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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

HOW DID AMERICA BENEFIT FROM DEPORTING THIS PERSON?

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  1. waiting in a long queue's Avatar
    Well, I do feel sorry for these teens who end up paying for the misdeeds of their parents. On the other hand, I feel very split on how to handle those cases in a fair way. Fair to who?
    Let me explain myself. I was born and raised in Russia, I came to the US as a graduate student. I lived in the US for the past 14 years, always playing by the rules. The rewards for playing by the rules included having my wife and son stranded outside of the US for a year as they were suddenly denied re-entry visas, my missing the very first semester of teaching as my own visa was held for MANTIS security clearance (I am a university professor now, and I lived in the US continuously for 12 years prior to then!). I still do not have my green card, and with the current state of USCIS turmoil, I have no idea when I will finally get one.
    So, whenever you argue that the current immigration system should also accommodate those who did not bother playing by the rules, no matter how contrived and unfair those rules might seem to you, please keep in mind that IN REALITY this will be done at the expense of people like me. The current immigration system is incapable of handling legitimate cases in timely and satisfactory manner. Unless you are prepared to earnestly push for its serious overhaul and increase in both its funding and staffing BEFORE starting to advocate for the humane accommodation for illegals, in effect you are telling me and many many people like me to suck it up and wait. And wait. And wait.
    Any case you argue on behalf of someone who broke the rules, intentionally or unintentionally, just further clogs the pipe.
    I do feel sorry for those people, quite honestly. But dealing with the system with very limited capacity, I also don't want my end of the stick to get any shorter than it already is.
  2. waiting in a long queue's Avatar
    Well, I do feel sorry for these teens who end up paying for the misdeeds of their parents. On the other hand, I feel very split on how to handle those cases in a fair way. Fair to who?
    Let me explain myself. I was born and raised in Russia, I came to the US as a graduate student. I lived in the US for the past 14 years, always playing by the rules. The rewards for playing by the rules included having my wife and son stranded outside of the US for a year as they were suddenly denied re-entry visas, my missing the very first semester of teaching as my own visa was held for MANTIS security clearance (I am a university professor now, and I lived in the US continuously for 12 years prior to then!). I still do not have my green card, and with the current state of USCIS turmoil, I have no idea when I will finally get one.
    So, whenever you argue that the current immigration system should also accommodate those who did not bother playing by the rules, no matter how contrived and unfair those rules might seem to you, please keep in mind that IN REALITY this will be done at the expense of people like me. The current immigration system is incapable of handling legitimate cases in timely and satisfactory manner. Unless you are prepared to earnestly push for its serious overhaul and increase in both its funding and staffing BEFORE starting to advocate for the humane accommodation for illegals, in effect you are telling me and many many people like me to suck it up and wait. And wait. And wait.
    Any case you argue on behalf of someone who broke the rules, intentionally or unintentionally, just further clogs the pipe.
    I do feel sorry for those people, quite honestly. But dealing with the system with very limited capacity, I also don't want my end of the stick to get any shorter than it already is.
  3. Another voice's Avatar
    You are failing to consider that most of those people did not just choose to not play by the rules they were never given a choice. You said that you came as a graduate student meaning that you have a formal education and shooting for a white collar job and a beter future yourself. Most people without documents are here because they want to feed their families and if they would have gone to the embassy to apply for an immigrant visa they would have laugh them out of the embassy. Most of them probably would not even have the money to pay the $100 dollar application fee. They are not in your same situation and that is why CIR was an important solution for people in that situation and also CIR was a fixed for people that were in your situation. This student that was deported probably had a bright future here in the US and now instead of contributing to the good of society she is going to be left out in the cold with no or very little chance of a good future. Like the piece says who benefited from her deportation not the US nobody she is just a deportation statistic so ICE can get funded next year because they can show they can deport a lot of people out of status but no necessarily bad people.
  4. Limbo's Avatar
    Sad story. Why on earth should she be barred from entering the country for 10 years? I am not an attorney,but don't you need "intent" or something to be held responsible for breaking the law? How can a two year old form intent?

    No matter how you feel about illegal immigration, these kids need to be shown some compassion. The parents came here with the intent on staying legally within the system, which can be darn near impossible given the convoluted and patchwork nature of the current system.

    I am all for enforcing immigration laws, but the system needs to show compassion also for people who slip through the cracks. Put yourself in their shoes and just imagine how it would feel. It's just unthinkable to treat kids and young adults in this way.

