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United States

Workers - Including Linus - Left in Limbo by INS 357

Anonymous Coward writes, "Read how the young and highly skilled engineers are being left angry, frustrated and perplexed. The delay in INS processing messes with lives of these people." One specifically mentioned in this Mercury Center story (published Sunday, Jan. 30) is a gentleman from Finland named Linus Torvalds.
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Workers - Including Linus - Left in Limbo by INS

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  • Linus is a smart-ass! What a man! :)

    A true geek at heart.

  • Oh, I meant the "Which Year" comment he made. :)

  • From the article:

    :U.S. immigration officials recently boasted that in a year they had cut the average time it takes to become a citizen from 28 to 12 months. What they failed to say is that the wait for green cards grew interminably long as the citizenship lines got shorter.:

    What, they decided to start averaging in the 9 months it takes for people who were born here to become citizens?
    ---
  • by TummyX ( 84871 ) on Monday January 31, 2000 @04:54PM (#1316841)
    Everyone had better setup marches on congress and turn this into a real election issue.

    Al Gore: "Seeing as I fathered Linus Torvalds..."
  • "But INS officials claim the situation is not as hopeless as it seems."

    Isn't that what they all say?

  • Seems to me that everything in a bureaucracy requires extensive amounts of waiting time, kind of an extension of the "hurry up and wait" motto of the US Army. Mounds of paperwork seem to be neccessary, even though it serves no functional purpose in the end. I thought the computer was supposed to do away with all of the paper involved in paperwork, save trees, speed up work time, and other unfulfilled promises. Now multiple copies are needed, both paper and digital files must be kept, and in multiple copies. How come computers haven't speeded up processes like this?
  • Government official:Linus=Linux, Linux=something I keep hearing about so it must be important even though I have no idea what it is, give him green card, feel good.
  • by shang ( 130364 ) on Monday January 31, 2000 @04:58PM (#1316854) Homepage
    as the article suggested, security clearance backlog contributes greatly to the green card delay. It takes several months to get the security clearance (almost 6 months for mine, but that's partly due to my place of birth and clearance level). I've heard from several security officers at work that now there's a 6 month backlog now to get your clearance, so I got lucky. If this is true, that's 6 months added to the green card application process. This isn't something that can be put aside.
  • The long waits are a deliberate creation of Congress, which has starved the INS of resources, and increased its paperwork burden because too many recently naturalized citizens voted Democrat in 1996.
  • by zeck ( 103790 ) on Monday January 31, 2000 @04:59PM (#1316856)
    The people the article is talking about aren't a bunch of unskilled slovenly idiots who know little about English or personal hygiene. These are intelligent, educated people who have come to America to work in silicon valley and are being hired because they are the most qualified for the job at hand. The only people who suffer are people less qualified who would be filling the same jobs if it weren't for those darned immigrants. Don't blame all your problems on foreigners.
  • Having many friends who are foreign nationals I have seen first hand to total screwiness which is INS. Many have had to leave the country because their current visas expired before the paperwork could get through to get either new visas or greencards.

    Another guy at work has had to go redo his finger prints as they have "expired". How exactly ones finger prints expire I will never know.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    There's just one contradiction I'd like resolved:

    US bashing seems to be all the rage on Slashdot these days, with everyone saying the US has an oppressive government, that they're glad to be living in Europe / Canada / wherever again, that they wouldn't live in the US if somebody paid them to, etc. Yet here are tens, hundreds of thousands of people waiting to get in! What gives? Why are all these people waiting to get in if the US sucks so much?

    This is an honest question, not a flame at anybody, and I'd really appreciate a real answer.
  • At the start of 1994, two of my friends left australia to work in the US. One got married and had his green card by 1997. The other one stayed three years there, didn't get his application through and went back a year later. He still does not have his green card.

    Whenever I get tempted to go and work there, I remember the pain that my friends associated with the INS. I don't think that I'll be emmigrating any time soon.
  • While H-1B visa holders and other technology workers certainly aren't the only ones waiting for approval, perhaps the situation could be improved by instituting a requirement for H-1B applicants to contribute their skills to improve the process

    Now, I understand that some of the issues have nothing to do with pushing paper and everything to do with government workers nearing a pension and 'passing time', as it were. Consider, though, the impact having someone like a Linus Torvalds working on streamlining the process could have.

    Having worked with a fair number of government agencies, I can say that there is a marked lack of technological ability within your average Federal department. Most notable are the archaic systems of redemption and approval of things like applications and requests, in large part because no worthwhile systems of automation and reduction of redundancy are in place. A decent team of hackers could cut out a lot of fat (and time) in a pretty short period. Harnessing the talents of those requesting naturalization in this context makes perfect sense to me

    Of course, this assumes the INS would be smart enough to tap those resources to fix the problem, instead of doing things because they've 'always been done this way'.

  • I have seen many sides of the story.
    • There is one side that say employers can't find skilled workers, so they have to import them.
    • There are employee groups that claim that the employers hire aliens since it is cheaper. That an employer will advertise for someone with impossible qualifications and show they don't have the exact skill to justify. Maybe 5 years of Java experience on an AS/400. But refuse to consider someone with 5 years of Java on AIX.
    • Then the aliens who are trapped in a job, if they leave the job, they will have to leave the country, no matter how bad the job becomes.
    • I had a divorced friend who did not have a green card, but could not leave the country because the court ordered her to stay in Santa Clara county with her daughter. INS could/would not do anything

      The system is a mess. The quotas should not be increased, but should be fixed right!

  • This seems to be a chronic failing of Governments. Utterly failing to detect and respond to gross understaffing or changing circumstances in anything approaching a resonable timeframe.

    I understand that in the quest for efficiency and financial security they want to squeeze out every penny in 'fat', but why are they so inept at detecting life affecting and even life threatening shifts in the requirements and responding? (Let alone anything less dramagic.)

    Here in Ontario Canada the death of a young man hasn't even really gotten much of a response from the Provincial government in terms of upping emergency room resources (at any given time a huge fraction of the emergency rooms are 'closed' due to overfilling).

    These aren't situations that 'pop up'. This has been building for a half a year!

    The important question is, what needs to be done, institutionally and bureaucratically, to allow our governments to respond to things like these?

    Do they need to create special 'response' departments whose sole responsibility is to analyze reported shortages of any type of 'services' and 'resources' and independently and publicly report what needs to be done and how quickly to avoid such idioticly drawn out situations that screw up entire human lives?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I also am dealing with the INS - applying for
    US citizenship. I am experiencing the kinds of
    delays, and mistakes, that are the sure signs of
    a workforce that is either overworked, underpaid,
    or both. A 'Dilbertian' situation like this
    leads to loss of moral, and ultimately leads
    to trained staff leaving their jobs (particularly
    the better ones).

    Ultimately, I see this as a government, in turn
    following the mandate of the people, who wish
    to cut taxes. Cutting taxes is fine if you
    don't expect the government to do anything, but
    to scream to have taxes removed, and then complain
    when government does not do its job is just
    crazy.

    (Someone might say - the INS doesn't need more
    money - just better management. That maybe so,
    but you also have to pay for good management.)

