By: Daniel Nardini
For me, personally, reading stories of husbands and wives being split apart by our current immigration laws is truly poignant. Just a week before I read about the case of Edgar Cruz and Maricruz Valtierra. They got married on the U.S.-Mexico border because Valtierra was found “inadmissible” for being allowed into the United States because U.S. immigration made her inadmissible because Valtierra had used someone else’s birth certificate to enter the U.S. when she was 16. Because of current U.S. immigration law, no judge or immigration official can change this status if someone marries a U.S. citizen. While this may sound like justice, before September 11, 2001, immigration judges and immigration officials had discretionary powers to grant exceptions in order to prevent hardship to immediate families of U.S. citizens.
This power was taken away because of the terrorism hysteria of the early 2000’s, and what makes all of this worse is that Americans get no priority in the current immigration system. U.S. citizens get no priority to all others waiting in line legally, cannot claim hardship, and U.S. citizens are treated like dirt in the immigration we fund by our taxes. My wife and I were nearly split apart by the current immigration system, and I have been pretty sore about it ever since. As part of immigration reform, U.S. Senator Beto O’Rourke (Democrat-Texas) has proposed legislation to restore the provision in U.S. immigration law that would grant both judges and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security discretionary powers to allow the spouses of U.S. citizens to be able to stay and live in the United States to readjust their status.
Those who may have committed some immigration offense could then be charged a fine or some other punishment a whole lot less severe than permanent deportation from the United States. This of course would not change the law calling for deportation of anyone found guilty of a serious civil crime—only of having broken immigration law. Personally, I would hope that eventually legislation is proposed to help speed up the U.S. immigration process by giving Americans priority in the immigration process. After all, Americans pay taxes so that the immigration system runs, and we vote for those officials who are supposed to make our government run at all. At least, this piece of legislation is going in the right direction. Whatever mistakes someone may have made, this should not be used to set an immigration issue in stone and keep loved ones apart forever.