Please may I apply for illegal-immigrant status for my sister? This is an audacious request, I know, given that she is not ideal immigrant material by America’s exacting standards. My sibling is a South-African Caucasian, who speaks no Spanish. Alas, she speaks the language of the American founders (in her defense, her facility with the English language is not nearly as good as theirs was.)
Her other shortfall is that she manages to operate a profitable business in one of the most dangerous places on earth, subject to the world’s most extreme race-based wealth distribution laws (“Black Economic Empowerment”). If you think Mexico is a “crap country” (to commandeer Ali G’s phrase), you haven’t experienced the Sisyphean struggle that is life in the democratic South Africa, which happens to vie with Iraq and Columbia for the title, “Most Violent Country in the World.”
I realize that an honest petition on behalf of my sister demands full disclosure, so here goes: My sister is far from an ideal candidate. Call it one of those inexplicable middle-class peculiarities or tics, but I’m going to have a hard time convincing my sibling to break the law. And breaking the law is a requirement if one is to qualify for the Z visa, soon to be handed out to scofflaws under the Senate’s Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act of 2007. Heritage Foundation scholars confirm that “Title VI of the bill grants amnesty to virtually all of the 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens in the country today.”
A candidate for the coveted Z visa must, moreover, prove his law-breaking credentials. And so he should. Proof of law breaking is to be provided in the form of “two documents suggesting that he or she was in the country before January 1, 2007.” (Emphasis added.) In the 1986 amnesty, fraud was rampant. In the 2007 give-away, similarly, counterfeiters of Social Security and driver’s licenses wait in the wings to provide the relevant documentation to potential, non-complaint candidates, not yet in the country illegally.
Here I have to ask for lenience for my poor sister. You see, although the natural law informs my own ideas of right and wrong, I generally obey the positive law, even when it’s wrong. To live creatively and productively, I require safety and stability. I fear my sister shares the same aversion to living on the edge. In any event, whatever deep-seated defect obeying the law signifies—she has it. Most people who immigrate legally have it; those who do so illegally don’t. Bully for them.
I understand that by privileging illegals, the Bush-Kennedy-McCain troika intends to cleverly weed out, in the Darwinian sense, people of probity. This is a smart tactic with a proven track record, as individuals with no qualms about breaking one set of laws are less prone to observing the law in general. To wit, statistics place illegal immigrants in the high-crime bracket. I worry that this is a standard my sister cannot live up to.
She falls short on yet another gauge. According to a National Academy of Sciences study, cited by Pat Buchanan, “each immigrant with less than a high school education costs taxpayers $90,000 net over his or her lifetime.” The 12 to 20 million unskilled workers soon to be amnestied qualify; my sister doesn’t. She has a higher education. As a proprietor of a successful business in South Africa (who would still not easily qualify for a work visa), she would likely transfer her badass bourgeoisie life-style to the US, if allowed entry. As a contender for illegal-immigrant status, my sister is thus unlikely to meet the burden of burdening the American taxpayer.
President Bush has been very clever indeed. Lack of education, illiteracy, and poverty clearly correlate well with a disregard for the law. By deploying a disregard for the law as a guiding variable in selecting millions of future citizens, Bush has found a way to weed out undesirables such as my sister.
Sadly, the Z visa is just what my inadequate sibling needs. According to Heritage Foundation calculations, an illegal “family of five could purchase visas for the bargain price of $5,000—some $20,000 short of the net cost that household is likely to impose on local, state, and federal government each year.” This is a stretch, but humor me, won’t you? Using habitual law breaking as a predictor of future compliance, I’ll wager that very few illegal immigrants will pay the fine. If Bush grants my sister a Z visa, I promise—nay, guarantee—she’ll double that amount, NOW.
Although the political caste is spinning the Z visa as a temporary visa, the Heritage’s Kris Kobach and Matthew Spalding have more aptly called it “the country’s first permanent temporary visa.” And a “super-visa” to boot. According to Section 602(m) of the bill, the Z visa “can be renewed every four years until the visa holder dies.” It also allows “the holder to work, attend college, or travel abroad and reenter. And contrary to popular misconception, illegal aliens need not return to their home countries to apply for the Z visa. That’s only necessary if and when an alien decides to adjust from Z visa status to lawful permanent resident (‘green card’) status under Section 602(a)(1).” For that the alien need only decamp to any consulate outside the United States. The last is absolutely essential for Sister: Given the murder rate in the New South Africa, even a short wait there for visa processing can cost dearly.
Should aspects of the family reunification system remain in force, as a sibling of a permanent resident, my sister is last on the legal waiting list. With backlogs running to 4 million cases, she may have to wait well over a decade, if not two, to come to the US legally. Like most white South Africans, she has already fallen prey to violent criminals. Time is of the essence.
El Presidente Bush, I know she’s not much of a bandido, but please let my sister become an illegal immigrant.
©2007 By Ilana Mercer