Visa law no longer has credit : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

The author leaves out another scenario: Don't wait your turn, come in to this country illegally and wait until the corrupt politicians grant you amnesty. More and more immigrants are choosing this route, leaving us w/o any control of our borders.

For educational use only

Visa law no longer has credit 11/05/2000 Charles Crumpley Business Editor

UNTIL a couple of weeks ago, it was easy to make me yawn. Just bring up the topic of immigration policy. But my opinion changed when I was in Washington in mid-October and looked up an old friend to have dinner. He's an unusually intelligent guy and a talented business journalist, and I intended to sell him on the possibility of coming to work in Oklahoma. I didn't get far.

You see, my friend is not an American citizen, and the instant I floated the notion that he might want to consider working here, he clipped me short. He reminded me he's here on a work visa, which means he's essentially beholden to his current employer. If he changed employers, he'd have to begin anew the bureaucratically heavy process of getting permanent residency.

He also reminded me that he's spent more than 10 years trying to get permanent residency in this country. At one point in his long odyssey, things went awry with his then-employer, he lost his job, and he had to leave this country for a few years. A lesser guy might have given up in disgust, but my friend returned to the United States and started the process over.

So, we had a nice dinner. We talked about the economy, his new marriage, the health and family status of mutual friends.

My minieducation about immigration policy deepened. Later, he told me about the "family reunification" policy. Basically, it goes like this: Once an immigrant gets citizenship, he can sponsor his mother and father, brothers and sisters, to come into this country. And if, say, the sister is married, she is eligible to bring in her husband. Once that husband gets citizenship, the chain begins anew -- he can sponsor his mother and father, brothers and sisters.

Meanwhile, the original immigrant's wife can sponsor her family, starting an equally big chain reaction with her family. All this is in the name of "family reunification."

So here's U.S. immigration policy in a nutshell: It's real hard to get permanent residency for people like my friend -- who must be college educated to get an H1-B visa and must be mightily motivated to overcome the obstacles. But it's almost simple to get permanent residency for anyone he sponsors.

Is this what immigration policy should be? Enormously hard for the educated and motivated, but so simple for the ones who follow that they're not even asked whether they can read or write?

This country was built by immigrants, and that probably will continue. But we've lost our way. Other countries have figured out ways to coax educated immigrants without slamming their doors on the uneducated.

One final personal opinion: I'm not the only one who was hurt by immigration policy a couple of weeks ago. I think you were, too. You would have liked reading his articles. Thanks to immigration policy, I never got to make my little Oklahoma sales pitch to him.

-- (, November 05, 2000

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