America’s “Broken” Immigration System

The argument about immigration in the United States is based on the belief that people have a right to have a better life. If that means they have to come to the United States to find it, they should be able to, right? One of the biggest arguments is that the US Immigration system is broken and needs to be fixed.

I beg to differ. Strongly.

According to the USCIS, there are a number of ways to legally come to the US. There’s tourist visas, student visas, and a number of different work visas. In particular we have temporary, or nonimmigrant, work visas, and permanent, or immigrant, visas. This includes the NAFTA work visa. It was designed specifically for Canadian and Mexican workers wishing to work in the United States.

We have visas for entertainment workers, college grads who work in specialty fields, agricultural workers, nurses – hell, we even have a visa for fashion models. There are temporary visas for just about anything you can come up with. There are then five different levels of permanent worker visas; that’s what’s commonly called a “green card.” Temporary workers are allowed a few things, such as driving rights (as long as a driver license from the country of origin is held). Permanent workers or green card holders are allowed everything; they can travel to and from the US at will, they can buy property, have bank accounts, state ID’s or driver licenses – they can have Social Security Numbers, which makes all of this possible.

Fees don’t vary too much for these things. However, one must spend time in the US on a temporary visa first. Temporary visas typically require sponsorship, which means that once you find a job to come to the US for, the company providing that job has to tell the government that you’re working for them and give a time frame. You have to undergo a brief medical exam to prove that you do not abuse drugs or have any serious infectious diseases. Once here you can apply for a green card. Once you have that, you can get an SSN and then, with at least five years of permanent residency and passing a test, you can become an American citizen.

I don’t see anything broken about this system.

The Democrats wail about the drug war spilling over the border from Mexico into the US. They say America is providing 90% of the guns being seized by federales in Mexico during raids on the cartels. That number has been proven to be a fabrication from a different statistic, which actually says that 90% of traceable weapons – which is only about ten percent of the total number of weapons seized, the rest coming from China, Russia and Israel (those weapons actually come from the Palestinians who steal them from Israeli troops) – come from the US. The only reason that many of the traceable weapons come from the US is because US gun makers put the serial numbers on several parts. Other countries don’t require that.

The United States has just about the most lax immigration laws in the entire world. In Mexico, it is actually illegal for any foreigner to own land under any circumstance, even if you have the same kind of permanent residency status that a green card affords in the US. You cannot fly any flag other than the Mexican flag in that country. And the government is so corrupt that there is no way Mexico will ever win the war against the drug cartels.

We have the rules that we have about immigration because we want to know who is coming here, why, and what they intend to do while here. Other countries do not have the kind of rules that America has about criminal justice. We don’t want low-level drug runners and leg-breakers living in the US with any kind of legal status so they can keep the drug trade going. We don’t want people who have committed murder in their home countries and been released early coming here to kill people. We certainly don’t want extremists coming here to train to kill us the way the 9/11 hijackers did.

It’s simple: you have several avenues by which to legally enter the United States. If you choose not to come legally and are found here illegally, you are to be deported. What is wrong with enforcing the law? What, pray tell, is broken about our system? If the detractors have any answers, by all means, post them.

One of my best friends in this whole world is from Mexico. Her family still lives there. Detractors cannot call me a racist for this reason: they feel the same way I do.


11 thoughts on “America’s “Broken” Immigration System

  1. I’m a Latino man who lives in a border state, and I agree with you 100%.

    Never let the threat of being called a racist keep you from speaking your mind and voicing your opinion.

  2. As another gay conservative, I am very pleased to have found your blog. However, I am also an anglo, American citizen living in Mexico, and I have a perspective I hope you will allow me to share, and we can exchange some ideas.

    First, I have not really heard anyone make the argument that any immigrant has a right to a “better life” by coming to the United States. Yes… I think anyone should want a better life… and if we want to consider that a “right” I have no problem granting it; but not at the cost of throwing our doors open. I have never met a Mexican who felt it was his right to come to the USA, for what ever reason. Anyone who says it is a right to come here, uncontrolled, deserves to be rebuked; but I don’t think you are hearing that from Mexicans in Mexico. Liberals in congress perhaps, but not Mexicans in Mexico.

    As to our immigration system being “broken,” I don’t know about that either. If saying something needs to be “repaired” means it is broken, perhaps.

