Tuesday, May 02, 2006

One Strike and You're Out

Gwynnie at Maggie's Farm brings us this story about an American couple and the process they had to go through to get the Mexican government to grant them a work visa. It's almost as onerous a process as getting the City of Boston to grant you permission to own a handgun.

Working in Mexico

During that six months our Mexican and US Attorneys were working to secure a permanent work visa called a FM3. It was in addition to my US passport that I had to show each time I entered and left the country. Barbara's was the same except hers did not permit her to work.

To apply for the FM3 I needed to submit the following notarized originals (not copies) of my:

1. Birth certificates for Barbara and me.
2. Marriage certificate.
3. High school transcripts and proof of graduation.
4. College transcripts for every college I attended and proof of graduation.
5. Two letters of recommendation from supervisors I had worked for at least one year.
6. A letter from The St. Louis Chief of Police indicating I had no arrest record in the US and no outstanding warrants and was "a citizen in good standing."
7. Finally; I had to write a letter about myself that clearly stated why there was no Mexican citizen with my skills and why my skills were important to Mexico. We called it our "I am the greatest person on earth" letter. It was fun to write. All of the above were in English that had to be translated into Spanish and be certified as legal translations and our signatures notarized. It produced a folder about 1.5 inches thick with English on the left side and Spanish on the right.

Meanwhile, we have people in this country today calling for our government to grant citizenship to Juan from Mexico, who's carrying a five-dollar fake ID that says he's Julio from Honduras, and who's been working under a social security number that belongs to some guy named Steve from Minneapolis.

"But, it's OK. We'll run a criminal background check first, as called for by the plan put forth by the U.S. Senate."

Yeah, good luck with that.

On the other hand, if an illegal alien can produce the same level of AUTHENTIC documentation to verify his identity, education, and criminal history (or lack thereof, preferably) - as is required of Americans working in Mexico - then I don't see any reason why that person shouldn't immediately be issued a work visa, and be allowed to become a productive member of society (i.e. pay taxes above and beyond the $0.07 sales tax on his morning coffee).

Then again, if they had that documentation, they probably wouldn't have entered the country illegally in the first place, and likely would have already begun the process of legally obtaining their work papers.

For these law-abiding (immigration law notwithstanding) individuals, I'd even be willing to put them on a so-called "path to citizenship", provided they get at the back of the line, behind all the folks who are in the process of LEGALLY obtaining American citizenship. When ALL those folks are taken care of, we'll call you.

If we (the US .gov) can't verify the identity of a person applying to become an American citizen, how are we to know that person isn't a mass-murdering heroin trafficker or some other variety of career criminal looking to escape from the authorities in his home country?

Sorry, pal, but if you're in this country illegally, using forged documentation (including phony social security numbers), you gotta go. End of discussion. I don't care if you're a Mexican picking lettuce, or some Irish kid mopping the floor at the Green Briar in Brighton.

I might even be persuaded someday to give them a mulligan on the illegal border crossing, provided it comes with a "one strike and they're out" policy where tax fraud, forgery, and identity theft are concerned.

But, for now, we have enough trouble keeping track of our domestic criminal population. We don't need to be importing any. I'm more than willing, in this case, to err on the side of national security, law and order, and the safety of the American public.