Well, i’m in the US legally on an F1 visa, which makes me a non-resident alien. I’m married to a US citizen, and am just about to set the wheels in motion to get my US residency. This will take quite a while, given the current backlog of applications and the allocation of workers at the DHS, but unless i go and commit a crime or something it should be pretty much a done deal.
I’m not angry about illegal immigration, for a couple of reasons. First of all, for me the whole thing is not some zero-sum game. I don’t get all worked up because some poor bastard from Mexico is working a shitty job in the US without getting the proper visas like i did. The fact is, that Mexican will never have the same opportunities that i do as a legal immigrant. Also, i’m not that worried about illegal immigration, because in many cases i wouldn’t be able to put food on the table without illegal immigrants. I don’t mean that i wouldn’t be able to earn a living. I’m literally talking about putting food on the table.
If the US developed a Star Trek-style transporter beam that automatically deported every illegal alien in the country today, within a week or so we’d start to notice drastic shortages of many of the foods we take for granted. Tomatos, oranges, cauliflower, lettuce, strawberries would lie in the fields or sit on the tree, they wouldn’t get packed and shipped. Many slaughterhouses and meat processing plants would grind to a halt for lack of reliable, underpaid people willing to perform dangerous work for low pay and no health benefits. There are plenty of middle and upper class families whose lawns wouldn’t get mowed and whose houses wouldn’t get trimmed. In many parts of America, things wouldn’t get built if the supply of immigrant day labor dried up.
To tell you the truth, i think that in the long run the country might benefit from booting out all the illegal immigrants, because within a very short space of time a whole shitload of Americans would come to realise just what an important part of the economy these people are. We might also see some support for more reasonable immigration policies, and for stricter enforcement of legislation to protect the rights and the health of workers in these industries, so that an immigrant who slices himself open on a carving knife, or who is burned by caustic chemicals while cleaning a slaughterhouse (see Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation for more examples) could actually receive adequate health care and reasonable worker’s comp rather than being thrown on the scrap heap and replaced by another illegal.
What really chaps my ass about these anti-immigrant rants is that i hardly ever hear the same people calling for the law to be enforced on the AMERICAN companies who hire these illegal immigrants. In many, many cases, when the immigration folks do raids and crack-downs on illegal immigrants, the only consequences are for the immigrants themselves. Often, the companies get off with nothing more than a warning, and they then go out again the next day and just find a whole load of new illegals to replace the ones that just got deported. Sometimes the companies get nominal fines, but these are usually not high enough to discourage the companies from hiring more illegals next time around.
Remember, especially those of you who like to preach free market doctrine, the illegals only come here because they know there is a market for their labor. As someone has already pointed out, American companies actively recruit illegal immigrants, even though hiring illegals is itself against the law. Maybe, rather than whining about the poor schmucks who work their asses off every day to make a bare living, you should direct your rant against the people who actually have the on-the-ground power to reduce the flow of illegals—the people who hire them.
Nocturne: i was under the impression that, for the spouse of an American citizen, the procedure for becoming a resident was a little bit long and bureaucratic, but that it usually doesn’t pose too many problems. What problems have you run into? I’m curioous to know because i’m about to start the paperwork required to become a resident.