How To Gain Legal Status In The US Without Really Trying

Better than the flag


It’s pretty clear to me that the rise of hordes of single men in China, India, and other Asian nations – even former SSRs like Armenia and Georgia – is going to place enormous pressure on first-world nations in a multiplicity of ways. The current long lines of people begging for visas to the US, Canada, European nations, Australia, New Zealand is going to look like empty streets at 3 AM compared to the impending crush of Asian citizens – especially women and girls – pleading to escape nations where gang warfare and the disappearance of females of all ages has become endemic.

But did you know there already exist immigration policies in the US which foreign citizens can use to do an end-run around the usual pleas?

One of them is the U-visa program. This program offers temporary legal status to illegal alien victims of abuse who help police investigate crimes, though often those crimes are committed against other nations’ citizens who are in the US illegally. The Los Angeles Times illustrates U-visa with the case of Norma, who was in deportation proceedings – and scheduled for a hearing that could terminate her stay in the US – when she alleged sexual abuse against her minor daughters by their father, also an illegal alien. With her testimony, the man was imprisoned for six years. Norma and her children were, through the U-visa program, given the right to stay in the US “long term” – the Times reporter did not detail the length of the term. Norma has since become a legal permanent resident. Her children are with her. In a few years, their father will be released from prison. He may be deported.

I’m generally a centrist, politically. I tend not to go to the seesaw extremes. But this U-visa program looks like an underhanded way to keep people in the US without their having to go through the channels and waiting that other people must do.

From the Times piece: “. . . with increasing awareness has come increasing demand. In the three years that the program has been in place, more than 30,000 applications have been filed and more than 25,600 have been approved. Soon after a visit to Los Angeles this month to promote the program, immigration officials announced that all 10,000 available U-visas had been issued for the fiscal year, which ends Friday.  ‘We can see the volume already. At some point it’s going to be an issue,’ said Betty Song, an attorney with the Asian Pacific American Legal Center in Los Angeles.  ‘I don’t know what purpose the cap serves, because if people are eligible, they are eligible.’

Wait. These people are not supposed to be in the US at all. The cap that Song refers to should not even exist.

I like France. I’d love to live there. I’m also fond of Denmark, a beautiful little nation with a wonderful, collaborative feel. Offered an apartment in Copenhagen, I’d say yes.

But if I visited Denmark or France and overstayed my visa – or had myself smuggled in with no visa at all – either country would be well within its rights to demand that I leave, even if I could testify to another person’s crimes. Giving me legal status would be, in their eyes, simply rewarding bad behavior.

Rewarding bad behavior is what the US is doing.

Did Norma’s children endure molestation and rape? Yes. Do they deserve therapy and kindness? Yes. Does their mother’s testimony against their father entitle them, or their mother, to years in the US?  No. Why should it? What’s the connection? Why are we granting them status ahead of people who go through the effort of persuading the US that their presence here will benefit all of us?

Another immigration program, called EB-5, involves money, quite a bit of it. At least $500,000, to be precise. This practically unknown program grants foreign citizens US visas, fast-tracking them toward citizenship, on the basis of their investing in the US.

They buy their way in.

Again, the Los Angeles Times: “David Joyce marched his way to the front of the U.S. immigration line using his pocketbook, sinking half a million dollars into a Vermont ski resort. The British citizen had spent years in a futile effort to secure green cards for himself, his wife and their 9-year-old son so they could relocate to sunny Florida. Then, a fellow emigré tipped him off to a little-known federal program that helps foreigners gain permanent U.S. residency by investing in American businesses. ‘In six months, we had our green cards,’ said Joyce, 51. ‘Considering everything we’ve been through, this was easy.’ Joyce is one of thousands of foreigners speeding through the U.S. immigration labyrinth — for a price.”

The money is supposed to be invested in approved projects, namely, companies/firms/start-ups that will need at least 10 employees, located in “a rural area or a community with a high unemployment rate”. Whether those projects are legitimate, or actually get off the ground, is questionable, and not particularly well-followed.  Communities used for EB-5 projects have included places in California, Florida, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas and Vermont, often with enterprises whose owners have had problems gaining bank financing.

The Times: “U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the federal agency that administers the program, can’t say how many net new jobs have been created. Under USCIS rules, the projects don’t even have to hire 10 workers. Instead, an investor’s money can be used to preserve 10 jobs that economic models show, and the government concludes, would otherwise disappear without such funding. The USCIS, by its own admission, has failed to closely track the flow of EB-5 money, how the projects are being sold to investors or whether the projects were successful. Instead, its focus has been on making sure jobs are created — but not that the jobs will last.”

Some would-be immigrants have faced deportation when their projects fell through or didn’t meet the guidelines. Some have lost their entire half-million-dollar investment.

Yet for wealthy people overseas – especially the Chinese, with new riches, a desire to see their children in American schools, and a concern over the impending catastrophic rise in the population of young men, with a resulting increase in violence and lawlessness – the EB-5 program, capped at 10,000,  is a quick path toward citizenship, nearly as fast as marrying a US citizen to gain a green card. The investor doesn’t need to work in the business. He doesn’t even need to visit it.

Who benefits? Critics charge that foreign investors are benefiting much more than the US, and that it is sordid to sell fast-tracking toward US citizenship, especially in an absence of any investigation into fitness to be a citizen. One could be a drug-dealer in China, for example, or traffic children for slavery and enforced prostitution, and, with $500,000, buy into the EB-5 program and settle here.

Near your children.

I don’t know what the solution is in protecting US citizenship from abuse, but I believe we can do better than EB-5 and U-visa.

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Filed under Activism, China, EB-5, Family, Health, Immigration, India, Law, News, Politics, U-visa

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