    I don’t know if it addresses the issue of a broken system or not, but I can tell you that, irrespective of what USCIS says, very little of what was stated is true in reality, and certainly not practical. Getting a visa is near impossible unless you have a family member already in the US, AND you have had a job in Mexico for over two years, own property in Mexico, operate a business and pay taxes in Mexico, have family in Mexico awaiting your return, or some combination of factors that make it clear that you have a strong reason to go back to Mexico.

    If you are a single person, just out of college and want to visit the US for the summer like so many students want to do, forget getting a visa. Mind you, I don’t necessarily have a problem with the requirements above. There is no reason to open the doors to someone who has no roots, skills, or financial stability, and who wants to stay permanently in the US. But some of the assumptions stated are simply wrong… no matter what USCIS says.

    I know college educated Mexicans who have family ties on both sides, own a business in Mexico, own property in Mexico and clearly just want to cross the border to get on a cruise ship in San Diego, and it is impossible. A tourist visa? Ha!

    The fact that I know someone in this position does not mean that we have to change our laws in the US, or that those who desire “border security” are wrong. It just means that there are many variations of “gray” in this conversation.

    There are no job recruiters from the US looking to hire someone on a NAFTA visa. If a Mexican is in the US, he can apply there… but getting a Nafta visa is a pipe dream.

    Any of the other visas are strictly limited, and the numbers allowed are already at the max. Everyone else is in a lottery… IF they qualify. How can anyone plan a life based on a lottery?

    There is nothing “broken” about the system you describe; it just does not exist. However, I don’t really think that is the central issue….

    For most the trigger of an argument is any mention of the word “amnesty.”

    Certainly there is no impetus for amnesty, and those who advocate it or try to sneak it in under some other guise are clearly wrong. However, as a Republican, I also consider myself “pro-family” by any definition. As such, we need to find a way to provide for a humane unification of families trapped on one side of the border or the other.

    Why? Well, a little history is in order. For decades, we invited workers from Mexico to come to the US, and we never even checked ID’s at the border. They worked the migrant farmer circuit throughout the planting or harvest seasons, and then went home until next year. Right or wrong, some settled in the US, and in the 80’s, President Reagan legalized many.

    But, since 9/11, we slammed the door shut. Those who were in the US were trapped… and if they wanted to go home to Mexico, they face abandoning relatives in the US… many were legal residents or citizens.
    Now we have families where all the children are US citizens, US educated, and have never known Mexico. Where is the value of deporting the father of this family? But if you were that father, hearing the political dialogue going on now in the US, would you come forward and apply for legal immigration status and face deportation? And, if deported, that may make an otherwise self-sufficient family less so.

    These Mexican families are generally just as conservative and pro-family, pro-life as those found at the CPAC convention. Yet we are driving them into the arms of the Democrats.

    I know these Mexicans… and I know some who would love to come home, but feel they cannot give up the possessions, jobs, families they have established in the US.

    None of these people described receive any public assistance or have criminal records, and would not expect to remain in the US if they did. These productive workers who live honest lives, educate their children and go to church weekly are not the ones we should be deporting.

    Yet the ICE will raid factories to deport workers instead of cooperating with the county sheriff to go after illegals who are drug dealers or gang members. They are lazy and only go after the “low-hanging” fruit on the tree.

    Most of these workers either came here when it wasn’t the problem it is today, and many were recruited to come. But the gang members, drug dealers, etc., follow no laws… least of which will be immigration laws.

    It won’t be simple. I don’t advocate easing up on enforcement or weakening border security. But we must recognize that there are a complete spectrum of people who are undocumented/illegal in the US, and work to credit those who have lived here quietly, paid taxes, are not on public assistance or part of a criminal element.

    I urge my conservative friends to be compassionate with the people I describe positively… as compassionate as we are harsh toward those I describe negatively.

    Your argument is not racist, but it amazes me how a media-types will characterize stories and headlines in such ways that cannot help but create and perpetuate a racial stereotype. It is similar stereotyping that the GLBT community faces, but lazy Liberal reporters do it all the time!

    It is not my goal to change your mind because, reduced to the basics, I agree with you. My goal is to expose another point of view… another perspective that might help us come to a solution that does not “throw the baby out with the bath water.” As a political matter, there is much to unnecessarily forfeit, and drive a natural conservative voter into the arms of the Democrat party because we are intolerant of any variant in our point of view.

    This is a subject with variants.

