Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Immigration Rights | Congressmen from Washington State

On April 7, 2011 I had the pleasure to visit Washington DC, a city full of picturesque monuments, diverse faces, and people in suits.

I feel proud to be American. To be fair, every country has its positive and negative qualities, much like a real person. But America, at its finest, is a living and breathing beacon of freedom. We elect our representatives to make the laws, elect the President to enforce the laws, and we appoint Judges to interpret the laws.

I traveled with seven other AILA attorneys who practice immigration law to speak with Washington State Congressmen about immigration policy. This was part of a nation-wide effort to inform our representatives who make our immigration laws.

We met with staff persons from almost every Congress person, except McMorris Rodgers, Republican from the 5th District centered around Spokane, and Jaime Beutler, Republican from the 3rd around Vancouver, Washington.

The feeling from each individual Democrat staff was that immigration is an important issue that affects the economy, security, and our values, but it's not high on the "to do" list. Comprehensive immigration reform will not likely take place until after the 2012 elections.

We cited highly specific examples to describe to each individual Congress representative about how our immigration laws need refinement. For example - just one of many - the amount of business visas have not changed for decades. The US is not able to grant enough visas to highly qualified immigrants that create jobs, which harms the economy. The lack of availability for visas for family members is just a dire. In some cases a family member must wait 20 years before being able to lawfully immigrate into the US to be with a relative.

In all, immigration issues are not going away. The sooner the government is able to address immigration policy wisely, the better.

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