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Quick Hits

Here are some links that don't warrant a longer post, but are worth a look:

Workers Not CriminalsNYC won't comply with all ICE detention requests. Hooray! 

Govt-Created Black Markets in Everything: NY lawyer pleads guilty in immigration case and Report ties 2006-10 Arizona fires to immigrants

State Immigration Law Fallout: U.S. sues Utah over new immigration law and Tough US immigration law questioned

Holiday Posting

We will be taking a break for the Christmas and New Year's holidays, so posting will be lighter than usual until the week of January 3rd. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Arpaio is a Rights Violator

It comes as no surprise to me that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office  has been found to have committed a variety of Arpaiorights violations against Latinos. The federal government issued a "scathing" report of his office's activities.  From this AP article on

Latino inmates with limited English skills were punished for failing to understand commands in English by being put in solitary confinement for up to 23 hours a day or keeping prisoners locked down in their jail pods for as long as 72 hours without a trip to the canteen area or making nonlegal phone calls.

The report said some jail officers used racial slurs for Latinos when talking among themselves and speaking to inmates.

And the list goes on and on. 

Fortunately, it looks like there will finally be some repercussions for Arpaio's actions:

If the sheriff's office doesn't turn around its policies and practices, the federal government could pull millions of dollars of federal funding.

Arpaio's office did not immediately respond to AP requests for comment.

The report will require Arpaio to set up effective policies against discrimination, improve training and make other changes that would be monitored for compliance by a judge. Arpaio faces a Jan. 4 deadline for saying whether he wants to work out an agreement. If not, the federal government will sue him and let a judge decide the complaint.

Ouch. Arpaio's not going to like that, but the simple fact of them matter is, when you violate the individual rights of others, you deserve to be punished accordingly. Hopefully the federal grand jury that has also has been investigating Arpaio's office will be able to come up with the evidence it needs to put this angry, hateful man away for the rest of his life!

Weekly Quote

This week's quote was spoken during a lecture, so my apologies if it's not exactly what Dr. Lewis said, word-for-word.

Illegal immigrants are not criminals (as conservatives often claim) but the victims of unjust laws. - Dr. John David Lewis

(H/T to Diana Hsieh)

US Citizens Detained by ICE

The ACLU is dealing with more and more cases of American citizens being swept up in ICE's and Obama's Secure CommunitiesJail Bars with Flag program (that Obama said would only deport dangerous criminals.  Yeah, right.)

In jail, no one believed he was a citizen, Montejano recounted, because he speaks with an accent. He said he has split his time between Mexico and the U.S.

He was released after the ACLU sent ICE Montejano's passport and birth certificate.

You can read the rest of the story on here.

US Builds Sea Fence to Keep Out Migrant Workers from the South

This story is so preposterous, it's hard to believe it's true!  Leave it to the US government to be so creative (and expensive!) when it comes to violatingLA 169027.ME.1121.border-ocean.01.DPB.jpg individual rights!

From this LA Times article:

Pounding surf and corrosive sea air have stymied efforts for years to erect a sturdy fence at the westernmost edge of the U.S.- Mexico border.

Now, the U.S. Border Patrol is trying again, with a $4.3-million project that would extend a nearly quarter-mile barrier 300 feet into the Pacific Ocean and remake one of the more scenic spots on the border.

When completed early next year, a steel fence 18 feet tall will replace a teetering, gap-riddled barrier that did little to discourage people from crossing back and forth on a wide beach linking Tijuana and Imperial Beach.

I think my favorite part is at the very end though:

Longtime beachgoers think the agency better keep the warranty paperwork. Netza Tapia, 40, said he remembers the days when he would slip through the corroded section of the fence to continue his family walks on the Imperial Beach side of the beach. Jonathan Parra and his friends used to breach the wave-battered gaps regularly to play soccer on Imperial Beach's relatively empty stretch of sand.

The sea, Parra said, doesn't recognize borders. "The strength of the ocean will eventually knock the fence down," Parra said.

Hopefully, the strength of individuals fighting for their rights will eventually knock our current, immoral US government down too!

Famous Immigrant of the Week

Albert V. Baez was not only the father of folks singers, Joan Baez and Mimi Fariña, but he was also the co-investor of the X-ray reflection microscopeAlbert_BaezFrom his obituary in the New York Times:

Born in Puebla, Mexico, and reared in Brooklyn, Dr. Baez earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Drew University, a master’s in math from Syracuse University and a doctorate in physics from Stanford University. He taught physics at several universities, including Stanford.

In 1948, while he was still a graduate student at Stanford, Mr. Baez and Paul Kirkpatrick developed the X-ray reflection microscope, which could examine living cells. The imaging technique is still used, particularly in astronomy to take X-ray pictures of galaxies and in medicine.

You can read more about Dr. Baez on his Wikipedia page here.

A Sign of Improvement? Same-Sex Deportation Case Dropped by Judge

I sure hope we see a lot more of this!  From The Huffington Post:Same-Sex Marriage

The U.S. government has dropped its New York deportation case against an Argentine lesbian who married a U.S. citizen, marking an improvement in the treatment of cases of same-sex couples involving a legal alien and a U.S. citizen, a lawyer for the woman said Tuesday.

The Argentinean, Monica Alcota, was supposed to be in U.S. Immigration Court in Manhattan Tuesday, but her lawyers were notified Monday that Immigration Judge Terry Bain signed an order Nov. 30 dismissing the case because "good cause has been established," said Alcota's Los Angeles attorney, Lavi Soloway.

Weekly Quote

If you destroy a free market you create a black market. If you havewinston churchill ten thousand regulations, you destroy all respect for the law.

- Winston Churchill

OWS and Three Immigrants by J. Brian Phillips

Brian Phillips was kind enough to let me post his Interview with an Immigrant Seattlehere in its entirety.  As a result of that post, I subscribed to his newsletter.  Last week, I received the following newsletter from Brian and have again posted  it with his permission.  The first part is about his experience with Occupy Wall Street in Seattle, but the second half is about three immigrants he interviewed while there. 

Last week my wife and I traveled to Seattle to attend a

wedding. We expected the weather to be cold and rainy,

but Thursday was a beautiful day, and we decided to visit

Occupy Seattle, which was about 15 blocks from our hotel.

We didn't know the specific location for the protest, so

when we got close we went into a grocery store to get the

exact location. The clerk we spoke to was a thin, wrinkled

lady of about 60, and she rolled her eyes as she gave us the

location. I asked her why she reacted that way, and she

proceeded to denounce the anarchists and WTO leftovers.

There are some who understand what they are protesting,

she said, but many are simply looking for handouts and trying

to cause trouble. She seemed sympathetic to the occupy

movement, but not the impact it was having on her neighborhood.

We found the camp about 2 blocks away from the store.

The camp covered about half of a city block. Apparently

they were using the park at the city community college. The

camp was packed with tents, which included a library, a "hospital,"

and a "spiritual center." When we arrived, a tour was in progress,

so we tagged along for a brief time. At the library, we were told

that we could donate a book, borrow a book, exchange a book,

or donate a book. Donations--for money, books, and tobacco--

were a constant theme during our brief visit. At the "spiritual center"

we were told that occupiers could spend quiet time contemplating.

