Sunday, May 27, 2007

Risk vs. Reward: Immigration Debate Pt. II

Since I’m an overeducated schlep working below my station (“Grande latte coming up!”), I’m regularly tardy (“lazy”) keeping up with my postings. A few days ago I wrote about the need for real immigration reform for the large number of undocumented aliens working “in the shadows” of our esteemed economy. Unfortunately, after much research, my worst fears were realized with regards to the piece of Elephant (no pun intended) dung proposed by the administration and congress to deal with the issue.

If I understand the proposed bill correctly, we’re asking illegal immigrants to come forward, pay anywhere between $5,000 to $10,000 in fines, plus an additional $2,000 in processing fees, and return to their country of origin to solicit a visa that will most likely be refused because the applicant was found to have lived illegally in the US (this, according to the ‘intending immigrant” clause of the Immigration and Nationality Act. As in, if you’re found to be unworthy by a visa-adjudicating officer overseas then you can’t receive a pass to the US. Need to give a “shout-out” to my buds at DHS for help on this one—I’ve got a special chai latte for you guys next time you stop by the shop). Maybe I should consider a job washing dishes since our government has determined that dishwashers can afford to pay such high fees.

I know this bill sounds extremely enticing to most (note sarcasm here), but should we realistically expect anyone to go through this process? After all, they’re already here. Besides, where and to whom do these fees go to anyway?

Of course, creating a new work visa classification (in this case a “Z visa”) does nothing but add another layer into an already complicated immigration system. Why not build on already existing visa categories and better separate those seeking to immigrate (the “amnesty” option), from those seeking to work here for short periods of time in the "service” or “seasonal laborer” area of the economy (assuming the latter category would most likely affect/be more effective for first-time applicants from outside the US)? I'm unclear how, in the current form of the bill, one issue has been separated from the other.

Examples already exist that demonstrate the effectiveness of visa classifications for temporary workers not choosing to immigrate, especially with regards to those from poorer countries who receive numerous D-1 and D-2 visas granted each year to work on cruise ships. I’m sure if we checked out the facts, the numbers would most likely indicate these seasonal laborers (with visas granted from 6 months to a year at a time) have in very few cases immigrated illegally to the US during stops at exotic ports-of-call in Florida, New York, or California.

So, what to do? Ensure the bill in its current form doesn’t see the light of day. Write to your schlep in Congress about it and suggest they and W put together something that actually addresses and not create more problems.


At 12:05 PM, Blogger Paddy said...

INHO, only stopping the jobs here and helping Mexico make more jobs there will take care of the problem.

At 12:22 PM, Blogger Ashen Shard said...

Here's an idea ... we should take a page from our friends in Europe and organize a North American Union. That would solve the border problem, since there would be less regulation and also the fears of criminals crossing the borders since all members would be required to clamp down on such traffic.

Even better, it would create a more unified economy. What does this mean? More better paying jobs in Mexico and thus even though migration would be easier, it would become less.

This stands to benefit us also since it creates a larger, stronger regional economy. This way we can compete with Europe and China.

And we should not have a problem with this (undercutting any nativist, xenophobic, United States sovereignty nuts here), since Mexicans and Canadians are equally Americans, otherwise they would not live on this continent.

At 1:48 PM, Anonymous dseman said...

The bottom line is we need workable legislation. For hardworking Immigrants, we must have a realistic pathway to citizenship & allow families to be reunited.

If we don't have a sensible plan, all we will be doing is encouraging future illegal immigration.

If we can restore due process, have more adequate visa numbers, and unite families, we will remove the incentive for people to come here illegally.

The problem is that too often Congress is focused on a political debate. We must make sure that they understand the need for meaningful reform!

At 2:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, how about we just enforce the laws we ALREADY have on the books?? Oh, but wait -- those punish the employers for hiring illegals...guess we can't have that, can we?


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