visas. That needs to be addressed with interior enforcement.

We think we should have a clear statutory guideline so that under the right circumstances, state and local governments can participate in helping this limited number of federal enforcement officers enforce our immigration laws in the interior of the country.

CORNISH: Critics of the House approach say that your committee isn’t necessarily doing anything to handle the current undocumented population, in terms of giving them any kind of path to citizenship – dealing with that 11 million people that are here. Your response?

GOODLATTE: We are taking a step-by-step approach to addressing all three of the major areas that are needed to fix our broken immigration system: legal immigration reform, to create a healthy economy and create jobs for Americans; enforcement, as we’ve just discussed; and finding a way to bring out of the shadows those people who are unlawfully present in the United States, and have some kind of legal standing for them.

We’ve passed, so far, four bills out of the Judiciary Committee, plus our own border security bill passed out of the Homeland Security Committee. And so, we’re making a lot of progress. We’re moving steadily forward. But we’re carefully examining each aspect of immigration reform to make sure we get it right and to try to build the kind of consensus and support that we need, particularly on the Republican side in the House.

CORNISH: There’s also this House bipartisan group that’s drawing up a comprehensive immigration overhaul bill. Have you agreed to hold committee hearings on that proposal?

GOODLATTE: Yes, so far that group has not been able to produce a specific piece of legislation. But we’ve encouraged them to do so because we think that anything that happens with immigration is going to have to be bipartisan. And if they do come forward with a specific bill or a specific legislative language, we will examine it very closely in the House Judiciary Committee. Because we think that it will benefit the process whether it’s looked at as a whole or whether it’s taken in individual pieces that might help inform the work that we’re doing on all of these different areas of immigration reform.

CORNISH: So, Chairman, it sounds like you’re not opposed to some comprehensive legislation, then. Is that correct? There’s been critics who say that the immigration effort to die a slow death in this piecemeal approach to getting something done.

GOODLATTE: Well, we don’t believe it’s piecemeal. We believe it is step-by-step. And again, we are working both with the bipartisan group in the House and in the Judiciary Committee, to try to find consensus to address each of these major areas.

CORNISH: And looking at this action in the Senate, are Republicans there misguided in assuming that the majority of support from them means that House Republicans would want to do the same?

GOODLATTE: Well, House Republicans are going to want to see what the Senate Republicans have been demanding. And that is greater enforcement of our immigration laws. We do not want to make the same mistakes that were made in 1986, when nearly three million people were given an easy pathway to citizenship on the promise that there would be more enforcement of immigration laws and none of that has been fulfilled in any significant way.

CORNISH: So this idea that if they have a bill that gets 60 or 70 votes, that will somehow pressure the House to do more, it doesn’t sound like you’re convinced.

GOODLATTE: It’s not going to change the way I think we should approach this. And I believe that is the approach that our leadership and the overwhelming majority of the rank-and-file in the House have also been very supportive of our approach, to try to find the solutions that are needed, and not feel rushed by the Senate or by past precedent, which we think is very bad.

The Senate bill gives a legal status to all of the millions of people who are unlawfully in the United States before they put in place the kinds of enforcement reforms that we think would assure the American people that there won’t be another wave of illegal immigration. And therefore, we think that’s a mistake. They’re putting the cart before the horse.

CORNISH: Republican Representative Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, thank you so much for speaking with us.

GOODLATTE: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR. (2013)

Innovative Idea To Help Immigrants Build on Their Small Businesses

The Center For An Urban Future highlights 15 Innovative Ideas To Help Mayors Improve Their Cities. I’m highlighting one idea from both Chicago and Los Angeles. It’s called the Immigrant Export Initiative.

Immigrants have language skills, usually at least in one language other than English (sometimes many more). It makes them prime candidates to export their own businesses Internationally. The point I specifically like is this one:

•Multinational Export Forums encouraging immigrant entrepreneurs to share country-specific expertise and collaborate on new export ventures

In Los Angeles, they established a Regional Export Council. If you read it, you’ll see it’s good food for thought.

And while you are there, you can read through the other 14 innovative ideas.

A Thought: Are Immigrant Small Business Entreprenuers Really Any Less Valuable Than Highly Skilled Immigrant Job Candidates?

Much discussion, due to the Immigration Reform Bill (nationally) and Cleveland’s push to bring skilled immigrants here (locally). Not arguing the need for skilled workers to fill the gap on things like unfilled manufacturing jobs here. But there just could be a reason why we don’t want to limit the type of immigrant who comes here.