My first thought was, if I had been a resident of the camp, I would

be contemplating what the hell I was doing there. But I suppressed

my thought.

We clearly did not look like the typical occupier, and I noticed at

least one person give us a look that did not appear friendly. Most

of the "residents"--one made it clear that the camp was his home--

were under 30, scruffy looking, and many displayed an abundance

of facial piercings. The atmosphere made me think of a giant,

permanent slumber party.

In general, the camp was cleaner than I expected, though we didn't

venture very far into the interior. There were several portable toilets.

The signs displayed were similar to those I've seen from other

occupations--they denounced the banks, they called for "economic

justice," and they expressed a variety of other leftist sentiments. In

the 10 minutes or so we were there, we saw signs or heard at least

4 different appeals for some form of donation--books, cash, or

tobacco. A block away we encountered an individual begging for

marijuana--I don't know if he was an occupier, but he certainly

looked the type.

A few blocks further away, we can upon a man who was shouting

at a well-dressed couple. While his diatribe was largely incoherent,

he was clearly unhappy that they appeared to be a part of the 1

percent. Again, I do not know if this man was/is a part of the occupy

movement, but his appearance, sentiments, and actions were

certainly consistent with it. As we have seen repeatedly, the

occupy movement is not content to merely express their ideas.

They have taken over parks and other spaces, caused property

damage, invaded banks and other businesses, and impeded

traffic. In word and in action, they have demonstrated no respect

for individual rights. At the same time, they demand to be

absolved of responsibility for their own actions, such as having

all debts forgiven. They are little more than brats throwing a

temper tantrum, and if they won't get their way, they will disrupt

the lives of the rational and productive.

Some of the occupiers spend a portion of the day in the financial

area of Seattle. In that area, we saw less than a dozen protestors

there. Most were the bedraggled, unkempt types that we saw at

the camp. Interestingly, across the street from these protestors,

2 middle-aged men were holding signs denouncing the banks.

They appeared to want to distance themselves from the rougher

looking occupiers. Apparently, even some leftists have standards.

I didn't really learn anything from the experience. But it did

make the whole occupy movement more real to me, particularly

when the weather turned cold and rainy on Friday. While I sat in

the warmth of the hotel bar, enjoying many of the values made

possible by the capitalism the occupiers are denouncing, they got

to huddle in their tents for meager protection from the elements.

They were living in the environment they want and so was I. I

hope that they enjoyed their environment; I enjoyed mine.

* * *

On a different note, one evening I stepped out for some fresh

air and struck up a conversation with a valet at the hotel. It turns

out that he immigrated from Ethiopia about 25 years ago. I asked

him about the difficulty of the immigration process. He said at that

time it wasn't too bad, but it certainly was becoming more difficult.

He expressed some sympathy for illegal aliens, but seemed to

generally support America's immigration policies. When I said

that virtually anyone who wants to come to America should be

free to do so, he became very interested. Unfortunately, he was

called to work before we could finish the conversation.

This was my third conversation with an immigrant on the topic of

immigration in the past few months. My first conversation was

with one of my employees. He illegally entered the country from

Mexico as a child. He is now a citizen. At first, he was very

hesitant to speak with me about the topic. I suspect that he

thought I might have an anti-immigrant attitude. He eventually

said that he thought those opposed to illegals were racist, and

he seemed genuinely pleased with my position on immigration.

My third conversation involved the bride in the wedding we

attended. She is a Filipino. She was in the process of being

deported when she met her husband--the company that was

sponsoring her was no longer sponsoring immigrants due to

tighter government restrictions. Ironically, when they met, he

was about to embark on a year in Thailand. So they actually

got to spend a year together in Asia, and during that time they

labored to get her back into the country. I won't go into the

details here, but it was a stressful and expensive endeavor.

Last month I interviewed them for my blog. They were

generally supportive of the government's immigration policies

and only complained that those policies are not efficient.

The contrast between these 3 immigrants is interesting. The

Mexican had the most rational ideas. Today, Mexicans are

the scapegoats, just as the Chinese, the Irish, and other

immigrant groups have been before them. So they are feeling

the heat more than other immigrants, and I suspect they are

seeing the irrationality of our immigration policies more

easily than others.

The Filipino was the most accepting of restrictions on

immigration. During my time in Seattle, I learned that most

Filipinos worship America. The bride's father, who was at

the wedding, spoke highly of Douglas MacArthur, even

though he (the bride's father) was not born until after WWII.

I got the sense from him, and from the groom, that Filipinos

believe that America can do no wrong. That would explain

the bride's acceptance of our immigration policies. Also,

she is an accountant with significant experience in international

accounting. So she has more economic opportunities than

the Mexican or the Ethiopian.

The Ethiopian fell in between the Filipino and the Mexican.

He didn't like Arizona's anti-immigration law, properly saying

that he felt threatened by it. I told him that I too felt threatened

by it.

When I later shared these experiences with a friend, she

remarked that many immigrants are probably scared to "rock

the boat." They want to come to America, and if they complain

too loudly about the unjust process, they will likely be denied

entry. I suspect that she is correct. But I also suspect, as she

did, that the problem goes deeper.

Most Americans do not have a proper understanding of rights.

Progressives regard rights as a gift from society, while conservatives

regard rights as a gift from God. Both of these views are flawed.

If rights are a gift, then that gift may be withdrawn at any time.

While this is true, no matter the alleged source of this alleged

"gift," I find the conservative position more interesting and


If, as conservatives claim, our rights are a gift from God,

why are those rights denied to those not born in America? Is

God a racist? Are Americans God's chosen people? That is

certainly the implication of the conservative position.

While conservatives are quick to say that they are not

anti-immigrant, they are equally quick to deny rights to

immigrants and would-be immigrants. They want to build

fences, check papers, and deny freedom of association.

On one hand, conservatives claim that rights come from God;

on the other hand, they seek to deny certain individuals those

rights through man-made laws.

Conservatives also claim that they aren't opposed to immigration,

but they want people coming through the "front door." They

evade the fact that the front door is essentially locked, and it

will only be opened when certain arbitrary criteria are met.

I had the good fortune to be born in America. But if I hadn't

been, I would be willing to do nearly anything to get to this great

country. Just as slaves had a moral right to flee their masters, and

those who harbored them had a moral right to do so, those who

come to America illegally have a moral right to live where they

choose. I do not advocate breaking the law, but I do not fault

those who break immoral laws. The abolitionists of the nineteenth

century fought to eradicate a gross injustice. Those who love

America and the principles upon which it was founded--individual

rights--must fight to change America's immigration policies. We

must demand the repeal of any law that denies an individual--

any individual--his moral right to his own life, his own liberty,

and the pursuit of his own happiness.

You can subscribe to Brian's newsletter in the right-hand column of his blog here.

Another Auto Industry Migrant Worker Arrested in Alabama

As a follow up to this earlier post, now a Honda worker has been caught in HondaAlabama's immigration net.  From Reuters:

A Honda worker on assignment at the company's Lincoln, Alabama, factory was issued a citation.

