by Lee, 06/30/2008, 5:01 PM

The immigration issue can be complicated, but one part of it that should be simple is that it benefits us to have hard working immigrants come here and raise families.

A friend of mine just sent me a petition for Anuj Garg, a friend and co-worker of hers who’s close to facing deportation due to delays and understaffing in the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) office. He owns a home here and has a three-month old son. You can sign a petition supporting him and his family here. Their story is probably just one of many right now, especially considering he works for a large company and even that hasn’t been enough to get his visa extended.

It’s really disheartening to see how we’ve gone from being a country that welcomed my great-grandparents off of boats in New York a century ago (some of whom were teenagers who spoke no English) to one that sends back hard-working people who’ve been here for years, hold good jobs, and own their own homes.

36 Responses to “No Vacancy”

1. Marvin Stamn spews:

When there are laws to follow, there are always sad stories by those that didn’t obey them.

2. Lee spews:

@1
When there are laws to follow, there are always sad stories by those that didn’t obey them.

What law didn’t they follow?

3. SeattleJew spews:

Lee,

look up the law on H1B. Presumably Mr. Garg came here on a visiting worker visa, limited to six years during which he was only supposed to stay while employed in the specialty used originally to get the visa. I am certain this did not include working for UPS or any other labor type job. So, sadly, the law says he must go home and reapply as an immigrant.

In another thread, you have been defending the making of laws that allow things to ahppen while I have warned of the untoward circumstances. Well this si a good example. You and I both want folks like this to become Americans, but the laws written to allow foreigners to visit and work a while in the US, give rise to just this problem.

My own belief is that we should have a very different polcy to replace H1B. I believe we should encourage a brain drain to the US by offering conditional immigrant visas rather than H1B. Ths would mean that if an employer can make a case that she needs certain kinds of foreign workers for skilled work (as opposed to more genralized labor), then the US will issue an immigrant visa provided the immigrant is successful at maintaining emplyment in his or her area of expertise for some reasonable amount of time.

Let em give you an example. I know a French scientist who works in biodefence. She is maried to an American but her H1B has expired. Even though she is still employed, the INS has had problmes processing her application to change status BECAUSE she works in a region of science where she could endanger the US. Does htis make sense? No, but the additional processing time required to get her the needed clearance from INS (as opposed to the agency funding her work), means M. is running out of her H1B time.

So, in this case, unlike Mr. Garg, the immigrant is fully compliant with the conditions of her visa, we are obviously better off if she stays here than returning to a terrorist ridden France (grin), yet the effed up system is … well effed up.

If I can push this into the Darcy campaign issue, it is cases like this that lead me to argue that Darcy would be WAY more impressive is she would take on local issues other than the war.

4. SeattleJew spews:

Lee ctd.

The other issue in re Mr. Barg is that allowing him to stay is unfair to other, more qualified immigrants.

The US REALLY needs to rethink immigration policy. The repricans have made a mess by claiming that the GWOA (great wall of amerika) will solve the problems. Of course this is mroe star wars nonsense. BUT, we clearly lack a rational immigration policy.

To stimulate argument, how would this be:

1. The US should create a new kind of visa, as above, for needed professions. People in those professions could come in as conditional immigrants if invited by a US employer who can prove need. Thsi would replace the H1B program.

2. The US should have a category of immigrant that is not restricted by anything but achievement. If the bst and the brightest from China wanna come here to live and work, hooray!!! This might also include very rich folks, YEP bring some greenbacks back into the US economy and you can buy a visa.

3. We need a more European guest worker program for unskilled labor. Moreover, we need to spread this opportunity outside of the southern border so folks in Rwanda, Ethiopia, or France can all decide to compete for low level jobs in the US under the guest worker program … no need to swin the Rio Grande!

This program should NOT offer residency unless the immigrant, while here, can qualify for the program listed above.

4. The US practice of granting citizenship based on birth is unusual and probably was not the intent of the 14th amendment. We really need to rethink this policy, written originally to be sure slaves were citizens. Personally, I think anyone with at least one American parent should be able to claim citizenship but do not see why the child of two folks from, conceived in some heady foreign environment, should be an American mainly because of the accident of birth.

And so, fusillade ignited, I await your thoughts….

5. Proud To Be An Ass spews:

@1: So tell me, idiot: what law was broken here? You set the bar pretty low for loathsome mendacity. Typical conservative.

6. SeattleJew spews:

@5

see my comments above. He did not fulfill the requirements to miantain an H1B.

7. The Real Mark spews:

SJ brings up an interesting point. If the issue is so straighforward, why doesn’t Darcy come out with a big public statement on this? Goldy is in bed with her… campaign. He could easily bring this to her attention.

