Dreaming of the Guild

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Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering litigator. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Recovering Former Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.

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58 Responses

  1. Avatar greginak says:

    19 years on the waiting list for visa!!!!! What a fustercluck of a system.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to greginak says:

      Indeed. It strikes me that there is a VERY simple solution to all this…Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

        A more Canadian system? A more British system? A more Japanese system? A more Mexican system?Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Kazzy says:

        I think there is much we could learn from our Canadian friends. I notice how they have a more liberal immigration policy, a higher employment rate, a similar if not lower crime rate, and the same (which is to say, functionally zero) rate of acts of terrorism perpetrated by “illegal immigrants” as we do. (9/11 was perpetrated by foreign nationals, but not immigrants — they were all here legally on student or tourist visas.)

        Not only did all the bad things that are supposed to happen if immigration policy is liberalized not happen in Canada, the reverse of those bad things seems to be true.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

        In our experience, their immigration policy was less liberal than the US’s. It was easier for Maribou to come to the US than for me to move to Canada.

        Now, when it comes to refugees, Canada is more liberal… but would this guy count as a refugee?Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Kazzy says:

        I’ve no idea; obviously, it would depend of the definition of “refugee.” Seems unlikely.Report

      • Avatar Jonathan McLeod in reply to Kazzy says:

        There’s zero chance that this man would qualify as a refugee in Canada. He’s not being persecuted in either of his home lands. If he were to flee to Canada, there would be no serious repercussions if he were then returned to either the U.S. or Mexico (though his life might suck more either of those places, that’s not grounds for a refugee claim).

        Canada doesn’t take kindly to refugees from the U.S. (even when they should), and we’ve even gotten a little harsher with refugees, in general.

        Note: I’m not making any claims on whether, in such a case, Canada should or should not accept this man. I’m just saying that recent events demonstrate that he wouldn’t be accepted as a refugee.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

        Would Canada let him practice law?

        We all know that Canada *SHOULD* let him practice law, as is only right and proper. But we also know that Harper is a blight on the land, slowly turning the entire country into a diseased amalgam of Duck Dynasty and There Will Be Blood. As such, would he be able to practice law under current Canadian law?Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Kazzy says:

        Do I detect a note of sarcasm, @jaybird ? Quit being so elliptical, and tell us what you really think!Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

        Is there a country that has a more liberal immigration policy than the US? If so, I don’t know what it is. All of the countries that come to mind are quickly disqualified by just a little bit of research.

        If America is letting this guy practice law, then we are, to my knowledge, already being more liberal with our labor policies than any other country in the world.

        And yet the underlying argument seems to be “we need to be *EVEN MORE* liberal with our immigration policy” with an undercurrent of disapproval that we are not.

        I’m more wishing that, before we get really disapproving, that we point to a country and say “we should be more like (shining example!)”… and if there are no other examples we can point to, I’d sort of like that established beforehand.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

        (Which doesn’t mean that I’m still not curious about the anwers to my questions about Canada’s policies!)Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Kazzy says:

        Is there a country that has a more liberal immigration policy than the US?

        Belize, I believe, only cares if you are law abiding and can support yourself.

        …we are, to my knowledge, already being more liberal with our labor policies than any other country in the world. And yet the underlying argument seems to be “we need to be *EVEN MORE* liberal with our immigration policy” with an undercurrent of disapproval that we are not…I’m more wishing that, before we get really disapproving, that we point to a country and say “we should be more like (shining example!)”…

        So, unless someone else is better, we shouldn’t strive to improve? Once you become the best at something you shouldn’t seek further improvement? What’s the point of your position?

        if there are no other examples we can point to, I’d sort of like that established beforehand.

        Ok, set aside Belize, about which I may be wrong. Let’s say we’ve established there are no other examples we can point to. What then?Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Kazzy says:

        While I appreciate your experiences with Canadian immigration, @jaybird , the end result of Canada’s immigration policy appears to be a proportionally greater inflow of immigrants than the U.S. Roughly 19.8% of Canada’s population are foreign-born, while the corresponding number for the United States is 14.9%.

        The amount of time it takes the Canadian government to process immigrants and issue visas and permits is dramatically less than the amount of time the U.S. government takes, as well. Mr. Garcia’s example — having waited nineteen years for a residency permit, and still waiting, despite having a good education and family with residency permits — is not that far out of the ordinary. It seems that someone seeking legal status in Canada needs to wait less than two years for a residency visa or work permit. (Although I can’t find the citation to back that up at the moment and need to run off to my day job shortly. Perhaps someone else can find the statistics and prove me wrong.)

        So without discounting your own experiences, the exact details of which I know little beyond the facts that you have a well-developed skill set and had married a Canadian spouse but apparently nevertheless encountered difficulty in obtaining a residency or work visa, it seems to me that Canada is proportionally letting more people in than the United States, and with less money and less time spent in the bureaucracy. That seems to me to be the “more liberal” regime of the two neighboring nations.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Kazzy says:

        Is there a country that has a more liberal immigration policy than the US?