    (I posted anonomously, because I saw so many
    crazy posts on this subject that I thought -
    well - I just did not want these crazy people
    to know who I was.)
  • by Pope ( 17780 ) on Monday January 31, 2000 @05:06PM (#1316868)
    I worked for a while for an online Health Care recruiter. We got tonnes of applications from people who didn't follow the instructions that were clearly posted on the site. That took time to clean up.
    It also takes a human to judge the merits of a case. Someone might have "too perfect" credentials, therefore arousing suspicion. We had people from overseas (ie not USA or Canada) applying for any job they thought they could do, but that's simply not the case: almost every hospital will simply NOT hire staff without North American experience. *bam* we have to go and un-apply them from the jobs they applied for so they stop coming up on our database searches.

    Simply putting records into a database doesn't make the process faster.

    Remember the great Conservative promise of "smaller government?"
    Basically you fire all the people who do this sort of work, and guess what? It takes longer.

    Pope
  • Two things come to mind:

    This is an attempt by Microsoft to have Linus deported to a third-world country with no electricity!

    Seriously though, I remember hearing classmates conspiring to have on-campus-political opponents deported, so it might not be unreasonable to suspect that there's more to it than INS bungling.

    The other thing is that the decline of U.S. culture is not surprising since we've placed such ridiculous restrictions on immigration. The U.S. has always 'imported its brains', of which it had been proud because it meant that smart people wanted to live here; of course, it has said very little for education here.
    Ever notice . . .
    Microsoft and its allies assume everyone is stupid.
  • "INS officials claim the situation is not as hopeless as it seems. Believing that the citizenship lines are under control, INS Commissioner Doris Meissner has ordered that service centers and local INS officials begin working harder on adjustment of status applications. The goal for this fiscal year is to decrease the average wait from 33 months to 24 months, said Schmitt, the INS spokeswoman."
    Don't worry, the INS, a government establishment will just "work harder" to bring the green card waiting list down to acceptable levels again. I can't help but wonder what will suffer instead. The INS is planning on simply putting a higher priority on clearing green cards. By means of logic we can deduce that something else within the INS will recieve lower priority. So, what will it be? Perhaps money can be saved by turning away those pesky refugees. Oh, wait! This is the same government agency responsible for breaching the constitutional rights of a certain Cuban boy, while at the same time spending hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars trying to keep him in the US. Surely this agency, with an excellent track record for prioritizing, can sort this whole green card thing out without extra funding. It's employees can simply work a bit harder. Yeah, right.

    --

  • In the context of this article (and I do apologize if what I'm askingw was provided for in the article, and I just didn't see it),
    it would be nice to have someone who's [more] informed to list the requirements for getting a green card/becoming a citizen (one as opposed to the other).

    I personally don't know them, and since INS seems to be having such troubles processing the requests, it'd be nice to know exactly what's bogging them down so darned much. And if they're having work force issues.. why can they not hire more workers to help? Or find a more efficient way to process applications?

    Hmph. Beauracracy
  • Take a look at your unemployment figures. The "labor shortage" is real, it's not something that the tech companies are just making up. Your claim that there are large amounts of "older, more experienced American workers" who have become "too expensive" doesn't stand up to scrutiny -- unemployment is down. People who want jobs can find them. BTW, your "cheap labor" comment is also bogus -- H1B workers need to be paid a certain minimum. And even the going rate for H1B workers in the tech industry is more than enough to support an American family, and exceeds the amount of money that American professionals in other industries are paid.
  • that I got from my lawyer was this:

    Clinton wanted INS to reprioritize their green card process work and concentrate more on issuing citizenship. Why? This is the election year and only citizens can vote. Guess who these grateful new citizens will vote for? As a reward for their good behavior, INS get little or no grief from current administration for their incompetence.

    Their most vocal critics are people whose lives depend upon these paperworks to be completed. Is it a coincidence that these people have no political power whatsoever and the fact that things haven't improved year after year?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    A recent change in law denies social security numbers to spouses of people here on H1 visas. In California, at least, an SSN is required to get a driver's license. And of course, in California a driver's license is pretty much required to live.

    Oh, and I've discovered passports are no longer accepted as "valid ID" for buying alcohol here, too.

    Also, without an SSN, you can't open bank accounts, or get credit cards. This means no buying online, no renting an apartment, car, or even a video.

    Supposedly this hassle is because we don't want "furriners" taking "American jobs" and "American dollars" away from "real Americans." Of course, most of the "real Americans" I went to high school with probably can't even spell well enough to fill out their unemployment benefits application.

    IMHO this country's just fucked.
  • Then the aliens who are trapped in a job, if they leave the job, they will have to leave the country, no matter how bad the job becomes.
    This brings to mind some of the classic imagery from the movie Men in Black
  • I don't necessarily agree with you. Although it could just be a backlog of background checks, for some reason I believe that it is more than that. I'm not a paranoid fool who thinks that the US government doesn't want the threat of competition to US companies. No. I think that it has more to do with the US's general approach towards application to citizenship/visa rights. I'm not really an expert on this issue, but if there is a general backlog for all applicants, obviously some people are hurt by it. However, those in the public eye, such as our Linux friend, may take offense that his application is booted to the top of the pile due to his celebrity status. He may claim that the US is doing this personally against him, or he may be just fed up with the whole system at all. Not to sound too holier-than-thou, but stand in line! You're not the only one having these issues, Linus! =======all i have to say=======
  • The "tens of thousands of people waiting to get in" are from South America, mainland China, and India. Countries much poorer than the US. Not from Europe and Canada.
  • It is interesting how a nation formed from emmigrants is so dead set on booting out modern day emmigrants. What a country.

    On another note, this reminds me of a story I heard recently about a Palistinian emmigrant who was convicted of possessing drugs. After he had served his time, the government was required by law to ship him home to his own country. PROBLEM: There is no Palistinian homeland, and Israel wouldn't take him.

    This poor guy is still in prison in the U.S., even though he has served his full sentence. And you think Mitnick had it rough?
  • by gfxguy ( 98788 ) on Monday January 31, 2000 @05:23PM (#1316884)
    My wife still does not have a green card. The petition wasn't for work, though, it was for being related to an american citizen.

    Our application went in September 1997. They said it would take up to 12 months to process. 22 months later we had our preliminary interview. 7 months after that and we still haven't heard anything.

    I also like to share the experiences we've had at the office, but I'm already off topic, here. Needless to say, I can think of a lot more appropriate last names for the INS than "service".


    ----------

  • Point A: "Those government folks are lazy fools! They take our money and we don't see a single thing for it! Say they're spending it on "welfare" or "roads" or something! Paying for lazy bums who're too good to work for a living or use the toll roads! I'm not paying for any more of this, cut taxes!"
    Point B: "Look at this! Buildings falling apart, projects falling behind, waits for services piling up -- what kind of fools would allow this? I'm tired of hearing excuses about not having the funds, you're just trying to take my money and squander it with mismanagement! If you can't spend my money wisely, don't spend it at all! I'm voting to cut taxes. CNN told me to."