Or is it possible that the issue is NOT simple? Is it possible that SJ is right in saying that Mr. Garg has NOT been fully compliant with the law? I’d be curious to know what jobs at Starbucks qualify for an H1B visa.

One last thing… I find it interesting that the activist making the stand on this — the one that published the petition — is… Mr. Garg himself (see the fine print at the bottom of the petition). Has anyone truly vetted Mr. Garg and his situation? What’s to say that it isn’t a scam?

Perhaps your interest arises because he plays a role with various Dem groups when he says that he “has been involved in supporting local issues for several years.”

8. Ed Weston spews:

How bout, authoritarian clattrap often claims innocent victims.
If you’ll allow that being in the counrty illegally is an insignificant crime. I think there are few immigrants interested in a serious career in crime.
Before anyone jumps on the Secure our Borders band wagon, i’d first like to call it a bogus solution. Feel free to shriek and cavil that its the only thing that could possibly protect us. I’d like an example of a secure border that did actually work over say 50 years, and said country going on to greater things as a result.
Found out recently that Persia and Rome had a conflict that lasted 700 years. The conflict ended due to Islam.

9. Lee spews:

@3
look up the law on H1B. Presumably Mr. Garg came here on a visiting worker visa, limited to six years during which he was only supposed to stay while employed in the specialty used originally to get the visa. I am certain this did not include working for UPS or any other labor type job.

Steve, Mr. Garg works at Starbucks headquarters. He is not doing a “labor type job”. Coming from Microsoft, I’ve never seen any of the numerous people who come here on H1B’s have a problem like this.

10. Lee spews:

@7
Um, the person who sent me the petition is a friend of mine who works with him…so no, it’s not a scam.

11. Roger Rabbit spews:

@1 And then there are people in positions of power who trample on our laws and Constitution but asswipes like you think nothing should happen to them.

12. Richard Pope spews:

Is there a legal and factual basis for this person to become a permament resident alien? You have to satisfy various conditions, and most categories only allow for a limited number of immigrants.

Otherwise, an H1B visa is just a temporary worker visa. Anuj Garg has had this visa for almost the maximum period of six years. Regardless of whether H1B allowed for a “temporary” worker period of one year, six years, or ten years, there is nothing unfair about an alien leaving this country when their “temporary” period of residency has expired.

I see that Anuj Garg came here in 2001. He got married to his wife Anuda in 2004. If he had married an American citizen woman instead, this would have guaranteed him immediate permanent residency, and he could probably be taking the citizenship oath by now.

True, he could marry whoever he wanted to. But much is being made about the fact that his son is an American citizen, and that would somehow make having to leave the country unfair.

Anyway, this fellow came here in 2001 and worked for United Parcel Service for six years. This is the maximum period allowed under a H1B visa — which requires that a person work only for a sponsoring employer.

How has Anuj Garg been able to work legally for Starbucks for the last 15 months, since his H1B visa has expired, and no immigrant visa has been approved? Or has he been able to work legally? And why wasn’t UPS willing to sponsor him as a permanent immigrant?

13. Troll spews:

Lee, if someone breaks into your house with the intention of living there, without your permission, would want them out of your house, or would you let them stay?

14. Roger Rabbit spews:

Even if he didn’t fulfill some technical requirement, the penalty should be proportionate to the offense. This guy’s offense apparently consists of working hard and paying taxes. That’s not a good enough reason to deport him. He should be allowed to correct the error and maybe pay a fine.

15. Lee spews:

@12
I can find out more, but from what I understand, he has fulfilled all the requirements, but is falling victim to a backlog in the USCIS office. At a larger level, if a person like this cannot extend his stay in this country, we have significant problems up and down the board. This is simply not what this country is about. We don’t send people back who are valuable to the community.

I’ve worked with a number of people (at Microsoft and Boeing especially) who come here on Visas and I’ve found it rare for one who really wants to stay to not be able to stay (the one example I know of is similar to what you discuss, his soon-to-be wife could not get a visa, so he moved to Denmark).

16. Lee spews:

@13
Lee, if someone breaks into your house with the intention of living there, without your permission, would want them out of your house, or would you let them stay?

Are you going to ask a serious question, or did you just come here to make an ass of yourself again?

Mr. Garg came here legally and has probably worked harder in 7 years than you’ve worked in your entire life. If I had a choice, I’ll let Garg live in my spare bedroom and send you to India.

17. Troll spews:

He’s here legally and is going to be deported? Something is missing from this story. I’m not buying the understaffing argument.

18. Proud To Be An Ass spews:

Lunatic @13: “Lee, if someone breaks into your house with the intention of living there, without your permission, would want them out of your house, or would you let them stay?”

