by: Manny Cortez 6/20/18
In regards to the current immigration debate…I think it might be worth examining why people choose to cross the border illegally, in the first place; instead of properly applying.
In my opinion, it’s because if you’re poor, it’ll take a very very long time, sometimes 10-20 years to become a legal resident. Even if you’re educated, can speak perfect English, have a clean record, pay taxes, apply on time, etc; it can still take this long. Not to mention all of the lawyer fees that you’ll have to pay just to file the paperwork. Well, what exactly are you supposed to do for 10-20 years if you’re unable to legally work or drive? I think this is a major reason why some people are deterred from applying the right way, in the first place.
My question is: Why does it take 10-20 years for some people to get a green card? In a world where we have the most advanced technologies that can gather data and conduct background checks in an instant…what exactly is taking 10-20 years to process? Is it a space issue? How can that be if there’s plenty of undeveloped land and plenty of willing workers to develop it into cities (or at least habitable environments). I understand it takes time to show proof that you deserve to stay in a particular country, but isn’t 3-5 years enough of a time frame to make that judgment?
I think if there was a more efficient way to process and vet applications, that would greatly reduce the temptation for a lot of people to cross illegally. I don’t think a wall would work. People will find a way to cross.
I have a crazy idea that I just want to throw out there. What if there was a database or online platform where immigrants and their lawyers, sponsors, embassy officials, etc can communicate with each other? The immigrant/applicant can update all interested parties on how they’re doing in the country and they can be instantly updated on any law changes or news on their status. Right now, there’s a long waiting list to get a green card or citizenship. I think if applicants have an overview of where they stand in the waiting list, this would educate them and inform them as to what they need to do; to better their chances of moving up the list. Maybe they just need to improve on an existing job skill or take a few English or history courses. Or maybe do some volunteer work in their community. You can show these efforts and other notable achievements through this database and provide a better picture of why you deserve citizenship, in the first place.
And no I’m not advocating for only taking the highly skilled or the most educated. I believe there’s a place for low-skilled people in this country and they deserve a chance. I’m just saying that having these tools available may reduce the wait time and improve one’s chances, no matter where they are on the list. I also think that having a clear roadmap towards citizenship or legal status would encourage more people to apply the right way.