    Daniel
  • The FBI's been using aliens for years, ever since that incident in Roswell in 1947, I think.

    They can't send them back, their ship is broken.

    dave "anyone seen my medication?"
  • The other thing is that the decline of U.S. culture is not surprising since we've placed such ridiculous restrictions on immigration. The U.S. has always 'imported its brains', of which it had been proud because it meant that smart people wanted to live here; of course, it has said very little for education here.

    I don't think it's so much a matter of "brainpower" as it is work ethic. And who are you to say that education here is any worse than somewhere else? I'm not flaming you, I just want to know, have you been educated in a number of countries?
  • This is just so typical. Here's a lifecycle of this phenomena

    1. Particular result of bureaucracy is criticized.
    2. Bureaucracy diverts resources from other just as important areas
    3. The particular result improves - everyone is happy
    4. Other results go down hill
    5. Some one notices one of the bad results - go back to step 1

    The problem is that bureaucracies are afraid to ask for more resources if they need it - because everyone "knows" government is bad, and so even legitimate and important functions get neglected.
  • Perhaps one of these days certain people in this country will realize that what makes the US of A a great country is that people from all over the world come here to lead better lives; and in that process, make this country the strongest in the world.

    I shudder to think what might have happened if my great-grandparents were turned away 90 years ago.

    The funny thing is, in 50 years it will probably be those of asian, indian, etc. descent trying to pass immigration limits against whatever group wants to emigrate to our country.
  • by nstrug ( 1741 ) on Monday January 31, 2000 @05:33PM (#1316893) Homepage
    As a European my experiences with INS are not so bad, sure I've got to take a four week vacation in the UK every time my visa needs renewing to give the US consulate time to deal with my application but at least I can do a postal application for a new visa and know that it will be a rubber-stamp job. My visa (J-1) is always multiple entry so I can come and go from the US as much as I want.

    Compare this to the Chinese students and post-docs in my department. They have to have an interview every time they apply for a visa and the visas are only single entry. A case in point, one of our postdocs was sent to a conference in Italy. His first port of call was obviously the Italian consulate in Boston to get a visa to enter Italy. Now of course he only had a single-entry US visa and had used that entry up on arriving in the US so he had to renew the visa. You can only renew US visas in a US consulate, the nearest to Boston of which is in Montreal. So his second port of call was the Canadian consulate in Boston to get a visa to enter Canada. At the US consulate in Canada he pleaded for a double-entry visa as of course one entry would be used up returning to the US.

    Luckily, we have a large contingent of Chinese students and researchers who are well versed in this circus.

    So there you have it, a trip to Milan requiring several months of planning and a considerable amount of cash. But at least he learnt that not all Western cuisine sucks...

    Nick

  • by Anonymous Coward
    First a little info:
    • ``Outstanding researcher'' means you get to skip Labor Dept. certification. This saves about two years. Also not subject to the per-country quotes. In practice, a Ph.D. and lots of references are required for this.
    • ``Alien of extraordinary ability'' means roughly the same thing as far as processing goes. (In both cases, the INS people salute you, not the other way around.) A Ph.D. is not required -- think Linus -- but very, very few people will fit this category.
    Green card applicants must get a permit to travel outside the US (or they will be deemed to have given up their application) -- unless they ask for processing through consular channels. If you are prepared to travel back to your home country you don't have to wait in all the INS lines and you need no permission to travel.

    Moreover, by applying through the consular channels, things are much faster. (That is a relative term; I didn't say "fast", :-) Linus must have gotten bad advice since he did not use this method. Transmeta should have hired better lawyers.

    I applied in September 1998 for status as "outstanding researcher". It was granted in January 1999. I had the green-card-equivalent stamp in my passport in early December and my actual green card just arrived. That's the fast way, but it is expensive: two trips back, luckily paid by my company. In a ridiculous twist, the INS managed to spell my name wrong. It's won't affect me much, but it will likely take years to fix.

    I am not a lawyer.

  • Ha! See, what'd I tell you! Ha! Even the SJ Mercury news admits it now...

    Linus is an ALIEN!!!!!

    Okay, so I'm burning a few karma points, oh well... What else are they good for now and then, eh? :)
  • Get an International Driver's Permit. There are valid in over 200 countries. You don't need a State Slave Number either.


    > Also, without an SSN, you can't open bank accounts, or get credit cards. This means no renting an apartment.

    FALSE.

    You don't need a SSN to rent an apartment.
    I don't have one, yet have a credit card, and rent an apartment.

    Show me the law that REQUIRES one to have a SSN?

    Cheers
  • The INS charges enough in fees to cover themselves. I believe the adjustment of status cost us over $230.00 just to file the damn application.

    Then they take so freaking long to process it, that every year we have to apply for "permission" to travel. For those of you who don't know, if you travel without permission, they throw away your file and you have to start over again.

    So now we've already filed for two permissions to travel at, what is it...$95 a pop? All they do is stamp a few pieces of paper, put the photos on them (which you have to pay for, also), and send the back to you. Well, that'd be fine, except they didn't send our last one. My wife missed her trip to visit her mother, and when we went to the office, they had the paper just sitting there...it was dated weeks before her trip, they just never bothered to send it.

    When I asked "What happened?", they say "Whadya mean 'what happened'? You applied for permission to travel, there it is!"

    No, no sticking up for the INS. They may have a hard job, but that's no reason to treat people like third class citizens...remember, they are doing this to the people who didn't sneak in, that are trying to do things legally. Many of these people need to pay lawyers just to wade through all the ridiculous regulations. And more often than not, when there's a screw up, it's the fault of the INS - not us who dotted every "i", crossed every "t", and followed the rules to the letter.

    No, no drumming up sympathy for the INS, AC. They charge too much to be subsidized by tax dollars and still do their jobs half-assed.


    ----------

  • I think excuses like this were used against the:

    Italians
    Irish
    Germans
    Chinese
    Japanese
    ::insert your ethnic group here::

    It bothers me when I see history repeating itself like this.
  • Criticizing some aspects of US society is not equivalent to "US bashing". There is plenty of stupidity in most gouvernments, and I reserve the right to point this out regardless of which country is affected.

    That said, nearly all western European countries have large numbers of potential immigrants despite the fact that, contrary to the US, they usually do not consider themselves as immigration countries and hence have much stricter requirements for permanent resident or citizen status.

  • ``Linus..... I am your father.'' -- Gore.

  • From what I've seen of it, the U.S. Federal Government is just one big sinkhole for money and human resources.

    Forms upon forms filed in triplicate, agencies that exist for no discernable reason whatsoever, conflicting regulations and administrative guidelines, endless committees and subcommittees, dozens of layers of Pointy-Haired Bureaucrats... I could go on but I won't.

    I once helped spec a $90K web project for a federal government agency. It served *no worthy purpose*, but they were doing it anyway just because the money was there in the budget and if they didn't spend it then it would get cut from the budget next year. I've seen plenty of that in corporations too, but the waste I saw in the federal gov't was on a much, much more massive scale. What I saw in that agency was like 93% waste/7% substance.