If the law says the entry was legal, and a lawful appeal is in progress…roll out the cots!

19. Lee spews:

@17
He’s here legally and is going to be deported? Something is missing from this story. I’m not buying the understaffing argument.

Who cares? When have you ever convinced any of us that your befuddled thought processes are relevant?

20. Troll spews:

I think most immigration is subconsciously a sign of self-hatred. Blacks Africans don’t want to live around other africans. Mexicans don’t want to live around other Mexicans. They want to move away from people who look like themselves. They want to live near white people. Everyone wants to live in white people countries. Nobody immigrates to black, hispanic, or asian countries. Everyone wants to be near white people. Everyone wants to immigrate to white majority countries. I’m flattered by it, but there has to be limits. And I think all these immigrants should be questioned as to why they hate being around people like themselves. We need limits on immigration. Everyone non-white person on earth wants to live near white people. Blacks, hispanics, and asians don’t need to immigrate here, they need to be taught not to hate themselves and their culture.

21. Seattle Jew spews:

@9 The issue is not whether he is working as barrister or as a database manager. H1B visas are not intended to be for permanent employment in specialized areas where out domestic worker force is not big enough or where the individual has unusual qualifications. The INS uses a fashion model as an example. Presumably a well known actor or a world class athelte would all get the same exemption.

He knew that when he came here and, if I understand your post, is now over his limit.
That outs him in a huge class .. esp. with the large number of young chinese people now coming here under the H1B.

To make matters worse, in this as in anything lese that is “legal” in the US money counts. Starbucks can, if it is willing to spend the dollars, get him the sort of legal help that can move this mountain.

The H1B is only one aspect of an uttelry assinine immigration policy. Lets keep pot illegal and fix immigration .

22. Aaron spews:

What I find ironic is the notion that it might be somehow better for U.S. citizens for someone like this to come offer their skills on a temporary basis via H1B. I’d rather just allow them (require them) to immigrate permanently (you can check in, but you will never leave).

I’ve had to compete in the marketplace for employment with people here to build a resume, and willing to treat employment like grad school, living in cheap housing and working below scale.

I’d much rather have people coming here to live permanently, and compete on a level playing field, where we both have long term interests in the local community.

This person wants to stay? Good. We should have told them thay have to, that they’re working here for the long haul, in the first place.

23. Seattle Jew spews:

@22 shua nuff

BUT, we are supposed to live in a ntion of laws. He is breaking the law and should not be allowed to work anymore than some mexicano farm worker doing Romney’s gardening.

As for the law .. well even though I did stay ina Holiday Inn last noght, I am not expert enough to see why the eff it is written the way it is.

OWFI (Obama Will Fix It).

24. Quincy spews:

seattlejew and lee, if i understand the situation (and i think we are all working off of too little information)if the immigration service were to approve his “I-140″ application, then mr g would be allowed to apply for a green card and stay in the USA, perhaps for years, until the immigration service could approve his green card. yes, temporary workers are supposed to go home when their time is up. but the law also allows them to stay, if they have an employer willing for file the paperwork. it seems there is nothing in the way of this other than a government official taking a look at his paperwork and stamping it “approved.” so the analogy here is not a home break in, but more like person applying for a drivers license. suppose you went down to the DOL to renew your license and they said “great, everything looks to be in order, but we’ve got a big backlog of applications and we won’t be able to get around to your case for about 18 months, so just take the bus home, sit by the mailbox and we’ll mail it to you.”

25. Seattle Jew spews:

Quincy

I suspect you are correct, but that does noit change the law. The US has no obligatiuon to convert his visa.

As to whether we should do so, well … yes but he is a big boat with a lot folks. Assum[ng the backlog at the IRS is justified by security(who knows??) the only way t do this fairly (other than passing new law) would be to raise our taxes to fund a more rapid process. How much would you pay fo this service to others?

It seems to me that this is one of those case where the best answer is to reform the effin laws.

26. Lee spews:

@25
I suspect you are correct, but that does noit change the law. The US has no obligatiuon to convert his visa.

That may be correct, Steve, but that misses the point of the entire post in that when the law stands in the way of hard working immigrants staying here, the law is the problem.

And no, this does not validate what you’ve been implying about regulations. If there was no legal immigration at all, Garg’s case would be much dicier.

27. Lee spews:

@20
Wow, that may be the dumbest comment in the history of this blog. Thank you so much for reinforcing the reasons why we don’t take what you say seriously.

If your “theory” is right, then how come so many white people left Europe between 1600 and 1800 to live in places like North America, Africa, South America, Asia, and Australia, all places without white people before?

Wow. Just wow.

