- Why don't they just get into line like everyone else?
- Why don't they wait their turn?
- Why don't they just follow the law?
- Why should we reward lawbreakers who disrespect our laws?
- Why should those here illegally be treated as VIP line-jumpers and given a path to citizenship while others have waited in line and played by the rules?
The bipartisan Gang of Eight senators who last week proposed a term sheet for comprehensive immigration reform apparently have swallowed these memes whole hog:
[Those] undocumented immigrants seeking citizenship would be required to go to the end of the waiting list to get a green card that would allow permanent residency and eventual citizenship, behind those who had already legally applied at the time of the law’s enactment.
["Undocumented immigrants"] must wait until the existing legal immigration backlogs are cleared before getting in line to apply for lawful permanent residency (i.e. a “green card”), and ultimately United States citizenship.
The [Administration's] proposal seeks to eliminate existing backlogs in the family-sponsored immigration system by recapturing unused visas and temporarily increasing annual visa numbers.
Instead of dying in the desert, they might just die waiting to become permanent residents.
[In] any of the situations in which you are allowed to immigrate this is the difficult path, look at the times, seven years, 16 years, 28 years, 28 years is how long you can expect it to take? 28 years is how long it could take right now for people who are following the rules and doing it right and doing it legally? that is how long the people can expect the system to take when the system works?
As President Obama has said: "Today we have an immigration system that is out of date and badly broken."
[Yes], we do, anything that takes 28 years to complete, yes, we do. The thing you hear all the time from the people involved in the immigration fight in Washington, that whatever we have to come up with has to be tough but fair. How about tough and fair and efficient?
A legal immigration process in this country exists for a reason. It exists because legal immigration is something we supposedly value as a country. It is a basis that we allow, the basis for who we are as a country. And it is the process that the government is responsible for facilitating. And the progress for that path regularly takes up to 28 years to complete. not because you screwed up, but because you did everything right.
The reason they say that immigration reform has to be done in a comprehensive way, rather than a piece-meal fashion, where you just pick one or two things to do, the reason it has to be comprehensive because in part, the solution would mean just trying to cram more people through this existing system.
No, the system is broken. Not only do more people need to get through the system but the system needs to disappear and be replaced by something that makes sense. That is not liberal or conservative, that is something called good government. (Emphasis added.)
As usual, they got it wrong. As I tell people all the time, it's not enough to know how long the line is. You need to know how fast the line moves. Just like at the supermarket. The wait for someone getting a visa today was as long as 24 years. The wait for someone starting today is much longer. An extreme example is Mexico F2B [Mexico-born "Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older) of Permanent Residents"].
The last time I took the difference between the cut-off date and the present date, then factored in the rate of "advance," the anticipated delay for someone applying today under that category was 395 years. Mexico F-1 [Mexico-born "Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens"] was "only" about 80-85 years.
The reality is that the backlog created by the IRCA beneficiaries [those who were granted legalization based on the 1986 immigration law] filing for their family members has made all of the Mexican family-based preferences unusable, except for . . . F-2A [Mexico-born "Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents"]. By "unusable" I mean that the parties will both be dead before a visa becomes available. No "might" about it. (Emphasis added.)
We didn't always act this way. Even in the same year when President Truman officially declared an end to hostilities of World War II by Presidential Proclamation on December 31, 1946 (Proc. no. 2714, 61 Stat. 1048), our nation still welcomed immigrants with sincerity and opportunity, as this vintage film by The Encyclopedia Britannica shows:
The first big point from all this is that given the likely gridlock on tax reform and fiscal reform, immigration reform is our best chance to increase America’s economic dynamism. We should normalize the [unauthorized immigrants] who are here, create a legal system for low-skill workers and bend the current reform proposals so they look more like the Canadian system, which tailors the immigrant intake to regional labor markets and favors high-skill workers.
The second big conclusion is that if we can’t pass a law this year, given the overwhelming strength of the evidence, then we really are a pathetic basket case of a nation.