Wednesday, May 31, 2006

An Adopting Parent's View on Immigration

I honestly had not spent much time mulling over the immigration issue outside of my gut reaction which was that immigrants should have to come here legally, learn English, get a job, and behave themselves. Then I came to a startling realization that the immigration issue is actually of great personal importance to me and my family. Why? I am the father of two immigrants.

In 2004 my wife and I adopted a six month old boy from South Korea. If you don't know adoptions are costly and can be a long process. In our son's case it was both and dealing with the immigration side of things was difficult(such as an application that sat in the USCIS mail room for 30 days because no one had been hired to deliver the mail in the office.) This year we adopted again and with our newly adopted six month old daughter, also from South Korea, matters were simpler.

In the course of a foreign adoption you must file an I-600 application with the United States Citizen Immigration Service(formerly known as INS.) This application requires a $545 fee and that any person over 18 years of age in the home to be fingerprinted at a cost of $70 per person. So two adopting parents must pay $685 to file the application. This may not sound like much money except when you consider the whole adoption costs in the neighborhood of $25,000 every dollar becomes significant. So the form is filed with USCIS and when it is processed you must then go by appointment to the nearest USCIS office to have your fingerprints done. On the first adoption this was not the case, we actually were able to use the local county/city fingerprint bureau. On the second adoption that was no longer available so we had to drive 2 1/2 hours to the nearest office to have the fingerprints done. After the fingerprinting is done it is processed by the FBI and then approval is given. Once the referral is sent which is the notification of the child you will be adopting, you then file a second form with that child's information. You also must have numerous forms, some of them tied to the federal government notarized as well as get approval from the state your are in for the adoption to take place. Once all of these forms are processed and approval is granted a passport is issued from the State Department to the child at the US Consulate in the foreign country. In the case of Korean adoptions an escort is available to bring the child to the US thus negating the need to travel as is required by countries like China and Russia. Once the child arrives, USCIS issues a green card and the once the adoption is finalized by the local county government the child becomes a US citizen. It is my understanding that Korea adoptions are by far the easiest for historical reasons(the Korean War for one). There may be additional hoops USCIS requires for other countries particularly places like China.

Now imagine for a moment that I decided I did not want to pay the application fees or have my fingerprints taken. Suppose I decided I did not want to file the applications or do any of the things USCIS stated I had to do bring each of my two children to the US. Is there any doubt the folks at USCIS would have brought the process to a screeching halt? Is there any chance I could persuade the adoption agency to move forward with getting the child brought to US even if I paid all of the required fees to them but not the application fees to USCIS? Is there any doubt in anyone's mind that USCIS would engage in enforcement first in regards to my attempts to bring a six month old foreign national into this country to live in my home, partake of our freedoms, and consume the resources provided by this country such as public schools?

USCIS do everything in its authority to prevent me from illegally bringing a child into the country yet every day the United States government, in what I consider to be bald faced hypocrisy, allows thousands of immigrants to do just that. They allow numerous employers to break the law by employing these individuals. The government led by the US Congress sits idly by while thousands pour into this country without proper validation and now entertains the notion of putting enforcement on the back burner while opening the door of citzenship to people who have not once shown any inclination towards following the rule of law as it pertains to their immigration status.

Amnesty is a travesty to those who have chosen to follow the rules. It is a slap in the face of my family who pay our taxes, obey the laws, and did everything we were asked to do to ensure that two of our three precious children could be adopted into our family.

USCIS had the power to enforce the laws and regulations concerning our adoption. My question is why there are refusing to exercise that power on everyone else?

Monday, May 01, 2006

Immigrants Boycott, US Still Standing

So today all of the immigrants illegal and otherwise were supposedly banding together stick it to the old U.S. of A. by not going to school, not spending any of their well earned money, and not going to work thus depriving us of services we are all apparently too good to provide for ourselves. As is stands at almost 3 PM EDT the protest seems to not to be having the desired effects. The country appears to still be standing and the reason why is a one day strike is utterly and totally meaningless.

The reason why a one day strike has no effect is because it is a one day strike. People can manage for one day and even if they have to make do for one they will. Whatever work they did not do today will have to be done tomorrow and they will have to work twice as hard for the same pay to make up for it. As for a one day boycott on buying stuff, that flies in the face of common sense. If you are talking about essential products like food, medicine, toiletries, gas for the car, etc. I know and retailers know that unless you refrain from eating, driving, drinking, or using any one of these products you will at some point have to spend the money to replace whatever you consume today. As for non-essential products, all of these people waiting one day to buy something they were going to buy anyway is not a boycott it simply delaying the inevitable.

In fact to take this further, if you consider the case where some these workers will not get paid for missing work today BUT still spends money in the economy the next day then it actually works out better for the U.S. economy because consumer spending will remain constant. In some companies will end up with double the productivty for the same wage. As for missing school all I can say is if you want to waste your education like that go ahead so you will be better prepared for that coveted landscaping or janitorial job out there.

I understand immigration is a complex issue. My opinion is this: If you want to be in this country you must enter legally, seek some form of authorized residence, and you must make every effort to assimilate to this culture by at least learning the language and the cultural mores. That means you must be issued a green card, you get a job, and you learn English. I am not sure what the open borders people want. Do they want this country to be wide open to anyone who wants to cross over without any kind of government oversight and tracking? I happen to think that is a dangerous proposition in our war on terror. This whole notion that individuals from another country can walk in and set up shop without being properly validated as residents and citizens by the government is a slap in the face to those who have fought and died for our freedoms. It is especially insulting to have these same people disparage our flag, our national anthem, and claim their heritage and country of origin supersedes the U.S. while they continue to benefit from the properity and innovation found in the United States.

I believe we should be an open country and people should have an opportunity to pursue the American dream. I also believe that the government has every right to protect the rights of those who are already citizens and there has to be some form of control on the influx of people into our nation. Just last week I was in CA on business and saw numerous Asian and Indian immigrants working in my own company. Not a single one of them nor any others of the same ethinic persuasion complain about immigration law or attempt to assert the superiority of their culture of the U.S. Why? Because those people are here legally and they have good jobs. These people make every effort to learn the language and assimilate to the culture.

As always the chief complaints are coming from a group unwilling to do their part and work to make themselves better. Rather they want a free pass to enter the country and stay here without doing anything to earn it. In fact if these people would like to undertake a permanant boycott from the comforts of somewhere south of the Mexican border, I would be fine with that as well. We have not lasted over 200 years as a country without having adjusted to inconveniences far more difficult than this.

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