  5. Ethan's Avatar
    Waiting in a long queue, remember, when you first obtained your F-1 visa, you promised the visa officer that your study in America is only temporary and you have no intention to migrate to US on permanent basis. Regardless whether your pledge was true or false back then, you obviously broke that promise the moment you start to teach. I am not sure if that's illegal act or not, but this action of converting from non-immigration visa to immigration visa is not as innocent as "by rule". Many people got into this country by tweaking the rules, not strictly following the rules. I don't see this to far away as disregarding the rules completely anyhow.
  6. pablo's Avatar
    Ethan, when you get F-1 visa you promise not to become illegal and you promise that you're obtaining the visa for the purpose of studying and not doing something else that is fraudulent (like leaving school and starting to work illegally, etc.) This guy got F-1 visa, then finished graduate school, got a PhD, and then converted to an H-1 which is dual intent. The moment he converted to H-1 he was already in the clear, and had the right to seek immigration status. He played by the rules and didn't break any laws or promises.

    Playing by the rules is not so easy as it sounds and I don't think you should trivialize his accomplishments. These people spend a lot of time waiting in different immigration statuses and feed the system in the range of several tens of thousands of dollars in the course of their stay (e.g. renewal of visas, petitions, labor certification, etc.)

    I'm not saying illegals should be deported, but the system needs overhaul, and guess who's picking up the tab? Those who are legal and pay outrageous amounts of money on fees, etc. They have every right to be concerned when the system is not capable of processing their cases.
  7. Legal and waiting's Avatar
    Waiting, you need to recognize that both your family and this girl are victims of the same system. The system was harsh on your family, but it was waaay worse on her. You could come to the US to study legally - and she can't regardless how much she obeys the rules. Before you start spitting on those who happened to be less lucky then you are, think of why those things are happening to you AND to her. Your concept of "fair" is ages old "I was treated so bad, and I did not deserve it. The only thing that will make me feel better is if someone else is treated even worse".

    How about "I want to make sure nobody is treated that badly any more" as an alternative way of thinking?
  8. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    waiting - I think the key problem with your argument is that this assumes that the children are responsible for the violations of their parents. How would you feel if you committed a crime and they sent your child to jail along with you? That's effectively what we're talking about when we deport people who came to the US as infants, have no connections with the countries to which they're being deported, may actually be put in danger depending on the country where they're being sent, and may not even be able to speak the language. Deporting young people under these circumstances is a horrible, horrible undeserved punishment and I don't even think there is a legitimate other side to this issue. Deporting these young people is immoral, plain and simple, and I hope that soon the UN addresses the question as part of its human rights policymaking.
  9. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    Ethan - Excellent point! For all the "I'm doing it the legal way, to hell with the illegals folks" the point should hit home.
  10. USC's Avatar
    "I hope that soon the UN addresses the question as part of its human rights policymaking."

    Yes!!!
  11. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    Pablo - Actually, you're incorrect. You do promise when you apply for an F-1 visa that you are not an intending immigrant. Read Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. If USCIS ever wanted to really crack down on this, they probably could make the case.
  12. USC's Avatar
    And when they do they should also cite India alongwith Burma and Bangladesh for what they have done. A couple of days ago a poster "very proudly" pointed out that India in 2004 amended its law and now denies citizenship to children born on its soil if one of the parents is an illegal (this is the case even if the other parent is an Indian citizen). Most of the illegals in India are fleeing from tyranny and are from Bangladesh and Burma. Those countries deny citizenship to such babies. Thus these kids are rendered state-less and are not citizens of any country.
  13. Edward's Avatar
    "I hope that soon the UN addresses the question as part of its human rights policymaking."

    It isn't the UN, but the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is currently looking at a case involving the mandatory deportation of long-time legal residents. A lot of these people have the same issues discussed in the previous comments as they came to the US as young children.

    Details at the the link below:
    http://www.law.stanford.edu/news/pr/68/Stanford%20Law%20School%E2%80%99s%20Immigrants'%20Rights%20Clinic%20Argues%20U.S.%20Immigration%20Policy%20Violates%20International%20Human%20Rights%20Standards/
  14. waiting in a long queue's Avatar
    Greg -- the first sentence of my post was intended to convey my disagreement with idea that children should pay for the misdeeds of their parents. This is obviously wrong. Although, playing devil's advocate I could argue that by "smuggling" a toddler in, such parents quite likely provided her/him with better education, medical care etc. than they would have had otherwise. Hence the cost/benefit analysis is not as simple and straightforward as our emotions would have it -- but I DO agree with you that such deportations are inhumane.
    What I was trying to say, however, is something that has been bothering me for a quite some time. It appears to be a common place to pick on the failures of the current immigration system by exposing its inhumane treatment of illegals. But somehow, the plight of "legals" is left completely outside of the current focus of public outrage. Partly, because most of us EVENTUALLY get onboard. The humiliation we have to endure at the whim of any consular officer and the amounts of money we have to continuously shed along the way to feed the beast are hardy too exciting a topic for public debate.
    I do not want to be pitched against those unfortunate illegals, and especially their children, but I can't deny that the focus of recent public debate keeps pushing me in that direction. For as long as we have to fight for the attention of the system with limited resources, any amounts diverted to them are diverted from people like me.
  15. Ethan's Avatar
    So what would be an appropriate resolution for this kid then? Obviously, deportation is not a popular choice and I doubt it can produce any deterence effect. But people do worry that if we grant them resident status, the "rewarding" effect is going to allure more illegal immigrants down the road. Any suggestions? What about a humane deportation? Such as we pay for them to be acustomed in their home country and we waive the 10-year-ban punishment and allow them to return through front door (still take few years to go through)?

