©Neville Goedhals 2007. Visit my site at: www.NevilleGoedhals.com

Alien Invasion

by Neville Goedhals

I’m sure that, like me, you are at the point of coughing up hairballs at the very mention of illegal aliens. But please give me a moment; here is something you rarely hear. This is from the horse’s mouth:

I am a really pissed off legal alien! If you believe that US citizens are upset by illegals crossing the border, then you ain’t seen nothin’ yet (See, I’ve even learned American slang). Most citizens are blissfully unaware of the scrutiny legal aliens undergo in earning the privilege to live and work in this wonderful country; a detailed scrutiny that the illegals seem destined to bypass.

How I entered the US:

I was one of the fortunate few who had the education, skills and experience to fall into one of the categories where work visas were being provided. First I had to find an employer who was willing to sponsor me i.e. give me a job. The employer had to advertise the job in 3 newspapers for a month to ensure that I was not taking a job away from a US citizen. The local US consulate ran a check with local law enforcement while in the US I was vetted by the FBI and CIA. I had to obtain 3 letters from previous employees confirming my experience and work history in the given category. I had to have my two degrees confirmed in the US by a law firm specializing in equivalency estimation (I had to forward the content of every subject I took; they granted me a Master’s equivalency). I had to provide certified copies of my identity document, passport, birth certificate, marriage license and had my prints taken. I then had to go to three different clinics for medical tests. And I lie not; one of the tests was for genital herpes (heaven forbid that I should bring genital herpes into the US). After a four month wait I received my visa and could enter the US legally.

How I became a legal alien:

At this stage I was not an immigrant. After a year (the recommended wait period) I applied for a green card. Once again I had to repeat most of the steps that I had taken to get a work visa. After a 13 month wait I received a green card (nowadays it takes 3 years). I have since applied for citizenship (this can only be done after a further 5 years; I waited ten), and have been waiting for my interview for about a year now. In all, the above process has cost me (in application and legal fees) about $8,500.

If I had swum across the Rio Grande:

  1. It would have been much cheaper, even with the fines that were being proposed by the immigration amnesty bill.
  2. I could provide documents of dubious authenticity.
  3. I could carry as many diseases as I liked.
  4. I would not have to worry about any criminal past.
  5. Any education would be optional.
  6. I wouldn’t have to pay taxes and my family could use US schools and hospitals.
  7. There would be a chance that I could become a citizen faster (I’m sure another bill will be proposed soon).

What does it mean?

When undergoing the visa process, I was impressed to say the least. Here was a country that was carefully vetting its workforce and potential citizens; all the requirements pointed to a country that put its existing citizens first.

Two years after arriving in the US, I took a trip to Laredo Texas, where my wife (RIP) was consulting. She took me to the massive bridge connecting Laredo to Nuevo Laredo in Mexico, and I watched in amazement as people waded across the Rio Grande into the US. Nobody stopped them.

Suddenly my jubilation, of being one of the privileged to work in the USA, dissolved, and I was left with a bitter taste in the back of my throat. How could the US put its own citizens at such risk? And this was prior to 9/11; I was thinking about the criminals, the drugs, potential diseases, loss of taxes, all the time and money I’d spent doing things legally ...

But how do you determine an illegal?

Simple. I carry my green card with me everywhere I go; it’s the law. When I had a work visa I carried that in my wallet, as required by law. When applying for a job I presented the visa; once again as required by law. Some of the clients and companies I worked for asked for no documentation at all, some for my social security card ... and therein lies the problem. Companies couldn’t care less if you are legal or not, just so long as the work gets done. After all, companies can’t get locked in jails.

The first step (a nice simple bill for the senate to pass) is to have a decent identity document. With existing technology this could act as an ID, a social security card, a driver’s license, and a passport. Give it an encrypted data strip and you’ve cut out 99% of forgeries. Well, what are our elected officials waiting for?

Where does it end?

Do we start breeding crocodiles in the Rio Grande? The proposed wall and enhanced security along the border will be a detriment, but as I’ve learned, anyone with enough determination can overcome anything. And forget Z-visas. Why not use the existing work visa system (hell, I used it). The same goes for anything that even smells of amnesty; Illegals mean that they are illegal, and they broke the law knowingly and intentionally. Let them go though the same process I did.

It’s not a case of “shame, they’ve settled down so nicely, and they’re really good neighbors.” They may have a criminal past. They may have tuberculosis, HIV, or heaven forbid, genital herpes. They may be bringing in drugs. You may be paying taxes on their behalf. If they’re not working in the fields they may be taking a US citizens job. They may be terrorists! How well do you know their pasts?

If there is a severe detriment to employing an illegal I expect the problem may be solved. If the owners of public companies can be held libel for security fraud, then why not for hiring illegals? Make it a criminal offence. A few CEOs doing jail time might send the right message. Watch how fast employees will be scrutinized. Actual checks would be done on social security cards rather than glancing at them and saying “well ok then.”

As for the politicians: The Democrats are suddenly split between those who decry any amnesty (because it’s something the President came up with), and the diehard liberals who believe that the world should be subsidized by the US. The Republicans are split between those who support amnesty (once again because it’s something the President came up with), and those who see the inherent problems that opening the floodgates will bring.

It has reached the stage where I would be happy if the government did anything. Are they getting paid for what they do?