Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Sponsoring and Solving the Immigration Problem

I don't care what your politics is. If you're an American citizen, you simply cannot deny that the United States has a serious immigration problem. Understand that I don't mean the United States has a problem with immigrants.  It has a problem with how it manages its immigration. I doubt that anyone would dispute that the situation is out of control, with too many immigrants -- both good and bad -- flooding into the country without any means of documentation.

Of course there are all kinds of political fingers pointing at policies and personalities, but that's not going to solve very much.  Neither is arresting an "illegal" and slapping him with a Notice to Appear in some courtroom literally seven years from the date of arrest. Care to take bets on how many will ever show up?

The truth is that the entire system works backwards: At the moment, if you don't go through the system, you can stay and work in the United States for years -- even decades.  I know, because I live in Los Angeles and every second person I meet here is from somewhere else. On the other hand, if you do go through the system, you're most likely to accomplish only one thing, that being the hastening of your deportation back to your country of origin. 

This just happened to a young Salvadoran woman, who under questionable guidance, hired an attorney to grant her asylum her in the United States.  The only problem was that in order to qualify for asylum, one has to prove racial, political or sexual persecution -- or a variation thereof. And since she only claimed she lived in fear for her life due to criminals, the court denied her application.  They're going to boot her out quickly, despite her years of honest, faithful employment and good standing here in America.

I don't know whether it's unfair or just stupid, but the law is the law, I suppose.  And yet, there's such a simple remedy for good, decent legal immigrants that's already been proven successful:

It's called an Affidavit of Support and it works like this:  The immigrant contacts an American relative who agrees to sponsor the immigrant.  Essentially, the sponsor guarantees that the immigrant will not be a burden to the American taxpayer and will work faithfully on a path to citizenship through a minimum of 40 consecutive quarters (10 years) of gainful employment. The sponsorship is a binding contract between the sponsor and the American government, so this is no plaything.  It's ten years of legally-enforceable dedication.

Sounds, reasonable, right?  A good person is worth your backing, is he not?  And this would aid the immigration services in weeding out "the bad guys," would it not?  Sure it would.  Except for one little hitch:

Re-read that paragraph about the program.  Note that the sponsor must be a relative of the immigrant. He doesn't have to be a blood relative, but he has to be a family relative. I guess that leaves orphans out, along with millions of well-meaning immigrants who simply have no relatives here in the states.

So how do you solve the immigration problem?  Simple:  You drop the requirement of the sponsor to be a relative.  After all, a binding contract with the United States government is just as binding.  And when it comes to supervision and enforcement, who better to keep an immigrant on the straight and narrow than someone who's on the hook to Uncle Sam?

After the Second World War, my father immigrated to the United States through the sponsorship program.  Years later (see photo), he returned the favor for a distant Israeli cousin on my mother's side.  In both cases, the immigrants succeeded and the country was better off with a system that was both time and cost efficient.

Makes you wonder why nobody is suggesting that one word edit, eh?  Well, maybe they're a lot less interested in solving the immigration problem than leveraging it for political gain.


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