    I am curious about this whole immigration debate because it seems the upper level social groups clearly think immigration policy different than the regular Joes. Yet, some groups clearly are manipulating the public opinion to get whatever they want. What make their manipulation more effective is the average Joes of America are really dumb and don't think. For example, this "amansty" talk is really imprinted every dudes and gals head, and I just can't stir them away and contacting some rational talk without all these nonesense. In the mean time, they still demand their contractors to lay their tiles for $3.99/hour labor.
  16. waiting in a long queue's Avatar
    Ethan,
    This is actually an interesting point (showing an intention to return), and I honestly don't know what the exact legal status of that condition was/is. Firstly, I never had to sign any pledge to that extent, and I was never called on that although this would be the easiest rule to enforce. Secondly, if I remember correctly, the actual condition states that at the moment of application, you should have no intention of staying, NOT that you WILL NOT stay. So, technically, I never violated anything. This sounds like some legalistic nonsense, but essentially that's exactly what it is. My impression is that this clause exists purely to give consular officers an option of not having to explain their visa refusals, no long-term consequences were ever intended. Just a couple of personal anecdotes: when I first applied for my F-1, I was young, naive and filled to the brim with the spirit of my newly acquired human rights (the Soviet Union had collapsed not too long before). So when the consular officer asked that very question, I immediately asked her if she knew what SHE would be doing in five years. When her jaw dropped, I said: well, neither do I. Sounds amazing, but it worked. Another anecdotal evidence about this clause never being intended for enforcement came from one of the International Student Office people at the university: she told me that the purpose of the clause was to appease the governments of the other countries by pretending that their best and brightest will eventually be sent back, and was never meant for "internal consumption". Whether or not this is true - I don't know. For what it's worth, I never had to say those words while having the next job secretly lined up, and I never had to sign anything to that extent. My feeling is that the rule was made purposefully ambiguous for preferential enforcement (i.e., visa refusals).
  17. pablo's Avatar
    Greg, isn't the point kind of moot? If you're going to spend 5-6 years studying, what's wrong with promising you're not an intending immigrant? You don't have any intention to immigrate during those 5-6 years until you finish your course of study. After that, things change - your F-1 status expires and you're no longer bound by such promises (i.e. end of contract). Why would it be so far-fetched for circumstances to change, esp. when you're already on a different status, e.g. H-1 which allows you to be an intending immigrant but doesn't force you to be one? (i.e. changing to H-1 doesn't mean you intend to immigrate)
  18. waiting in a long queue's Avatar
    As far as this poor girl and others like her are concerned, I personally would support deportation while waiving any 3/10-year bans for readmission. While it can be considered fair (albeit harsh) to impose such a ban as a punishment on adults who could contemplate both their actions and their consequences, the kids should not be expected to have this responsibility.
    If the girl is as good as they say, she shouldn't have any problems coming back to get her university degree.
    Now, that would be (at least somewhat) logical, but it is USCIS we are talking about here...
  19. pablo's Avatar
    I wouldn't support deporting the kid at all. After all, it was none of her fault and she didn't commit any crime. Usually minors (under 18 years of age) are treated differently even when they commit a serious crime - we don't send them automatically to jail, because it is assumed they aren't old enough to be fully responsible for their actions like adults are. Why would we deport a kid who didn't even commit a crime to begin with?
  20. waiting in a long queue's Avatar
    Well, I am having serious second thoughts about supporting her deportation. The problem is, however, that I do support deporting her parents. And I don't know how to accommodate both at the same time. This problem is even more acute in the case of illegals whose children were born in the US and hence can't be deported.
    On a slightly separate note, we can't honestly pretend that children are not going to suffer or benefit from the choices of their parents. Immigration issues aside, whether the parents went to college, invested in Microsoft stock in 1985, or chose to cook crystal meth in their living room is likely to have huge consequences for their children's well-being and future chances in life. As a society, we can't really shield children from those consequences (especially if they are positive), we should just be able to protect them from the worst extremes. Whether deportation, with the possibility of readmission, is indeed such a worst extreme should be open for debate.
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