In this great pro-immigration and anti-immigration debate we seem to lose sight of an important issue. The two camps seem to be divided between those who argue that immigration laws should be upheld and all illegal immigrants deported, and those who think that it is essential for the US economy as a whole to ignore the problem and allow this important pool of low-cost labor to remain available to employers.
I want to offer a different perspective: of course I believe that laws should be upheld. However, I do believe that in order to be upheld the law should be just and have a moral or social justification that allows a majority of its subjects to abide by it not only for fear of reprisal but also because they either agree with its provisions or with its justification. After all, if every law should be upheld, there would be no justification for the Boston Tea Party and the ensuing American Revolution.
I practice immigration law and, almost on a daily basis, I deal with American business owners that must face incredible hurdles to bring labor from abroad. I must explain them that, even if no willing and able US workers can be recruited, they must wait upwards of two years to get a Labor Certification from the Department of Labor and then another year to get the I-140 processed by BCIS. This to the average US business owner is shocking and close to immoral.
These businesses employ hundreds of US workers and pay taxes just as everyone else. However, they must add to the set of hurdles every business is facing a dysfunctional set of laws and regulation that sometimes threatens their very survival.
I strongly believe that a stable, functioning democracy cannot be based on absurd disservices to the very citizens the government is supposed to serve. If laws are to be upheld, they must provide for an effective way to be administered.
I have no problem with the concept that a position, be it temporary or permanent, should be offered to the pool of US labor before being offered to a foreign worker. I do have a problem with the Department of Labor and the BCIS rendering the concept meaningless and frustrating.
I do not have a problem with the concept that a person should not be allowed in the country until the proper visa can be issued. But I do resent being forced to explain to the would-be immigrant with relatives in the US that he must either go back and wait seven to ten years or live here as an illegal alien and hope in a revival of 245(i) of which he cannot take advantage if he chooses to abide by the law and returns to his home country.
I believe the immigration problem is deeper than a simple matter of enforcement. I think that immigration laws should be coherent, morally justifiable, and administered efficiently. And then, and only then, society at large will be served by their enforcement.
Giuseppe (Joe) Scagliarini, Esq.
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