    America is one of the more free countries (please correct me if I'm wrong) but I'm pretty ticked off that ~40% of my income goes to support such utter BS.


    Thanks for listening and letting me vent.

    --

  • "give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses..."

    ...as long as they're not too poor (a drain on welfare), huddled (probably plotting something, you know what these are like) or there's not too many of them.

    The real inscription [horizonmag.com]

    dave

  • It's unfortunate that companies try to get increased quotas so they can recruit aliens willing to work for low wages, at the expense of older, experienced American workers who have become "too expensive" in terms of wages and benefits.
    You're an anonymous coward, and a troll. I'm an alien, I'm earning more then average American, dare to say I'm getting more than quite a lot of Americans in the field I work. Not because I'm an alien, because I work harder. Even though my employer takes every advantage of me they can think of.

    Low wages is a convenient myth for those looking for excuses. The real reason is they're afraid of competition.

    You guys (born American) have nothing to lose. I've lost everything when I moved to US and had to start from ground zero when I was more than 30 years old (you were saying something about "older, experienced" people?). Imagine being treated like a 16 years old, with no credit history, no rental history, $2K relocation advance (which I of course! had to pay back) and a family of four.

    Hey, I didn't move here because the life is better, but because here it makes sense and has a future. And my kids have a future, too. My 11 year old kid was second is his class, leaving far behind the native English speakers. And this is less than 3 years of speaking English AT ALL.

    Bottomline: stop looking for excuses and badmouthing those whose English is as good as yours. Everyone in this country is from someplace else, and this is what makes this country great.

  • Simple. And again, not a flame. The US is a First World country. Most immigrants to it are from Mexico, India, Pakistan, etc - second or third world countries. Other first world countries have much lower immigration rates - from the article - "from a European country where there is little demand to immigrate to the United States".
  • by mangu ( 126918 ) on Monday January 31, 2000 @05:45PM (#1316906)
    I'm Brazilian by "jus solis" (right of birth) and Finnish by "jus sanguinis" (right of blood). According to both countries' legislation, I have the right to dual citizenship. I have birth certificates and voter registrations in both. I'm a Brazilian citizen and a Finnish (i.e., by extension, European Union) citizen. I choose to live and work in Brazil, theoretically the poorest country. Why? Because I have lived in Europe, and South America, and in the USA, and I feel that Brazil, despite all its problems, all things accounted for, offers the best qualtity of life. I'm an aerospace engineer, and, if you think Brazil is a backwards country in this respect, you don't know anything about the aerospace industry.
  • I always knew it.

    The solution, of course, is simple. Hire more immigrants as INS staff.

    --
  • by Effugas ( 2378 ) on Monday January 31, 2000 @05:46PM (#1316908) Homepage
    The name: Linus. Linus Torvalds. Designation?

    "Alien of extraordinary ability"

    Call out Mulder and Scully. We've got one.

    Yours Truly,

    Dan Kaminsky
    DoxPara Research
    http://www.doxpara.com
  • We put in for a H1B visa for our spectacular Yugoslavian candidate. The lawyers sat on it for a bit, and apparently it wasn't in the Fed hands until December, not October like we thought. The Feds lost track of the number of issued visas and stopped issuing them until they could figure out how many were left. Apparently they have just started handling those from last November... So where is the 'warning, you haven't posted in ages and we are going to slaughter your login' mails?
  • No, feel free to share. I, for one, am curious.

    I think your experience applies to this conversation, since becoming a citizen would be the next logical step after getting the green card, and this article claims that at least one of these have gotten better when in fact that may not be strictly true, especially wherever you are.

    It's scary to think that some people might not be "good enough for gov't work". At least there's work at the post office too...
    ---
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [152.7.41.11].
  • I've been educated in 3 countries and must say that at school and high school the level in the US is much lower than other countries. I got a lot of AP when I came to US for college even though I didn't take any special or advanced classes in high school. Still in the university I am at, there are some pretty smart people around. Actually I think the education in the US college is pretty good, because they have a lot of resources (of course since my parents pay 30+ K dollars :-( )
  • Thats a load of BS. In October 1998, INS doubled the fees for all applications. Now they charge $220 for Adjustment of Status (which is what Linus is waiting on) (up from $100). Where is this extra money going?

    Nowhere. With the amount of bureaucracy involved INS in nowhere close to being able to support itself from application fees -- it needs money from government to be able to operate.

  • What is wrong with all of you guys?
    Really.
    Linus Torvalds and his fellow tech workers in Silly Valley are very well set. They are very well paid and certaintly in the affluent classes of society.... I have people reworking my roof right now. Bunch of hispanics who I doubt sincerely are citizens and quite possibly are illegal immigrants just because the INS is so fucked up right now... I bet a lot of them have families who barely eat. They need green cards. Linus'll be alright.... minority immigrants doing manual labor to stay from starving may not... they need some help. They need the INS to hurry up and untangle their mess. We shouldn't fight for Linus's rights here, there are more deserving.


    Kspett
  • Umm... and who cares?

    Charge $2,000 per application, demand from hi-tech people won't fall. Any monetary amount up to probably $3,000 is fairly reasonable. I know I'd pay it in a flash, and yes it is affordable if you work here and are one of the best. Presumably H1-B candidates are supposed to be the best, hence this problem doesn't exist for them.

    The government probably can't pay a good enough wage to the INS staff to attract them.
    --
    Leonid S. Knyshov
    Network Administrator
  • In 1993, in Colorado I have opened bank account immediately after arriving on B-2 (visitor) visa, much earlier than I've got SSN, H-1B visa, etc.
  • As an alien working in the USA (although I have not applied for a green card, and expect to return to my home country in the not too distant future) I can tell you that the issue is not as simple as you suggest in your message. The USA is experiencing a reverse 'Brain Drain'. Where quite a few developing countries are losing their best minds to the US and other high paying countries, the US is recruiting many of the brightest and most ambitious people, drawn in by the glory of Hollywood and the almighty dollar.

    This is usually a good thing (for the US) but not without its disadvantages. Besides the resentment of some of the populus - as expressed in your comment - there is also the very real danger of the resident citizens becoming less involved in some of the less desired aspects of technology and science, in effect 'outsourcing' parts of the technological infrastruture to aliens.

    For example, at the department where I work more than half of the graduate students are not from the US. I feel this is true for many of the science departments in American Universities. That means a huge amount of resources are spend on non-US citizens. If these people were to return to their home country on completion of their research, the US would, in effect, have paid for the education of someone with very return for the American economy. Therefore, it makes sense to keep these people involved in the economy for at least a few years.

    I see I've begun rambling, so I'll just shut op now. But I would warn against underestimating the contribution of non-US citizens to the American economy...

  • by costas ( 38724 ) on Monday January 31, 2000 @06:12PM (#1316934) Homepage
    ... the usual /. responses are already in this thread, so I will throw in a couple of pointers for the H-1B slaves out there ;-):

    Official US Visa Site [state.gov]

    If you are from a low-immigration country (i.e. from Western and Cenral Europe, Oceania, etc) you might be better off trying for the DV visas, i.e. lottery visas. That was my ticket to a Green Card. The odds for a European are actually good (one in 12 I think) and the maximum processing time (i.e. mail-in of the lottery entry to actual Green Card) is at most 24 months.

