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Opinion: A Grand Charade

October 2006
Opinion: A Grand Charade

It is one grand game of charades! At the helm is the economic and political establishment of the country and its institutions such as the grandiosely restructured federal agency now called the USCIS (U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services). Caught in the game, and sporting along, are immigration attorneys and their clients.

One can only imagine the sagacity of these practitioners and their clients – in having to painstakingly submit the umpteenth piece of document to satisfy the myriad requirements of the immigration law? while living daily amidst a veritable sea of those who are technically referred to as EWIs (Entered without Inspection) who seem to enjoy a system-wide immunity. The minutiae that these practitioners and their clients have to so diligently pursue seems like mockery by a system that has for years looked the other way in a "nod, nod; wink-wink" fashion when it comes to those who have outright defied it.

Granted, it's no picnic for the EWIs either. The national mood is increasingly against them. As a group, they may exist blissfully under an implied, system-wide immunity; yet, individually, they are constantly at risk. They better not find themselves in the tangle of the law with so much as even a speeding ticket. Their constant fear of deportation and a status of persona non grata are not humane or healthy, either for them or the nation. Moreover, this is not about passing judgment over hard working individuals who sought to better their lives by responding to a nation that implicitly condoned, and even encouraged, their illegal crossover.

Rather, this is to highlight the flaws of a defunct system. The "establishment", of which the immigration system is a major part, has, even if through acts of omission, encouraged more than 12 million illegal aliens into the country over a couple of decades. Principally, this fact alone renders the department of USCIS a grand farce. However inadvertently, the system has ended up rewarding those who flaunted the law while punishing those who abided by it. It is a system that, for no other reason than sheer expediency, has condoned those who have undermined it while simultaneously increasing the vigilance and scrutiny of those who have played by its books. The later are imposed an increasingly fickle, complex, and inconsiderate set of rules that are then executed at the whims and spuriousness of officials in an environment of distrust.

- Parthiv N. Parekh

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