Why is legal immigration to the U.S. so complex, it's almost impossible?

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/04/14/why-is-legal-immigration-to-th.html


See also.

It’s important for people opposed to illegal immigration to understand, like video points out early on, that the days of coming over on the steam ship and showing up at Ellis Island are long gone. “Just get in line” makes for a T-shirt-ready catchphrase, but as a practical matter, there is no line if you don’t qualify for one of the visas afforded for special groups of immigrants.


The whole process needs to be changed, but if they tried, certain “people” would start screaming about the “Mooslims” coming in and it would fail.

When do we get actual adults in charge of this country?


Given that the fascists are in government, I’m going to say “never, that ship sailed, circumnavigated the globe, and brought back a boat load of nazis”.

I’m in a mood today


There was a bipartisan attempt at immigration reform some years back, if I recall, and all the Republicans who supported it got primaried from the right.


Alt-righters like Steve Bannon and Jeff Sessions oppose any immigration. The center-right, represented by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, loves immigration “reform” that enables the legal admission of thousands of disposable unskilled workers, but once the workers are here, the Chamber couldn’t care less what happens to them. Path to citizenship? Meh. Any kind of rights? No way; gotta be able to fire them at a moment’s notice without any way for them to retaliate. Better to keep them fungible, that way you don’t have to pay them very much.


[Citation needed.]

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Having gone through the naturalisation process myself and heard others’ stories, I can tell you that it’s broken by design. Unless you have a few thousand dollars to blow on a good immigration lawyer (“good” being defined as the ability to call someone she knows in the INS bureaucracy to move things along) you’re guaranteed to have your paperwork vanish into a black hole at least twice and get rejected for a minor error at least once, and then wait years for any movement on your case. If you don’t speak English, don’t have a college degree, or are applying without a green card it gets even worse.

If there was ever a chance of reforming this deliberately dysfunctional system it’s gone now. We might as well save the electricity bill by shutting off the Statue of Liberty’s torch and officially let the kind of smart and industrious and motivated immigrants that built this country know that they should look elsewhere.


Let me Google these for you.

Steve Bannon on legal immigration: “You saw these guest workers. You saw the CIS report yesterday. You saw that, what is it, 61 million? Isn’t the beating heart of this problem, the real beating heart of it, of what we gotta get sorted here, is not illegal immigration? As horrific as that is, and it’s horrific, don’t we have a problem, we’ve looked the other way on this legal immigration that’s kinda overwhelmed the country?”

Jeff Sessions on legal immigration: “Legal immigration is the primary source of low-wage immigration into the United States. In other words, as a matter of federal policy — which can be adjusted at any time — millions of low-wage foreign workers are legally made available to substitute for higher-paid Americans.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports immigration reform: “Rob Engstrom, senior vice president and national political director for the business lobby, said in an interview for C-SPAN’s ‘Newsmakers’ that the Chamber remains optimistic that bipartisan agreement can be forged on key immigration policy issues, despite Trump’s inflammatory anti-immigrant rhetoric.” But that support is in the form of a guest worker program that is notorious for exploiting unskilled or low-skilled workers.


Probably when we get actual adults voting for the leaders.

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Hey thanks. I was not aware of those statements.


I remember it more that since none of the ideas being bandied about could muster a majority of support, simply nothing happened and the can got kicked down the road. A smallish portion of the country was fanatical about doing something (in both directions), everyone else was kind of meh, so the status quo continued.

ETA: I also seem to recall that Bush was partly responsible for pushing the issue; he was willing to spend some political capital on it but his account was empty because of Iraq which contributed to it going nowhere.


We’re trying to make America great again, not more diverse!


In researching my answer to Boundegar’s question, I came across many articles from right-wing blogs and “news” organizations (like Breitbart) calling out the US Chamber of Commerce as traitors and the like for its support of immigration reform. If I recall correctly, the death of immigration reform is one of the things that led John Boehner to retire; he couldn’t even get a moderate bill past the far-right wing of the party, which opposed any kind of legitimization of “illegal” immigrants. Even Bernie Sanders voted for the 2013 comprehensive immigration reform bill.


The headline is misleading. While the video does a great job describing the nightmarish immigration process it doesn’t address why the process is so complicated. The video implies that the issue is too much bureaucracy or perhaps corruption. The quotes from Bannon, Sessions et al. get to the heart of the matter. Too many politicians (and those who bought them) don’t want to share the pie, especially with (ick) those people. The system is still in place because they can’t muster the votes to shut immigration off altogether. It would also piss off all the other countries, though that consideration doesn’t seem to be of much interest to Trumpists.


Put another way:

Q: Why can’t immigrants just come here legally like MY ancestors did?

A: The illegal immigrants ARE the ones trying to come here the way your ancestors did. It’s the law that has changed.


If my memory’s not faulty, I think Bush was actually on the side of the angels that time.


This is really depressing for personal reasons. I knew there were some hurdles but I had no idea it was this broken.

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watches this turn into another episode of Trumpophobia, remembers own experience with immigration paperwork in the US & Japan, shrugs

I don’t get why so many people are against immigration legal or not. I mean, we want to win right? As a nation that is. Do these people hate america? Why don’t they want us snagging up all the motivated workers from other countries? It creates jobs, increases the GPD and adds billions to our taxes. Anti immigration = anti american