    If you have the option to go for GC (Adjustment of Status) processing to your home country, go for it. Embassies usually have to deal with fewer applications and are easier to get a handle of than the INS. If you have a good chance to get the GC (most people do), you don't even have to worry about your current visa.

    Check out misc.immigration.usa on Usenet. A great medium-traffic forum (hopefully it will still be after being mentioned here) with a lot of old-timer immigrants that already have been through most of the INS bureacracy.

    As for the whiners: INS is by far the worst US government service. It's quite easy to suck this bad when the people you deal with have no political power whatsoever. Maybe we should get a PAC going ;-)...


    engineers never lie; we just approximate the truth.

  • What a smart guy! Too bad, he didn't know that to get citizenship this way one has to get a green card first.
  • As Jon Wiener described in his book Gimmee Some Truth [addall.com] about John Lennon's harassment by the FBI and the INS, it's mighty inconvenient to be even a famous foreign national in the US. I have no real reason to suspect Linus is getting singled out for special nettling, but just as the INS tried to deport Lennon for his overthrow-the-establishment political rhetoric, perhaps it wouldn't be too farfetched to suspect certain segments of the software industry of trying to suppress Linus and his certain open-source ideologies.

    Hopefully this will serve as an example of why the current bureaucracies and laws need massive reforms. I can hope, can't I?
  • I find the state of affairs in the US regarding immigration to be appalling. The hippocracy and thinly veiled racism boggles the mind. I hear these people spout this protectionist crap and I think, "just where the hell do you think you came from?" It's the same story. First Irish, Asian, or Hispanic. And it's all bullshit.
    I know people affected by layoffs by a well known company last year. These are people who write compilers, a rather specialized skill. Their H1B didn't have enough time left on it, so no company would touch them. If you get laid off on H1B you have 10 days to find a new job or get out of the country.

    Consider the following:

    You have 6 years with H1-B. During those 6 years you are stuck with the same company for all intents and purposes, since it is difficult to get picked up by a different company. It becomes more difficult as time goes on.
    After 5 years of working for the company, basically on their terms, they hit some trouble and lay you off. They were sponsoring you for a green card, but that hadn't gone through (remember, it takes around 3 years to process the things). Now, that all gets dropped because the company working on it has just laid you off. You've only got 1 year left in the country, so no other company is going to touch you. So what happens? That's right, 10 days to leave the country.

    It makes me sick.

    --GnrcMan--
  • This seems to be a chronic failing of Governments. Utterly failing to detect and respond to gross understaffing or changing circumstances in anything approaching a resonable timeframe.
    Tell me, what incentive does a government have to respond promptly to changing needs?

    A business, for instance, has a wonderful incentive to respond to needs: if it doesn't, it will lose out to competitors. If Intel kept pushing first-generation Pentiums while AMD was developing K6 and K7 chips -- and the market needed speed -- Intel would lose out; they would first have become less profitable, and finally would go out of business.

    A skilled laborer (for instance, a coder or sysadmin) has a similar incentive. If all you know is Windows NT, but Windows NT is in decline and being replaced by Unix, you have an incentive to learn Unix. If you don't, you will find your skills not worth as much money.

    Business and laborers exist in a market relationship with their clients. In order to make more money, businesses have to fill the needs of their customers, and laborers have to fill the needs of their employers. If you're not good at this, you get less money, or (worse yet) you either go out of business (if you're a business) or you lose your job (if you're a laborer).

    Governments do not exist in a market relationship with their "clients" -- the residents (citizens and resident aliens) of their territories. A government has a monopoly. Unless it does something seriously bogus and gets kicked out in a revolution, coup, or major political upheaval, it's just gonna sit there and fester.

    Hence, governments do not have the kind of incentive to correct shortages that businesses and laborers do. If there's a shortage of beer, the price will go up, causing more businesses to make more beer -- solving the shortage. If there's a shortage of Linux sysadmins, the salaries will go up, attracting more skilled people to the field -- solving the shortage. But if there's a shortage of green cards -- what incentive has INS to act?

    INS is not responsible to its nominal clients (the resident aliens and their employers). One could say that it is responsible to the American citizenry through the democratic process, but this responsibility is so very diffuse it is more or less nonexistent. A fussy article in the newspaper does not constitute "being held responsible", sad to say: immigration is not a big-ticket issue in most parts of the country.

    When you entrust a particular power to a government bureau -- when you take a certain kind of decision-making out of the hands of individuals in the market -- you will necessarily lose efficiency, because bureaucrats have so little incentive to accurately and speedily meet needs. And in this case, I don't think we get enough benefit out of the process to justify that inefficiency, and these injustices.

    End restrictive immigrations laws. Let law-abiding people like Linus Torvalds work wherever people are hiring.
  • I don't know where you are renting an apartment, but without a credit history, you are hard pressed to find one here in Seattle. If you are here on an H1, usually your company will help. If not, it's tough, and if you're not white, it's damn near impossible.

    --GnrcMan--
  • No kidding. Copyleft, are you listening? I'd buy one immediately if they existed :-)
  • To the INS, you're an Alien if you're not a USC (United States Citizen), and to celebrate this fact, during your AOS process you get to receive your very own Alien Registration Number.

    One of the funny thing about ARN's is that they get re-used. There have been stories on some of the alt.visa.* newsgroups about how people have been issued ARN's for dead people and people who are wanted for crimes by INTERPOL. All part of the road to permanence in this great country, I guess.
  • This "story you heard recently" is nonsense. It has been circulating with many variations for a few years. I assure you that such a situation is illegal according to the laws of the United States and Israel. Please, moderators, don't moderate this troll up when the substance of his post is so obviously apocryphal.

    Returning to the original article, the INS is severely understaffed and its resources are distributed most inefficiently. That is what is causing this problem, not a policy of the administration to "boot out modern day emmigrants [sic]." Hire more people to process the applications and voila! More green cards!

    The tendency of the immature anti-american contingent on slashdot to blow regretable but unintentional incidents of negligence such as this one out of proportion and into yet another evil policy of this horrible, horrible country borders on the ridiculous.
  • by copito ( 1846 ) on Monday January 31, 2000 @06:49PM (#1316960)
    As one who is experiencing the hell that is Adjustment of Status on a first hand basis, let me tell you that it truly sucks. I am a natural born US citizen, and my wife is Chilean. We were married 2 1/2 years ago and hope to finish her Adjustment of Status in about 5 months (of course 2 years ago they said 1 year). As far as Green Cards go, marriage to a citizen is the simplest option. There is no security check or per country quotas, but it takes forever (although less than H1 apparently). She can work without restriction in the meantime, thankfully, but needs to reapply yearly. She can't leave the country without special permission, even to visit a grandfather who had a heart attack recently (not sick enough). We have spent all told about 48 hours on line at the INS, travelled 400 miles on LA freeways, and spent $600 on paperwork. We would gladly have spent more if it meant the process would go any faster.