Small Business Talks wrote a (for me) mind-blowing article on their site about the amazing numbers when looking at small vs. large businesses.

The stats are mind-blowing. More jobs are actually created by small business owners than large firms? This is counter to the ‘growth’ groups – nonprofits and politicians who talk about immigration reform. At least that is what I’ve heard. And these statistics do NOT back up the fact that large firms create more jobs.

It brings me to another point I’ve learned by observing the actions of small businesses. Not only do they create jobs in their establishments. They promote other neighborhood jobs. Many a time I’ve been in stores who are chatting with customers and wind up recommending OTHER business people. I have friends for example, who own a store and they are a wealth of knowledge about who does what service in the community. You need a contractor? Call X, Y and Z. You need a glass blower? Call X. It is truly a chain reaction of making the economic wheel go ’round.

And this is repeated in an apparently high number of small businesses already grinding this wheel forward even before recommending other business people’s work to their customers.

So let’s think about this: if over 97% of the businesses in this country are small and they are the ones creating the most jobs, do we really want to limit the push for immigrants to the ones who will fit into certain high skilled categories? Just asking…

A shout out to Joel Libva (Franchise Biz Directory) for featuring this article on SMB via Twitter.

Small Business Owners, Immigrant and Native, Keeping Suburban Strip Mall Storefronts Going: An Interesting Take on Commercial Gentrification

We all see box stores go belly up and leave a vast emptiness behind. Large buildings and parking lots. The same is true of strip malls in the suburbs, which are apparently in need of or in danger of (depending on your viewpoint) being gentrified. Many feel they waste space but Sustainable Cities writer Kaid Benfield also talks about how affordable the rents are in strip malls compared to fancy new commercial replacements. It affects immigrant shop owners and those who are NOT immigrants as well. Good read.

One quote to show the conundrum of commercial space redevelopment:

“…When we redevelop areas with low-income housing, we know what to do (which is not to say that we always do it):  minimize displacement of residents, find new homes for those who must be displaced, and set aside properties in new development with affordable pricing to help make sure that a revitalizing neighborhood can retain diversity.  An ethic has developed, in many cases adopted into law with inclusionary zoning.

But, as far as I know, there is no comparable, widely understood ethic to protect small, often minority businesses that are harmed by otherwise beneficial neighborhood change, and I am wondering whether there should be…”

I love when a writer makes me think in a way I have not considered before.  Are strip malls pretty? Um, no.  Do they suck up space in an inefficient way? Many times, yes. But maybe they serve a purpose worth preserving, unless or until an equally viable alternative is found.

Turkish Immigrant Grows His Chobani Company at Warp Speed, Wins World Entreprenuer of the Year

If you think you’d like that closed factory in your neighborhood reborn somehow, would you expect an immigrant to be the one to do it?

If you thought high-tech companies like Google were the only ones who could achieve fast, steady growth quickly in this day and age, think again!

Hamdi Ulukaya emigrated from Turkey and his yogurt company (Chobani…on shelves in my stores!) is growing by leaps and bounds. Greek yogurt is hot among yogurt aficionados lately and Ulukaya may be the reason. He did the factory rebirth in New York state.

Here is a quote from a Yahoo! article on Ulukaya winning World Entrepreneur of the Year:

“…On Saturday night in Monte Carlo, Ulukaya, 41, was named Ernst & Young’s World Entrepreneur of the Year, copping the grand prize in a competition that pitted him against 48 entrepreneurs whom E&Y designated tops in their own countries. Ulukaya’s win was a surprise only because many of the 1,000 attendees at the professional services firms’ annual confab guessed that the judges—successful entrepreneurs from across the globe—wouldn’t bestow the top award on a U.S. founder. But Ulukaya, who emigrated from Turkey to America at 22, impressed the judges and everyone else with his up-from-nothing success story….”

You can read Ernst and Young’s accolades for Ulukaya (they sponsor the award every year) here on their website.

While we are at it, here is the Chobani company site.

If you thought immigrants only opened small businesses – think again!  He began Chobani in 2005 and now employs around 2,000 people.

Congratulations and thank you for bringing your vision to the United States.

Immigration Reform Bill Debate/Voting Begins June 11th

It’s not as if this will all be decided in one day, one week, or two. But things supposedly kick into motion tomorrow. (Originally it was June 10th but apparently things take time in Congress don’t they?)

To get an idea of the process and path to expect on Immigration Reform Bill, go to today’s post on It’s a basic outline and like usual, subject to change…or lengthening!