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Immigration - What is fair?
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Mac Elite
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Jul 15, 2013, 01:08 PM
 
Immigration reform has been discussed before but I'm writing this post in an attempt to get some objective insight into an issue that directly affects me and has truly caused me distress. I find myself empathetic yet almost hostile at the same time.

As some of you may recall, I left the US in 2005 so I could be with my same-sex partner. He was in the US on an F-1 visa and when it expired, he choose to do the moral and legal thing; he left the country so as to not jeopardize his chances of ever returning. I accompanied him and we have endured significant financial and emotional hardships while we waited to return to the US.

With the Supreme Court ruling on DOMA, we are now able to return. I will be filing a petition for a K-1 fiancé visa and we will be married in DC sometime next year if all goes well. (This will be a very costly endeavor since compiling the necessary documentation will be significantly difficult as we have lived in 4 different countries in the last 8 years).

What I've recently discovered is that our ever diligent US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has a longtime policy of forgiving foreigners that have overstayed their non-immigrant visas if they marry a US citizen. No questions asked. As long as the person entered the country legally, they will overlook the fact that the person is out-of-status and grant them a green card! So it turns out we could have stayed in the country all along!

But even knowing that, I'm not sure I could have done that. I have such an aversion to doing anything even remotely illegal I doubt I would have encouraged my partner to stay in the country out-of-status.

We've effectively put our lives on hold for 8 years. We want to have a family (the clock is ticking.... I'm 50 years old now). I won't say I've wasted these 8 years but I've delayed doing so many things I deem important and vital for me to live a fulfilled life.

I get weekly updates from an advocacy group called Immigration Equality. They are an awesome group of people that have dedicated their lives to ensuring people like me are treated fairly, however they send out these emails with stories that are supposed to uplift me yet they just make me want to scream. I got one today (which prompted me to write this post) about Todd & Jose. I'm supposed to feel happy for them cuz they can get married in California now and Jose will be able to return to Mexico to visit his mother. Why couldn't he before? Because he was out-of-status. So I'm supposed to feel sorry for him that he couldn't visit his mother because he chose to overstay his visa in the US. Sorry.... not gonna happen.

How do I let go of this anger and frustration?

I'd welcome some opinions on this and some advice on how to deal with my anger. Although I don't always agree with everyone on here I do respect your opinions.
     
Clinically Insane
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Jul 15, 2013, 02:34 PM
 
May I turn this back on you?

Why do you assess so much importance to following the law?

As I've said before, while I have respect for the law, because I have respect for the necessity of rules, I don't care about the law, what I care about is justice, and our immigration laws are truly unjust.
     
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Jul 15, 2013, 03:24 PM
 
0You would have either got caught and deported, or feared it for nearly 3000 days, which no amount of financial well being would have made up for, at that point.
The only thing that is keeping the sanity of those who endure it is their wide network of support
, sharing their problem.
Could have been 8 years, could have been 30 years.
     
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Jul 15, 2013, 04:28 PM
 
Fair to who?
     
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Jul 15, 2013, 07:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
and our immigration laws are truly unjust.
Just curious, how so?

Maybe there are some ways our immigration laws are unjust, but for the most part they're either the same or far more lax than just about every other country on earth, and in many cases, completely unenforced. Show me any other country now actively wringing its collective hands to accommodate you sneaking in and snatching up a fast-track to citizenship over the wishes of its own citizens and legal immigrants who play by the rules. I'll wait.

As for the OP, I guess I'm unclear what exactly your anger is directed at. Is it that others routinely ignore the system and you and yours did the right thing only to feel shafted? Would staying in the US the past 8 years have automatically solved all other problems you've since encountered, or maybe just created a different set of problems?

I personally think we're doing nothing with our immigration system but setting it up to reward cheaters and penalize those that follow rules and do things honestly- rather than the other way around. So since you're a person who has an aversion to breaking the law, you're probably going to feel shafted by this country's immigration policies. That's the way we're setting up everything now- cheaters go to the front of the line, everyone else gets the shaft. I'd prefer a system where someone like you and your S.O. who obey the rules should be at the front of the line- which has been made significantly shorter by fast-tracking everyone else playing by the rules, and the cheaters would be the ones to have to jump through hoops at the end of the line. But we've somehow decided that's "unfair" and "unjust". So maybe a country where it's unjust to reward the law abiding vs. the "me-first!" lawbreakers isn't the place you should be focusing your life on getting back into?
     
