Last week, I received a nice response from AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association). They too are concerned about the elimination of family reunification, asking me in response to alert any American friends I may have to call in to Senate offices supporting a particular amendment. Prompted by them, I followed yesterday's Senate presentation on C-SPAN2 by Senator Menendez concerning amendment 1199 (Dodd and Menendez) and S.A. 1194 (backlog in family reunification) and rebuking other senator's claims that preservation of family reunification is a killer to the CIR.
I completely agree that US citizens and permanent residents should continue to have their right to sponsor close relatives being honored.
I do not completely understand why it would have made a difference to General Powell's and Edison's (or to any other VIP example) contribution to US history had they not been able to sponsor their immigrant parents. Is that what you have so eloquently said, Senator Menendez: adult citizens are considered worthy sponsoring relatives? Worthy of having established family bonds? I think an adult presumably does not NEED their parents anymore to make it in life and make their contributions to the US. It is just that the United States wants to construe they have "earned" that privilege that they may sponsor relatives, as much as they have "earned" the privilege to fight and die in war for the US. These were your words, Senator Menendez: "worthy to fight, worthy to sponsor". But I just think that it is not only adult citizens who should have certain rights.
What about children of international divorce? They are citizens, but haven't earned that first right - having two parents. They also will not receive that loving attention by the divorced parent that was shut out of the US immigration system. Of course, THEY will not be able to become the future Powell's Mr. Menendez spoke about. There is a very fundamental flaw in thinking that only adults deserve their parents unless it is all about strategy. There is a fundamental flaw in all family-based immigration as practized by the United States and many countries. There also is a flaw in the merit system if the presence of a parent in the US gives points to an adult would-be immigrant, but the presence of a minor US citizen gives none to the parent - when also attempting to set barriers on all other ways to immigrate far higher in the future.
Senator Menendez used this word "worthy" so much. This seems to mean solely the inherent right of an adult US citizen to petition for immigration benefits on behalf of his relatives. This is smart, yet without any additional consideration all non-Americans, and all children, would not be worthy, they would be unworthy. In Germany, we once had the position that certain lives are worthy, and others unworthy. Other cultures stamp the unworthy label on infidels. Would the god-fearing nation USA need a reminder of that?
Nevertheless, I would support amendment 1199 as a first start, because it would not completely eliminate all immigration by family relationships and retain the basic thought that the fabrics of relationships are the base of individual and national success and important qualifiers for immigration.
Hence here my response to Senator Menendez, posted on his web form:
Dear Honorable Sen. Menendez -
I have just listened to your comments on the CIR on C-SPAN and was asked by AILA to hope for your amendment to pass.
Please also consider that children need two parents to provide for them. I do not understand why family reunification is only about the right of adult citizens to sponsor their parents. How about the right of little children to have a divorced parent provide for them? I am a former H1B who after divorce legally left the US and may perhaps never see my daughter (a citizen) again with some of the amendments to the CIR. Is that what is right - to make somebody a citizen but deny parents to work and see their child? Please read my story on http://immigrationparentsreform.blogspot.com/, including an idea on a bill at http://immigrationparentsreform.blogspot.com/2007/05/draft-bill-international-divorce.html . I apologize that I take myself the freedom to contact a US Senator as a father of a citizen. I know you are also not the senator for Wisconsin, where my daughter resides, but since you addressed family reunification, you should know.
Am I desperate about this? I have also e-mailed oprah.com about my issue here.