    Oh… and a foreigner can legally own property in the bulk of Mexico, and many do. In the border regions, a foreigner owns property through a bank trust, just like a revocable family trust in the US. You own the trust and the trust owns the property. I know… I own property in Mexico and have for over 10 years.

    I also have a US flag on my vehicle and put a small flag out on US holidays. I do so politely and respectfully and none of my Mexican friends find fault. If I ran down the streets waving a US flag like the La Raza types wave Mexican flags during demonstrations in the US, my Mexican friends would let me do it, but they would have the same low opinion of me as we do of La Raza in the US.

    My opinion, as a full-time resident of Mexico, is that the government’s efforts are paying huge dividends in dealing with the drug cartels. In my area not a single innocent tourist or foreign resident of Mexico like myself have been negatively impacted by the drug cartel violence. However, Mexico will not have any better luck then the US does in “winning the war against drug cartels.” The open way they used to do business here, and the attendant corruption is ending or being driven under-ground. Considering how the rest of the world has dealt similarly with these issues, Mexico deserves some fair treatment and consideration.

    I hope I am not being a inconsiderate or unwelcome guest… but I suspect we agree more than we disagree, so I hope this contribution to the cause of understanding. I am willing to explain and discuss further. Thanks again for the opportunity!

  3. No, you’re not inconsiderate. Anybody who wishes to share their perspective and does so in respect is welcome.

    The problem I have with being too compassionate with families in the US that consist of illegal parents from Mexico and children born in the US is that we can’t simply be selective about whom we apply the law to. If we did that, we’d leave the door open for all kinds of abuses. Gang members know how to lie to the cops, trust me. A good number of gang members in the US were US-born of Mexican (or Central/South American) parents who live in the tougher neighborhoods where the gangs are held in high regard by the kids.

    I have two professions: fraud investigator and EMT. I can’t reveal specifics of either, but in both I see horrid abuses by illegals from Mexico. I’ve seen the effect that ID theft has had and the effect that the gang members have had. I’ve talked to nurses who have had gang members threaten them into stealing the identities of children in doctor’s offices and hospitals so that they’ll have something to give the well-paying illegals they’re helping to smuggle into the US.

    I believe we should stop allowing illegals to have anchor babies here. Not through sterilization, mind you, but by not allowing children born in the US to have automatic citizenship simply because they’re born here. If you’re not here legally, then your children should not be legal here, either. I’m sorry if that sounds cold-hearted but that seems to be one of the biggest issues: families with both Mexican and US citizens being separated.

    We already had one amnesty and it opened the floodgates. Now we have a whole generation of illegals in the US who literally believe it is their right to be allowed to live here. My Mexican friends cannot stand going to certain parts of Phoenix when they’re here because of the attitude of the Mexicans who have overrun those neighborhoods. We like to go to a Rancher’s Market on occasion to have genuine Mexican food but it’s not often.

    There are neighborhoods in the US, particularly in border states, where the Mexicans are so entrenched that they don’t have to speak English to get by anymore. As a result, I deal with people on a daily basis who have been in America for a decade or more who need a translator. In an emergency situation, when I’m trying to find out what medications a patient is taking, that’s very difficult. I know cops and firefighters who have learned to speak Spanish over years of having to deal with these kind of situations.

    And the pro-illegal protests? Holy good Godfrey. I’ve seen shirts that say “they can’t deport us all,” “illegal pride,” and all manner of slogans that point to the illegals believing that they have a right to come and go as they please and leech America completely dry. There is an entire subculture in Mexico that isn’t often seen that takes this attitude. It’s not often seen there because it’s far more prominent here.

    While I can agree with being humane about keeping families together, if you’re here illegally and we find you, you go home. Take your family with you. The kids who were raised here? That’s not our problem, it’s the fault of the parents who created the situation.

    Again, I don’t intend to sound cold-hearted, but that’s the way it is.

  4. I live in California. I moved here 20 years ago. I get what Ken means in his well thought out post. At the same time, for me the big issue here is Fairness.

    I’ve worked with people who legally immigrated to the U.S. They cut through the red tape with dull scissors. They waited in line for a long time. They dealt with the immigration system. They did it the legal way. They deserve to be in America.

    People who come to the U.S. from anywhere in the world illegally and stay here are violating that sense of Fair Play in the worst way. Why wait and do it legally when you can come here right now?

  5. “The argument about immigration in the United States is based on the belief that people have a right to have a better life.”

