From Mark Zuckerberg to Marco Rubio, Immigration may be the No. 1 political topic of the year for the first time since 2007. However as veterans of that debacle know, just because both side of Congress and a broad spectrum of business and labor unions are pushing for reform does not mean either that anything at all will be done. Then even if anything does get done chances are it will be a poisoned chalice and only benefit foreigners a little while screwing them elsewhere.
Let’s have a look at the state of US Immigration today and what the 14 major pain points are;
1. 11 Million (approximately) illegal immigrants currently in the US
2. Further millions of US born children of illegal immigrant living in the shadows unable to legally attend most Universities and work
3. A backlog of 10+ years for many legal foreign workers who have followed all the rules waiting for a chance to get Permanent Residency unable to change jobs, accept promotions or pay raises
4. Huge unnecessary legal costs attached to most visa processes that serve no purpose other than profit Immigration attorneys
5. Wait times of 3 months to 2 years just to process single applications for basic visa changes
6. Artificial caps on visas like the H-1B visa when the growth sectors of the US Economy like Technology are desperate for more qualified talent so as to further grow their companies and thus the US economy and tax revenues as a whole
7. Foreign workers tied to companies unable to easily change jobs to accept better offers because of illogical transfer processes, costs and wait times
8. Immigration system that incentives doing things like sham marriages or illegal entry or overstaying b/c that is a far less costly and speedier route to living day to day in the US than following the rules and the long wait times
9. So many highly intelligent and talented US educated undergraduate, graduate and Phd students forced to leave the US and thus start companies and create technologies and wealth outside US shores. Immigrant founded companies in the US at large and particularly Silicon Valley has declined dramatically in the last 8 years
10. An ill informed American public that has little idea of how the US Immigration system works let alone the overall history of US Immigration and often the nature of their own ancestral entry and bases their opinions on factually incorrect cable news sound bites
11. The ability for someone to obtain a US work visa makes no sense as a company has to hire a person first and sponsor them which usually means being interviewed face to face. However the US actively discourages people to enter the US for the purposes of seeking employment
12. US Consulate processes for assessing foreign candidates are complex and often contradict processes and approvals received within the US and wait times to gain interviews are often many months making no sense for foreign students and workers to enter the country
13. Family visa sponsorship times for things like spouses of green card holders or brothers and sisters of US citizens are also 5-10 years or more
14. For non-immigrant visa petitions like H-1B, E-3, L-1, etc. there are only approximately 250 USCIS caseworkers to assess the annual 425,000 applications and growing as the economy is improving creating a major log jam for US companies and the economy
So the reality is unless a comprehensive Immigration reform assesses most, if not all, of these issues without attaching arbitrary conditions, criteria and costs it really is not fixing anything. All these things about paying fines, going to the back of line, tying things to borders security, adding more visas with obscure criteria or increasing caps without fixing current processes and wait times and continually incentivizing sham activities are just the status quo.
So while we are all the most confident we have been in many years for some form of Immigration reform we accept the reality that Congress will most likely miss the point, possibly fix one or two issues but then create five or ten more.