Why is it so difficult, often impossible, to be a documented migrant?
Here are some reasons. Under the current immigration system:
·Foreigners, who are parents, spouses, children or siblings of a “US citizen” can take from 7 to 28 years to acquire US citizenship themselves.
·Foreigners, who are spouses or children only of a “US lawful permanent resident” can take 13 to 20 years to become a US citizens.
·Skilled foreigners (with university degree) or investors can receive US citizenship in 7 to 16 years
·For unskilled foreigners, with no close relatives in the US, there is practically no legal way available to receive legal documentation to enter the country.
The labyrinthine immigration bureaucracy is well illustrated by the chart below:
The US Bishops had no hesitations in calling the current immigration system “immoral”. It violates the basic human rights of those who have no opportunities for work in their country of origin and come to the US to find work and sustenance for themselves and their families. It violates the sanctity of family by not allowing family members to be together as one unit. It is highly discriminatory with quotas by country and it humiliates immigrants by a bureaucratic and insensitive process, taking many years or decades to complete.
Because of the obstacles encountered, many migrants take the risk of being here undocumented, by overstaying their tourist visa or by crossing the border undocumented, not at a port of entry. Are you surprised?
Immigration is a hot button issue that our Congress representatives of both parties have been reluctant to touch for decades. After all, immigrants do not have a vote and have no voice!
So, the United States, a nation of immigrants, has one of the most backwards, piecemeal and unworkable immigration systems among all modern nations.