The public’s perception of the domestic, U.S. Immigration problem is largely influenced by mainstream media’s representation of what the American public ought to focus on. The media has traditionally always focused on the so-called “illegal immigrants”, which the professional community would prefer to refer to as “undocumented aliens (or immigrants)”.
This group essentially encompasses all non-U.S. citizens who are living in the United States either without legal immigration status, or outside of the legal terms of their previously approved legal immigration status, which includes legal entry with subsequent overstay without departure from the U.S.
While some government and media estimates consider this group to number about 12-15 million, some estimates from various agencies and professional communities peg the estimates, much higher, somewhere around 30 million immigrants.
The media and mainstream public tend to limit our domestic immigration problems to the presence of 12-30 million estimated aliens currently in the United States in violation of U.S. laws, and how to deal with them. And while upcoming comprehensive Immigration Reform (“CIR”) WILL deal with the presence and legality of undocumented aliens in the United States, this is only one of several significant issues the CIR will need to address.
These other issues include issues such as:
• Limitations on Visa Numbers, mandated by Congress, making it more difficult to secure adequtate skilled workers at the levels needed to meet the changing needs of the U.S. economy and labor market.
• Arbitrary Numerical Limitations, by imposing caps on certain categories and classifications, resulting in extensive backlogs and processing delays measured in Years, rather than months, essentially hindering legal family integration and unification.
• Employment Enforcement problems, caused by inconsistent, inefficient or inappropriate enforcement efforts on state and federal levels of wage and workplace violations, which negatively impacts workers and businesses alike.
Our nation’s failure to push through a workable, sustainable CIR has instead given way to a range of lopsided, poorly conceived, and badly implemented enforcement only initiatives which are not only doing little to nothing to impede the flow of unauthorized immigrants, but have also been very costly. In a time where government budget are stretched to and beyond their limits, many of these enforcement programs seem hard to justify, when there is ample credible data to show that the United States currently has the largest unauthorized immigrant population in its history.
This article series, while by no means a complete and exhaustive study of every problem within our present immigration system, will address several key areas and issues stemming from legislative failure to implement a meaningful CIR.
Steven A. Culbreath, Esq.
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