The immigration law requires proper identification to be produced during routine traffic stops. People suspected of being in the country illegally can be detained.

"We understand he is working with authorities to resolve this matter," said Ted Pratt, spokesman for Honda Manufacturing of Alabama. He described the worker as "a Japanese associate on assignment."

And it looks like other foreign companies are thinking twice about setting up shop in Alabama.  From The Wall Street Journal:

In March, a Chinese company, Golden Dragon Precise Copper Tube Group, announced plans to build a $100 million plant in Thomasville that would mark the first foray by a Chinese manufacturer into the state. While the company remains committed to the project, it has expressed unease to local leaders about the immigration law, according to a person familiar with the matter.

"They're concerned about moving employees to Alabama in the future" and worry that the company's reputation might be affected by locating in the state, this person said.

While Alabama Governor, Robert Bentley, tries to put a positive spin on his state's awful law by saying, "We are not anti-foreign companies. We are very pro-foreign companies," the fact is, his legislation is anti-immigrant.  Bentley likes to ignore the fact that immigration creates jobs and strengthens economies.

Famous Immigrant of the Week


This week's famous immigrant is ornithologist Jean-Jacques Audubon (or John  James Audubon).  Audubon was born to a French merchant in 1785, in Les Cayes, West Indies.  Audubon came to the US with a false passport in 1803 to avoid conscription into the Napoleonic Wars.  From the Audubon Society website:

John James Audubon was a daring and colorful character renowned for his adventurous nature, his artistic genius, and his obsessive interest in birds. Learn about his life by reading "John James Audubon -The American Woodsman: Our Namesake and Inspiration". He explored the Audubon Roseate Spoonbillnatural history of much of the central  and eastern United States, painted almost 500 species of the 700 or so regularly occurring North American species, worked tirelessly to promote his project, and set a new standard for artistry and printing. Perhaps above all else, Audubon was a lover and observer of birds and nature.

Politically speaking, I am not an environmentalist and I disagree with the Audubon society on a number of issues; however, I thoroughly enjoy their field guides while I'm out and about enjoying nature.  If you're interested in observing and identifying wildlife, plants, rocks and minerals or fungi, these books are a wonderful and easy to use resource.  I am thankful that Audubon came to America and that his books have taught me so much about the world around me.

Woman Must Prove She's a Citizen, Yet Government Makes That Impossible


Whorton arrived in the United States in April 1948, the 16-month-old child of a war bride married to an American who had served overseas and who raised Whorton as his daughter. Whorton's Austrian-born mother was naturalized in 1952 and her mother told Whorton that she had been as well.

Whorton said local Citizenship and Immigration officials denied her request to see the file, even though, she pointed out, they had allowed her to look at her birth father's immigration file and even gave her photographs from it. At that point, she said they denied ever giving her access to her father's file or photographs. She's still not certain why.

She said immigration officials told her that her mother's file did not clear up her citizenship status and that they could provide no further assistance.

So if you're brought into the US as an infant and the government won't allow you to view your parent's records, how in the world do they expect you to be able to prove your citizenship?! 

Leave it to government to harass a peaceful, productive member of society over something as arbitrary and silly as having to prove she's in this country legally.  If she's not violating anyone else's rights, leave her alone and let her live her life!

Weekly Quote

Inviting immigrants in to create jobs may seem counterintuitive, but the facts are clear. Immigrant-led innovation is key to creating U.S. jobs. According to statistics from Partnership for a New American Economy, 40% of Fortune 500 companies were created by immigrants or their children. Further, between 1995 and 2005, 25% of high-tech startups in the United States had at least one immigrant founder, and these companies have created more than 450,000 jobs.
- Amy M. Wilkinson

Deportations Continue to Fuel Corruption, Abuse and Rights Violations

From USA Today and The New York Times comes two stories of government corruption and violations of individual rights regarding the record number of deportations under the ObamaLily Ramos administration.

From USA Today:

After living for 21 years in the U.S., Ramos, 39, was deported to Mexico in September, separated from the two daughters and son she has raised as a single mother since her ex-husband left them seven years ago.

She had lacked legal immigration status since crossing the border into the U.S. as a teenager with her parents, so the threat of arrest and deportation was always there. Even so, Lily, as she is known to friends, had hoped her clean record and two decades of work, paying taxes, going to church and providing for her U.S.-born children would allow her a path to legal status or at least avoid deportation.

Like hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants, her hopes rose with the Obama administration. In July 2010, President Obama said mass deportation of all illegal immigrants would be "intolerable" to most Americans because so many have established deep family roots, often with children who are citizens. He said they should be given a route to legal status: "Our laws should respect families following the rules instead of splitting them apart."

And from The New York Times:

A recent American Civil Liberties Union report, based on documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, uncovered almost 200 accusations of sexual abuse of immigrant detainees. The A.C.L.U. has urged the Department of Justice to abandon a proposed rule that would exempt immigration detention centers from the Prison Rape Elimination Act, a federal law that sets standards for detecting and preventing sexual abuse of people in custody.

It should be of great concern to all Americans that our government is so willing to trample on the very individual rights it's charged with protecting.  Although the US government violates the rights of its citizens every day, the sheer hell it's putting peaceful, hard-working immigrant families through is nothing less than evil and disgusting. 

New Startup Hopes to House Immigrants in International Waters

From this USA Today article:Blueseed-Seasteading-Concept-Vessel

A California start-up company may have found a way to get around  those time-consuming, hard-to-get visas. The company is planning to anchor a ship capable of holding 1,000 people off California's shore — far enough away to be in international waters but close enough to Silicon Valley so occupants, using easier-to-obtain tourist visas and short-term business visas, can hop a quick ferry ride to meet with tech employers and investors on shore.

I am not sure whether to think this is a great idea or a pitiful one.  I guess it's both.  It's great that people are trying to find ways to solve America's problems without the government, but pitiful that the government is actively ruining our economy and people's lives! 

Here's another great article about this startup.  (H/T to Diana Hsieh)

Famous Immigrant of the Week

In case you can't tell, I love old, classic movies.  As such, one of my favorite directors is famous immigrant, Alfred Hitchcock!Alfred Hitchcock 2

Alfred Joseph Hitchcock (August 13, 1899 – April 29, 1980) was born in Leytonstone, England.  He became a US citizen in 1956.  From his page on

The son of a London poultry dealer, Hitchcock attended St. Ignatius College, London, and the University of London, where he studied engineering. In 1920 he began to work in the motion-picture industry, designing title cards for the Famous Players-Lasky Company. Within a few years he had become a scenario writer and an assistant director, and he directed his first film (The Pleasure Garden) in 1925. With The Lodger (1926), the story of a family who mistakenly suspect their roomer to be Jack the Ripper, Hitchcock began making the “thrillers” with which he was to become identified.

