A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Our Immigration Policy at Work

A heart-wrenching human-interest story has gathered a lot of attention during the last few weeks. It is a typical David vs. Goliath story. A Filipino couple who immigrated to the United States in the early 1980s plays David. The Goliath is our own US government, who is doing what they do best: making Mount Everest out of a molehill.

The couple, Pedro and Salvacion Survano, filed for immigration to the United States in 1978. At the time they filled out the paperwork, the couple was not married. In the course of the time it took for the application to be approved – with typical government speed that has been recorded as somewhere between the crawling of the common snail and an extinct dinosaur - the couple married. The couple entered the United States, found jobs, raised a family, and became productive members of the community in Hummels Wharf, PA. The man became a pediatrician with the local medical center, while his wife ran an Asian grocery store.

All was going well until Pedro filed for naturalized citizen status in 1990. At this point, someone with the Immigration Service noted that their marital status was not marked correctly on the original application. This infraction is punishable by deportation. In the intervening years, the case has made its way through the various appeals process within the Immigration Service.

The last of those appeals has been exhausted and it now appears that the couple will be deported, and the family (2 boys, 2 girls) will be broken up. Since the children were all born in the United States they will not be subject to deportation. Our government’s reaction seems way overblown considering it is over a tiny, unintentional error.

The Survanos most likely were not aware that their application needed to be updated once they married. There must be some sort of mechanism in place – a screening interview, a briefing, a meeting, a registered letter, or something - that would have alerted them that they needed to update their application once their living situation changed. Obviously, the Immigration Service fumbled and the Survanos never knew they needed to update their application until it was too late.

Okay, let’s get this straight. There are hundreds of illegal aliens entering this country and sapping our economic resources by taking jobs from Americans, getting medical care through taxpayer funded Medicaid programs, and probably not paying their own taxes if they are paid “under the table”. Meanwhile, the government is trying to throw out a couple who are not on the public dole, support themselves with good jobs, and pay taxes as good citizens. I don’t get it.

It would be pointless to plead for compassion in this case; after all, we are talking about the US government. How about common sense? Has the US government used any common sense in this case? Silly question; the answer is “of course not!”

The couple did get some good news this week. They have been given a 60 day reprieve from their deportation proceedings, while Senator Arlen Spector’s office looks into the matter. The Survanos last hope rests with special legislation that has been rarely used, and even more rarely approved. It seems a shame that it will take an act of Congress to ensure that a hard-working family like the Survanos stays in our great country.


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