The legal immigration limbo & why playing by the rules is important

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Mexican illegal immigrants in the United States range between 12 to 21 million. The problem is huge, but illegal immigration has taken a back seat away from the more important issues like the economy, homeland security and abortion.

The Republican and Democratic presidential candidates don’t focus on the immigration problem partly because they need the votes of immigrant-citizens. Both candidates have legalization plans for the gate-crashers of America whose number has become “unmanageable.” Obama has more perks for illegal aliens than McCain.

Against the wish of 75% of Americans, the country concedes that it can’t rationally keep the illegal aliens out. Many believe mass deportation isn’t a realistic option. In varying degrees, many politicians have become cozy with the illegal aliens mainly for their numbers and their votes (capacity to change the outcome of an election,) not because it is right thing to do.

In this backdrop people worldwide are waiting for their immigration papers to be adjudicated. Among them are those who have expected patiently for decades. They are frustrated with the extremely long wait. There are those who lose eligibility forcing them to change plans. Aging-out, marriage or death are among the reasons why others are unable to come. Some find ways to arrive illegally.

Abiding with the US immigration laws, those who apply for legal immigration obviously play by the rules. They deserve to be rewarded for siding with the law. Yet, in the waiting line, they are pushed aside.

Lacking fairness, their applications are decided slower than those of illegal aliens already in USA. Overstaying aliens enjoy the benefits of being in America way ahead of the legal applicants; they get higher priority in adjusting visa status.

Such injustice and disregard of standard rules are clearly illustrated in the visa delay shown in the November 2008 US visa bulletin issued by the USCIS. The waiting times to get an immigrant visa number from the Philippines under the 3rd and 4th preference family-based category is 17 years (05/08/91) and 22 years (03/22/86) respectively. They don’t include the 6 months to 1 year time to iron out the requirements of immigration. That’s incredibly long time, but true!

Filipinos are distressed. With huge backlogs in various categories, the visas intended for them are allotted to legalize aliens who are already in USA. The sluggishness of the immigration process gives more incentive for people to slip unlawfully into the country’s backdoor.

Think how polarizing these fixes are. It scares many law-abiding citizens when rules are tailored to suit a group at a disadvantage of another. Not only does the immigration service (INS) reward lawbreakers, they clearly frustrate the purpose of the legal family reunification enshrined in the immigration law.

The expedient decision favoring illegal aliens has been justified on humanitarian grounds, but UCIS/INS rarely gives this to those who have waited 20 years to become an immigrant. This is another area where the US tradition of fairness and compassion is wearing away. Americans have reasons to be worried of foreigners coming to USA who don’t respect its laws. (Photo Credits: BHowdy; http://www.hedgerley.net; wanderingangel)

US STATE DEPARTMENT VISA BULLETIN, NOVEMBER 2008

FAMILY CATEGORIES PRIORITY DATES
——–Worldwide—China (PRC)—India——-Mexico—–Philippines
1st—–05-01-02— 05-01-02— 05-01-02— 09-15-92—05-01-93
2A—– 02-08-04— 02-08-04— 02-08-04— 07-15-01—02-08-04
2B—– 01-15-00— 01-15-00— 01-15-00— 04-22-92—06-15-97
3rd—–07-01-00— 07-01-00— 07-01-00— 09-15-92—05-08-91
4th—–11-15-97— 06-08-97— 07-22-97— 01-22-95—03-22-86

EMPLOYMENT CATEGORIES PRIORITIY DATES
———Worldwide—China (PRC)—India—-Mexico—-Philippines
1st——–Current—Current——-Current—-Current—Current
2nd——- Current—06-01-04—-06-01-03—Current—Current
3rd——–05-01-05—02-01-02—10-01-01—09-01-02—05-01-05
Unskilled—01-15-03—01-15-03—01-15-03—01-15-03—01-15-03
4th——— Current——Current—–Current—-Current—-Current
Religious—-UA———UA———–UA———-UA———UA (unavailable)

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