Monday, March 27, 2006

Immigration Reform

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


Anonymous said...

lets face it Dingo, A worker program is what is needed here. Just as President Bush has advocated for. I live here in Southern California and "estimate" that 40 to 60% of the work being done is by IllegalLy entered Mexicans. They are law abiding citizens while here, work harder than most natural born citizens. There is no hoard of workers standing at the local Home Depot of Seven Eleven looking for day work. They are busy doing the roofing, plumbing, kitchen remodels and entire home replacements. They don't build Pre_Fabricated Homes.. It is board by board construction.. and AAA+ quality. I think your idea of One Agency with one Boss administering a Worker Program would work. This of course, would include citizenship controls of children born here during their stay. There are many Mexican workers who abide by the present rules.. return to Mexico, then come back to start the work cycle again.They all have Legal relatives here with whom they live with. I don't see many of them writing checks for goods or services.. Its a cash basis entirely, no name no paper trail. Meanwhile, the State of California, in a desperate attempt to recoup lost taxes to this "Under market"..... Keep raising the taxes on legitimate business and tax(Income) on individuals like you and me who have W-2's with a track record. Consequently, the State coffers evaporate, businesses leave the State,theres not enough money for the School System and individuals cheat more on their taxes.. Its a no win situation.. And the Demoratically controlled State legislature refuses to make any changes, They don't want the Governor to be required to balance the budget.State borrowing continues to outstrip the revenue.. The Governor of Virginia, Mark Warner, a Democrat ! has done a fine job of balancing Virginia's Budget.. Because he is required by law to do just that. So wake up New York, PA and Massachusettes.


Dingo said...

Zope, I agree that a worker program is needed, but in a manner that does not spur more illegal immigration. But, overall, if doen right, I think it can be done in a way that will help increase the wages of US citizens while not taking jobs away from those here legally.

Bob said...

I agree with the concept of a worker program. The key is to streamline the process so that someone who wants to move to Florida to work as a roofer (we still have lots of blue tarps on roofs) can do so easily. Otherwise, the complexity of the worker visa outweighs the risk of being here illegally. Bottom line, these workers ARE here and our economy depends on them. We need to know who they are, which will help security, and start collected income taxes from them, which will help pay for the demands they place on government services.

Sigmund, Carl and Alfred said...

Best fricken post of the week.

There will no resolution of immigration concerns, legal or otherwise, until the entire immigration process is revamped.

There are no others options, no bandaids, no stopgaps.