Immigration is defined in law in a pretty straightforward manner. If you cross US borders, you are defined as an immigrant unless you fit into one of twenty two different non-immigrant categories defined in 8USC§1101(a)(15). Each letter subsection of that section corresponds to the more familiar letter codes for non-immigrant visas. Most people are not familiar with all of them but the definitions aren’t particularly complex or confusing. If you’re seeking to cross the border as an immigrant, there are several sections under 8USC Subchapter II that apply. If you are a citizen, you’ve got to have a passport to leave or return.
Neither side in the immigration debate seems to want to lay out, specifically, what sections of the law they wish to change and how exactly they want to change it. Are there extremist imams getting R visas and endangering the safety of americans (mostly muslims)? That’s not the way we talk about immigration. Why,exactly, is the secretary of Labor involved in the issuance of visas?
We’d be a lot better off if discussion of the law had a lot more law in it.
6 thoughts on “US Immigration defined”
“We’d be a lot better off if discussion of the law had a lot more law in it.”
With respect, “law” is deeper down into the hierarchy than goals, policy, logistics, strategy … The law, at present, tends to reflect the goals and policies of lawmakers from two or more generations ago. It is not at all clear to me that those goals have been well publicized. It might be that federal management of the “labor supply” is (was?) the primary goal of the system, at one time. In which case, yes, the Secretary of Labor may be a primary agent of tactical decision making.
The “build a wall” faction, it seems to me, is focused on a logistical aspect of the system. Whatever the law might be, if would-be immigrants from – literally – overseas nations like the Philippines or India must complete paperwork and check in and out of gates at various airports, they are at a severe competitive disadvantage to others who much more simply walk or drive into our territory from overland origins such as Guatemala or Mexico.
Suppose for argument’s sake that it were the declared policy of the United States to offer preference in refugee status to Christians persecuted in Islamic or Communist nations, over (say) refugees fleeing racial, linguistic, or tribal persecutions in Africa or the Balkins. Then we would have an interesting challenge of refining the law of refugees to reflect this policy preference. Does our present leadership understand what our present law actually does in terms of such preferences? Can it be explained to the electorate? Does the electorate agree with the current policy, or are there other priorities? (Say, for those terrified of “Global Warming” — should we be offering preference to refugees fleeing rising sea levels from nations like Kiribati or Tuvalu?)
I would also like to know more about the goals and intentions of those here who have postponed, or chosen never to begin, the pursuit of citizenship. Are they here only to garner a wage and send it back to their nation of origin (and loyalty?) Are they here to build an estate? What percentage intend their own children to assimilate into our culture, and what share intend that their children remain loyal to the “motherland” and isolated from the Gringo/English/Xtian/Western culture surrounding them? What measures would be expected by the newcomers, to be imposed by the oldtimers, to help ensure that goals and intentions among the two groups are shared?
If we start from an analysis of current law to reveal the preferences of Ted Kennedy and his ilk back in the 1960’s; fine. But otherwise I would not like to discuss changes in law without better discussion and perhaps agreement about the intentions of our existing citizenry towards potential new
I have spent much too much of my time reading “insider” pundits who confidently state that the President of the United States can’t just turn off the immigration spigot to a country or a class of people. 8USC1182(f) clearly states that he can do just that by proclamation at his discretion. Now you can say that this would be a good policy or a bad policy but you are wasting the time of the american people if you are on national TV programs stating that Trump is ignorant for saying he will pause muslim immigration when it is the pundit who turns out to be ignorant on the law.
Trump’s muslim immigration pause is legal but I would bet if you polled it, a large chunk of the american people think it is not. They believe that because they have been told to believe it by insider “experts” who are no such thing.
Here’s a helpful link with a profile of one Thomas Perez, Secretary Of Labor:
As to why he’s issuing visa’s I cannot say, but as with most matters concerning the regime, where there is smoke, there’s plenty of fire.
While looking around for tidbits on this character, I was reminded of the diminutive wise-ass, Robert Reich, who early on, complained about “white construction workers”.
Will – Secretary Perez certifies that people coming in to work will not negatively affect native workers by lowering their wages. The next Secretary will be doing the same thing. Should this be in the department job responsibilities list is what I was asking.
8 USC §1101(a)(15) has permission for “aliens” seeking seeking a temporary and transitory stay in the U.S. When people colloquially refer to “immigrants”, they mean aliens seeking a new domicile and permanent home in the U.S. That usually means green cards and citizenship. But I like the approach, just applied to those statutes.
For example, U.S. employers ask to expand H1B visas because of a engineer shortage. Critics say, there’s no shortage, the H1B system is a cynical ploy to suppress wages of U.S. resident engineers. I say, issue more H1Bs and issue green cards on a priority basis to to anyone holding an H1B visa for, say, 18 months. Employers solve their “shortage”, labor mobility counters wage suppression, and the 18-months is a nice probationary period to help weed out those who aren’t real engineers. (I know H1Bs apply to other categories, but engineer is often what’s offered up.)
We, like a lot of Western nations, have an existing path to permanent residency/citizenship for those who invest a certain amount in a U.S. business. Let’s expand that and give it priority over other categories.
Govco – The H1B transition to green card process is a real thing and already in existence.
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