    When America was in the clenches of a despotic British Monarchy we picked up our guns and rebelled. We did not flee to Canada or Mexico or France or anywhere else. We rebelled.

    If a person lives in a nation with a corrupt government then this person has two choices. Rebel at the ballot box or pick up guns and rebel.

    As the saying goes, it is better to die standing up than to live on your knees. Coming to America illegally is living on your knees.

    You don’t get a better life by living your knees. Begging for immigration reform is living on your knees.

    Go home, rebel and get your better life or die trying.

  6. Where I live, undocumented immigrants have destroyed certain aspects of the local economy. White people don’t clean houses to make extra money because illegal immigrants undercut the prices.

    God only knows how many construction contractors pick up a truck loads of illegal immigrants at Home Depot and pay them $15 per hour which is far less than the prevailing wage for legal workers. I know this goes on because every single day on my way to work I see at least 100 men standing around for day work. Every day they are there. It must be a good way to make money or they would not be there.

    Teenagers don’t work fast food around here because they want more than minimum wage. But, there are plenty of illegals who make sure wages in this line of work never rise.

    Teaching children English in expensive. Our schools already face enough budgetary problems without adding this one.

    The best and cheapest way to solve this immigration matter is to remove the Goodie Bag the U.S. offers. Take away the financial side of it and this problem ends immediately.

    We need laws that financially punish anyone who hires an illegal alien. I am talking fines of $500 to $1,000 per day for each day worked. If you hire Raul to cut your lawn, make sure he is legal or be prepared to pay heavily if he is not.

    If you own rental property or sell real estate, then you can’t rent or sell to anyone who fails to prove legal residency.

    So, there you have it, take away the jobs and take away places to live and this problem goes away instantly.

  7. Great conversation… nice to be a part of it. My first observation is that if one of our most Liberal friends on this topic were to chime in, we all would be told what a bunch of cold-hearted bastards conservatives are, and THAT is the problem! Nice to have a conversation where we are dissecting issues and finding middle ground.

    For instance… I think the idea of “anchor babies” is a noble one, and one that has served this country well over the centuries. But in light of the current situation, we must find a way to solve the problem that anchor babies create when abused… while not going after those families whose “children” are no longer “babies.” These families were anchored here literally decades ago, and in all those decades have not been on welfare or committed a crime.

    Reading between the lines… it seems to me that honorable well-intentioned people like us could come up with a way to welcome that immigrant who has assimilated and become part of America… the traditional immigrant.

    I know of one how owns a business. Actually, he is gay and caters to high-end homes for landscape, house-keeping, etc., in an affluent community. He collects witholding taxes from his employees and pays every tax to the government required. How does this happen when the business owner is illegal and does not have a SSAN? The government is complicit! He explained his situation to the IRS and they said, “no problem… here is your Taxpayer Identification Number!”

    This is not a result of one president or another, or whether they are an R or D… this is a bureaucratic solution to a bureaucratic problem. But… he wanted to be as legal as he could be, and he found a way. And of course, the IRS found a way to collect taxes!

    This is not uncommon… many have used the TIN as a method to avoid using forged documents and to assimilate into our society.

    Some of the comments here have alluded to something many do not realize. The gang members are often second or third generation Latins whose parents, grandparents, and they themselves are US citizens. Many reports about crime or welfare abuse make the assumption that just because they are Latin, they are illegal. To be honest… the illegals I know are afraid to have anything to do with the government for fear of deportation. It is the legal immigrants and minority groups who take advantage of legislation pushed by Democrats to make certain voting blocks permanent members of their party.

    In Mexico, if you don’t work, you don’t eat; so they work. They do not expect a hand-out… this is something we teach them after they get to the US.

    Let us not associate every crime where a Latin is involved as one committed by an illegal. It’s not true, and it keeps us away from finding a real… an effective solution.

    A few other points…

    Many Europeans did leave their homelands to escape a despotic regime, and for religious freedom. After they came to America and this new land was still under the yoke of the colonists, they rebelled and demanded freedom. So I don’t think the analogy applies in this case. Latins have come to the US… and for the majority of the last 100 years, they were invited to do so.

    Remember my contention that most Mexicans are hard-working, Catholic, industrious, conservative, strong family connections… these are the kind of immigrant we want. We don’t want the leaches of society who want to come here to commit crime or suckle at the teet of America.