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Jul 15, 2013, 08:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by CRASH HARDDRIVE View Post
Just curious, how so?

Maybe there are some ways our immigration laws are unjust, but for the most part they're either the same or far more lax than just about every other country on earth, and in many cases, completely unenforced. Show me any other country now actively wringing its collective hands to accommodate you sneaking in and snatching up a fast-track to citizenship over the wishes of its own citizens and legal immigrants who play by the rules. I'll wait.
Since when did we decide what to do because other countries do it that way?

I think immigrants are awesome. Let in as many who want to come in if they aren't criminals.

To be clear, I don't think breaking our immigration laws makes you a criminal in any but the most unjust sense. The same way you're a "criminal" if you've possessed pot.
     
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Jul 15, 2013, 08:39 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Since when did we decide what to do because other countries do it that way?

I think immigrants are awesome. Let in as many who want to come in if they aren't criminals.
That's not an immigration policy, that's simply anarchy. That's not even maintaining a country.

I'm sorry, you may not like it, but the US is a country. It has borders and immigration laws the same as every other country on earth. (In fact, as I said, much laxer than most. I noticed your list of nations where sneaking in was a fast-track to being made a citizen was REALLY long!) And what's with this "if they aren't criminals'? nonsense? The only way to determine if people coming into the country are criminals are not- is by having a proper immigration system. As usual, this is all just silly double-speak that doesn't make any sense.
     
Clinically Insane
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Jul 15, 2013, 08:53 PM
 
Then let's drop it.
     
Clinically Insane
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Jul 15, 2013, 10:39 PM
 
Wait. Let me rescind that. What makes me hesitant isn't a lack of desire for discussion. We just communicate in relatively incompatible ways, and unless one of us gives, we're just going to antagonize each other. It's happened a bunch of times before.

I needed a little time to figure out where to give and have done so. Allow me to rephrase my original statement to you.

If you're a potential immigrant who intends to find legitimate work, I can make a general statement I think you would be a benefit to this country. This is of course subject to non-immigration factors, such as how strong the economy is, or how bad unemployment is.

Not everyone agrees with this, but if you do, the immigration quotas are way too low. I agree with it, so I think we should have much higher quotas.

Part of the rationale for this relates to why other countries have tighter immigration policies, and why that's good policy for them.

Our country is much harder on lazy people.

If you were a bum, would you rather set up shop here or in France?

None of those countries, no other country in the world, has our philosophy you're supposed to make it yourself rather than have it handed to you. None of those other countries have a system to make use of a constant flow of people. Our capacity for growth is unique.
( Last edited by subego; Jul 15, 2013 at 10:52 PM. )
     
Atheist  (op)
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Jul 16, 2013, 07:03 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
May I turn this back on you?

Why do you assess so much importance to following the law?

As I've said before, while I have respect for the law, because I have respect for the necessity of rules, I don't care about the law, what I care about is justice, and our immigration laws are truly unjust.
Why follow the law? Because I must be held accountable if a break the law. In our case, not adhering to the immigration law could have disastrous effect. It's bad enough that even if we get all of our required paperwork together we could be thwarted by a disgruntled agent at the US Embassy whose had a bad day. I'll ****ing wear a tutu if that's what it takes to get back in the US.
     
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Jul 16, 2013, 07:06 AM
 
Originally Posted by BLAZE_MkIV View Post
Fair to who?
Fair to those of us that followed the rules. Regardless of whether one deems the rules just.
     
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Jul 16, 2013, 07:14 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Since when did we decide what to do because other countries do it that way?
Why not? Isn't even remotely possible that a country other than the US might have a good idea? Almost all western countries (certainly the English speaking ones) have a merit or points based system that allows people to immigrate based on their education and skillset. It boggles my mind the US doesn't. US immigration policy is primarily based on "family unification".

