When we moved to the US we did everything by the book. We produced the reams of paperwork and stood in line in Embassies and at the immigration desk at the airport and tried not to get too frustrated by the inane processes and offhand welcome we got.
Because we like it here we changed visa status from E-3 (Australian reciprocal) to H-1B (and my wife and daughter to H4 – a status which has no employment authorization) and went through even more paperwork (but a lot of duplication) and endured the nerve wracking trip home to sit in a queue at the US Embassy for a 5 minute “interview” to get the new stamps (and then repeated the process for our renewal). At the same time we’re going through the Green Card process so there has been more paperwork, more forms to fill in and the wonderful Labor Certification process (advertising my job to see if we can find someone local to do it… luckily we didn’t, so I get to stay and I’m comfortable in the fact that I’m not stealing jobs from Americans)
As an Employment Based Green Card applicant filed in the EB-3 category though it looks like another 6 years or so before the backlog clears and we get a decision (yes, that’s another 6 years where my wife and daughter can’t work but we don’t even know what the outcome will be) but that’s okay… we’re working through it and keeping our fingers crossed.
But then we see stories in the press about how relatives of the US President manage to get Social Security Numbers even though they are here illegally and have outstanding deportation orders against them and that there is a plan to grant an effective amnesty to 300,000 illegal immigrants and provide them with work permits and you start to wonder if being patient and playing by the rules is the right way to go?!
If the Government is choosing to reward illegal immigrants with expedited reviews of their cases and work permits what impact will that have on the backlog for legal migrants, and the efforts to address the issues faced by H4 spouses and children of H-1B workers who can’t get a work permit until they are approved for a Green Card?
I understand this is a politically charged topic, I appreciate that for a number of illegals there are very compelling reasons and I realize that especially in the current economic situation this is a very contentious topic and there are no easy answers… but for a country founded on migration and defined by the inscription “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” on the Statue of Liberty it seems like a slap in the face to those who still want to make a home here