Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Immigration Rreform

As it seems likely to pass, I want to talk about Immigration Reform.

One of the main issues is 'amnesty'.  By that, people refer to giving illegal immigrants a benefit, making it easier for them to become citizens than normal people.

I think they should be neither aided nor punished in the new legal system.  

But there are lots of things we do wrong.  Lets start with the first thing:

  1. 1)  We have no guest worker program.  Look, America NEEDS cheap labor.  We need farm workers, maids, gardeners, and child care.   We typically hire immigrants to do this hard 'unskilled' labor.  So it needs to be part of the law.
  2. We give special preferences to certain countries.  Pure racism.  It should be stopped.
  3. We don't let in enough of the very talented workers.
  4. We give special preferences to family members - not just husband/wives/children, but also brothers, sisters, etc.
I think we need to fix that.

Here are some numbers.

(Source) In 2011, we got 694,193 new citizens.  They tend to move to California, Florida, New York, Texas and New Jersey (in order)  The top five countries are Mexico, India, Philippines, China, and Colombia (in that order).   By far most are from Mexico, and by far most go to California.

To become a citizen, you must have Legal Permanent Resident status (LPR), be 18, lived here for at least 5 years (3 if married to a US citizen), speak, read, write English, pass a simple Government and History test, and have good moral character.

There are certain exceptions for legal (not biological) children of US citizens and people that served in our military.

Now let's talk a bit more about the various quota methods.

There is no quota on numbers to become citizen.  There are quotas on Legal Permanent Resident Status (Visas).

Immediate relatives (Spouse/widow/widower/children under 21 and parents of an adult citizen).   This includes step and adopted relationships.  There are NO quotas for this category.  An unlimited number of people can get in by marring.

Note children means under 21. Unmarried children means adult children.  Married children are adult children that are married

F1  Unmarried children (and their children, i.e. grandchildren)
F2  Spouses, Children and unmarried children of green card holders. 
F3 Married children (and their spouses and children)
F4  Brothers and sisters, their spouses and children.

First off all, this seems ridiculously complicated to me.  Partly because we seem to be running it as a charity, instead of a country.  Millions of people want to get into the US we should not give it out to the saddest story.    I have no idea why F2 and F4 exist.   People that are not citizens should not be granting benefits to other.  Brothers and Sisters should not get special treatment.

Next are the Employment based quotas.

Here you have:

E1  Extraordinary people  (Athletes, CEOs and other celebrity types)
E2  Professionals  (Doctors, lawyers, Scientists, etc.)
E3  Skilled workers
E4  Special (Clergy, employees of the US government, members of certain international organizations such as Red Cross, etc.)  also their family
E5  Investors  - you can buy in with a $500,000 investment.

That's about it.

OK,   lets talk about how it should work.  We should be offering 4 different types of Visas.

  1. Work Card.   Anyone that is not pregnant and not a criminal.   States can put a 'foreign worker' extra tax of up to 25% on those that have it.   They last for a period of 6 months, renewable for another 6 months  - as long as you have not gotten pregnant (pregnancy test required for women - paid for by the US from fees charged to both male and female people that apply).  After 1 year, you must leave for at least 3 months, then you can return and try again.  If you get pregnant while on this, you will never be given another Work Card.  NO QUOTAS.
  2. Legal Resident Card.   Usually only granted to spouses, children and parents of existing citizens or people with Professional Card or the Green Card.   Also may be granted to 'hardship cases' (i.e. you are seeking asylum, etc.)   You can only work upto 20 hours a week using this card.   If you are found working more than 20 hours a week using this card, you will never be given any other card (unless you yourself report it within the first month of it happening).  No special taxes.  NO QUOTAS
  3. Professional Card.  You can't be taxed different with this.   To get it, you must qualify as what used to be the old E1,E2, E4, or E5.  Note this includes soldiers and other employees of the US government.   NO QUOTAS.
  4. Green Card - old E3, F1 and F3.   Quota on how many can get this.   
Make it clear that Work Cards do not grant LPR.  Otherwise keep the same system.

Note, these changes mean that we will get a lot more extraordinarily people, and professionals.  We will have guest workers without being forced to give them citizenship.   Brothers and sisters of citizen and green card holders can apply for and get Work Cards.   Permanent Residency is a luxury item, not a charity item.

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