If you have to immigrate here, you can’t afford it

I wish that I could have felt sorry for most of the protagonists in the July 6 Xpress article “Stymied.” I’m afraid I couldn’t. As an immigrant myself, who has spent a lot of money and time and endured a lot of frustration with the antiquated, complicated and convoluted U.S. immigration system, I can’t feel sorry for anyone who believes they can and should sidestep the hoops I and others were forced to jump through, and not face the consequences, whether it be deportation or denial of public education.

I know of too many people who are in the U.S. legally, on H1-B work visas working through the lengthy and expensive process of obtaining legal permanent residency, who are unable to send a spouse or child to college because their dependant requires a separate student visa (unlike many other countries, in the U.S., work and study privileges granted to the visa holder are not extended to his/her family). This automatically places the would-be student in the “out-of-state” category resulting in higher tuition costs. If these families, who are here legally, can’t get a break on tuition why should you spit in their faces for following the rules while those who break the law get rewarded for their illegal behavior?

I can only feel a little sorry for Ms. Ginocchio-Silva and her family’s situation with the botched religious worker visa. As I mentioned before, U.S. immigration rules are complicated. On top of that, they can be arbitrary. Each immigration official is given some latitude as to how strictly or loosely to enforce certain aspects of the law. No one should expect to successfully immigrate to the U.S. without the assistance of an extremely competent, and consequently expensive, immigration lawyer. (Not including the costs associated with H1-B visa that originally brought me to this country, the lawyers‘ fees associated with my marriage to my American husband and “Green Card“ added up to just under 50 percent of our wedding budget.)

Regrettably, I have heard too many stories of foreigners, wishing to respect the law but short on cash, getting bad advice from people, law degree or not, who do not understand the subtleties of U.S. immigration and thus should not be putting themselves out as immigration specialists.

— Mireille Laverty

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One thought on “If you have to immigrate here, you can’t afford it

  1. The term we’re looking for here is ‘Stockholm Syndrome’. Just because you managed to jump through some hoops do not make them _good_ hoops. They are, in fact, bad hoops. Our immigration system should be not be dependent on how rich you are.

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