During the next three decades Hitchcock usually made a film a year in the Hollywood motion-picture system. Among the important films he directed during the 1940s were Suspicion (1941), Shadow of a Doubt (1943), Lifeboat (1944), Spellbound (1945), and Rope(1948). He began functioning as his own producer in 1948, and he went on in the 1950s to make a series of big-budget suspense films starring some of the leading actors and actresses of Hollywood. These films include Strangers on a Train (1951), Dial M for Murder(1954), Rear Window (1954), To Catch a Thief (1954), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1955; a remake of the 1934 film), Vertigo(1958), and North by Northwest (1959). In the 1960s Hitchcock turned to making thrillers with new and original emphases, among them Psycho (1960), The Birds (1963), and Marnie (1964). His Torn Curtain (1966) and Topaz (1969) are conventional espionage stories, while in his last films, Frenzy (1972) and Family Plot(1976), he returned to his original themes. From the 1940s on Hitchcock usually made a fleeting, wordless appearance in a bit part in each of his films.

It's difficult for me to decide which Hitchcock film is my favorite, but it's a close race between North by Northwest, To Catch a Thief and Rear Window.  Here's a remarkably romantic and intimate scene from Rear Window in which Grace Kelly and Jimmy Stewart manage to get our hearts racing while discussing a possible murder:

California Vineyard Tries to Hire Americans

But once again, they don't want the job.  From the article:

With a nearly 12 percent unemployment rate statewide, you'd imagine most job openings would have applicants lined up around the block, but Vineyardsone local man says he had a difficult time keeping almost any workers on the job.

John Salisbury owns Salisbury Vineyards in Avila Valley and Paso Robles. He needed 32 grape pickers fast for the harvest season in late September and put the call out for anyone to apply, even if they didn't have any experience, advertising on his website and on the radio.

As the saying goes, no wine before its time, but when they're ready, they're ready.

"The idea is to be able to pick them in that one day and get them while they're perfect, but if you have to wait two or three more days, you've maybe missed a peak time," he said.

Workers had to be able to lift 35 pounds, keep up with crews and provide all necessary documentation.

Salisbury now calls his experience a social experiment gone awry. It was ill-fated from the beginning; Salisbury started with 40 applicants, but only seven actually finished the job.

We need to stop this senseless war against peaceful people looking for work and the employers who need and want to hire them.  The workers have a right to work wherever they are hired, and business owners have a right to hire whom they please to work on their property. 

Weekly Quote

From Twitter and BorowitzReport:

We should hire illegal immigrants to cut the budget since it's a job no Americans want to do.

Budgets Groan: Immigration Law Continues to Hurt, Not Help

Florida residents are upset that they are having to live near an immigration detention center.

Detention Center As more and more victimless crimes are invented by our government, more and more people are being sent to prisons. Immigration law is no exception to this rule, and housing those in violation of it has become yet another expensive, government-created problem.

We find it ironic and pitiful that as our country struggles with debt and Republicans claim to be so concerned with taming it, the government deems it prudent to spend all kinds of money to run detention centers for "criminals" whose only "crime" is wanting to work in the US. Surely, the money could be better spent paying down the debt, and the people in the detention centers would be better off as productive, tax-paying members of society!

To top it off, even conservatives are against the project! In a position reminiscent of when RFK Jr. fought against wind turbines being installed and spoiling his pristine view of Cape Cod, the conservatives themselves seem to be taking a "not in my backyard" view:

For nearly a decade leaders of Southwest Ranches have kept their scheme hushed from residents, now the project will become federal government's largest immigrant detention center. The town would have to pay $150,000 each year to keep the prison, but officials say the town would turn a profit by getting 4 percent of what U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement pays the company operating the prison to hold inmates there.

Many residents finally caught wind of the idea this year, when the immigration agency announced a tentative deal, and they're angry. They've held protests at public meetings, contemplated whether to recall the mayor before his March election and whether to amend the town charter to make it easier to fire the city attorney pushing the deal.

The objection over the prison has created an odd set of allies among the town's affluent residents, many of whom are wary of illegal immigrants, and longtime activists who fight for immigrants, legal or not.

Poor babies!

While a detention center is an unsightly blemish on any community, you reap what you sow. If you do not want ugly detention centers popping up all over the place, then perhaps you ought to rethink your support of current immigration law.

Update: AL Law Violates Fair Housing Act

Here is an update from USA Today to a post from last week about how Alabama's new immigration law is preventing manufactured homeowners from obtaining a permit the state requires:

Some portions of Alabama's law, known as HB 56 and described by supporters and critics as the harshest state immigration law in the country, were already blocked by a federal judge. On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson took an additional step by ordering the state to stop denying manufactured home registration permits to people who couldn't prove their U.S. citizenship.

The law forbids illegal immigrants from conducting any business transactions with the state. State officials had interpreted that to mean illegal immigrants couldn't get a yearly permit for their manufactured homes ahead of a Nov. 30 deadline and were also barred from getting a different permit that would allow them to move their manufactured homes on public roads.

Hopefully, the courts will succeed in getting this rights-violating law overturned in its entirety one day!

Immigration No Longer a Voter Issue?

So says the Arizona Republic:

Heading into the 2012 election season, illegal immigration is no longer the red-hot political issue it was just a few years ago.Ugly Pearce

This month's recall of Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce shows the subject has peaked, according to some analysts.

Pearce rode voter concern over illegal immigration to national prominence by championing enforcement-only measures to crack down on undocumented immigrants in Arizona. Those measures were emulated by elected officials around the country.

But his steadfast devotion to immigration enforcement was not enough to keep him in power, in part because illegal immigration is down significantly, border security has improved and voters have moved on to more pressing issues, analysts say.

Russell Pearce has a long track record of being a dubious human being in general. It is entirely possibly that his own personal record of misconduct, poor ability to express himself and many questionable associates did him in as much as anything else; however, here at MoE we would like to think that the vast majority of people who are decent but not politically motivated realized what a scumbag of a human being they had on the public payroll and what a bad idea these immigration laws are, and removed him for that reason.

Elections, especially local ones, are often carried by loud, obnoxious minorities pushing their pet issue. We can only hope that is the case in Arizona with Pearce, and that we see a backlash as the voting public at large rejects these excesses.

Famous Immigrant of the Week

Today we shine the spotlight on actress and philanthropist Audrey Hepburn. audrey-hepburn From

[Audrey Kathleen van Heemstra Ruston] was born on May 4, 1929, in Brussels, Belgium. A talented performer, Audrey Hepburn was known for her beauty, elegance, and grace. Often imitated, she remains one of Hollywood's greatest style icons. A native of Brussels, Hepburn spent part of her youth in England at a boarding school there. During much of World War II, she studied at the Arnhem Conservatory in The Netherlands. After the Nazis invaded the country, Hepburn and her mother struggled to survive. She reportedly helped the resistance movement by delivering messages, according to an article in The New York Times.

Audrey came to the US in the early 1950s and went on to a successful Broadway and Hollywood career, starring in such classics as My Fair Lady, Gigi, Sabrina and Breakfast at Tiffany's.

Here's one of my favorite movie scenes of all time, the embassy ball from My Fair Lady:

The New Yorker's Thanksgiving Cover

From Cover Story: The Promised Land:

New Yorker Cover 112211

Alabama Law Violates Fair Housing Act and the Constitution

From this Gadsden Times article:

A new federal lawsuit was filed Friday challenging a section of Alabama’s immigration law that civil rights groups say makes itMobile-Home-Park1 impossible for those who can’t prove U.S. citizenship or lawful immigration status to legally keep their manufactured homes.

