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The woes of even legal immigration

As a U.K citizen living and working legally in the U.S., I must respond to Bob Ross’s reference to “orderly processes” for would-be legal immigrants (The Citizen, 2/2/11).

The immigration system is completely broken. There’s no orderly process.

In 2005 I applied for a specialty technical position in Atlanta, with one of the world’s top media companies. I got that job on merit, as “there was no qualified American wiling or able” — that’s the INS rules.

It took me four years to get to the U.S. due to INS visa issues.

Three years after I got the visa, my company is sponsoring me for a green card, a very expensive process for them, and me.

Due to INS backlogs, it will likely be 10 years until I get that, and another seven beyond that for U.S. citizenship.

Anytime in the next 10 years, the government may change the rules, or I may get laid off. I then have to leave the U.S.

Meanwhile, we live in a twilight world of being “non-immigrants” — i.e., not permanent residents.

That means my family is effectively bondaged to my employer for the duration, and I am forbidden to apply for a promotion, hardly in my company’s best interests.

My wife and daughter can not have Social Security numbers, bank account, or work at all. I pay more taxes than a permanent resident. I pay for a 401k and into the welfare system, even though I’ll likely never be entitled to those benefits.

I have to pay out-of-state college fees in Georgia for my daughter, even though I’m a Georgia resident, and we’re not entitled to any state or federal financial aid. That’s a moot point, as she’ll be kicked out of the U.S. when she reaches 21 anyway, due to the INS delays.

I constantly have to report information to my employer and the INS on my movements. The list goes on and on ...

This mess has come very close to breaking up my 25-year marriage and my family, especially when we also constantly hear of concessions to illegals.

I’m not looking for sympathy here. I want people to be aware of the nightmare of legal immigration. Many of my American friends and coworkers felt the need to personally apologize to me for my predicament. That is very much appreciated.

Andy Hasluem

Fayetteville, Ga.

Location: 

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