    On the INS website [usdoj.gov], you can see the lie inherent in their claim of having too large a workload. Their workload has remained roughly constant for the last 3 years, but the backlog has increased substantially.

    Why does it take so long? The answer is partly that those who are against legal or illegal immigration don't support steps that would make the INS more efficient and (god forbid) friendly. That being said, the fault is mostly borne by the INS itself.

    It is a beauracracy which was left behind by reengineering and the computer revolution. I have not seen a single computer at the main INS office in LA. Proof of payment is a cash register receipt, correspondence is often hand written and hand stamped. The receipt letter for the Adjustment of Status (hand written) refers to a "Crate #" and I have no doubt that there is indeed an actual crate involved.

    The INS website has some half-assed proposals for restructuring it's operation, but none go nearly far enough. I think the document processing of the INS should be privatized. A company like EDS would be happy to streamline and automate the data collection and verification part of the application process, leaving only the decisions to the INS. In fact I believe that the immigration part of the INS should go to the State Department, which already handles visas and does a decent job, leaving the border patrol and adjudication in the hands of the Justice Department.
    --
  • Ok, people, we all know this sucks and all, and we'd hate to see Linus deported and blah, blah, blah.

    How about we do something about it? The legislature has the power to reform the system, but they won't do it if they think it's more important to be declaring a national standing-on-your-head-and-blowing-bubbles-out-your -ass day. Tell them about the problem. Yes, you red-blooded Americans who can or will soon be able to vote. Even you skilled immigrants who can not yet vote have some influence, since most politicians like to have friends with the tech crowd (people with money) and besides, you could be voting before too long if all this paperwork gets cleared, should you desire to become full citizens.

    Before you go running off spamming your local representatives, please remember a few things:

    1) Be polite.
    2) Write a real letter, don't expect hyperlinks to explain themselves, as a recent story [slashdot.org] on slashdot revealed that our Senators and Representatives may not be very adroit with e-mail, and they may be seeing it on paper. Or, if you can bring yourself to it, snd it snail-mail. They read those things.
    3) Don't dis the U.S. It won't be received kindly.

    Now, here are your links:

    To find and contact your Congressional district representative, go to http://www.house.gov/writerep/ [house.gov]

    For a full list of Senators and their websites/e-mail addresses, go to http://www.senate.gov/contacting/index.c fm [senate.gov]

    So let's stop standing on our heads, blowing bubbles out our asses, and help these people out.
  • They are trying hard, but slowly.

    At least DMV's database is _somewhat_ connected with INS from what I heard.

    I came to Silicon Valley in March of 1997 with a H1-B. I had Indiana drivers license while I was at Purdue with F-1 visa. In order for me to get a California driver's license, INS had to aprove it. Don't ask me why. When I renewed my Indiana driver's license, they didn't need one.

    Anyhow, I did not get my driver's license till October of 1998! That's more a year! DMV's processing was fast, but INS just kept the playing around. In one of the call to an office in Sacramento (don't know whether it was DMV or INS), I was told that they didn't receive the paper work, so I had to go to DMV to re-submit paper work... I think they just decided to delete my record due to overloaded paper work.

    All this changed recently with DMV's database getting connected with INS (according to DMV person). Funny thing is that she told me, "We now have database connected. Unfortunately, instantaneous aproval sometimes work. Sometimes not" What is this 'sometimes'?! In my case, this 'instantaneous aproval' didn't go through, so I had to wait for few more month.

    Anyhow, this seemed to change recently since I have heard the INS's aproval for DMV processing becoming much quicker than before, few month, not more than a year.

    I'm just hoping INS will work hard to improve their system. I only have three more years to get my greencard which processing will start very soon. Wish me luck!
  • The money goes into the general fund, not the INS budget. It is up to Congress to allocate more money to the INS so that they can hire and train more employees.

    This is typical of federal agencies, they do not get to keep the money they collect in fees.

  • by sbaker ( 47485 ) on Monday January 31, 2000 @07:21PM (#1316982) Homepage
    I'm a British Citizen - and I was invited to come to the US - I didn't ask to come. The large defense company I work for couldn't find anyone in the US to do the job I do. Not at any money. I have an unusual skill set - and I'm very good at what I do.

    So, I negotiated a good salary - and flew over with my family, having been told that my Green Card would take between a year and eighteen months to arrive. That seemed pretty reasonable.

    To start with, my job was stimulating - but jobs change. Now, I find my work is stifling to my creativity and I need a change.

    I've been waiting for SIX YEARS for my Green Card - and as far as I can tell, it's still about a year away. I strongly suspect that my employer has deliberately dragged it's heels to string out the process.

    Meanwhile, I'm stuck in the same job - I can't get promoted - the company cannot change my job title because that would put the application process right back to square one.

    I'm still working for the exact same salary that I had the day I came here. My company has no incentive to give me a pay rise (even though they rate me 'exemplary' in my annual reviews) - because they KNOW I can't change jobs.

    I could go back home to England - but I have a house, two cars and my son (who was just three years old when we arrived) has now turned nine. He has (necessarily) been brought up as an American kid so he would fit in with US schools - and it would be grossly unfair to force him to change.

    This is why they call it 'GreenCard Jail'.

    The situation won't improve because Green Card
    prisoners don't have a vote - so there is little incentive for government to put money into fixing the problem.

    What is happening to me right now is (in effect) slavery. A slave who has enough to eat, a comfortable place to stay - and even a nice car - is still a slave. This is a matter of freedom - not pay.
  • You might not like it but there is a kernel of truth in his comments. The U.S. has a long history of setting immigration policy based on the needs of large companies. Just look at Pennsylvania where large numbers of immigrants were brought in to work in the mines and steel mills. The steel companies wanted docile workers who would work hard and cheap, and not get any funny ideas about labor unions. Their experience with American workers was that the American worker wanted higher pay and better working conditions, and was willing to go on strike to get them. In recent history, a similar situation developed with registered nurses, who traditionally were underpaid and treated like crap by most hospitals. When a nurse shortage developed, rather than increase pay and improve working conditions for nurses, the health care industry lobbied Congress to grant more visas to foreign nurses.
  • You are correct, but only since the last week, and only in California (that I know of).

    From L.A. Times

    Judge Bans Indefinite Jailing by INS

    A U.S. District Court judge in Los Angeles has ruled that the federal government may not indefinitely jail noncitizens who have been ordered deported because of crimes, but whose home countries will not take them back.

    http://www.latimes.com/n ews/state/20000129/t000009182.html [latimes.com]
  • by copito ( 1846 ) on Monday January 31, 2000 @07:33PM (#1316987)
    I'm all for INS reform and efficiency, but I'm not for open borders.

    Why's that? Because I'm a selfish bastard. In the US we enjoy a a high standard of living based on a morally repugnant history of extreme exploitation of human and natural resources and I'm not about to give it up by expanding the pie. During our expansion, we used cheap labor from wherever we could get it, especially immigrants to build infrastructure and manufacturing. As we enter an increasingly service economy, the need for such cheap labor to spur growth has diminished significantly. It is far more efficient in a global economy to exploit immigrants before they emigrate by building production facilities in their country of origin.

