27 Jan 2012 Immigration policy messed up, economy suffers as a result
By Jon A. Anderson
Variety News Staff
The American immigration system is messed up, according to Atty. Ladd Baumann, an immigration specialist with the law firm Baumann, Kondas, & Xu LLC, who spoke to the Rotary Club of Guam yesterday.
“It’s very difficult for people to come to the United States and to contribute to the economy,” he said, “and therefore we don’t get the investment and we don’t get the skill set that we have in the past.”
Baumann pointed out the United States trains a large number of foreign students every year, who under past policy were allowed to remain in the United States and contribute to the nation’s economy. “But now, they are all obligated to go home,” the immigration lawyer said. ” So they are spending their skills which they’ve learned in the United States trying to improve the economy of China or India or wherever they happen to come from.”
Other countries are laughing at the U.S., Baumann said, and he isn’t hopeful that any reform of the immigration system will happen during this election cycle. He also said he isn’t confident that any significant reform will take place if a Republican adminstration replaces the Democratic Obama administration either.
Closer to home, Baumann said the granting of parole authority for Russian visitors was a positive thing that should boost the local economy. But, he said, the Chinese visa waiver is more problematic and he doesn’t think it will happen anytime soon.
“There’s a considerable hostility to the Chinese built into the United States government system,” he pointed out, “and I think that will continue for a period of time.
Baumann cited as an example the recent publication of an H2-B Visa workers to the United States. Conspicuously mission from the list this time around the Chinese. “And so to suggest… we won’t let the workers in but we’ll let the tourists in …gives you an idea of the difficulty of achieving the (China) visa waiver program for Guam,” Baumann stated.
Turning to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Baumann said the United States takeover of immigration in 2009 has created numerous problems, which are slowly being resolved. But he doesn’t think anything happening now will help the economy of the Northern Marianas, which is in decline.
He said about 11,000 guest workers applied for a special, temporary CW visa last year, but that leaves about 9,000 more who did not apply and are theoretically out of status. All of the CW application are pending, but the special commonwealth visa would only be goon until 2014 in any case, and it would not allow its holders to travel anywhere else outside of the CNMI, including Guam.
Baumann predicted that the 9,000 who didn’t apply for the temporary visa will be “removed from the United States” beginning soon, unless the law changed. He said the only exception would be workers whose families include one or more U.S. citizens, mostly children born in the CNMI. That would involve about a thousand workers, leaving the remaining 8,000 likely to be deported.