Immigration Reform 2013: It's Not Fair to Legal Immigrants Or Americans
While the Senate "Gang of Eight" is close to revealing their "immigration reform" deal, the nation remains deeply divided on how to overhaul our immigration system. Democrats, mainstream media, and powerful interest groups push to provide a pathway for 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. Meanwhile, the GOP eagerly supports the measure in the hope of attracting future minority voters. Immigration reform has been put onto a fast-track to pass the congress and become law.
There is a general misunderstanding that this immigration reform will greatly benefit high-skilled immigrants in the U.S. In reality, these high-skilled immigrants, along with American workers, could become biggest losers of this political battle.
The number of highly educated and highly skilled foreign-born workers will always remain small. H1-B is the most commonly used work visa, which allows high-skilled immigrants to work in the U.S. The current cap for H1-B visas is only 85,000 annually or 170,000 if the Congress decides to double this number. In general, legal immigrants need to obtain valid visas before entering this country. H1-B visa holders have to renew their legal statuses every three years. It is a long, expensive, and sometimes frustrating legal process, associated with lots of uncertainties, before they can eventually become eligible for green cards and citizenship. Hence compared to 11 million illegal immigrants, who are offered a promising shortcut for citizenship, it is a major disadvantage for legal immigrants who have invested a significant amount of time, money, and followed all the necessary legal procedures.
If more than 11 million illegal immigrants are provided "a 13-year special path to citizenship," would American politicians be fair enough to offer the same or a better deal to millions of legal immigrants who are currently in the U.S.? Many of these legal immigrants do not have voting rights. However, do they not deserve to be treated fairly and equally? If not, why would anybody bother to come to this country legally in the future?
As part of this reform, Congress is considering eliminating immigration visas available for American citizens to sponsor their married children, siblings, and other family members coming to the U.S. It may be in America's best interest to reduce endless chain family immigration in the future. However, politicians apparently have no problem with immediately legalizing 11 million illegal immigrants, without requiring triggers that fully implement immigration law enforcement first to prevent new waves of illegal immigration. Congress will be punishing legal immigrants by cutting off their family members while rewarding illegal immigrants.
Until now, the liberal-leaning mainstream media has been misleading the public on immigration reform by sliding by a few key components of the debate: firstly, The impact on the unemployment rate when immediately legalizing millions of illegal immigrants to compete with American workers; secondly, The long term cost to American taxpayers, especially as illegal immigrants become eligible for most welfare and public benefits, once granted green cards and citizenship. American taxpayers should have the right to know how much this legislation would eventually cost them. The process should be fair and transparent to all Americans.
However, it seems that Democrats are afraid of debating this important issue in the light of public view, as they want to rush this legislation behind closed doors before the public is able to understand and react. Politicians seem to know that the American public embraces the idea of "comprehensive immigration reform." But they may reject an amnesty, especially if they realize that such legislation could make this nation's illegal immigration problem much worse in the future.
The well-intentioned reform deal has been pushed forward to mainly benefit a large number of low-skilled low-income immigrants who came to this country illegally. Americans should know that granting social welfare, together with voting rights, could encourage endless waves of illegal immigrants searching for easier lives in the U.S. Uncontrolled illegal immigration to the U.S. is bad for the working poor and the middle class. In addition, Americans will have to pay and support ever-increasing government welfare programs, until the U.S. government becomes insolvent and until the U.S. welfare system completely breaks down. Is this new legislation really fair to the American people? Would our liberal-leaning mainstream media ever inform Americans about the truth before it is too late?
In the past, the U.S. was able to attract many highly educated and highly skilled immigrants because of its democracy, transparency, integrity, and fairness. However, the American Dream is fading when politicians stop talking about the economy and job-creation the day after the election. The American dream is fading when the mainstream media stops providing objective news reports and analyses, and became part of the government's propaganda. The American Dream is fading when this nation’s tradition of "negotiating to find the common good" is replaced by the new value of "pushing for maximized self-interest at a significant cost to others," especially if it breaks this nation's legal immigration system as well as the safety net. In addition, such behavior is tolerated and encouraged by American politicians and the media for their political gain.
In the end, we have no idea whether the American Dream is still going to there for future legal immigrants, and we don't know whether it is still worth their effort to contribute to this dream.