Tag Archives: legal immigrants

US Immigration Reform: Obama Ignores Legal Immigrants & Embraces Illegal Immigration

On Friday June 15, 2012 via Homeland Security Security Janet Napolitano and then by President Obama himself, a new policy directive was announced that the US Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) arm of the USCIS (United States Customs and Immigration Services) would no longer deport many illegal immigrants originally brought into the country as children.

Essentially effective immediately children brought into the US under the age of 16 at the time of entry by illegal immigrant parents who are currently enrolled or graduated in High School,  College or Certificate level program or whom have served in the Military as well as now under the age of 30 with no criminal record would no longer be actively deported. Additionally they will be issued renewable 2 year work permits which essentially gives almost the same rights as a Green Card holder. It is estimated that this would cover around 800,000 kids mainly of Latino descent.

Now while it is clearly not these kids fault that they came into the country illegally and something should be done in this vein to resolve their status given they are actively and positively contributing to their local communities, it is a shame that again the legal immigrants have been ignored.

Legal Immigrants who have been working for many years on US working visas, some of which also have long standing Green Card PERM applications where they have been on waiting lists for years not only don’t benefit from this but quite possibly will have their own cases delayed with processing and longer waiting lists. Many residents of India, China and Mexico have waiting list times of 10 years and more, and those residents from all nations coming under the EB-3 visa (Green Card) classification have been on waiting lists for years, following the rules, paying extraordinary financial and legal costs related to immigration, paying thousands in taxes with no benefit and yet again they have to endure the bad end of the situation.

It is quite obvious the Obama Administration with the 2012 Presidential Election ahead in November are looking to shore up their large lead among Latino Voters and encourage that base to come out and vote with this directive that preempts a potential Republican led DREAM Act bill. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida (a Cuban American) a potential running mate of presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney  is soon to submit a different version of the DREAM Act to the Democratic version which has been on the Congressional agenda since 2000 that is very similar to this directive from the President which bypasses Congress.

Again it is not that we believe this directive is misguided and is probably a good step to ensuring ever more Immigrant Americans can help US Prosperity and the US Economy as they are already doing in disproportionate numbers today. It is the fact that the legal immigrants who have followed the rules again get nothing and no reward from the doing the right thing and taking the much harder road of getting Permanent Residency and potentially US Citizenship.

To give you an idea apart from the huge costs and massively years long waiting list, legal immigrants to get to permanency in the US often have to endure;

The message to legal immigrants is that you may as well break the rules because what have you got to lose and you may stand to gain from policy directives like this.

Let’s hope that Legal Immigrants don’t continue to be ignored because for once Republican political talking points are spot on, this creates completely the wrong Incentive system for foreigners all over the world wanting to move to the US.


Legal Immigration v Illegal Immigration

We don’t talk that much about illegal immigration and immigrants on this site as the primary focus is helping foreigners both understand and navigate the US immigration system. We all cover topical issues in US immigration but again more focused to those issues that pertain to legal immigration (eg. H1B visa legislation, Green Card Processing Delays, etc.)

However one point that we strongly believe that one of the top 2 or 3 causes of illegal immigration in the US is the legal immigration system. This is a widely held belief among well versed Americans that really understand the US Immigration system and its major inadequacies and inequities, as well of course a lot of foreigners that have to suffer through it.

The illegal immigration issue is far more widely covered in the media and talk radio due to its ability to garner passions which are too often irrational among the consumers of those providing the media. As ultimately that passion turns into greater numbers of viewers, listeners or readers and thus more advertising dollars for the publication and those engaging the audience.

The main focus of the illegal immigration debate tends to center around some core issues in the US today which includes;
– Terrorism & National Security
– Open Borders & Need for a fence on the US Southern border
– Illegal immigrants who commit felonies
– Paying taxes and receiving social benefits
– Unsafe and illegal workplace conditions for undocumented workers
– Lowering overall wage levels & taking US jobs
– Breaking up families where parties are of different nationalities

As you can see just by the nature of the headers, each of these points on their own has the ability to garner strong views from both side of the political spectrum producing less than cordial debate and thus no practical, long term, workable and overall beneficial solutions.

I would like to approach a couple of these issues from a different perspective that is rarely discussed in the mass media as a solution for all these problems. That being the US immigration system or the legal immigration system and its inequities that help cause many of the above problems.

As it relates to National Security types issues and Border Control, the current US immigration system and processing is not only more than sufficient, it goes way past what is practical. Every person who applies for a US visa has to supply all 10 fingerprints at their US Consulate interview. Additionally all these people as well as those traveling via the Visa Waiver Program and the new ESTA have to give fingerprints at the port of entry. This is in addition to all the background checks against all suspect databases and information.

Given that 99.999% of people are not National Security threats, nor have done anything that would make them even be considered a threat, this is certainly a huge intrusion into people’s privacy for a free society. It is also worth pointing out that almost all illegal immigrants are not national security risks and that many of the people that have committed atrocities within the US were legal immigrants or citizens. Everyone of the people who slipped through the system were as a result of government bureaucracy and federal agencies not talking to each other.

So really by implement ever more intrusive procedures the US is further alienating almost all the foreigners that are law abiding and follow the rules and yet still missing the ones they want to catch because of simple communication issues that a adolescent could see needed to be fixed.

The other issue I will cover relates to the workplace, taxes, social benefits and taking jobs from US citizens. In a healthy proportion, illegal immigrants are performing tasks that Americans would like not to do and at the same time are secretly happy is being performed by illegals at lower wages as it means lower prices at grocery stores, restaurants and retail stores.

Additionally illegal immigrants like their legal immigrant counterparts are also paying taxes like Social Security and Medicare on top of the relevant Federal and State taxes with no acess to any of these social services. So all immigrant types are helping to contribute to the welfare of their US citizens counterparts. Now if the US government even gave some basic access to social services to legal immigrants, then that would be a reason for people to both follow the rules as immigrants and to also pay their taxes.

As we have discussed in numerous other posts, citing studies like those by Duke Professor, Vivek Wadhwa of the huge net benefit job wise of the healthy immigration policy the US has always had. In that the overall benefit is of a mass job creation and innovation and thus more jobs and wealth for the US and its citizens. So making this process more streamlined and equitable in the end will only create more jobs for US citizens as opposed to arbitrary restrictions and protectionist policies.

In the end illegal immigration is a issue that deserves a lot more attention than this one post. However we just wanted to highlight the relationships between illegal and legal immigration and how fixes in one area can only help the other and the US as a whole.