        Well, there are certainly countries with higher immigration rates than the US — see this Forbes article, for example. Don’t know if that means their policies are more liberal, or if they’re simply more attractive.

        Not sure how to classify Israel’s Law of Return. Yes, there’s a religion requirement, but that appears to be it. Show up, prove your Jewishness, and you’re a citizen.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

        I checked out http://ambergriscaye.com/pages/town/immigrationpolicy.html and they have some stuff that sounds better (if creepier) than some US policies (the “Qualified Retired Person” program sounds pretty sweet) but the very top of the webpage says The Ministry of National Security and Immigration has given careful consideration to the existing laws governing immigration and nationality. It is felt that there is an urgent need to further strengthen the Immigration Act to deter the incidence of illegal entry into Belize. There is also a need to modify the immigration rules relating to the fees charged for nationality and residence permits. which, right there makes me take pause…

        But I like the “Live here for only $2k a month!” thing that they’ve got going on, assuming the law hasn’t changed since 1999.

        So, unless someone else is better, we shouldn’t strive to improve?

        Yes, that is exactly what I said in the part where you quoted me.

        Once you become the best at something you shouldn’t seek further improvement?

        It’s like you’re cutting and pasting me.

        What’s the point of your position?

        This question might have benefitted from not being preceeded by the other two. In any case, if we are, in fact, better than everybody out there (including Belize), I think that “what’s the point of your position?” is a question worth asking of immigration policy in general.

        As for Mr. Garcia here, he strikes me as someone that countries would be fighting amongst themselves in order to claim as a citizen. Obviously very smart, obviously a lot of gumption, obviously educated, obviously a hard worker. He’s someone who will benefit whatever country he ends up working in. Indeed, if American law makes it so that he can’t work despite his obvious qualifications, that indicates a hell of a lot that is wrong with American Immigration Law in general… but it strikes me as odd that this is a policy where what other countries are doing has *ZERO* influence on the debate.

        Wanna talk universal health care? We can talk about Europe all day, Canada, even Mexico. Wanna talk about the Death Penalty? Ditto. Libel law? Copyright? Antidisestablishmentarianism? You can’t get two paragraphs into the story without mentioning what’s going on in Europe.

        And that’s curiously absent from discussions of immigration law. And I’m curious about that.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

        Roughly 19.8% of Canada’s population are foreign-born, while the corresponding number for the United States is 14.9%.

        Or, in raw numbers, 6,186,950 people vs. 40,381,574.

        it seems to me that Canada is proportionally letting more people in than the United States, and with less money and less time spent in the bureaucracy.

        Are they spending proportionately less time and less money? Or just less time and less money?Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

        @jaybird

        Your logic here is pretty silly. But that increasingly seems par for the course. No one is allowed to criticize anything unless they have a perfect solution which is perfectly consistent with every other perfect solution they have offered prior.

        Do you agree or disagree that there is something wrong with America’s immigration policy when this man is pushing two full decades of waiting? A “yes” or “no” will suffice.Report

      • Avatar Jonathan McLeod in reply to Kazzy says:

        @jaybird I have no idea if this man would be allowed to practice law. That kind of seems like a non-sequitor, though. As a refugee (if we’re still clinging to that hypothetical), I believe he would not be, no (though immigrants are allowed to work while paperwork and citizenship are being processed… I just don’t know how it specifically applies to lawyers). Of course, he’s not a refugee in the U.S., so that’s not really an accurate comparison.

        “…we are, to my knowledge, already being more liberal with our labor policies than any other country in the world.”

        I’m unsure if you actually meant this to be as blanket a statement as it seems, but numerous discussions around here (regarding holidays, right-to-work legislations, etc.) makes it seem that Canada is far more liberal in labour policy… unless we’re using some different definition of the term “labour”.

        Also, though I don’t doubt that you and Maribou had difficulties getting you into Canada, that was a long time ago, no? As much as the current government is rather xenophobic and hating on refugees, they’ve actually been “okay” on immigration (in terms of letting people in and improving the bureaucratic process… treating immigrants with respect is a different thing, separate from this discussion). 19 year processing times are unheard of. Even refugee claims that drag on really long only ever reach a couple/three years.Report

      • Avatar Jonathan McLeod in reply to Kazzy says:

        Sorry, different definition of the term “liberal”.Report

      • Avatar Jonathan McLeod in reply to Kazzy says:

        So, a little googling brings this:

        “I am not or have not applied to be a permanent resident of Canada or a Canadian citizen. Can I enter and complete the Licensing Process and be called to the Bar of Ontario?

