The proposed U.S. immigration bill, seen as a way to deal with the growing tide of illegal immigrants, now estimated at around 12 million and rising, was shelved in Congress despite bi-partisan support. Members of both parties were wary of what may be perceived as â€œamnestyâ€ for illegal immigrants. The bill would have facilitated the issuance of up to 440,000 visas annually and aims to introduce a new points system for admissions based on job skills, education, English ability and other factors which would have favored Pinoys, given our affinity for U.S. culture.
Illegal aliens who arrived before January 7, 2007 would be eligible to apply for â€œZâ€-visas, which would allow them to work legally and, eventually, apply for permanent status. They would have to return to their home country though, after their Z-visas expire and before it can be renewed. For many Pinoys, going back too soon is not a feasible option. After they enter the U.S. , they will find creative ways to stay.
The U.S. Congress is surprisingly short-sighted in not passing the bill. The points-system would have provided enough safeguards to ensure that only the best and the brightest would qualify for long-term residency. I know this sounds elitist, but national self-interest dictates that the U.S. give preference to those who can contribute most to keeping America economically and intellectually dominant.
The reality is that the U.S. is losing out on the opportunity to attract the most skilled and better educated segments of the global community. Borders are disappearing everywhere, but the U.S. is intent on building up walls.
The U.S. is not training enough health workers, engineers and other skilled professionals and will have to turn to outsiders to address the deficit. Except for lawyers, of course. The U.S. has enough of those.