They are challenging a section of the law that prohibits most contracts where one party is an illegal immigrant.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs say that provision is being used by state revenue officials to keep illegal immigrants from paying an annual registration fee and obtaining a decal that by law must be displayed on manufactured homes. State law requires the registration to be renewed by Nov. 30.

This part of the law, like so many others, is a blatant violation of individual rights.  Is America not "the land of the free"?  Free men should be allowed to trade amongst and enter into contracts with each other, so long as they are not violating the rights of anyone else.  Neither these immigrants nor the manufactured home seller is violating anyone's rights by buying and selling the home, and their business should not be interfered with by anyone, much less the very government that is entrusted to protect their right to do business with each other!

Weekly Quote

Authorities, [Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook] said, should be "stapling a visa to every high-tech diploma" [given to foreign students.]

You can read the rest of The Telegraph article here.

Mercedes-Benz Exec Arrested in Alabama

Why are we not surprised?  From AJC and the Associated Press:

A German manager with Mercedes-Benz is free after being arrested for not having a driver’s license with him under Alabama’s new law targeting illegal immigrants, authorities said Friday, in an otherwise routine case that drew the attention of Gov. Robert Bentley.

Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steven Anderson [said] an officer stopped a rental vehicle for not having a tag Wednesday night and asked the driver for his license. The man only had a German identification card, so he was arrested and taken to police headquarters, Anderson said.

The 46-year-old executive was charged with violating the immigration law for not having proper identification, but he was released after an associate retrieved his passport, visa and German driver’s license from the hotel where he was staying, Anderson said.

And from The Local (a German news site):

Mercedes-Benz has built cars at a plant near Tuscaloosa since 1993 and in 2000 invested $600 million (€445 million) in an expansion of the facility. According to the company, the plant provides more than 22,000 jobs and is Alabama’s largest exporter, sending $1 billion (€743 million) in exports throughout the world.

What a great way for the state of Alabama to thank this visiting German and his company for bringing prosperity and jobs to Alabama and the United States!  Remember when we said that these laws won't just drive out hard working immigrants but also pointlessly harass citizens and those who are here legally?  The chickens are coming home to roost!

Personal Note About Posting

After miscarrying earlier this year, I'm happy to announce that I'm pregnant again!  Santiago and I are very excited and very much looking forward to having1st ultrasound jpeg our first child.  

With all that's going on, including not feeling all that great right now, I'm finding I have less time to blog these days, so my apologies for not posting at least once per weekday.  I'm hoping to get a bit more help from Santiago and others going forward, so if you or anyone you know would like to submit a story or idea for Mother of Exiles, please email it to motheroexiles[at]

Famous Immigrant of the Week

Poor Hungarian, Andrew S. Grove, came to the United States in 1956 at the age of 20. He went on to become one of the founders and CEO of Intel Corporation. From Wikipedia:

Intel Corporation is an American multinational semiconductor chip  maker corporation headquartered in Santa Clara, California, United intel-insideStates and the world's largest semiconductor chip maker, based on revenue.[4] It is the inventor of the x86 series of microprocessors, the processors found in most personal computers.

From Grove's faculty profile on the Stanford website:

Dr. Grove has written over 40 technical papers and several books, including Physics and Technology of Semiconductor Devices, as well as High Output Management and Only the Paranoid Survive. He has received a number of honorary degrees and other honors. He was named Time Magazine's "Man of the Year" in 1997, and received the IEEE 2000 Medal of Honor, and the 2001 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Strategic Management Society. In 2004, he was named the Most Influential Business Person in the Last Twenty-Five Years by the Wharton School of Business and the Nightly Business Report.

He chaired the Campaign for UCSF which raised $1.6B, and has been active in cancer and neuroscience research through his private family foundation. His current interests also include energy policy.

You can read more about Andrew Grove in his biography, "Andy Grove: The Life and Times of An American."

Weekly Quote

Robert Bentley

"It's not a bad bill. It's just somewhat confusing and it's difficult to explain to people," [Alabama Governor Robert Bentley] said.

Capitalism and Immigration

Thanks to my friend Paul L. for linking me to the following awesome video of a Russian immigrant interviewing some Occupy Wall Street Protesters and defending capitalism.  Capitalism is the only socioeconomic system that can solve this country's economic crisis, and thus its perceived immigration problem. » Meet Former Soviet Citizen Who Confronted Occupy Wall Street Socialists

Number of Children in Foster Care Booms Due to Obama Administration's Deportations

My heart is broken and my stomach sickened by the very country I once loved so much, but after reading this Reason article about children being placed into Parents Deportedfoster care after their hard-working parents are deported, how else can I feel?

This is just one story of many from a startling new report issued by the Applied Research Center, which found that 46,000 parents of children born in the U.S. have been deported in the last six months, with many of them forced to leave their kids behind. Another 5,100 children of undocumented workers, an estimate that the ARC says is conservative, are currently in foster care and unlikely to see their deported parents again…

This is not America.  This is not the country that was founded on the principle of individual rights.  This is not the country that Thomas Jefferson wrote about so eloquently.  This is not a nation of justice and laws, but a nation of immoral laws and unfairness.  I'm ashamed, disturbed and saddened by the mess that is the US Government.  It is not a government of the people, by the people or for the people, and until it is, things will only get worse.

Famous Immigrant of the Week

Today we feature Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google.  Sergey immigrated to  the US with his family from Moscow in 1979 to escape Jewish persecution.  After receiving degrees in mathematics and computer science from University ofSergey Brin Maryland, he entered Stanford University where he met Google co-founder, Larry Page. 

From his page:

As a research project at Stanford University, Brin and Page created a search engine that listed results according to the popularity of the pages, after concluding that the most popular result would often be the most useful. They called the search engine Google after the mathematical term "Googol," which is a 1 followed by 100 zeros, to reflect their mission to organize the immense amount of information available on the Web.

Google is now a publicly traded company and likely the most recognizable brand name anywhere on the web.  Google also employs tens of thousands of people, once again proving that immigration is a net benefit to the United States and its economy.

Quick Hits - Government Black Markets in Everything

Once again, I find my queue filling with links about government-created black markets, bureaucracies gone bad and government officials gone wild.  Rather than create a blog post for each of these stories, I will list them here:

A former intelligence analyst for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement pleaded guilty to embezzling federal funds...

A Toronto rabbi who fled the U.S. five years ago is accused of being the ringleader of a massive immigration fraud mill in the United States…

The former chief of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in South Florida is out on bail awaiting trial on child pornography charges.

Immigration agent accused of pot smuggling in Arizona

Complaints about the St. Louis immigration office warrant investigation

Fake lawyers and notaries prey on immigrants

Russell Pearce Recalled in Arizona

Never before have two sad faces made me so happy.  From this FoxNews Latino Pearce Arpaio Arizonastory:
In an unprecedented recall election, Arizona's State Senator and Senate President Russell Pearce, conceded defeat Tuesday. The defeat was a stunning rebuke to the author of Arizona's controversial immigration law and could serve as a warning signal to politicians who have advocated hard-line policies on immigration.
We're no fan of Pearce (or his evil buddy, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio), as you may recall from our earlier posts about him and his white supremacist friends.  We consider this victory a wake up call to all the racist, rights-violating, anti-immigrant types out there who think they can take over America.  There are still plenty of Americans left who know what individual rights are, why we have them and why they must be defended by a moral government.  You should consider us your enemy rather than the helpless, hard working immigrants you rail against and throw into your prisons.  Come fight us head on.  We are not afraid of you.  We have truth, justice and moral principles on our side and we will never surrender to evil power-lusters like you.

