Stupid Q re: illegal immigrants in the U.S.

It seems the debate is centered around Mexican nationals that walk across the border at night. What I wonder is why they don’t get a tourist visa ( aprox. 30 day waiting time), drive across the border and just stay?

Perhaps because they will get rejected for a tourist visa. The immigration people try not to give tourist visas to people who are likely to stay and work in the US.

Well, yeah. I get that if Paco pulls up in front of the U.S. consulate in Tijuana, with his beat up Toyota pick up, full of gardening tools, and claims he’s just going across the border to go to Anaheim and meet the Mouse, they might get a wee bit suspicious.
But it’s my understanding that they pay quite a lot of money to get smuggled across. That coluld be spent on a suit, getting cleaned up and cooking up a plausible story about the reason for a visit.

And because a tourist visa requires that they give information - who they are, where they’ll be staying, etc.

And having given that information, if they outstay the visa, they are on record as having committed a violation. This probably does not help their chances to stay and get paid, or to eventually become citizens.

They may well deny their visa anyhow. One of the things that the consulate will want to see is proof of strong ties to their home country. They will ask for something showing that you have a job, that you own your own home, etc. If they think that you are likely to overstay your visa, they will deny it in a heatbeat.

They may well deny their visa anyhow. One of the things that the consulate will want to see is proof of strong ties to their home country. They will ask for something showing that you have a job, that you own your own home, etc. If they think that you are likely to overstay your visa, they will deny it in a heatbeat.QUOTE]
Yes, yes and yes.
So tell me:
Those who cross the border without any form of paper - do you think it’s easier for them to find employment, housing, a way to survive. Not only do they have to live as illegals in a country that doesn’t really want them, there’s the added risk of crossing the border. The easier way seems to be to enter legally and stay illegally. So they need to put down information about where they are going to stay ASF. It’s not that difficult to vanish.
And while I’m sure the people at the consulate has a questionaire, and need proof of strong ties to Mexico, I’ve heard that many people come north to make money and send home, to the family, for the kids, to pay off the mortgage.

I’m not sure I follow your question. My point was that those likely to want to come here illegally will have their application denied when they try to get one. I know someone in Brazil who wants to visit the U.S. Because she doesn’t own a home there and doesn’t make much money at her job, the U.S. Consulate denied her visa.

My experience is with Russia, but I’m guessing even stricter principles apply with Mexico and such. I don’t know if these are written rules or just guidelines, but here’s what I gathered from anecdotes of friends and relatives. No relatives in Russia? No visa. Young and unmarried? No visa. Unemployed? No visa. Entire family going? No visa.

So if you’re thinking your life will be better off in the US you most likely won’t get a guest visa :wink:

Typical requirements for Mexicans to get tourist visas:

  • Proof of employment or other legal sources of income (tax receipts, social security wage statements, tax returns), with an acceptable income level

  • Proof of bank accounts with acceptable balances

  • Proof of binding economic ties in Mexico (deeds to property, proof of business ownership, etc.)

  • Looking acceptable to the consular agent.

Most Mexican people who choose to live and work illegally will not meet any of these requirements.

There is a 53 day waiting period for the required appointment to apply for a US visa at the American Consulate in Guadalajara. One piece of personal information they will want to see is a recent bank statement from an account that is at least a year old.

I’ve seen well-groomed applicants turned away because their story wasn’t “plausible” ($$$$). This is after they have paid a $100usd nonrefundable application fee.

It seems less hassle running for it.

Not really. It depends on the smuggling package that the undocumented immigrant chooses. It can range from free to $500 to $2,000.

Free–If the undocummented immigrant is adventerous, brave, and resourceful, s/he can choose to plan ahead well and either cross via the river section of the border or the land-area border. The risk of the river section is that the crosser must be prepared to cross a river that can be treacherous. But, once having crossed (and evaded BP), the immigrant will have made sound and fine to such areas as the Rio Grande Valley, Texas. The land-area is easier to cross, but the crosser must face the desert and long a walk before reaching any city of major population.

$500–Usually the smuggler (“coyote”, “pollero”, etc.) will charge the immigrant to help him/her cross the river or pass the key areas of the land-area border. Once he or she is crossed into the area and a safe area or home, that’s it. Then it’s up to the immigrant what to do next.

