I am all for some form of immigration reform. Immigration is second only to the tax code in its complexity and I have to deal with it up close and personal. Every body likes to make the argument that they have no problem with those who immigrate to the US legally. Neither do I. I which it could all be done legally.
What I don't think most people realize is how difficult and how long legal immigration takes. Say you are a Pilipino who has relatives in the US and you wish to immigrate. First off, if you are a non-professional, work visas are not an option. so, you have to pay a lawyer about $10,000 - $20,000 to put all the paper work in. Then, because of the departmental backlog and the shear number of applications, the applicant is looking at about a 23 year wait to get a green card. If you have no blood relatives in the US, you are looking at even a longer wait.
So, it is no surprise to me that legal immigration is not an option either for many people who are looking for the American dream.
This is not to say that I endorse illegal immigration. I don't. But the system is seriously broken and needs to be redone. Currently, immigration is run by three separate departments, answering to three separate bosses. There is no clear chain of command and processes in one department can be contradictory to another.
For instance. If someone where to come over to the US on a travel visa and while here, meets someone who wants to employ that person. If the potential employee than applies for a work visa, they can be denied since the requirements for a travel visa is that there is no intent to stay. Since the person is now applying for a work visa, the Department of Homeland Security sees that the persons intentions were not purely to visit, but to find work, so then will deny the application because the person "obviously" lied on the tourist visa application.
Another problem is that there are two different types of "permits" you need to be in the US. You need both a visa, and an I-94 for which gives you status. A visa is often good for 10 years, but your I-94 is good for only 3-6 months at a time. Meaning, you can visit the US as many times as you want in 10 years, but can never stay for longer than 3-6 months (depending on your allowance). If you stay one day more than what is allowed on your I-94, you are barred from re-entering the US for 3 years. So, you can have a valid visa but still be barred from entering the US. This is a trap that ensnares many people because they don't understand how they can have a valid visa, but still be here illegally.
We obviously need to secure the boders. But what ever your feeling on immigration is, the system as a whole needs to be thrown out and rewritten to make legal immigration attainable.
Help Wanted as Immigration Faces Overhaul