Weekly Quote

"Surely, there are some (immigrants) that break the law," [Bill Schatzman, the Forsyth County, North Carolina, Republican sheriff] said. "But clearly, they're not the largest population in our jail, and they're not the largest population that goes through our court system. It would be my experience, based on facts, that this is a law-abiding community."

You can read up on the facts and the rest of what Sheriff Schatzman has to say here.

Quick Hits Regarding AL Immigration Law

There is so much immigration news coming out of Alabama, it's been difficult to blog about it all, so a few weeks ago I decided to compile a list of links to share in this one blog post, as follows:

Can't Deport Us All Decatur Utilities now prohibits illegal immigrants from obtaining electric, gas, water or sewer service.

Alabama’s tomato crop is rotting due to the mass exodus of immigrant workers following that state’s draconian new anti-immigrant law.

Fear of detention, families torn apart – Hispanics in Alabama are trapped in a unique half-life under punishing new immigrant laws.

Test fails to replace immigrant laborers with U.S. citizens in Alabama.

The weak economy has hurt business. But nothing has battered Discount Grocery and Variety worse than Alabama's newly enacted immigration law…

Few Americans take immigrants' jobs in Alabama, farmers say they will have to downsize or let crops die on the vine.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has filed a lawsuit against a probate judge in Montgomery county for not letting a U.S. citizen and an undocumented immigrant obtain marriage license.

No US help on Alabama immigration law, Homeland secretary Janet Napolitano says.

Critics See ‘Chilling Effect’ in Alabama Immigration Law

U.S. Faces Severe Shortages of Farm Workers

Famous Immigrant of the Week

Oh no!  I just realized I missed posting the Famous Immigrant of the Week last Friday.  Better late than never! Xmas Card

Today, I wish to honor Louis Prang. I'd never heard of Prang before my search today, but I am thankful to him for selling the first Christmas cards in America.  Sending and  receiving Christmas cards each year is a tradition in our home, and I love the more recent tradition of people including "annual updates" with their Christmas cards.  I love hearing about kids, pets and summer vacations, as well as anything else going on with friends and family I may not get too see as often as I like.

From this article:

Prang was born March 12, 1824 in Breslau, Silesia (then in Prussia, now Wroclaw, Poland). As a child, he apprenticed in his father's factory dyeing calico. At the age of 18, he traveled as a journeyman through Europe, studying dyeing and printing. During his travels, Prang became involved in revolutionary activities. With the Prussian government on his tail, he fled to the Boston, Massachusetts via Switzerland.

In 1856, Prang started a lithograph company with partner Julius Mayer. L. Prang & Co. In 1873, Prang created Christmas greeting cards for the popular English market. The following year, he expanded his greeting card offering and began selling the the first Christmas Cards in America.

In this age of electronic communications, it's quite pleasant to receive a colorful, fun card and a note from loved ones.  It's a tradition I hope continues for a long time.

Local Police Not Obligated to Hold Undocumented Immigrants Per DHS

According to this Huffington Post article:

Local law enforcement agencies are not required to hold undocumented immigrants at the request of the federal government, according to internal Department of Homeland Security documents obtained by a coalition of groups critical of the Secure Communities enforcement program.

The documents could provide ammunition for jurisdictions that no longer want to participate in Secure Communities, which allows federal immigration authorities to use fingerprints to scan those arrested by local law enforcement. They also support recent actions by Cook County, Ill., Santa Clara, Calif., and San Francisco, all of which decided this year to stop adhering to federal requests to hold undocumented immigrants who were either low-level offenders or were accused of felonies.

While I believe people who have committed real crimes (i.e. they have violated someone's individual rights) should be dealt with by law enforcement and the courts, it makes me very happy to see that local police may not be forced to comply with Secure Communities.  Secure Communities is government cronyism at its finest and needs to be abolished.  Deporting peaceful, productive people and separating them from their families, friends and employers is not good for anyone or the US economy.

Picking and Choosing Immigrants is Un-American

I love this letter that was written to the Financial Times.  Please click through and read it in its entirety, but here's an excerpt:

I am outraged whenever someone suggests that the US has too many immigrants of this or that description. What gives Mr. Wendt the right to decide which group of people can participate in the American dream?

Weekly Quote

“One has rights not by virtue of being an American, but by virtue of being human.” - Harry Binswanger

Decreasing Immigration is Bad for America

According to this article from The Christian Science Monitor, there are four reasons for the drop in migration from Border CrossingMexico:

1.) More enforcement on the US side - The Obama Administration's Secure Communities program and its record number of deportations, states like Alabama and Arizona passing "get tough" laws, and double the number of border patrol agents.

2.) The downturn in the US economy - Construction and manufacturing jobs are simply not available any longer.

3.) The improving Mexican economy - Most Mexicans would rather stay home, and with higher wages, better access to education and more jobs, many are finding that a more viable option.

4.) Crime in Mexico - Immigrants coming from beyond Mexico's southern border have been driven away by Mexico's high crime rate and the drug war that America pushes on the Mexican government.  This has led to high rates of murder, kidnapping, drug and human smuggling crimes.

So essentially, many Americans have gotten exactly what they've been asking for - far fewer Latino immigrants in America.  (It makes me wonder why they're still complaining!?)  But let's examine why each of these items could be bad for Americans.

1.) More enforcement on the US side - Secure communities and Obama's deportations are costing this country literally billions and billions of dollars at a time when our government is already bankrupt.  The vast majority of those being deported are simply here to work and make a better life for their families, so the fact that our government is wasting money on sending them back to their home countries is foolish at best and evil at worst.  Yes, we should jail or deport criminals who violate the rights of others, but deporting a productive mother of three children for a minor traffic violation is simply ridiculous.

2.) The downturn in the US economy - This obviously isn't good for anyone.  With unemployment rates in some US states at just under 10%, America is definitely in need of more companies such as Google, Dupont, Intel, Carnival Cruise Lines and others, all of which were founded by immigrants.  In addition, struggling US companies could really use an inexpensive labor pool to help them stay in business.  And finally, US farmers need people willing to do the back-breaking work of harvesting and planting crops.  Inexpensive products and services, lower food costs and jobs creation is definitely something that would be a benefit to all Americans and the people who migrate here.

3.) The improving Mexican economy - While the improving Mexican economy is good news for the entire global economy, the lack of immigrants from Mexico means that the affordable labor pool in America may be drying up.  That will lead to higher prices on the goods and services Americans have become spoiled to.  Of course, we wouldn't have to rely on affordable immigrant labor if our own government would butt out of the economy.  Minimum wage and other labor laws need to be repealed and businesses need to be free to manage their companies as they see fit.  This would lead to more American jobs, albeit with lower wages, but our cost of living would also decrease so we could live on the lower wages.  That being said, the government shows no signs of letting the free markets reign, so cutting off our cheap labor supply only signals more troubled economic times ahead for Americans.