    What we still need in the US are highly skilled workers. I don't care where they come from and I don't care if they "take my job." Frankly there is no such thing as "taking my job", except perhaps in extremely highly specialized fields which are in decline anyway. H-1B is bad not because it takes away jobs but because it creates an artificial market where the worker is not free to persue the best salary in presumably the most productive position.

    Don't think of the US as a benefactor. We never have been an never will be. Think of the US as the Microsoft of the world. We have extreme monopoly powers which we exploit for phenomenal profits and control. Everybody hates us, even our "partners." We're living high on the hog now, but we'll be first against the wall when the revolution comes (except esr of course, since he has a gun).
    --
  • There probably are multiple definitions of "xth Word"... I was more using that to mean "quality of life" more that political ideology, though I am sure that, in no unsignificant part, also would be a factor...
  • by friedo ( 112163 ) on Monday January 31, 2000 @07:42PM (#1316995) Homepage
    Remember the great Conservative promise of "smaller government?" Basically you fire all the people who do this sort of work, and guess what? It takes longer.

    No, the conservative promise of smaller government is that you fire all the incompotent nitwits who do this and privatize the data collection process. There are entire corporations who specialize in streamlining mass data processing, and they do a mighty fine job. There's no reason other agencies like the IRS couldn't do the same thing. You save time and money, and you put some cash into the hands of corporations instead of the government.

  • Fine, call it indentured servitude.
    --
  • It's 2 1/2 years and counting here, but at least the immigrant can work (if not travel) during the application process.
    --
  • I've worked for and with people from various countries other than America, and have found them to be (in most cases) at least as intelligent, motivated, and experienced as myself. If I lose a job to someone from another country, it just means I'll have to work harder to get the next one. I was lucky enough to be born in America, but that doesn't give me the right to say that someone born in Europe or Asia or Africa or South America shouldn't get a fair shot at working in the computer industry or any other. So don't preach your ethnocentric elitist ideals at me.
  • They used to give out SSNs much more readily. My wife got one on a F1, but they stopped that recently.
    --
  • Wait a second. There are jobs, but your friends don't want them, because they don't just want a job. They want a job in a particular subfield in a particular place.

    That doesn't sound like a job shortage, but a brains shortage. If your friends are any good they can move from a place with bad prospects to a place with good prospects. Or they can take a real but unsatisfying job and look for a better one on the side, like the rest of humanity does.

    then why are maids who barely speak English making more than twice what any of my friends with EE degrees make?
    Because they work in a place that needs them doing a job that needs to be done. The lesson. Learn a skill set that is needed in a part of the country that needs it.

    And by the way, what was your point. You complain about a job shortage, then complain that you "had" to hire an immigrant for too much to fill a position. Well, which is it. Are immigrants bad because they take your jobs or bad because they cost too much when you can't find an American to fill your job.
    --
  • I agree with your final answer; I think we should open our borders. This country has a history of a wave of immmigrants that comes in, is assimilated, and then turns around and says "nope, country's full!" to the next wave of immigrants. This happened with the Irish, it happened with the Chinese, now it is happening with latinos.

    However, there is a flaw in your other premise that privitaziton makes things better. Yes, this works on a small scale. But big business breaks the model! Microsoft is a great example of this; You would think that, writing such bad software, they would shrivel up and die. But do to various "business" tactics, they are very successful.

    Essentially, the capitalist model works very well on a small level, but there are certain things (IP, big business) that break the model.
  • I know many Irish people that have done the same. The problem seems to be processing those that come into America on company sponsored visas, but who then try to get a green card once they have been working in America for a bit.

    I'm going through a different process: My wife is American, but we are living in Ireland, and I'm trying to get an I-130 visa. Its a bit of a paperwork nightmare.
  • Otherwise some friendly Brazilian police officer might've murdered you and your young "urchin" friends on the streets some night. I love Brazilian women, culture, and soccer (Hey, just look at my name! ;) ), but you guys really do need to clean up some problems which those other countries you mentioned don't have to deal with. I still hope to make it down to Carnival sometime soon.

    Cheers,
    ZicoKnows@hotmail.com

  • It is bad, I agree. I'm Irish, my wife is American. For her to move to Ireland and be allowed to live and work, all we had to do was to go the Alien registration section of the police. They looked at my passport, her passport, and our marriage license. They stamped her passport. This allows her to live and work in Ireland, with no restrictions. All that has to be done to stay here is to go back once a year and get the stamp renewed.

    Currently we are trying to move back to the US, using an I-130. We've had to fill in several confusing forms. I need to get police certificates from everywhere I've lived since I was 16. My wife needs to get her tax info for the last 3 years from the US (and we hit a snag here because she only worked a half year last year because she moved to Ireland). We need to show assets. To visit the US I have to apply for a visa showing that I will return to Ireland. (I have to get a a letter from my employer for this showing that I have a job).

    Most of our weeknights is spent going over forms, or writing letters to people to try and gather all the information thats needed.

    Given all this paper work, I'm not surprised that the INS has such a massive backlog.
  • Aren't we supposed to live in a century where the physical stuff, the Real World and all that, are no longer of importance? Isn't information supposed to be the key to everything?

    In other words, why do ``young and highly skilled engineers'' need to immigrate so as to be employed? Can't they work cozily from their homes in some distant part of the world, while their employers are in the States - or nowhere, as it may be, because why would a company need a physical place of residence?

    --
    Ooops, sorry. The twenty-first century is only about to begin; I thought it was nearly ending. Little mistake. Edwin! You sent us a hundred years back, please correct that immediately!

  • by Roblimo ( 357 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2000 @02:01AM (#1317079) Homepage Journal
    I have no problem with people coming to the U.S. from other countries either for education or to work, then going "back home."

    Example: Abi, journalist I know from Nigeria, came to the U.S. and worked his way through a PhD in Mass Communications driving a cab. Now he's back home, infested with our American ideals - which may be flawed but still have a lot of good in them - and he is *not* going to put up with a corrupt military dictatorship.

    Think of Abi and others like him as a human version of GNU-style "viral marketing." Think of the Chinese government telling its citizens that life under the Chinese system of government is better than life under the American system while thousands of Chinese who have studied or worked in the U.S. busily say otherwise based on first-hand knowledge.

    Think of the Indians who have lived in the U.S. and go home with ideas of how things can be done differently in their country and work for change, not necessarily to make India into a clone of the U.S., but to incorporate the best of both cultures into something new and potentially better than either of the originals.

    Mexico? Legal or illegal, a Mexican immigrant who sends money home is helping to raise the standard of living in his home village or barrio to the point where, someday, his sons or grandsons won't have any reason to go to the U.S. to earn a decent wage.

    I am not saying I don't want people from Mexico or China or Egypt (or Finland) to be frozen out of U.S. citizenship, just that the ones who stay here for a while, then go "home," are also worthwhile. If nothing else, they are likely to be better friends of the U.S. than their neighbors who have never worked and lived here.

