An Example of Bad Immigration Policy
Eduardo Gonzalez is a petty officer second class, in the U.S. Navy. He's a naturalized citizen. His wife, Mildred, is not. Eduardo is about to be deployed to overseas. His wife may not be in the States, by the time he gets back.
In Gonzalez's case, his wife, Mildred, came to the United States with her mother in 1989 when she was 5 years old. They were granted political asylum because of their status as war refugees from Guatemala.
In September 2000, Mildred's mother applied for legalization and included her daughter in that application. Her mother was granted legal status in July 2004, according to Gonzalez.
However, six weeks earlier, Gonzalez and Mildred got married, canceling Mildred's ability to apply for legal status through her mother because she was no longer an unmarried daughter under the age of 21. As a result, her legal status still remains in jeopardy.
A judge in June granted her a one-year extension to remain in the United States. If her legal status does not change by June 8, 2008, she will have 60 days to voluntarily leave the country or face deportation.
Why do we still have an immigration system that's more interested in kicking Mildred out of the country than in welcoming her into the country? Why did it take four years for her mother to be legalized? Will it take another four years for her to legalized?
Eduardo is serving this country, putting his life on the line. Are we really going to reward him by kicking his wife back to Guatemala -- a country she hasn't lived in for 17 years -- and making her go through "the line" for the next 4-10 years? Do we really want to send the world a message saying "Stay Out! America for Americans Only!"
It sure looks to me like that's what we're doing. And we don't have to. All we need to do is change immigration law. The law should treat relatives of the military as though we actually value the sacrifice that the military makes. That law should provide an easy, relatively painless process to enter the country -- not the labyrinthian mess that we have now. Why is doing the right thing so hard?
Finally, comments like this are hardly helpful.
That's just fine, according to Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which lobbies for tougher laws on illegal immigration.
"What you're talking about is amnesty for illegal immigrants who have a relative in the armed forces, and that's just outrageous," he said. "What we're talking about here is letting lawbreakers get away with their actions just because they have a relative in the military. ... There's no justification for that kind of policy."
Lawbreakers? Mildred isn't a lawbreaker. She immigrated and was granted asylum because her homeland was tearing itself apart. She spent her entire life her. She wants to spend the rest of her life her. And you're calling her a lawbreaker?
Give me a break.