Friday, May 27, 2011

What's Wrong with Family Unification?

As posted earlier, Quantifiably Safe Rhetoric is a political trick to make us ignore the harsh reality and vote for a candidate based on his smooth talk.

And nowhere is it more evident than the copious use of the concept of  “Family Unification.”

Here’s an example from the Issues tab of the White House website, under the topic of Immigration: “President Obama will fix the dysfunctional immigration bureaucracy and enable legal immigration so that families can stay together.” (June 19, 2009)

How can anyone disagree with a concept like that?  Big bad bureaucracy is keeping families apart.

Except that isn’t true.  That dysfunctional bureaucracy has been screening applications and issuing a million Green Cards each year, mostly based on family-preference.

In fact, “Family Unification” is the number one business of immigration and has been for decades.  The only way to make this better is to INCREASE the number of green cards to family members.  And that raises the question, “Isn’t a quota of a million Green Cards a year plenty?  How many more do you need?”

But, let’s look at the very concept of “Family Unification.”  Watch out now, I’m switching terms on you.  The term I’ll use is “Chain Migration.”   Not very safe rhetoric, is it?  It sounds like a forced march in ankle irons.

Here’s why Chain Migration is bad for America:
1)     It focuses on needy people from the Third World rather than job creation in the United States.  An immigration policy heavily-weighted on bringing more people in who lack skills and education is like encouraging people to drop out of high school.  You are importing needy people with no compensating boost in the economy.  (Don’t get me wrong here; there are ways to help the poor and needy in their own countries and we should do that.  But trashing the USA is not the way to help others.)
2)     Mathematically speaking, it is a disaster.  Chain Migration does not grow in a linear fashion.  One person who qualifies to bring in relatives has the potential of inviting dozens of other people.  As written, Chain Migration laws are not limited to one’s spouse and young children.  They can bring in adult siblings and their spouses, parents, adult children and their spouses.  Then you jump the blood line when a spouse can in turn invite their side of the family.  No wonder the demand is so great.
3)     Chain Migration creates a sense of entitlement.  You begin bringing in one brother and your other brother feels entitled as well.  It is human nature.
4)     Chain Migration creates pressure; pressure to enter illegally or overstay a visa.  Technology has changed since 1986.  Now, a Green Card holder can chat with family members back home daily on the cell phone.  A webcam shows off the great apartment.  Satellite TV and DVDs perpetuate the “streets paved with gold” myth of the United States.  And a plane ticket from most of the Third World can be had for less than $1,000. 
5)     Chain Migration creates opportunity.  For an illegal alien to successfully come here, he needs a USA connection.  Family members already here create housing for illegal aliens and job opportunities once they arrive.
6)     You can never get “caught up” when you offer Chain Migration.  There will always be a growing number of eligible candidates for admission.
7)     Sponsorship isn’t working.  Immigration policy should insure that immigrants not become a “public charge,” aka dependent on our social services.  A century ago the United States didn’t have a vast network of food stamps, health services and subsidized housing.  If an immigrant didn’t make it here, he simple went home.  That is no longer the case.  Because Third World immigrants are employed mostly in low paying jobs, they lack the wages and benefits needed to provide for their own needs.  Their Sponsors are equally destitute.  The burden falls to society in general and we are not refusing service to immigrants.

In the end, “Family Unification” sounds so noble and good, but it brings with it a host of problems in our society.  It was an ill-conceived policy to begin with and Washington has not dealt with it.  But if immigration is to serve the national interest we must stop it.  Cutting back on the quota will only add to the pressure brought on by those who are eligible but can only be wait-listed.


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