President Joe Biden won the nasty battle for the White House in 2020 and has now jumped back into the political war around illegal immigration to the United States.
On his first day in office, he unveiled a plan which would provide pathways to citizenship for those who are undocumented and living in the shadows. It remains to be seen what will happen on this front but once more I am baffled by the lack of attention to those who try to come to this country via the proper and official ways.
To be clear, there is nothing wrong with helping those who often come from horrifying violence in South and Central America. The U.S.A. must always be a beacon of hope for those facing such struggles. However, we must also admit they often ignore the legal mechanisms to enter because of costs and hurdles involved.
I am someone facing those today. I was working in Wisconsin after finishing graduate school in 2017 which I had come to from Canada. While in the state I met an American girl, proposed to her in 2019 and thereafter we began going through the K1 visa process designed for those who have a fiancé or fiancée living abroad.
Though I am now in the country and would do all of it again for her the experience has been insane. Days have been stressful; nights have been sleepless and emotional and I cannot understand some of the rules made by federal bureaucrats.
Why was I required to fly all the way to Montreal from the Canadian province of Alberta in order to have a minutes-long interview and hand over some paperwork at a U.S. consulate during a pandemic? Canada is the second largest country on the planet land-wise after Russia. There are U.S. government offices throughout the nation I once called home. You would think other workers would be able to handle simple documents electronically but this convenience has not been implemented.
I see it as nothing short of a miracle I managed to avoid getting sick.
There was also a state-sanctioned medical exam which required me to spend another $1,000 to fly to Canada’s west coast and pay almost $400 for five minutes of questions and a simple urine analysis. As well, my soon-to-be wife and I are now preparing for our imminent new reality where the rules for this visa will block me from working legally for up to a year while she solely earns for us.
This stress comes alongside us having to pay more than $1,000 to “adjust my status” so I am not subject to removal at the end of March. While every nation can and should have rules for who is allowed to enter, what sense does it make to have costs like this, huge travel hurdles for bigger families and very confusing forms?
On the I-485, which is used to register for permanent residence or adjust status, it actually still asks if the person filing was involved in crimes during World War Two or if they are coming to the United States to engage in child pornography.
Who is still alive to answer the first and who would ever say yes to the second?
This is one area where I truly believe liberal and conservative people could come together in the new era we are in which envisions healing of our partisan divide.
We must reform the fiancé and fiancée visa process to be more convenient, allow the individual coming in to seek employment faster and lessen the costs associated with paperwork required before moving on to other reasoned and positive reforms.
Why keep any of this strain which just adds to risk of people splitting up?