Immigration has changed over the years. I remember stories from my teachers that her Grandparents only had to show that they had a relative in the United States and an address to stay at and they were allowed entry through Ellis Island.
My mother and father in the ’90s were able to tell me about a system that is much different than the one we have today, where people were allowed to enter more freely, where there was a lot less paperwork, cost and process took less time.
Both of those processes seem like a fairytale compared to the current system. Today even the simple processes that were 2 pages when I started practicing immigration law are now 12 pages and where instead of 1 form you need two or three. Today’s process is extremely complicated, much more expensive, and takes a lot more verification, evidence, and understanding.
This past year since COVID-19 the process became even slower and harder. We have also seen not 1 but 2 increases in the pricing of immigration forms (the last one is held up in court) and we have seen the vetting and amount of evidence requested by officers take a sharp rise.
The system we have today is deeply flawed and works to reduce immigration from certain countries, as well as limit highly skilled workers. It has moved away from the humanitarian system that we had during the Ellis Island days where European immigrants were coming in by the shiploads, it has even moved away from a system that welcomed students and the highly skilled and saw the value of inclusion. The system today is more isolationist and is draining valuable talents from the American workforce not only for our agricultural needs but also from our tech and engineering pool.
In my opinion, the system needs to be repaired, not only by placing a much-needed band-aid and allowing people who have lived in this country for many years and those fleeing extreme violence to legalize but also a reform at its core to make sure that the United States keeps the values that made it great and that it continues to attract the brightest minds from around the world rather than pushing them away.