Monday, September 17, 2007

Immigration: Myth and reality.

" Why Undocumented immigrants do not want to go through the legal channels" just because Immigration system is Bureaucratic and obsolete, making Undocumented Immigrants easy target of scapegoating..

The two main legal ways for immigration into the country are through family-based and work-based channels. Most new legal immigrants come through as infant children, spouses, and parents of American citizens. Another 226,000 slots are set aside for other family members, with about 27,000 slots for each country. Where there are a high number of petitions, the process is backlogged. Current wait time for a citizen to bring in their spouse or young child is seven years, sometimes even longer. while bringing in a sibling or adult child is on average a twenty-two-year wait.

The agony of waiting more than five years for a visa to visit her husband, a mushroom picker in Pennsylvania, led Irene Velazquez to make a desperate attempt to cross the border through the Arizona desert. She perished in the sweltering heat, and was recovered only after her distraught husband left his job to frantically search for her body in a remote mountainous region.

The second channel is through a work visa, which allows only 140,000 slots per year. Of these, only 10,000 are set aside for low-skilled labor. The process requires that the employer first prove that he couldn’t find an American to take the job, which can take up to two years. After that, the wait could be up to four years to obtain the visa.

Considering that there are 10.3 million gainfully employed undocumented workers in the U.S., the legal route is designed to fail. As one immigrant commented, “we have played by the rules and gotten nowhere. I’m better off telling my son to come here illegally.”

The cynical nature of big business regarding immigration is illustrated by the actions of the Western Growers Association (WGA), the largest agricultural trade organization in Arizona and California. Their executive vice president, Jasper Hempel, recently stated his support for the “war on terrorism,” stating, “We are like every other American.… We want to make sure our borders are secure against terrorists and drug smugglers.” In November 2004, when lettuce farmers in Arizona experienced labor shortages due to an expanded use of Border Patrol checkpoints, the WGA “stepped in and requested ease up until the farmers could get enough workers to make sure the multimillion dollar crop wouldn’t perish.”

No comments: