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Blog Posted in avatar   Deepa Phadnis's Blog

Thoughts of a legal non-immigrant on the proposed immigration reform

By Deepa Phadnis
Posted Jan 29, 2013 in Politics
Does anyone of the thousands of legal non-immigrants inside the US today (especially those in the H4 category), understand what exactly are people referring to when they talk about a "pathway to earned legalization"? Because frankly I am totally confused help me understand please. I have spent 5 years legally inside the US…..paid taxes without the benefit of social security ...yet found no way to "earn" the status of "permanent resident" without having a "sponsor" ( be it an employer or a relative)!
So am I to understand that a so called "illegal immigrant" who possibly came to the US along with me...albeit illegally...., today stands a much better chance of finding a pathway to legalization...and to top it all...gets a work permit without a sponsor??? Am I to understand that the child of such a person can legitimately have "DREAMS" while my child who also happened to study US History and the US systems of measurements in Science and Math has no such option and will have to go back to her home country if her father's "sponsor" (a giant US corporation at that)...who succeeded in sponsoring his H1 visa and retain him for 5 years, yet may very well fail to sponsor his permanent residency in a timely manner???
After six years I am so frustrated with the existing and now the proposed immigration laws here that I wonder if it is really worth the effort to "wait patiently in the line" when others no way more deserving...callously pass you by!!! My advice to all those prospective eager countrymen back home ...who aspire to come here legally with the dream of realizing their full potential in this seemingly promising land of opportunity...would be ...whatever else you may decide to do...PLEASE DO NOT BRING YOUR FAMILY on a dependent VISA….FOR IF YOU DO, ….YOU WILL SURELY CONDEMN THEM TO HEARTBREAK, MISERY AND HELPLESSNESS.
I am so very disillusioned that I have truly come to believe that the H1 visa guest worker program of employment is a modern version of "bonded labor" ….practiced by corporate America with "due help" from the political system to serve their "need of skilled labor" without hurting the sentiments of the average American….by arguing that the skilled workers are hired only on a temporary basis and are not costing the loss of an American job. Can three years and an extension of another three years allowed by rule by the H1 visa program be humanely considered a “temporary period” in the life of the guest worker’s dependents?
The program has continued to audaciously trample upon the most basic human rights of the “dependents”: namely to be able to utilize your expertise productively in the society where you have been legally allowed to be physically present! I wonder ....where are the human rights activists ....we desperately need your help!?!? I for one do need help in understanding how a system that implicitly forces a qualified and experienced high school physics teacher on an H4 visa to spend as many as five or more years of her life unproductively…..without teaching….to avoid separation of family, is not violating the human rights of the worker and his dependents?
My frustration and helplessness only multiplied when I attempted to fill out online forms for voluntary teaching work on an unpaid basis and realized that the system requires me to have a valid SSN (which is assigned to most categories of non-immigrant residents except the H4 category) to even allow the form to be processed! I have nothing against the millions of undocumented workers here and would certainly like for them to get an opportunity to get legalized. However I fail to understand how it is “compassionate” and “fair” to allow an undocumented (illegal) worker to obtain a work permit without a sponsor, while I have waited legally and patiently inside the US complying with every law imaginable, for the same opportunity!!
When there are so many people already waiting to get a green card for six to ten years on an average, I shudder to think of the chaos that would result when millions more are added without first addressing the issue of the legal non –immigrants and their dependents. So in all this rhetoric of “immigration reform” I urge Congress and the president to kindly note the frustrations of the “patiently waiting class of non-immigrants” ….for whom waiting may be the only option because returning back after six years would mean uprooting their kids and planting them in a culturally and socially unfamiliar environment…. and make structural changes to the H1 visa program to accommodate the needs of the dependents of the guest worker and to provide humanely time bound path towards “legalization of the legal”…and should they be unable to reach “agreement” I humbly request them to be at least humane enough to completely abolish the guest worker program, and put an end to this “bondage” of the dependents.

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