Becoming a U.S. Citizen Isn’t Easy

For those that might have the misconception that emigrating to the United States is easy let me quote from a book titled “U.S. Immigration Step by Step” written by Edwin Gania, Attorney at Law. This book was published in 2004.

“The U.S. is certainly in a period of restrictive immigration laws. Immigration laws underwent a drastic revision in 1996 in response to the tragic bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City on April 22, 1995. In the days that followed, many believed that the bombing was the work of a Middle Eastern terrorist, even though the bombing turned out to be the work of an American. Nonetheless, Congress vowed to pass restrictive legislation affecting criminal aliens, if not all aliens.” – Chapter 3, Page 11.

“Immigration law is already complex without the use of numerous difficult terms.” – Chapter 2, Page 5.

“The U.S. immigration system is essentially a closed system, meaning you have to qualify in a specific category in order to obtain a green card. A person cannot normally self-petition. An excellent contrast is with the Canadian immigration system, which can be considered an open system. If a person can accumulate seventy points according to the point scheme, he or she can self-petition for permanent residence.” – Introduction – xv.

Of course if you’re an athlete you can get in with no problem.

“Extraordinary Ability: The extraordinary ability is a very difficult standard to meet. For example, only the top players in the major, professional sports leagues would qualify. A wide variety of artists, such as those in culinary and visual arts, may qualify with a slightly lower standard of having achieved prominence.”

So if everyone is worried about the system being fair and claiming that undocumented migrants have “cut in line” then why do professional athletes get to cut in line? After all their high salaries just mean less money for the rest of us, right? If you ask me working with your hands for 8 to 12 hours a day constitutes extraordinary ability more than how far you can hit a baseball. We truly don’t give enough credit to those that toil at the toughest jobs with great commitment.

If we take a look at the green card lottery system we can see that many countries are not allowed to participate due to having 50,000 immigrants over the previous 5 year – Both in this current year and in 2003 (the year prior t this book being published) Mexico was not allowed to participate – neither were Canada, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, South Korea, United Kingdom, and Vietnam.

The end of this issue does not just lie in “fixing” the immigration system, though it is a good start. What we have to do is work toward changing policies that advocate for harsh treatment of people in other countries. It’s not ok to to see people being abused for our benefit and simply ignore it because we benefit by being ignorant to the abuse. We have to put ourselves in their position and ask “What would I do?” For those caught up in the blame the migrant game, let’s all just take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Let’s find a way to make this system, and this world, work for all of us.

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