        Yes, as of May 1, 2007 revisions to The Law Society Act no longer require a Licensing Process candidate to apply for or be a permanent resident or a Canadian Citizen when entering the Licensing Process or for the purpose of being called to the Bar of Ontario. However, you will need to provide required Canadian issued documents for purposes of confirming your legal name.”

        Source: http://www.lsuc.on.ca/FAQs/

        From this, and other links, it implies that someone in Mr. Garcia’s position (applying for citizenship or permanent residence status) would be allowed to practice law in Ontario and probably all provinces. It would be especially easy if he studied law in Canada (there are, obviously, rules about foreign-trained lawyers).

        Further links showed that foreign-certified, non-citizenship/perm. residents can apply to practice law in Canada, so it is conceivable that a person in Mr. Garcia’s actual position (not a hypothetical transplanted up north) would be allowed to apply to practice law in Canada.

        All-in-all, looks like Canada has already decided this issue, Jaybird.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Kazzy says:

        @jaybird

        Oh, you still want to play that adolescent game of snarking at people who misunderstand what you’re purposely trying to avoid making understandable. I had hopes that with the new year you might have matured into a more adult conversationsl style.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Kazzy says:

        I knew that Ireland has a right of return similar to Israel’s, but looking it up, so do dozens of other countries.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Kazzy says:

        Canada is far more liberal in labour policy… unless we’re using some different definition of the term “labour”.

        Certainly we’re using a different spelling.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

        Do you agree or disagree that there is something wrong with America’s immigration policy when this man is pushing two full decades of waiting?

        Absolutely.

        I would agree with the statement that “we need to be more like Canada and/or Luxemboug” 100%.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Kazzy says:

        Do you agree or disagree…?

        -Absolutely.

        Uh, JB, I don’t want to pile on, but…Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

        Sorry, “Absolutely, I agree.”Report

      • Avatar kenB in reply to Kazzy says:

        … to disagree.Report

      • Avatar Notme in reply to Kazzy says:

        JB:

        Have you seen and heard about how Mexicans treat illegals that get in Mexico? They are brutal, which is why I find Mexico’s whining about how we threat their illegals here so hypocritical. I think folks here want the Scandinavian system where they let anyone in and shower them with money.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

        Oh, I have. I know that Mexico gets a huge amount of its money (either #1 source or #2 source) from remittances and that strikes me as downright criminal.

        That said, it doesn’t surprise me at all that someone would prefer to live and work in the US to live and work in Mexico and it’s ironic that the majority of workers from Mexico (as far as I can tell) just want to make money, send it home, and then be able to go home at the end of the season or end of the year or when they feel they’ve made enough money to get by for a while… and our immigration laws make it tougher for them to go home again.

        Heck, if they’re coming here and giving us labor and putting things together and building things for us and all they’re getting in exchange is paper money, we are making out like bandits.Report

      • @notme

        Have you seen and heard about how Mexicans treat illegals that get in Mexico? They are brutal, which is why I find Mexico’s whining about how we threat their illegals here so hypocritical. I think folks here want the Scandinavian system where they let anyone in and shower them with money.

        Maybe “Mexico” is being hypocritical. I don’t know because I haven’t been paying attention, but if it’s true, then shame on “Mexico.” But immigration policy in the US is about US laws and individuals facing those laws and not about whether the government of the land they hail from is hypocritical.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Kazzy says:

        FTR, I think an argument that “Mexico is really really cruel to people trying to immigrate there, so we in the U.S.A. don’t need to reform our immigration policies at all because we’re already way better than Mexico” is about as valid as the argument that “We should feel free to torture our Muslim prisoners of war because if a Muslim soldier were to take an American soldier prisoner, he’d torture the American way worse than anything we’d ever do.”Report

    • Avatar Philip H in reply to greginak says:

      @greginak – that’s the best bass ackwards rendition of a cuss word I’ve seen this week. It could lead to all sorts of variations used for sloganeering purposes Ordinary Times, NOT a Fuster Cluck in the blog-o-sphere! and that sort of thing.

      Burt,
      I find you run down interesting and readable – which is to say an oceanographer successfully followed your argument. Probably not the pinnacle of your writing career, but probably worth an extra beer tonight when you get home. I remain troubled by the whole emphasis from certain political corners on illegal immigrants and what “they” “should” or shouldn’t get. Had all our European ancestors not included significant numbers of undocumented persons, I suspect our national history would be different. And frankly, if immigration violations are civil in nature, then why deny services or rights? We don’t do that to any one else for civil penalties.Report

    • Avatar Barry in reply to greginak says:

      “19 years on the waiting list for visa!!!!! What a fustercluck of a system.”

      And that’s with somebody who (a) has lived for many years in the USA, and (b) was brought in both times as a minor.