$1,000-$2,000–Usually this is the, uh, premium package :smiley: . One example. Immigrant pays coyote. Coyote then crosses him/her over. S/he is taken to a safe home in the border area. From there, at appointed time, s/he either will have to walk or get smuggled in a vehicle to cross the second INS check point. Once having passed that check point, s/he will be delivered to, let say, Houston. In Houston, if s/he has already paid upfront, she will be let go at point of choice and be given false documents (ss cards, id cards, etc.).

You gotta see it from pov. They don’t meet the requirements for a tourist VISA. So. for $500-$1,000, it’s something risking for it.

It’s not really a stupid question. I think a lot of Americans labor under the false impression that Mexicans come into the US illegally because they’re just too lazy, underhanded, or stupid to come here legally. But that is not at all the case. I have a friend in Mexico that wanted to come and visit me in the US on a tourist Visa, but there was no way that he’d get approved (for the reasons previously mentioned). He has a “good” job working 70 hours a week making $6US a day and supports his mother and has a college education, but he’s single and has no savings or bank accounts. Even if I guaranteed his return (which I would be required to do and he would have to substantiate, another qualification most Mexicans don’t have) he’d still be turned down.

BTW, he has sisters and brothers in the US that are now citizens. His wait to come to the US legally through them could take 20 years. His sister petitioned for his mother, she went through the whole years-long and very expensive process (while she was still in Mexico) quite legally. She was approved and was all set to come to the US and get her green card. This is very very vital to my friend, because after some years (three?) she could petition to become a US citizen and then petition for my friend (you follow me?). All in all, an otherwise 15-20 year process for my friend to come to the US legally cut to, say, seven.

Unfortunately, my friend’s mother’s birth registration was destroyed in a fire. She was born in a very small village and the records were kept at the church. As Mexico does not have a birth registration process like the US, she had no documentation proving identity and nationality sufficient for the Mexican government to issue her a passport. Without a Mexican passport, she was not allowed to cross the border. Without being able to cross the border she was not able to complete the process and actually get her green card. Without a green card she can’t eventually become a citizen. Without her becoming a citizen, my friend’s hopes for coming to the US are pretty much dead.

Long story short, he now sees his only hope of coming to the US as crossing illegally. Even when people want to come here legally from Mexico, the process is very very hard, very very lengthy, or impossible.

Your post does a good job iluminating the process and difficulties time-wise but this part lacks credibility. We do have a birth registration process which is done by the government. The church doesn’t register births, deaths nor marriages.

Based on what she told me, she did not have a birth certificate as her birth was not registered with the state. She was born in a very small village in Southern Mexico in the 20’s. The only thing she had to establish nationality was her birth registration at the church. (Likely more a baptismal certificate.) Because of high levels of fraud in people getting false Mexican passports, the government was unwilling to issue her one based on affidavits or other proofs (that one would normally use in the US). Does that sound plausible?

The part about not having her birth certificate due to being born in the 20s and in a small rural village is quite plausible and even quite common. The church obviously keeps records of baptisms but the government doesn’t accept anything from the church.

The part I’m not understanding is if her birth wasn’t registered then how was her birth certificate destroyed in a fire??!!

The part about high levels of false passports seems dubious. There are mechanisms in place for people like her to acquire a birth certificate but she is dealing with what can be at times an inflexible beauracracy. I would think that her children’s birth certificates would show her nationality.

Yeah, I mispoke when saying birth certificate. I think the only thing she had was something akin to a baptismal certificate.

She was very resistant to going back to the bureaucracy to force the issue. And, to be honest, the US bureaucracy was maddening, too. She HAD to prove her identity and nationality in order to be approved by the Department of State (via the consulate in Juarez) to get a green card in the first place, but when she gets to the border, the Department of Justice (who controls the border) won’t let her in without proof of her identity and nationality! (Although I do totally understand that Customs and Immigration needs a passport, and it’s not their problem if State is satisfied.) Talk about a bureaucratic cluster… well, you know. And only knowing how to deal with US cluster… well, you know… I couldn’t really help her with the Mexican problem. Who knows if her listed nationality on her kid’s certificates would be sufficient for the government to issue her a passport? And at the time I was in the US, and even if I had been in Mexico, I doubt I would have gotten very far. It was just so sad to see after so much time and money wasted that it all came to naught.