Immigration, Immigration Policy, Immigration Reform
Immigration, immigration policy, and immigration reform are now the most common catch phrases in US politics. These words are being heard more and more because the Presidential elections are coming up. Each candidate is talking about his views on immigration and everything about it along with other important issues that they know will affect the electorate.
Different acts and memorandums are being put forward by the Democrats with the intention of getting undocumented immigrants into the main stream of American life. Most of these, like the DREAM Act, have not been passed into law by Congress. Recently, Obama used his powers to sign a memorandum which allows certain eligible undocumented immigrants to seek deferred action, that is, they can request that the USCIS does not take any action to deport them temporarily.
A lot of such eligible undocumented immigrants applied and continue to apply for deferred action and the first batch of applications have been approved. The beneficiaries will not be deported for 2 years. They will also get work permits and certain states will allow them to apply for and get a driver’s license. A remarkable aspect of this procedure is that the applications seem to be getting processed quickly.
When on one side we see such efforts to help undocumented immigrants get better jobs we see on the other side treatment that belies the rights of US citizens. In Florida, a student who is a US citizen but whose parents are undocumented immigrants, faces hardships in getting a good education. US citizens residing in the state are allowed to pay what is called ‘in-state tuition’, which is nearly 10 times lesser than what out of state residents have to pay. Just because the parents of US citizen students are undocumented immigrants, these students are asked to pay the out of state tuition.
This seems to be a gross injustice towards the citizen. It is the citizen student who is studying and getting the degree. This degree will help the student land an appropriate job, which means he or she will be paying state and federal taxes accordingly. There is a lot of opposition to this trend and a recent ruling by a judge is an example of certain hope that is available to these students: Judge K. Michael Moore said,
“It is the plaintiffs who, upon graduating from a post-secondary educational institution, receive their names on diplomas, and it is plaintiffs — not plaintiffs’ parents, cousins, or siblings — who are entitled to the benefits conferred by such a degree.”
There is yet another immigration related issue that is gathering a lot of attention and comments. People come to the United States for education. They are not allowed to continue to stay in the country after their studies are over. This means that the talent that was nurtured here in the US is being sent out of the US. A lot of resources go into providing quality education. Then, the beneficiaries of these resources are asked to leave the country. They go back to work in their countries and those countries end up competing with the United States.
Then there are other people who come to the United States on work visas. These people too are allowed to stay temporarily only. They may or may not be allowed to get their visas extended. And those who want to get green cards should get their employers to sponsor them or may be some US citizen relative to do it, if they have one. Employers do not readily sponsor green cards because it is quite an expensive process. Sponsors happen only when the employers see benefit in it for themselves.
This being the scenario, many people are asking that the government allows such students to get green cards and/or work permits that will allow them to continue to live and work in the United States. Which means a huge benefit to the growth and economy of the country.
With administrators and other people pushing back and forth on immigration, policy and reform, it is the undocumented immigrants and the country itself which are facing the repercussions. No one side has been able to provide a wholistic solution to this issue and it will go on, irrespective of which party comes to power.