Can We Fix a Century of Green Card Backlogs?

Can We Fix a Century of Green Card Backlogs?

A Special Immigration News Report

By Janet Howard

Listen to the Special Immigration News Report here:

This year, only about 3% of the people who have submitted green card applications will receive permanent status. Close to 35 million applications are pending, up from 10 million in 1996. The first backlogs started a century ago, when the first immigration caps were applied, and they have quickly accelerated as the immigration laws became more restrictive and complicated because of politics.

Caps and quotas, processing delays, and the waste of available green cards are par for the course in a system that discourages legal and orderly immigration. Experts suggest that the best solution would be to lift caps and significantly expand legal immigration, arguing that the U.S. economy and the Social Security fund would benefit tremendously.

This special report will discuss why we reached this crisis point in our legal immigration system, the solutions, and why the United States can easily absorb and benefit from the newly legalized population.

First, a Look at the Border Crisis

The immigration border crisis in America is a contentious and complex issue that has been a focal point of political, social, and humanitarian debates for decades. At its core, the crisis revolves around the influx of migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers arriving at the southern border of the United States, primarily from Central America.

Several factors contribute to the immigration border crisis in America. Economic instability, violence, political unrest, and lack of opportunities in countries such as Venezuela, Honduras, Haiti, El Salvador, and Guatemala push many individuals and families to seek asylum or better prospects in the United States. Environmental disasters and climate change also exacerbate these underlying challenges, leading to further displacement.

The response to the immigration border crisis in America is complex and often contentious. It involves balancing border security measures with humanitarian considerations, navigating legal frameworks for asylum seekers, and addressing the root causes of migration in the countries of origin. The issue is further complicated by political polarization, with differing opinions on immigration policies and the appropriate approach to managing the crisis.

In recent years, the immigration border crisis in America has garnered significant attention, with high-profile incidents, such as family separations and overcrowded detention facilities, sparking widespread outrage and calls for reform. As the situation continues to evolve, finding sustainable and humane solutions to address the underlying causes and manage the flow of migrants remains a pressing challenge for policymakers, advocates, and communities across the United States.

The Narrative on Immigration

Changing the narrative on immigration requires a shift away from divisive rhetoric and fear-based messaging towards a more inclusive, empathetic, and fact-based approach. Here are some key elements that could contribute to changing the narrative:

Humanizing Stories: Highlighting the stories of individual immigrants and refugees can help humanize the issue and foster empathy among the public. Sharing narratives of resilience, contribution, and pursuing a better life can challenge stereotypes and misconceptions.

Emphasizing Benefits: Communicating the economic, cultural, and social benefits of immigration can help counter negative narratives. Studies consistently show that immigrants contribute to innovation, entrepreneurship, and workforce diversity, enriching communities and driving economic growth.

Addressing Root Causes: Shifting the focus from border enforcement to addressing the root causes of migration, such as poverty, violence, and lack of opportunities in migrants’ home countries, can help foster long-term solutions and reduce the need for migration.

Promoting Integration: Highlighting successful integration initiatives and emphasizing the importance of inclusive communities can counter fears of cultural change and promote social cohesion. Emphasizing immigrants’ shared values and contributions can help build bridges across diverse communities.

Fact-Based Messaging: Dispelling myths and misinformation about immigration with evidence-based messaging can help build a more informed public discourse. Accurate information about immigration trends, laws, and impacts can combat fearmongering and promote rational debate.

Engaging Diverse Voices: Amplifying the voices of immigrants, refugees, and advocates from diverse backgrounds can provide firsthand perspectives and challenge dominant narratives. Platforms that elevate marginalized voices and promote dialogue across different perspectives can foster understanding and empathy.

Collaborative Solutions: Emphasizing the need for collaborative, evidence-based policy solutions that balance security concerns with humanitarian values can help shift the narrative towards constructive dialogue and problem-solving. Engaging stakeholders from government, civil society, business, and academia can promote inclusive policymaking processes.

By changing the narrative on immigration to one that emphasizes compassion, inclusion, and evidence-based solutions, we can foster a more constructive dialogue and work toward policies that reflect our shared values and aspirations.

The Genius Visa

The current immigration system and backlogs are defining America’s ability to retain its world leadership in attracting the best and brightest. Yet, amid the intricacies of immigration policies and the burdens of bureaucratic backlogs, America faces a critical challenge in maintaining its position as a magnet for talent. Dr. Michio Kaku, an American physicist, futurologist, and professor of theoretical physics at the City College of New York and the CUNY Graduate Center, spoke about this issue and how America has a secret weapon that it is not fully utilizing. Dr. Kaku has articulated the untapped potential of a hidden asset: the Genius Visa. This transformative approach is key to unlocking America’s full capacity to attract and retain the world’s foremost thinkers, innovators, and creators.

Refugees and Asylum Seekers Generate Billions of Dollars More Than They Cost the U.S. Government 

A report released in February by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) found that refugees and asylees have generated tens of billions of dollars more in local, state, and federal tax revenues over the last 15 years than they have cost in direct government services—ultimately representing a net fiscal gain at all levels of government.

From 2005 to 2019, refugees and asylees paid a total of $123.8 billion more in taxes than they cost in government services, for a net fiscal gain of $31.5 billion to the federal government and $92.3 billion to state and local governments combined. Refugees and asylees paid an estimated $363 billion to the federal government through payroll, income, and excise taxes, and $218 billion to state and local governments through income, sales, and property taxes.

Even when factoring in their spouses and children under 18, many of whom are U.S. citizens, refugees, and asylees, still provided a net fiscal gain, costing $723.4 billion in government services yet paying $739.4 billion in tax revenue, for a net gain of $16 billion.

In summary, immigrants play a vital role in making America great by contributing to its cultural vibrancy, economic dynamism, and spirit of innovation. From diverse backgrounds and experiences, immigrants enrich the fabric of American society, bringing new perspectives, talents, and ideas that drive progress and prosperity. Through their hard work, resilience, and commitment to building better lives for themselves and their communities, immigrants embody the values of opportunity, freedom, and inclusivity that define the American dream. Embracing and celebrating the contributions of immigrants is a testament to America’s strength as a nation of immigrants and essential to its continued success and leadership on the global stage.

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