Tag Archives: legal immigration

Legal Immigrants Long Long Wait For A Green Card

The NY Times recently wrote a piece talking about the struggles of the Legal Immigrant and how they feel that throughout the whole current Immigration reform debate they feel that they are the forgotten figures of the whole debate yet the most deserving of consideration in the reform. This is because collectively this a group of hundreds of thousands of people who;

  • Have faithfully followed all the US Immigration rules from prior to entering the country to obeying all laws while present in the US
  • Skew to be highly educated and thus already (and in the future) contribute most to the US overall economic prosperity benefiting all
  • Have endured already paying thousands of dollars already in US Government fees, legal fees, general compliance and travel fees to ensure their visa status remains current
  • Many have been educated in US higher education institutions so largely a full fee paying students with a top quality education particularly in the much sought after STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) professions
  • Have faithfully paid all their IRS and other tax obligations even though as a group they don’t benefit from many of the taxes they have to pay like Social Security, Medicare, Unemployment Insurance, etc.
  • Have endured separation from family members, missed weddings/funerals/etc., lived in locations that are not their first preference just so they can comply with all laws and hopefully at some stage obtain a Green Card
  • Passed up promotions, raises and better job opportunities at other other companies offered to them in the US because to do so would mean to lose their place in the long wait lines for Permanent Residency
  • Have had to have every aspect of the life scrutinized from every home move they make, to every travel entry, job transfer, marriage, private medical information, etc., to ensure constant compliance with the system
  • Not fought cases of a legal nature against them when they have been in the right (i.e. traffic, workplace complaints, rental disputes) for fear that any issue might appear on a permanent record jeopardizing their ability to continue in the Immigration process
  • For the high skilled and employed watched people jump the queue in front of them b/c of things like sham marriages, phoney asylum claims, the green card lottery
  • If from India, China, Mexico and the Philippines in particular seen their wait times stretch to 15 years and more just to move along in the process and having to keep their life on hold
  • Watch President Obama and others before him continue to give preference to Illegal Immigrants plight over their own just because of the political benefits of pursuing that action (ultimately both causes need to be addressed but the legal immigrants are usually ignored)

The full list would go on and on because the US has a system currently where only 7% of all the Green Cards issue annually (abt 140,000) go to the skilled employees which compares very unfavourably with other 1st world western nations and thus is detrimental to the US economy as a whole. So many of the major technology and other companies that sponsor Green Cards and companies that sponsor H-1B, E-3 and other work visas have been screaming for years for increases to quotas and changes to Immigration system and is hurting their ability to innovate and detrimentally effecting them vs. foreign competition.

We even a couple of years ago had an avid reader so frustrated with they system he wrote a letter to President Obama which he published as an open letter here expressing his frustration of the multi-year delays he and many people he know faces and how it leaves them leading a compromised life for years all in the vein hope that something might change.

Ultimately this is not a case of pitting legal immigrants vs. illegal immigrants plight or the folks hoping to benefit from the Dream Act, it is a plea for those in Congress and the Media and the President to stop focusing on the political point scoring with Paths to Citizenship for Illegals, Border Fence Issues, Demonizing Hispanics and focus on a group that is always ignored in public arguments. If any group deserves some focus and reform it is this group.

There is a lot to fix in US Immigration as we have identified before, however if you as person can imagine being stuck in the same job, with the same title, with the same pay, in the same city, separated from your family and friends, being forced to pay thousands of dollars continually, undergo invasive medical tests, have any marriage scrutinized, undergo repeated biometric tests, wait in constant hour long queues at consulates, having any move of apartment monitored and all the while still pursuing the dream of residency in the US, then you may have some more sympathy too.


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.