The “A” Word: Who Gets to Be a Lawful Permanent Resident?

An “immigration amnesty” has never existed in U.S. Immigration History.  An immigration amnesty is imagined by the public.  Amnesty is a concept contrived by anti-immigration lobbyists.  Perhaps, also by those totally oblivious to the political reality of  the United States or Mexico.  Its use deters democracy and spurs injustice.  Yes, Mexico also has a serious mental block when comes to enacting realistic immigration laws, as well!  This hypocrisy is legendary.

For those who know, a person ‘may’ be placed in deportation proceedings upon denial for an immigration benefit.  This means that the DHS is sometimes lenient on those who make mistakes; civil immigration laws are complicated!  When the U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, based upon Congressional mandate, is not lenient, the consequences are devastating to both U.S. Citizens and foreign born residents!

An amnesty purest will not press their luck.  Yet, a few attorneys know the secret.  They know that there has always been a need for a form of perpetual legalization.  However, calling “legalization” an amnesty more often distracts supporters.

The U.S. Body Politique, in general, considers “amnesty” to be a dirty word in immigration.  Let’s get used to it!  A perpetual and reasonable “Legalization,” not amnesty, is what purges those from the system who are questionable casualties in the road to immigration enforcement and reform.

So what should advocates for immigration enforcement and reform do?  Well, if we understand the definition of how the so-called amnesty of it all functions, it helps.  Those with experience accept that there are not enough dollars to hire enough immigration officers and judges.  Those who come in throngs to apply may lose money, but not their right to try try, again, even if they continue to fail miserably at getting a green card.  A nicer and more proper phrase for “green card status” is “lawful permanent residence [also "LPR" for short].  Some are indefinitely or permanently barred from immigration for petty reasons that may persist in the system regardless of reform.

Too many for too long are reasonably frightened of the Department of Homeland Security, which was once known as the Immigration and Naturalization Service.  This Agency makes quite a few oversights, but this would be expected when Congress under funds training and passes unrealistic laws.  The limited form of amnesty is why those who could not prove that they entered the U.S. before January 1, 1981 to the satisfaction of a skeptical immigration officer could avoid being wronged statistics.

These alleged unsuccessful throngs were not immediately referred to immigration court for deportation when their Legalization application was improperly or properly denied!  Yes, to this day there may be some who have lived unlawfully, under the radar for three decades without relief!  Others eventually become victims of immigration witch doctors who promised that an amnesty exists until D.H.S. executes a final deportation order.  What do we do with these people, who often become burnt out and oblivious to U.S.Immigration Law? Pretend that they do not exist?  Pretend that big brother is gonna get them?  Well, they’re not leaving.  By ignoring them, do we encourage un-policed human rights abuses within our own borders?

If we ever understand and admit the historical truths caused by shortsighted immigration laws, then we will stop abusing the term “amnesty.” We must start accepting some form of legalization for those who entered without inspection or overstayed their visas.  Too many of our acquaintances, friends and neighbors were taken advantage of (at times) by unscrupulous attorneys, immigration witch doctors, employers or foreign born parents.  Too many lost wages and their future, because our Federal Government lacks the tax base and political will to enforce and arguably prosecute the general population into immigration compliance.  Let’s face it; it just isn’t going to happen, whether we like it or not!

When we can face the simplest fact that civil immigration laws merit some limitations and a purge valve, then we will appreciate the countless U.S. human rights abuses that result from confusion, ignorance, and insensitivity.  We can ill afford the mean spirited ignorance that labels every effort to normalize the lives our our foreign born residents, “an amnesty!”

A legalization, not an amnesty, that closes the door on perpetual human rights abuses within and around our own borders preserves democracy as we know it.  Taxation without representation is a challenge!  However, let’s face it, there may be no amnesty, but there must be understanding and reckoning.  Otherwise our system of laws and the democracy for which we stand or fall will deteriorate from a warped sense of our immigration realities!

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