America’s most forgotten men and women may be the legal immigrants who acquire their visas, scale no barriers, and patiently await their green cards and citizenship ceremonies. Amid the raging DACA debates, fugitive-city outrages, and this week’s Honduran-caravan epic at the San Diego-Tijuana border, these overlooked individuals ring America’s doorbell rather than pry open this country’s back entrance.
“I am stunned,” says Nayla Rush, a senior researcher with the Center for Immigration Studies. She is staggered by the caravan members who waved Honduran flags atop America’s border fence. U.S. authorities arrested 29 of them for illegal entry. Those fleeing Tegucigalpa’s chaos have no right to barge into the U.S.
Likewise, if El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua — contiguous to Honduras — and nearby Mexico feel no duty to welcome these migrants, why is this America’s obligation?
“These people are marching in front of cameras, in front of the whole world,” Rush said. “They demand to be admitted here. Where does this sense of entitlement come from?”
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Rush came to America from an oft-bloodied land — Lebanon. But rather than ford the Rio Grande, Rush did something rarely discussed these days: In 2011, she requested a visa online, spoke with diplomats at America’s embassy in Beirut, and, within three weeks, received her papers.
Rush reckons she spent “over $3,000” on her immigration case and waited 3 1/2 years between securing her green card and becoming a citizen.
Despite their invisibility, there are many more people like Rush who enter America properly.
The National Visa Center in Portsmouth, N.H., reports that, as of Nov. 1, precisely 3,947,857 await family-sponsored visas. Another 112,189 seek employment-related visas. While the State Department evaluates these applications, untabulated stacks of additional requests percolate overseas.
Among those who arrived here on visas, some 13.2 million held green cards in January 2014, according to a June 2017 study by the U.S. Office of Immigration Statistics. Of these, 8.9 million were eligible for citizenship after five years, typically, or three for spouses of U.S. citizens.
“As of Dec. 31, 2017, there were over 165,000 green card holders who have filed paperwork for naturalization and await decisions,” says the Center for Immigration Studies’ Jessica Vaughan.
As for the 12 million foreigners in America without permission, “These are illegal immigrants; they’re not undocumented,” says one Russian who landed here legally. “I am undocumented when I shower, and my passport is in another room.”
Because he is not yet a U.S. citizen, let’s call this Moscow native Boris. He continues: “Those who are called ‘undocumented’ are, in fact, illegal. These criminals should be arrested and kicked out of the country immediately.”
Boris is in his 30s and works while pursuing his second graduate degree at a prestigious university in America’s heartland. He waited six to eight weeks for the U.S. Embassy in Moscow to grant him a student-exchange visa, for which he saved his own money, some 18 years ago.
Amid trips home and elsewhere overseas, he has earned various American scholastic and work visas. He has had to leave the U.S. multiple times for status and visa renewals in Calgary and Vancouver. These procedures involved round-trip travel, interviews with U.S.-consulate personnel, and four- or five-day hotel stays while awaiting approvals.
“Application fees, legal fees, and expediting fees” have vacuumed his pockets, Boris says. “All in all, I am in for about $83,000.” Twelve years of innumerable, elaborate steps secured Boris a green card in 2012. American citizenship may come next year.
“During the green card application process,” Boris groans, “a doctor examined me like a farm horse — inside and out — to make sure I am healthy enough to be in America.”
Boris asks the question that should guide America’s conversation on immigration: “Those who violated U.S. laws to get here, arrived through acts of disrespect for this country. Why do these people get to go ahead of me?”
Deroy Murdock is a Fox News contributor and a contributing editor with National Review Online.