A tale of two immigration policies

My absolute and utter disdain for American policy on illegal immigration is no secret to the regular readers of YPS. And it seems like more and more information comes out everyday to prove me right, yet again. Look at the article, strip away the inherent bias of the author, and what you learn is that not only do these criminals break into our country, they steal our citizens' identities in the process.

I am well aware that those of us who are staunchly opposed to America's lax policy on illegals are often termed "racist" or "anti-immigration." This is the furthest thing from the truth. The fact is that people like me just want hard working, law abiding citizens in our country.

So, I present another, very ugly face of the immigration issue; the legal side.

An often ignored problem, is the effect that our horribly lenient policies on illegals harms those who are here legally. The same laws which are so terribly permissive for criminals, are unreasonably strict on honest, legal immigrants. I don't know if INS employees are frustrated or just power hungry bureaucrats, but they often wield these horribly restrictive laws to literally "take it out" on good people who really do just want to live and work here. And I don't mean these folks are polite, but bound by bad laws--think "going postal" meets department of public safety, without the armory.

I have a very close friend who I'll call "Tad". Tad's partner "Rudy" is in this country (legally) from South America. He first came to America on a tourist visa. His status went from tourist to student to H1B in a short time, with all of the appropriate, legal documentation filed with the INS. So, what is the problem? The problem is a glitch in the system.

Rudy's immigration status was altered (legally) while he remained in this country, rather than returning to his country of origin each time the next application was filed. This happened because returning each time would have delayed him from obtaining his certifications, or prevented him from commencing his job as a bilingual inner city school teacher. In Rudy's particular case, one life event almost seamlessly blended into another. So, now, if he leaves the US, he is not guaranteed to get back in at all; and if he is granted permission to return, it could take up to a month, which as you well know, would result in him losing his job.

A couple of years back, Rudy's parents attempted to obtain a tourist visa to visit their son. That story alone is a travesty. In order to secure an appointment with the appropriate official to file their request, they were required to pay a $200-350 bribe. That is completely exclusive of any other "fees and costs" associated with attempting to obtain permission. After spending over $1,000, Rudy's parents were denied. Because Rudy's dad was retired and his Mother did not work (outside the home), the bureaucrat on the case decided that the couple could not guarantee that they would return to their home country. I guess submitting themselves to the will of the bureaucracy, instead of trying to smuggle themselves in, was not proof enough that they were honest people who just wanted to visit their son. They made multiple attempts and were denied each time. Perhaps paying all those bribes, by definition, made them dishonest.

Well, Rudy's father died last week due to illness. So, thanks to American policy on legal immigrants, not only will Rudy never see his father again, he cannot even attend the funeral, for fear of not being able to return to his adopted home. He did speak with his mother who told him that his father had been so proud of his accomplishments in America that he cannot risk ruining that just to return.

So the next time you hear some apologist whine about the honestly of lying illegals, forget their posturing. This is what our immigration system really does to families. I see a lose-lose situation all the way around. The way we treat illegals is unfairly generous, and the way we treat legal immigrants is unconscionably criminal.


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