    I don’t want to go against my values as a family-oriented person, who values hard work and industry just to solve an immediate political “problem.” But we do need to work on solving the problem.

    As conservatives… we should find a way to get the good out of this situation, and avoid the bad. If we throw up our hands and take the attitude that “throw ’em all out” we will lose… that is not a political reality. We can’t defer to the Liberals… because they see the dependent classes as a voting block for them… they WANT the exact people we don’t want. They don’t want the pro-life Catholic, hard-working head of households… they want the depressed… potential future precinct worker for their party.

    We cannot remedy that fact the low earning minorities hang out at Home Depot (and not all of them are illegal immigrants… some are merely unemployed) or take jobs others wouldn’t take. If not the Latins… it is or was the Chinese. We sub-contract our jobs to India over the internet now…. So we cannot solve the issue that employers will always seek out lower wage employees. Let’s not fight battles we cannot win, because there is still a bigger war out there.

    I don’t have a solution for real immigration reform, but I hope we can develop an attitude that will let us get there. No matter how sharp or dull your blade… there is simply no effective way for people to immigrate from Mexico at this moment. The result is that they can’t even come for a visit. However… we recently opened the flood gates for humanitarian reasons, and I have a strong feeling that there will soon be a lot of new Democrats voting of Haitian descent. Over one congressional district of Haitians have come or are on their way to the US.

    Now… THAT’S a broken immigration system.

  8. To follow up on a few other points.

    I don’t think the Left can oppose us when we insist that “reform” means:

    A strong border.

    Identification of all workers. (I’d rather we know who was here, than drive them all underground with either no documents or false documents.)

    Except for true emergency medical care, no state-paid medical care for someone who is illegally here. No food stamps, no government housing, etc.

    On the other hand, we will lose a fight where we demand all illegals be automatically deported. You may feel that way… but it will never become a political reality. So why fight that battle?

    I also don’t think we can eliminate “anchor babies.” But we can find a way to qualify this… require the parents have no criminal records, do not receive government benefits, etc.

    I also think there should be a stronger relationship between law enforcement and immigration. If someone is arrested or detained and their citizenship is in question, that is the person who should be deported without much question. And we should bargain so that these individuals don’t have some imbedded civil rights to lengthy and costly judicial processes.

    Let us find some common ground on this subject… bargain where we can… give up on some points… and accept and obtain reasonable “reform.”

  9. “Let us find some common ground on this subject… bargain where we can… give up on some points… and accept and obtain reasonable “reform.””

    I’d love to buy in and the one thing that keeps nagging at me is peopel who come here illegally want a free pass. So tell me:

    What crime can I commit and get a free pass or a deeply discounted one?

    Any reform that allows a person who is here illegally to remain here sends the wrong message. The message it sends is come to America and wait it out. This is what happened with that horrible idea for a one time Amnesty in 1986.

    If we allow people with no criminal record to stay, then that tells honest people all over the world to come here and don’t break any other laws.

    If we allow people to stay who aren’t on the dole, then that tells people, come here and don’t go on the dole.

    No matter how you paint it, allowing anyone to stay here sends the wrong message.

    I do agree having some kind of mass deportation is not going to happen. But we can have a mass self deportation by yanking back the goodie bag. If we make the U.S. an inhospitable place then they will all go home. You can’t stay unless you have a job and a place to live. All it takes are new laws in those areas with very punitive fines and prison terms for violating them and it all ends nice and tidy.

  10. More than one “great society” has fallen under the weight of uncontrolled immigration. Take Rome for instance. It may have been overall apathy and weakness (I call that state “Liberalism”) but the true reason was cultural destruction. People no longer considered themselves “Roman”.

    More currently, if you look at the issue of Israel and the “Palestinians” (the name “Palestinian” comes from “Philistine” and the philistines were Greek) we see the issue of more or less refugees making a claim on property they never controlled. Prior to Israel, there was Britain, and before that, the Ottoman Turks. Yet, we suddenly have the issue of a “displaced people” although a good portion of people in Israel ARE Arabic in origin.

    Political correctness may be to blame for a good portion of this, and certainly Leftism. Republicans want cheap labor, and Democrats want free votes. We, and our country, as well as American culture, will suffer via their actions.

  11. “Republicans want cheap labor, and Democrats want free votes. We, and our country, as well as American culture, will suffer via their actions.”

    That is the most truthful thing I’ve read this week.

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