America, Stop the Witch-Hunt!
Published on 30 June 2014 Hits: 689
I happen to be a happy immigration attorney or should I say I used to be. I went to law school seeking some way to become a useful member of the society and believed I served both the greater society and my clients through my job. Like all jobs, being an immigration attorney had its ups and downs, but I continued to be motivated knowing my clients were not only making progress towards achieving their personal goals but also integrating into the society as valuable members.
My belief remains the same. But, I am not sure if I am happy any more. It doesn’t have to be this much of struggle to get a highly skilled worker a visa to come to this country and be productive.
Some time ago, America has stopped being a welcoming country. It acts scared, defensive, and petty. Immigrant bashing in the United States is quite embarrassing. Historically, whenever things went wrong, it was always about ‘the others’ and never about ‘us’. It is too bad that we never learned from our past mistakes and simply repeat them.
Sen. Grassley's pitch against high skilled foreign workers in his Letter to the President on 02/07/2012 is just one example of such illogical finger-pointing. His entire letter is based on one example of a US worker with an engineering degree with 10 years experience not being able to get a job. He asks President Obama to change the immigration law to toughen the H-1B regulations and not issue work authorization to H-4 spouses.
First of all, for most of the nonimmigrant worker visas including L visa, J visa, and E visa, their accompanying spouses may obtain employment authorization under the current DHS regulations. Then why should the DHS discriminate against the spouses of H-1B workers?
Second, Senator's pitch is based on one data sample. Of course, this type of frustration – being unemployed after doing all the right things and seeing one’s wealth shrink - exists. At the same time, employers report the time lost while battling difficult immigration process are costing them millions of dollars in project delays and contract penalties, while aiding competitors that operate exclusively outside the U.S. For each anecdotal story of immigrants hurting the US, there is a counter example of immigrant helping the country.
Recession and unemployment hurt everybody. I, an immigration advocate, also feel the pain all over and around me. However, the cause of the pain is not immigrants. Neither is the remedy for this malady stopping immigrants. We have grand problems that need some fundamental and structural changes and personal sacrifices.
In the meantime, reports show that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services drastically raised the standard for employment petitions (H-1B, L-1A, L-1B…) in recent years. It is alarming because this was done without any actual regulatory change.
As noted in our newsletter, reports show that in FY 2011 63 percent of all L-1B petitions received a Request for Evidence and 27 percent were issued a denial. That means U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services adjudicators denied or delayed between 63 percent to 90 percent of all L-1B petitions in 2011.
By making it far more difficult for skilled foreign nationals to work in America, what have the agencies achieved? Are all Americans with a bachelor’s degree employed? Is the recession over?
It’s a fact that immigrants start new businesses and file patents at higher rates than U.S.-born citizens. National statistics show that immigrants are 30 percent more likely to form new businesses than U.S.-born citizens. Foreign-born university graduates are important contributors to U.S. innovation—among people with advanced degrees, immigrants are three times more likely to file patents than U.S.-born citizens.
It seems to me that there has got to be some spillover benefits to U.S.-born workers if foreigners start businesses and increase innovation in the US marketplace.
In a highly competitive global marketplace, we cannot avoid competition from people who are willing to work hard with less entitlement by closing doors on foreign workers. These same people we reject will as easily find work with our global competitors and help them grow instead of American companies.
Has any country in the history become better off by closing its doors on foreign competition? When incurable disease was around, when the economy was bad, when something unknown scared the general population, the easiest thing for the government and majority of the people to do was to scapegoat some minority group. These moments later turn out to be shameful moments for the nations and people.
Let’s not further degrade our country. It’s high time to stop witch-hunt.