Friday, August 7, 2009

San Francisco Chronicle: U.S. Citizens Wrongly Deported

The SF Chronicle is doing a great job writing hard-hitting pieces. Here is one particularly good article on our convoluted immigration laws and procedures.

I've said before, and I'll say it again: America's immigration laws give too much power and discretion to unelected government workers. With such power, you'd think there would be better checks and balances in place, or at least incentives to expeditiously process applications.

For example, immigration authorities delayed processing my application for a citizenship certificate, even though they cashed my check and there was no dispute as to my citizenship. I was already a citizen, I had a passport, and I just wanted the actual certificate. Sounds simple enough, doesn't it? Yet, it took me several emails to Senator Diane Feinstein's office to get a copy of my citizenship certificate--years after I'd paid the fee and received citizenship. Did anyone at the BCIS get punished for improperly sitting on my application for years? Probably not. There's no way for me to tell who handled my application or whose responsibility it was to process it. Even when I buy underwear, there's a sticker that tells me who inspected it. Isn't it sad that underwear sales have better safeguards in place than immigration laws?

In fact, immigration lawyers have one of the least expensive costs for malpractice insurance policies. Why? Because if the lawyer loses the case, the client--often someone who doesn't speak perfect English--leaves the country, making it difficult, if not impossible, to file a malpractice lawsuit. The entire system is obviously screwed up when it takes multiple contacts to a U.S. Senator to get a certificate confirming a citizen's existing status.

I'd like to thank Senator Feinstein's office for helping me when I had this issue. I don't know which individual in her office helped me, but I'd like to thank her, too. Without their help, I probably would have never gotten my citizenship certificate.

No comments: