Waits for immigration status -- the legal way -- can be long and frustrating

Article author: 
Moni Basu
Article publisher: 
Article date: 
9 September 2014
Article category: 
National News
Article Body: 

In the debate over immigration, there's a common refrain from people who oppose a path to residency for undocumented immigrants: "Why don't they get in line?" ...

Both advocates and foes of looser immigration controls agree America's immigration laws -- complex and often unwieldy -- need to change.

"The immigration system -- yeah, it doesn't work very well. It lets in too many people, from my perspective," said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which favors tightening immigration to the United States.

But Yesenia doesn't see it that way.

With Congress deadlocked on the contentious issue, Yesenia and other immigration reform advocates placed their hope with President Barack Obama and his publicly stated intention to take executive action ...

Yesenia has always held to one belief: If you do good things in life, good things will come to you.

So she keeps a smile on her face as she wakes up before the sun ascends over Los Angeles, gets herself ready and climbs into the driver's seat of the school bus she drives ...

At 37, she is a working single mom. She's hardly rich but has managed to eke out a life for herself and her two daughters. She has never looked back on the day that her parents brought her over the border from Mexico ...

One of her sisters sponsored her for permanent residency, or a green card, in 1997. The latest State Department visa bulletin indicates that Mexicans sponsored by a sibling who filed by January 22, 1997, are just now having their applications considered. Yesenia, who asked that her full name be withheld because she is undocumented ...

She came close to deportation once but found relief through Obama's executive order on prosecutorial discretion in 2012. Removal proceedings against her were canceled because she arrived in America as a child, has lived here for 24 years and now has two [Anchor Baby] children who are U.S. citizens ...

"Advocates are trying to sell you a bill of goods," he [Krikorian] said. "They need to acknowledge what they are calling for is unlimited immigration ..."

 He said the system should allow for unlimited immigration but only for a few categories of people. Only the highest skilled job applicants should be given permanent visas, he said. And people should not be allowed to sponsor their siblings.

"Brothers and sisters is one of the worst categories -- it drives an endless chain migration," Krikorian said.

Elimination of that category would end the green card quest for people like Yesenia ...

CAIRCO Research

Chain migration and family reunification

Anchor babies, birthright citizenship, and the 14th Amendment

The Environmental Argument for Reducing Immigration to the United States

A Record-Setting Decade of Immigration: 2000-2010