I think immigrants are awesome. Let in as many who want to come in if they aren't criminals.
That's just downright silly and provocative. Flooding the country with unskilled labor is insane.

To be clear, I don't think breaking our immigration laws makes you a criminal in any but the most unjust sense. The same way you're a "criminal" if you've possessed pot.
I guess this is just another way of saying "let them all in".

As you, I think immigration is a wonderful thing. I'm all for it. I just disagree that opening the borders is the best way to go.
     
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Jul 16, 2013, 07:28 AM
 
Originally Posted by CRASH HARDDRIVE View Post
Just curious, how so?

Maybe there are some ways our immigration laws are unjust, but for the most part they're either the same or far more lax than just about every other country on earth, and in many cases, completely unenforced. Show me any other country now actively wringing its collective hands to accommodate you sneaking in and snatching up a fast-track to citizenship over the wishes of its own citizens and legal immigrants who play by the rules. I'll wait.
I'm curious how many other countries have so many people banging on the door trying to get in.

As for the OP, I guess I'm unclear what exactly your anger is directed at. Is it that others routinely ignore the system and you and yours did the right thing only to feel shafted?
My anger is directed at both those so willing to break the law (justly or not) and ICE for their policy of forgiving those that have overstayed.

Would staying in the US the past 8 years have automatically solved all other problems you've since encountered, or maybe just created a different set of problems?
From the outside looking in, I feel it would have solved more problems than created.

I personally think we're doing nothing with our immigration system but setting it up to reward cheaters and penalize those that follow rules and do things honestly- rather than the other way around. So since you're a person who has an aversion to breaking the law, you're probably going to feel shafted by this country's immigration policies. That's the way we're setting up everything now- cheaters go to the front of the line, everyone else gets the shaft. I'd prefer a system where someone like you and your S.O. who obey the rules should be at the front of the line- which has been made significantly shorter by fast-tracking everyone else playing by the rules, and the cheaters would be the ones to have to jump through hoops at the end of the line. But we've somehow decided that's "unfair" and "unjust". So maybe a country where it's unjust to reward the law abiding vs. the "me-first!" lawbreakers isn't the place you should be focusing your life on getting back into?
I agree 100%. And to be honest, the K-1 visa route may prove to be a relative fast-track. Once we submit the application for the visa, it will take 6-9 months for the approval. We then have 4 months to return to the US and once there, 90 days to get married. Once married, he can apply for an adjustment of status and within 6 months should have his conditional permanent residence (green card). After 2 years he apply to have the conditional status removed. A year after than he can apply for citizenship. So in about 5 years, he'll be a US citizen. That's about as fast as it can happen.
     
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Jul 16, 2013, 12:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by Atheist View Post
Why not? Isn't even remotely possible that a country other than the US might have a good idea? Almost all western countries (certainly the English speaking ones) have a merit or points based system that allows people to immigrate based on their education and skillset. It boggles my mind the US doesn't. US immigration policy is primarily based on "family unification".



That's just downright silly and provocative. Flooding the country with unskilled labor is insane.



I guess this is just another way of saying "let them all in".

As you, I think immigration is a wonderful thing. I'm all for it. I just disagree that opening the borders is the best way to go.
See my other response to Crash.
     
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Jul 16, 2013, 12:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by Atheist View Post
Why follow the law? Because I must be held accountable if a break the law. In our case, not adhering to the immigration law could have disastrous effect. It's bad enough that even if we get all of our required paperwork together we could be thwarted by a disgruntled agent at the US Embassy whose had a bad day. I'll ****ing wear a tutu if that's what it takes to get back in the US.
I don't want to be pedantic (maybe a little), but that's not an aversion to breaking the law, that's an aversion to getting busted.
     
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Jul 16, 2013, 05:40 PM
 
Originally Posted by Atheist View Post
So in about 5 years, he'll be a US citizen. That's about as fast as it can happen.
It's only the first year that matters. After that he's got his green card any your both in the country. It could drag out longer without having any real effect.
     
   
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