mPulse

Friday, July 13, 2007

GREEN CARD: "It's no fun, being a legal alien"

As many readers know, I am going through the process -- if you call filing a bunch of paperwork and not hearing anything for 2 years a process -- of obtaining Permanent Residency in the United States, often referred to as the Green Card.

This morning, on NPR, there was a story about a foul-up in the processing of Green Cards that is suspicious, to say the least.

I have started referring to this process as the Dream Card because it leaves one thinking that the application they completed was done in a dream, a long time ago. An like most dreams, it is a fable of the subconscious mind and as likely to come true as those blue, flying penguins in my dream last night.

The degree of complexity that accompanies the application process has made bureaucrats from the Byzantine Empire write letters of complaint to their members of Congress, saying that the USCIS is giving them a bad name. Kafka has been seen rising from the dead at night, and penning a new tale based on this experience.

Other people covering this story.

NY Times
The Guardian
Times Of India
Miami Herald
San Jose Mercury News
Sacramento Bee Editorial

A few media outlets have grabbed this story as an example of just how broken the US system is when it comes to immigration, especially given the irony of the recent debate over the immigration bill that was tossed out of Congress. How could the immigration system have hoped to deal with the new regulations, if thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of valid visas go unused every year, due to government inefficiency.

Why would an illegal immigrant bother to go through a legal process that punishes the very people who are taking the time to follow the rules?

I would raise my voice in protest; but it would do no good. Drawing a pool of highly skilled, well compensated indentured servants from around the world to these shores to keep the wheels of innovation and development rolling appears to have become the American way.

And like indentured servants everywhere, we are a disposable commodity, to be teased by the promise that some day, we could, we might, just maybe be able to live here (and still not be able to vote) as Permanent Residents.

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