The View From Your Recession

A reader writes:

I would like to second wholeheartedly the opinion that the US immigration system is broken. I have been in the US as an immigrant for just under ten years, first as a student then on an H1B visa. I have a masters degree from a US university, have never broken a law, and have always paid my taxes. And yet I have zero job mobility because H1B visas are tied to specific jobs - if you lose or leave the job, you lose your visa. This upshot of this is that you get stuck in jobs for which you are overqualified and underpaid. In terms of my earnings and career trajectory, I lag about four years behind my contemporaries in the same line of work. And yet I stay at my job because it is the only option to stay here.

On top of that, I am forced to apply a green card through my employer because I am gay and therefore am ineligible to be sponsored by my partner of eight years.
I have considered a sham marriage to get the green card, but I don't have the stomach for it and don't want to put whoever I marry at risk of a fine or even prison. This means that if my green card sponsor company goes under - they recently scaled back to the point that I am the only employee along with the two owners - I will have to leave the country, since finding another green card sponsor in this economic climate will be simply impossible.
It is particularly aggravating when I hear anti-immigration voices braying about how if you stay legal as an immigrant, everything will work out. It's not true! Having almost been forced to leave the country last year when my previous employer cancelled my visa with two weeks' notice, I can testify to the fact that the current system is based on employers' whims. It reflects a cruel and arbitrary set of values that punishes immigrants for forces beyond their control.

In short, the immigration system does not reward hard work or merit. It's about time that, instead of awarding visas for specific job offers, someone started to think of a different model that looks at a immigrant's work history in the US as a measure of whether they are able to stay - immigration parole, if you like.

And it's about bloody time that Congress passed the UAFA.