Freedom Folks

Sunday, August 13, 2006

U.S. Makes Legal Entry Tough for Mexicans?

Source: Lexington Herald-Leader

Jesœs Rojas wanted no part of the arduous trek across the Sonora desert and no part of life underground in the United States, working in the shadow of the law.

So when a nephew in his central Mexican town of Guanajuato introduced him to a recruiter for an American landscaping company that would sponsor him legally, the 52-year-old handyman jumped at the chance.
So how does the U.S. make legal entry tough for Mexicans?

Congress has adjourned for August without reaching an immigration deal. Republicans in the House of Representatives are holding hearings around the nation to build support for their border-security-first approach, which calls for stopping illegal immigrants at the border. No resolution in Congress is expected this election year.

But although a chorus of U.S. lawmakers are demanding that foreign workers enter the United States legally, they've taken few steps toward opening legal channels to Mexicans such as Rojas, whose low-wage labor is in great demand in the United States.
The nerve! How DARE U.S. lawmakers (elected to represent U.S. citizens) demand that foreigners enter the country legally. Of course, to demand that our laws not be enforced would seem like the career equivalent of shooting yourself in the foot, as a lawmaker. Tell that to my congressman.

But I digress.

Since when is it the job of U.S. lawmakers (once again, elected to represent U.S. citizens) to open legal channels to Mexicans?

Last year, the State Department issued fewer than 89,000 temporary work visas to low-wage Mexican workers. That's not many compared to the estimated 400,000 to 500,000 of Mexico's poorest who crossed the border illegally to find work.
Since when is the goal of the U.S. State Department to issue work visas for Mexico's poorest?

H-2B visas -- the category under which Rojas qualified -- are capped at 66,000 worldwide. These visas typically go to workers in industries with short, seasonal spikes, such as construction, hospitality and food service. Last year, 60,259 went to Mexicans, according to U.S. consular officials.

The other category, agricultural visas, known as H-2A, isn't capped. But industry experts say that because of legal and bureaucratic obstacles, these visas are used infrequently. Last year only 31,892 were issued; 28,563 of them went to Mexicans.
Since when does 90-91% of the non-professional visas going to Mexicans qualify as making it tough?

Both types of visas require advance arrangements with U.S. sponsors, who typically find laborers through Mexico-based recruiters. They, in turn, can charge prospective workers upward of $1,250, the amount Rojas paid to get his first landscaping job with the Brickman Group, a nationwide landscaper.
It sounds to me like it's the Mexico-based recruiters who charge poor Mexicans $1,250+ who are making it tough for Mexicans to come here legally, not "the U.S." But the usual whining and crying will ensue, as if we have failed to deliver on some unquestionable obligation.

"It requires money and connections," said Rachel Micah Jones, the executive director of the Center for Migrant Rights, a law center in central Mexico. "The poorest are not the ones who are getting the jobs."
I'll close by posing one last question:

Since when is it the obligation of the U.S. government to take care of MEXICO's poorest via our immigration policy?

Technorati Tags
Illegal Immigration * Legal Immigration * Mexico * United States



Create a Link

<< Home