Last night we discussed immigration. We started by chatting about my family’s personal adventures with the then INS, now USCIS which began with my husband’s arrival in this country as an H1 visa holder and culminated in his American citizenship (Which I blogged about, of course). I don’t know whether it was a labor of love, but it definitely was a labor. I think that the great immigration debate of 2006 definitely made things extra pointed for a few months.
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Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has stated that Immigration reform will be revisited by the Obama Administration once the necessary votes have been rounded up. I guess that those who are dealing with immigration in any form (work visas, travel visas into the country, those seeking permanent residence and asylum) will once again be watching with baited breath. Should the immigration reform consist of amnesty, anywhere from 12 to 20 million undocumented immigrants would suddenly join the already grindingly slow queue that comprises the immigration process. Diva said that she doesn’t think it will get past Congress, because nobody wants to risk alienating their block. It might be as contentious, if not more contentious than the health care debate.
It’s not like amnesty has not been done before.
In 1986, President Reagan pardoned 3 million undocumented workers. It was supposed to be a one time thing, then, too. I don’t know if undocumented immigration will be stemmed if we adopt the practice of amnesty, say, every 20 years.
Especially when going the official route can end like this.
Haitian Author Edwidge Danticat testified against the DHS and their processing of her 81-year-old uncle (which consisted of detention, confiscation of his medication, despite the fact that he had proper travel documentation). The baptist minister and family patriarch died in custody after having seizures at his asylum hearing which were likely due to his medicines being taken away.
The most interesting immigration information, to me, was the DHS 2008 breakdown of legal permanent residents’ countries of origin. Of the 12.6 million people who fit into this category, approximately one fourth of them are from Mexico, followed by the Philippines, India, the People’s Republic of China and the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic shares an island with Haiti, yet is the country of origin to nearly twice as many permanent residents with only ten percent more population. I thought that proximity would have a larger role in these stats, but it may be that economics pull more weight as Canada’s permanent residents are less than a tenth of Mexico’s.
While America is a country of immigrants, nearly open borders have their own consequences, which include the export of 200 tons of crystal meth from Mexico every year. Melette and I also discussed the recent passage of a law (Time wrote about it too) that will allow possession of small amounts of drugs, including heroin and cocaine. Using drugs is fine, but selling drugs is illegal.