4.) Crime in Mexico - Crime in Mexico is obviously bad for America, particularly land owners along the US' southern border.  It is not right for the property rights of Americans living along the border to be violated on a daily basis by human and drug smugglers; however, we need to put the blame for this problem where it rightfully lies, on the US Government.  The government has created black markets in both human and drug smuggling, which accounts for the vast majority of crime along our southern border.  Like Prohibition in the 20s and early 30s, when the government tries to legislate morality, all they successfully do is raise the crime rate and create criminals where there would otherwise be none.  The government's only proper function is the protection of individual rights and it should protect the rights of US citizens along the border by passing meaningful immigration reform and repealing drug laws.

The bottom line here, once again, is that America is hurting due to a lack of capitalism.  Capitalism, as Ayn Rand states, "is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned."  If men are left free to trade with each other voluntarily, as they see fit and act in accordance with their own best interests, you will see prosperity unlike any country, including America, has ever seen.  Once again, I strongly encourage everyone to read Capitalism the Unknown Ideal and educate yourself on the true meaning of real capitalism, not the mixed-economy, mixed-socialist mess our country now suffers from.

J. Brian Phillips' Interview with an Immigrant

J. Brian Phillips of Individual Rights and Government Wrongs recently posted this interview with an immigrant.  I repost it here in its entirety with his permission, but his blog covers a variety of subjects, is very good and definitely worth a look.

An interview with an immigrant

By J. Brian Phillips

The following interview was conducted with an immigrant from the Philippines and her fiance. Their names are not revealed because their situation has not been resolved. The interview reveals some of the difficulties experienced by those seeking to legally immigrate to the United States.

You were living in America and owned a home. Yet, you were forced to leave the country. Could you tell us why?

She: The decision to leave the country came about when my work informed me that they will not proceed with their sponsorship of my permanent residency.  I was on 5th of 6 years of my work visa, which is only good for 6 yrs at a time, after which I would have to leave the country for a full year so another fresh 6 yrs (3 yrs renewable for another 3 yrs) will be granted to me IF there is another employer willing to sponsor the visa.  Given that I had only 1 year left on my visa, I did not think any new employer would be willing to sponsor (based on recruiters belief during my job hunt) thus I thought I should leave to be more productive.

Where were you working?

She: I worked in an accounting firm (will not mention the name).

What happened to the house that you owned?

She: I sold it. I was hoping to keep it while figuring ways of being able to pay it off including working outside the country (like Canada where income could be somewhat the same as US). However, my HOA Board members denied me twice for my request to lease the house hoping it would help me cover my mortgage. That was another frustrating situation I learned about HOA. Their denial was because the cap for leased units have been met and they would not even consider my request due to hardship. The HOA by-law provided that the Board could make an exception to the cap for hardship requests. Being in the situation with an impending income to lose and even if I make money outside the US, I do not think it was rightfully correct to pay for a house that I cannot live in and cannot even make money out of because things happened beyond my control. It cost me $2,000/month including the HOA fees. Despite my frustration, I did not want to walk away from the house so my next option was to enter into a short sale and it went through after a couple of months with the help of a great realtor.

Why did your employer decide to not sponsor your permanent residency? Was it too expensive or too much of a hassle for them?

She: The company did start the sponsorship but two years through the process, the office changed management. The new partners said they would not continue with it. When I asked for the reason, I was referred to HR who said that Dept of Labor (DOL) was involved in the processing and part of the requirement to complete the process is for them to prove that there are no locals who can fulfill their personnel requirement. It was still recession and so there were many locals in the market, who may have different sets of skills as mine but DOL just made the process very difficult by adding requirements and auditing applications which prolonged the process. It completely made sense to give priority to locals but what I did not hope was for it to become a detriment to foreign workers who are able to do the job well.

He: Outside of her specific experience, throughout my career in IT I have employed and worked with a large number of immigrant workers. The H1B (work visa) process requires that job descriptions be filed for each position you may hire an immigrant for, and that immigrant workers can only be considered if US Nationals are not available to fill that role. The guidelines are open to a lot of interpretation, and more or less stringent focus is applied depending on political headwinds. With the focus turning to jobs and the economy, there was a stricter interpretation of loosely defined guidelines. I saw that repeatedly in my line of work.

Let me make sure I understand. You were working and doing a good job. The company planned to keep you on, but the government changed the rules and the company essentially had to fire you. Is that basically the situation?

She: Yes, I believe so.

He: Both.  The new partners at the company decided that they would no longer sponsor visas (it costs money to do so).  When she asked why they told her to ask the government (via HR)…essentially they hid behind the ever-changing interpretation of immigration laws, rather than be forthright that they didn’t want to pay for her visa.

What was the process for being allowed to return to America?

She: Since we decided to get married, we went through the fiancé (K1) visa option after considering the timeline and costs involved vs other immigrant-type visas.  he filed a petition for a fiancé visa for me which was approved and I then had to appear at the US Consulate in Manila for interviews after which a fiancé visa was granted to me.

He: This was a 7 month process, which cost us roughly $2000 in documentation and filing fees. We did all documentation and follow-up with the government ourselves to avoid legal fees that would double or triple that cost. During the 7 months, there were several waiting periods with no feedback, and phone/email follow-ups went unanswered 95% of the time. The K1 visa allows for a one-time entry in the USA, after which the fiancée has 90 days to get married or leave the country.

There are various approval forms the government sends out, as you approved at each stage, some of which are needed to move to the next stage. One of those was lost in the mail. When I called to get another sent, I was invited to file a form (along with a $408 fee) to request another copy to be mailed to me. I was told that five times, until the sixth person I talked to said they would file a “Service Request” on my behalf and have another copy sent. No charge.

Since you chose the K1 option, I assume that other options are slower, more expensive, or both. Could you describe them?

She: One is spouse visa. That means we should be married before I can come back to the US. It is more expensive because the processing will be mostly done outside of the country and the process is longer. Since it would be longer, that means he would have to come back sooner and who knows when I could follow him. The good thing about the spouse visa is I would have been a green card holder upon arrival in the US, thus would be able to work when a job is available. We did not pursue this because we wanted to wait to get married in the US and not rush to get the benefits of the green card. We’d also rather be waiting together here in the US than miles away from each other for who knows how long.

He: This is called the K3 visa process. And I believe the timeline is around 11-18 months.

She: The other is work visa, which is the same one I had. This however is based upon having an employer willing to sponsor the visa. Due to the continued recession, there is an apparent absence of such employer. The process has become more difficult and expensive.

He: This is the H1B visa process.

I understand that, upon returning to America, you had some restrictions on your employment. What were those restrictions?

