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February 07, 2013

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Paul Guss

I appreciate your discussion and attempt to define what "back of the line" means. However, I disagree that your proposal solves the problem.

Is there another solution that still honors the principle "go to the back of the line?" Yes there is.
1) Tie the path to citizenship to being in the U.S. on a certain date for a specific amount of time (similar to the DACA initiative). Issue a conditional green card valid for 5 years.

to which you go onto say, "This solution would put those who are here illegally at the back of the line because they would not get their permanent green cards until everyone else on the waiting lists got theirs."

But by being granted a "conditional green card", aren't they being advanced in line over an applicant who applies for, say, an H1 or other type of work visa following all proper rules _from his or her home country_? Isn't applying from your home country the actual back of the line?

Stated otherwise, saying that having resided in the U.S. in undocumented status for some "specific amount of time" (e.g., five years) qualifies you to stay here with a "conditional green card" grants a significant benefit (i.e., the ability to live and work in the U.S. while you await your permanent green card) that is not accorded to someone who applies for a work visa properly from their home country. In other words, the undocumented resident is being given a reward, which is not available to others standing in the line, as a result of their having come here in violation of the rules and lived under the radar for the "specific amount of time". How is this fair to the person who followed all the rules and submitted his or her application for a work visa from his home country? I'm sure this legal applicant would love to get a "conditional green card" too.

I acknowledge that there are practical implications that make it unrealistic that all undocumented residents must first return to their home country and get behind all of the others who are applying for visas from their home country, but to say that these undocumented residents actually are going to the "back of the line" does not seem to me to be factually true.

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