      When people say ‘wait your turn’, they really mean ‘die where you are’.Report

  2. Avatar Randy Harris says:

    Under NAFTA, it can be fairly easy for a professional from Mexico or Canada to get a US work permit; thus, being admitted to the bar could speed up Mr. Garcia’s documentation process.Report

  3. The Supreme Court basically punted on this argument. It said that certain kinds of practice are explicitly prohibited (like practicing before the ICE), and that there is a general prohibition on attorneys from undertaking representation where they cannot competently render service. … We can’t know — he can’t yet know — what Mr. Garcia will do with his license to practice law. It will be incumbent upon him to determine what he can or cannot do, and he cannot help but be cognizant of the fact that he operates under special restrictions and special scrutiny, and will govern himself accordingly.”

    Here’s a question. In most states, admission to the local federal District Court is a fairly straightforward process following admission to the state bar. But would the situation be different for an undocumented immigrant?

    That is, if Mr. Garcia applied to practice before the US District Court for the Eastern District of California, would any federal statute or rule prohibit his admission because of his immigration status?Report

  4. Avatar Damon says:

    Meh,
    All that aside, there’s no reason the feds can’t pick this guy up and deport his ass back to Mexico. Since they were apparently litigating his case, I assume they know where he would be, ie the courthouse. Why didn’t they snag him and drive him across the border?Report

    • Avatar Jonathan McLeod in reply to Damon says:

      Though my views on immigration differ from Damon’s, this is an important point.

      The government isn’t even trying to deport him (it would seem). To me, that makes his current residence in the U.S. legitimate (even if they eventually decide to deny citizenship and deport him… whenever that might be).Report

    • Avatar LWA in reply to Damon says:

      Oh, they are trying to deport him all right, but there is a process to be followed- apparently there is a nineteen year backlog of cases.Report

    • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Damon says:

      For the same reason cops who have a buddy they know that smokes pot, then eats a whole lot of Dorito’s and pass out, don’t break down his door. Because there’s worse offenders out there.Report

  5. Avatar Jasonn says:

    Don’t they need any good attorneys in Mexico?Report

    • Avatar Notme in reply to Jasonn says:

      The guy isn’t dumb, why would anyone want to live in Mexico if they could live in the US?Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Notme says:

        Do you mean aside from millions of mexicans?Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Notme says:

        @notme
        why would anyone want to live in Mexico if they could live in the US?

        Maybe you should ask the approximately 1 million Americans who love there. And maybe they would tell you something that would pierce your mindless jingoism.Report

      • maybe they would tell you something that would pierce your mindless jingoism.

        Some veils of ignorance are harder to pierce than others.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Notme says:

        What I don’t get is why people who could be in the Bay Area live somewhere else. You’re all crazy.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Notme says:

        My house would cost $175,000 to purchase. My brother bought a house for just under $200,000. The upgraded and sold his house to a young couple for $150,000 or so, if that.

        That’s why I could never live in San Fransisco. No other reason, really, but that one.Report

      • Avatar Notme in reply to Notme says:

        J@m3z:

        I read you link and found an interesting statement, “Mostly, people who come from the USA are students, retirees, religious workers (missionaries, pastors, etc.), Mexican-Americans, and spouses of Mexican citizens. A few are professors who come employed by Mexican companies to teach English, other English teachers, and corporate employees and executives.

        While significant numbers live in Mexico year round, it is probable that a majority of these residents do not stay the whole year. Retirees may live half a year in the U.S. to keep retiree benefits. Those called “snowbirds” come in fall and leave in spring.”

        So these folks really aren’t leaving the US permanently for the promised land of Mexico. Not to mention that foreigners can’t own property in Mexico. Sorry, that is hardly enough to pierce my mindless jingoism.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Notme says:

        Silly @will-truman . You can’t buy a single-family house for $175,000 in the Bay Area. I doubt such a thing exists, even in the core of Oakland or the worst part of Vallejo.Report

  6. Avatar Matty says:

    It’s a minor point but this guy is clearly not undocumented, he is known to the immigration system and presumably has whatever documents are involved in being in the queue. Undocumented would seem to indicate someone who lacks any kind of official record.

    Also could it be argued that by not deporting him during the 19 year wait the immigration authorities have de facto granted a temporary leave to remain (or whatever the term is) until the case is decided?Report

  7. Avatar Christopher Carr says:

    It seems to me we should nominate Garcia to be the next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Or we should elect him President.

    Despite every aspect of our sick, unjust, evil immigration system aimed at Garcia not being allowed to live his life, he managed not only to rise out of the ghettos our Great Walls of paperwork force on others in his situation but he actually became a lawyer, one of the most respected, important, and prestigious occupations around!

    Even if we succeed in our ignoble quest to prevent Garcia at all costs from contributing his exceptional brilliance and drive to our society, what he has already attained is truly impressive.Report

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