28. Lee spews:

It’s up at EffU now:

http://effinunsound.com/?p=748

29. michael spews:

@27

Yeah #20 is a doozy, isn’t it.

30. ArtFart spews:

H1B is designed not for the benefit of immigrant workers, but to benefit corporations. Another piece of work from the finest government money can buy.

31. The Real Mark spews:

Lee,

How’s this for a proposal… I (and I’m sure 1,000 other Republicans) will not only sign the petition, but will also send strongly-worded letters (or e-mails or phone calls) to USCIS if you’re willing to turn in an equal number of illegal immigrants that are being harbored by your Lefty friends.

32. Lee spews:

@31
If I knew of an illegal immigrant who was here that was not interested in working or being a productive part of American society, I wouldn’t need any arrangement with you to turn them in. But I also recognize that many illegal immigrants are assets to this country despite their illegal status. We need a better system to sort them out, rather than keeping a broken system going because the politics are too hard.

33. SeattleJew spews:

@31 Lee where we agree:

“despite their illegal status. We need a better system to sort them out,”

BUT a better system is not an ad hoc one. Mr. Garg’s status. as far as I can see, is not entirely different from Pedro Vlasquez, a onetime farmworker, now gardener who works, pays taxes etc in Seattle. Treating illegals fairly is not a simple proposition of whose friends have more influence, and that ought to include a nice middle class guy like Mr. Garg as well as some dirty fingernails guy w/o kids like Mr. Vlasquez.

ctd …..

34. SeattleJew spews:

….
As I have said before, I know a LOT of Mg. Bargs and like you have worked to keep them in the USA. How is this for anb example (name changed for obvious reasons). Dr. Georg Heimbach is among the top tier of stem cell scientists in the world and always onm the short list for a Nobel. Like Mr. Garg, Dr. Heimbach was on a temporary visa, but while here he rose to prominence. he is currently a senior professor
at Much and Mighty Institute of Technology and, as it happens, a friend of mine.

So he came to the same impasse as mr. Gurg. Despite having American Born Children, he and his swiss born wife were due to tbe sent home.
MMIT, of course, has $$$ and hired Mucho Impressive,Esq, a great attorney who “solvced” the problem. It turns out that as wonderful as Georg is, the IRS does not consider stem cells expertise as rare and needed occupation. BUT, they apparently consider teachers of molecular biology as a rare commodity.

So, I and and others wrote letters describing the in credible value Georg has ..as a teacher. Mucho Impressive, Esq. know his business and Georg is now a permanent resident of the US. Strike one up for US immigration policy and one down for Georg’s home country.

Do you get my point? Anuj, Georg, and Pedro are all decent folk, all people you and I would like to see here as immigrants. Making a cause of one’s friends is fine, but it does invoke the much feared word “elitism.”

35. SeattleJew spews:

As for what should be done, it seems to me that in the big picture, addressing the needs of illegals is low on the list. My list is:

1. national ID card to control immigration by preventing illegal employment.
2. Replace H1B with immigrant visa and only allow companies to hire outsiders who declare that they WANT to become Americans. These qualified immigranats would be alloted slots based on some estimate of our countries needs. Anyone who failed to achieve citizenship after seven years would need to leave.
3. Raise the bar for citizenship by creating minimum standards for education, wealth,etc.
4. Allow existing illegals, including Mr. Barg, to apply for an extension of 1-2 years, during which the Government is required to decide whether or not they are qualified for citizenship. If not, they need to leave.

Of course this set of ideas does little to solve the needs of Mr. Barg or the 12,000,000 other people in the same boat with him. So perhaps, as suggsted by GW Bush et al,. we need an interim solution. To make this fair, however, I think we need to start it with the national ID and a clear decision as to anyone uncarded’s immigrant status.

It seems to me that such a policy would be easy to construct and would appeal across party lines. The policy would begin by discriminating between three classes:

legal aliens on permanent or temporary status

legal aliens with expired visas and extentions to allow a change of status

illegal aliens

36. Lee spews:

@1
1. national ID card to control immigration by preventing illegal employment.

Will never work. Companies will still openly defy the rules as long as illegal immigrants are desperate enough to come here.

2. Replace H1B with immigrant visa and only allow companies to hire outsiders who declare that they WANT to become Americans.

Will make no difference at all. It’s not hard to just say you want to become an American.

Raise the bar for citizenship by creating minimum standards for education, wealth,etc.

To me, this is as wrong as setting a minimum education or income requirement for voting.

Allow existing illegals, including Mr. Barg, to apply for an extension of 1-2 years, during which the Government is required to decide whether or not they are qualified for citizenship. If not, they need to leave.

Essentially we have this now. The problem is that there are delays in getting the extension approved.