She: Under the K1 visa, I am entitled to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).  This EAD is necessary for me to legally able to work. The EAD process takes an average of 60 days to approve. In addition, this EAD is only good for 90 days from my entry, so within this period, we are required (by visa requirement) to get married. After which I have to adjust my status as fiancé to a permanent resident and concurrently apply for a new EAD. Whichever comes first of the permanent resident card or EAD will allow me to work wherever I choose. It should be noted that for every filing, the immigration office charges us hundreds or thousands of dollars, including to prove that I will not be a burden to USA – which is ironic… to ask me for money when I could have just saved it and start earning and paying them taxes.

He: A significant part of receiving both the K1 visa pre-entry, and the Conditional Permanent Residency (Green Card) is proving that she “will not become a ward of the state”. As proof of my ability to support her, I had to submit documentation of current income, assets, tax returns, and sign a form authorizing the government to sue me if she ever claims food stamps or other forms of welfare.  We find it ironic that they are so concerned about her becoming a ward of the state, but they put so many restrictions on her ability to earn money (and pay tax revenue).  The various documentation required to prove support, gain work authorization, and adjust status to Permanent Resident will cost us an additional $1200. Again, we have done this work ourselves to avoid legal fees.  Large industries exist to help complete and file that documentation for you.

I’d say that the process is costing you a lot more than $1200. You are also losing her income during this period. Realistically, how long will it be before she can work?

She: Based on government timeline of processing documents, the latest date to get an approval is December 29, 2011 (90 days from their acceptance of my application). If not, they want me to follow them up to check if they messed up and find out why they failed to meet their target. It can be sooner, depending on how fast the government employees work.

He: That’s a good point.

What are the conditions attached to the Green Card?

She: The first two years is conditioned to my being married to him to make sure that we are not fraudulently marrying for immigration purposes. Within 90 days before the two year anniversary of the green card, I should apply for removal of the condition. If I fail to do so, they will cancel the green card and proceed with deportation proceedings.

Will there be any conditions for staying in the country after that?

She: I am not sure. I haven’t made my research on other restrictions/condition.

He: We hope not.

Were you ever tempted to stay in the country illegally? Why or why not?

She: Not tempted at all. The five years was great work and life experience for me and I would not trade it for anything. America is a great country but I have far more confidence in myself than in the country where I chose to “try it out.” I have made great friends and I love living in convenience but if it were not for him, I would have no strong tie/s to make me stay in the US. I was confident that I will do great wherever country I end up at that time. Going back to the Philippines was not scary because with my skills and ability I knew I would end with a good job back home. The way of living is nothing compared to the US but I knew better how to live life well. That being said, I don’t think it was worth doing anything against the law no matter how much I think it is too much red tape.

He: I would add how conscientious she was about doing things by the law. After her employment in the US ended (July 2010), but up until the time she left the US (October), she met with an attorney and filed documentation to adjust her status from being in the US for work (H1B visa), to being in the US for tourist (B2 visa) purposes. This was done with the intention of following the law, and also to not have any potential trouble spots should she want to return to the USA in the future.  The government accepted her fees, but did not complete the adjustment of status until after she had already left the country.

The process for someone to come to the US legally is long and expensive. What recommendations would you make for reforming that system?

She: I do not blame the government for making it difficult to migrate to the US. The policies have evolved because of people who have and will continue to misuse and abuse or get around the process to migrate. I think they intentionally lengthen the process to discourage those who are impatient.

Re the system,

  1. I think there are duplicate processes that can be eliminated including background checks.
  2. Dept of Homeland Security should add MORE competent employees. I do not understand how processing can be slow with the aid of technology between government agencies

He: There is clearly no communication between departments…some of which is intentional, i think they want to see if you provide the same answers/information consistently.

At her consulate interview in Manila, where we most feared a government bureaucrat looking at a checklist unable and unempowered to make a logical decision, we were wrong. The consulate looked at all the evidence and the entire situation and holistically determined that she belonged in the U.S. So it worked out.

It’s fine to make the immigration process thorough and complete….it just could be done so much more efficiently and intelligently. And it’s clear that they are making money just because they can. At the end of day though I think most of the people who really want to come to the US, and are willing to make the effort, can make it through the process.

The US is still a place that draws the best and brightest from around the world, and the immigration process, though archaic, is not keeping those folks from coming here…fortunately for me.  There are other areas, such as the quality of our education and the competitiveness of our workforce, more worthy of focus to keep our country strong and to remain attractive to the brave people around the world who are willing to leave their countries and families behind for a chance at a better life.

While it appears that this story will have a happy ending, for nearly a year, the future of these two individuals was under the control of government bureaucrats. They endured needless stress and expense in their efforts to secure government permission to immigrate.

There are four parties involved in this story: the immigrant, her employer, her fiancé, and the government. The immigrant had no choice in her place of birth. Neither her employer nor her fiancé cared where she was born. Her employer cared only about her competence in performing her job; her fiancé cared only about his love for her. It was the government that made an issue of her place of birth. It was the government that used that fact to force the employer to act contrary to his own judgment. It was government that forced the immigrant and her fiancé to overcome arbitrary obstacles so that they could act as they judged best for their lives. Why? Why does government care about the place of birth of a particular individual?

As she mentions in the interview, the government wants American businesses to hire Americans first. Only when qualified Americans cannot be found is the business permitted to hire an immigrant. And what constitutes a qualified American is largely in the discretion of government bureaucrats, not the business. Underlying this policy is the premise that Americans have a “right” to a job, but immigrants do not.

The fact is, nobody has a right to a job. Rights are not a claim to an object, but the freedom to take the actions necessary to create or earn that object. There is only the right of a business to offer a job to the individual of its choosing and the right of that individual to accept or reject the offer. To claim that Americans have a “right” to a job means that if a business hires Jim, it violates Bob’s “right” to a job.

Fundamentally, rights pertain to freedom of choice–the freedom to choose one’s values and the means for attaining them. Government regulations, including those regarding immigration, prevent individuals from acting on their choices. In this situation, the employer, the immigrant, and the fiancé were forced to act contrary to their own judgment. The rights of all three were violated by the government’s immigration policies.

Every individual–including those born in other countries–has a moral right to live as and where he chooses, as long as he respects the mutual rights of others. Rights are not magic endowments bestowed upon those fortunate enough to be born in America. As philosopher Harry Binswanger writes, “One has rights not by virtue of being an American, but by virtue of being human.”

The only moral and proper purpose of government is the protection of individual rights. Limitations on immigration violate the rights of immigrants and those who wish to associate with them–in this case, both her employer and her finance.

The woman in this interview had violated nobody’s rights. She had not committed theft or murder; she was not guilty of kidnapping or fraud. Her only “crime” was being born in another country. The only facts that changed were the government’s policies, which changed to satisfy public sentiment. Government policy prohibited both the employer and the employee from contracting with one another on terms that each found acceptable. Government policy prevented both the employer and the employee from acting as they judged best. Government policy forced the immigrant and her fiance to seek government permission to pursue their personal happiness. The fact that this couple was able to navigate the bureaucracy and pay the appropriate fees does not diminish the immoral nature of America’s immigration laws.

Open immigration does not mean that anyone wishing to move to America should be free to do so. Those who pose an objective threat to Americans–such as criminals, would-be terrorists, and those with communicable diseases–should be rightly barred. But those who simply want to make a better life for themselves and their family should be welcomed with open arms and open borders.