    - Robin
  • After having been through the INS process, I have to say I have a new found respect for the IRS.

    There's one thing to remember about the INS. It is the only government agency that knows that you can't vote, which of course means that you can't write your Congressman. Even the fairly unpopular IRS has that holding them back.

  • I'm too much of a chicken to post in any trackable way, hence AC.

    I'm in more or less the same situation as your wife, except my wife's the US citizen.

    My impression of the INS is that two people in the same situation usually get completely different results! Each time I had to go into the INS they came up with different forms I need. The best one was when they said I need to get a list of vaccinations, WHICH THEY ALREADY MADE ME GET IN MY COUNTRY OF ORIGIN less than 3 months before. When I asked them to look at the records sent over from the US Embessy, they said they can't open those UNTIL I GOT THE VACCINATIONS.

    I told the 'nice' INS lady: "Look. I have a K-1 Visa in my passport. In order to get a K-1 Visa, you are required to get these vaccinations. Therefore it stands to reason I already got them."

    She said "Sir, I don't make up the rules, I'm just telling you what to do."

    Nevermind that they lied about a bunch of other procedural stuff...

    However, unlike your wife, I can leave and come back to the US whenever I want. They said that's what the "(Conditional) Permanent Resident Card" is for. Not that I tried it yet or anything...

    I made some "INS Horror Stories" webpages once, but I chickened out.
  • I agree. I used to have H1 status, and the amount of paper work involved in just filing for that was silly. Having a lawyer do it is about the only sane way of getting it accomplished. I always thought that it was a system setup by lawyers for the benefit of lawyers. Right now I'm applying for permanent residency in Canada: it's a lot easier, a lot cheaper, and one can do it without hiring help (although I have).
  • It's all well and good to make a bird's eye kind of economic analysis, but you also have to look down at ground level to really see what's going on. I wouldn't be to quick to dismiss the effect of the quality of leadership at the polticial level and political appointee level. And that's our responsibility, not something we should lay down and take because it is inevitable according to economic theory.

    If you start from the premise that you must fail, you will. That is the secret of being an entrepreneur -- to believe that you can do something even if it is hard, and maybe the odds are against you. I don't mean that government spending is inherently good -- there's incredible waste in government. On the other hand it is coupled with incredible shortages in vital areas. I even met one government lab employee who risked his life handling dangerous infectious agents because the people at the political level decided it was too expensive to get him the necessary vaccines. He resented this, but he kept at it because he felt the work he did saved lives. It wasn't some abstract, impersonal economic force that did this; some human being whom we elected decided the life of a dedicated employee protecting the public health wasn't worth 10K$.

    Government can do better, but not if we don't support the folks who actually do the job, not if we don't participate in elections, not if we elect people who pander to us, and certainly not if we don't hold our elected and high appointed officials to account. As the stockholders in a company, you wouldn't vote for a board that spends money wastefully, nor would you vote for a board that believed waste and failure is the inevitable result of trying to get anythig done. Why should your standards for government be different?

    If you think this green card issue is important, call your congressman; if he doesn't respond, participate and contribute to political campaigns of people who will do better.
  • Well it's usually quicker but I tend to renew my visa at Christmas and as the US Embassy in London observe all the US, British and Irish holidays, they only have about 6 working days over the Christmas period.

    Yeah, I know you can get J-1 for longer than a yeat but I am on a NASA grant that gets renewed every year. As I a result my IAP-66 (the pink slip) only lasts one year so the consulate gives me a one-year J-1. The fact that I'm on a four year PhD programme doesn't seem to have any bearing.

    Nick


  • By mid afternoon, Gore's office will be in full swing:

    "Check out this statement. Pull out the checklist."

    "Attributed to Gore. Check."
    "As dumb as anything Qualye said. Check."
    "No reasonable person would take it seriously. Check."
    "The boss is dumb enough to have said it. Check."

    "OK, it adds up. Full scale PR blitz to defend it."

    *sigh* I wish I *really* believed they didn't to this in the office of the Father of the Internet, banner of the internal combustion engine, believer of Bill, . . .
  • You always have the choice to work in the UK and indeed in any of the 14 other EU nations. And don't use your son as an excuse not to move back - my father moved from Argentina to the UK aged 8 to escape the Perons and I myself shuttled between Canada, France and the UK as a kid. Never did us any harm and it probably does kids good to experience different education systems.

    If you want to return to Europe, do so. If you want to stay in the US - deal with it but don't try and make yourself out as a victim. Houses and cars can be sold and children moved to different school systems - it's not that big of a deal.

    Nick

  • I don't have personal first-hand experience, but AFAIK, at least Canada's policies are much better than the US's.

    As far as the lottery is concerned: yes, getting in this way doesn't give you 'bragging rights' (I get envious, 'you bastard' looks from fellow immigrants most of the time) but it can be potentially much faster. I wouldn't rely on the DV visas (I didn't; I was already in with an H-1) but it can save you a lot of trouble and money, especially if you're European (which greatly improves your odds).

    Which is another point: the DV visas are free at least money-wise (the time and anxiety have to count for something). Don't get swindled by those 'agencies' that advertise in the back of international magazines (like the int'l edition Time or Newsweek). Besides airfare to go back home for a few days (which I was planning to any ways), total cost of processing, medical exams, etc. was ~$500. Compare this to an H-1 based GC which will cost you several times that, just in lost wages since you're gonna be tied to your employer. And we're not talking a little 'bit' of money here; the difference can be as much as 100% more in salary. I know PhDs in engineering from first-tier US colleges that work in their field for less than $50k. That's just wrong.

    (And before someone starts to cry: "oh, that's $50k more than they'd make back home", think: they have to pay huge phone/travel bills, their credit sucks, so do their loans/mortgages, their spouses/children usually can't work until they learn the language, if ever, and they're stuck in the same job like it or not. Why? don't they add to this economy?)


    engineers never lie; we just approximate the truth.
  • I have more karma than I need, far more, so I can afford to lose one or two points to get this off my chest.

    Boo hoo hoo, people who come to America to get jobs at below-market wages (the usual H situation) have trouble! What a tragedy!

    If H1 visa holders don't like it... I'm sure all the people who are suffering in Dilbertian conditons, because there exists too much foreign labor pressure to leverage change, will be HAPPY to see them go!


    Actually, just FYI, the INS will not approve visa applications where the proposed salary of the foreign worker is less than market value - and in some cases, has to be greater than the average salary for employees in that industry. You can't hire someone from another country to skimp on salaries - in fact you normally end up paying a lot more.

    Just goes to show - you don't know jack.

    Simon
  • As I said, I just made a little mistake by one century. :-(

  • Whereas Australia is the most sparsely populated country in the world besides Antarctica. I'm not sure that is the reason for our immigration chaos (boat people, etc) but more because there are many more opportunities here and the government gives them a free ride. Do you know the .au government gives illegal immigrants $30 more a fortnight than it does it's own pensioners?!? The mind boggles.
  • Kung Pao Chicken and Crab Rangoon can make up for a lot of shortcomings, in my book.

  • Brought to you by the Random White Supremist Diatribe Generator!

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