Day 34

Reason eludes us.

It just doesn’t make sense.  U.S. Immigration laws and policy, that is.  Here are some examples of our irrational system and how in so many ways it devastates families and communities for no rational reason whatsoever.

As an immigration attorney, I can work within the legal system to get forgiveness for an immigrant who committed murder to stay in the country, but not for a wife of a U.S. citizen who received a U.S. education, holds a respectable job, and has never had any criminal problems or caused any other trouble whatsoever.  The difference is that at one point as a young person, the wife of the U.S. citizen falsely claimed U.S. citizenship.  The kiss of death under U.S. immigration laws.  There is no waiver for someone who chose to check a box on an employment application so they could help put food on the table for their family struggling to survive or who as a young, naive, confused immigrant they nodded their head at a U.S. border checkpoint as they crossed.  But there is a waiver for a murderer.  Reason eludes us…

Read how this irrational law affects a real family in Eloisa and Nick’s story.

An immigrant from Madagascar has a better, much quicker chance to immigrate to the U.S. than an immigrant neighbor from Mexico.  U.S. Immigration laws set an annual limit of 226,000 immigrant visas for family-sponsored immigrants.  Each country’s limit is 7% of the total annual family-sponsored and employment-based limits, i.e. 25,620.  These quotas create the “line” that so many people are stuck in for decades or who others use to derisively tell people to wait their turn.  The more supply and demand and greater opportunity, the longer the line.  Here’s the wait right now for certain family members from Mexico to immigrate to join their families:  21 years for the married or unmarried son or daughter of a U.S. citizen and unmarried son or daughter of a permanent resident.  It’s 18 years for the brother  or sister of a U.S. citizen.  These are the extremes, but even shorter waits for millions of other family members these waits must seem interminable.  And if you don’t have a qualifying family relationship or employer who will sponsor you, then you can pretty much forget about immigrating through the legal system.  Yet, these are the people most able and willing to come to the U.S. and enter our labor market in ways that we desperately need and upon which our comfortable lifestyles depend.

Immigrants tend to fill niches in the labor market where demand is highest relative to supply, complementing rather than directly competing with American workers.”  *see Cato Institute  

Why not be rational and tie immigration opportunities to the labor market?  And in the process compassionately find ways to keep families together?  Reason eludes us…

Finally one more example of so, so many…  A mother of U.S. citizen children and wife of a U.S. citizen husband must leave the country for at least 10 years. Then, and only then, may she apply for a waiver (with a high bar to jump over, even at that point) to then be allowed to have her U.S. citizen husband successfully petition for her to immigrate to the U.S.  Deepening this travesty, the reason why she must leave the U.S., her family, and the only country she has ever known as home.  She came to the U.S. as a young child with her parents, who themselves were fleeing a dead-end situation and seeking the Dream of life in America.  Over several years, again still as a young child, her parents took her back and forth to Mexico just a few times so that the family could take care of ailing relatives.  This mother of young U.S. citizen children and wife to a U.S. citizen has now become victim to what is called the “permanent bar” of immigration law.  However, once here in the U.S. at such a young age, this young woman assimilated, made this her home, became as American as you and me, got her education, worked in productive employment, met the love of her life, began a family, purchased a home, participates in community life, attends church faithfully, pays her taxes, and has never once darkened the doors of a police car or had any contact whatsoever with the criminal justice system.  Yet, any day she could be detained and then removed from the U.S., her family, her home.  Reason eludes us…

May we be transformed by the renewing of our minds so that we may no longer mistreat or oppress foreigners in any way. Remember, we ourselves were once foreigners in the land…

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