Friday, September 9, 2016

Economic refugees: Are they scourge to U.S. economy or not?

At least, 12 million of them are scattered across America. And they’re branded as “economic refugees.”
Farm workers in California. Photo: npr.org

Without proper immigration papers with them, they’re at the mercy of being deported should they commit traffic violations at any point in time.

It's either they have crossed the border illegally through the help of human smugglers called "Coyotes", or they simply landed at the ports as tourists with proper documents stamped by immigration authorities but overstayed their visas, and went underground without any trace at all.

Depending on circumstances, most of those border-crossers from South America are reportedly victims of violence in their home countries who are left without any other
option at all than to escape. Oblivious of the risks along the way, these people have properly blended themselves with other people. But finding no other recourse to survive in a foreign shore, they were put in an uncanny situation where their only means to fill up their empty stomachs and, perhaps, to repay the huge debts they paid to smugglers, is to do odd jobs in a land where Americans hate or tired of doing.

Referred by friends or deployed through registered manpower agencies,  most of them can be seen cleaning houses, serving as nannies, landscapers, construction workers, farm workers and so forth and so on. And they can easily be found hanging around at Home Depots and elsewhere, waiting for long hours at any given opportunity that may come their way.

While the other group of migrants legally entered the United States either as citizens of the waiver countries or as businessmen, students or tourists from developing countries with valid visas stamped on their respective passports.

But what sets them apart from each other is that a big portion of those coming from Third World countries like Southeast Asia can speak the English language. And many of the tourists are either skilled or professionals in their own making. With or without pending petitions from relatives but their dreams,  many of them just want to make it quickly to America.

Foremost in their minds is their over eagerness to improve their lives and that of their families back home. With meager wages in their home countries, they could hardly make both ends meet. To break this spell, what most of them have in mind is to try their luck somewhere else, in an advanced country where what they expect to get is five times higher than what they get at home.

With the continuing implementation of stringent regulations made by the Department of Homeland Security, especially after the September 11 bombing of the Twin Towers in New York City, backlogs in the processing of immigration-related documents have piled up unprecedentedly. Unfortunately, the long wait, which normally takes more than 10 to 15 years for immediate relatives to rejoin their families in the U.S., has been cut short by taking advantage of applying for a tourist visa, pending the approval of their petitions.

It was only early this year when the federal government has announced the giving of parole to relatives of thousands of Filipino-American war veterans, most of them are
already in their twilight years, who were petitioned many years back to come over temporarily in order to take care of their elderly or sickly parents until such time that their petitions are officially approved. This is separate from the reunification program where even those who were not petitioned can be processed to join their surviving parents in America.

Despite these positive developments occurring a couple of months away from the holding of the national elections in November, apprehensions are percolating that the nomination of business tycoon Mr. Donald Trump,  as the GOP's presumptive presidential candidate against former Secretary of State  Hillary Clinton as the nominee for the Democratic Party, could make a backlash on the true mission and political intentions of the GOP after Trump made foul-mouthed and racist statements against the Hispanic communities in America.

After a lull on the waves of border crossings made by thousands of women and children late last year,  the surge has again reignited by the thought that should the GOP succeeds in taking the rein of leadership in America, Trump would build a long concrete wall that will make it impossible for Hispanic migrants to cross the border illegally.

It goes without saying that the campaign threat made by Trump to build a high and long concrete wall may have sparked the massive border crossings last early June.

If the skilled and professional citizens of Third World nations are given the chance to work in the West without hitches, they would simply welcome the idea and go for it without any hesitation. That’s my gut-feeling!

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