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Victim Visas—How America Stupidly Rewards Misfortune and Fraud
In my midnight moments of immigration-anarchy-induced depression, I imagine a stealth cadre of immigration lawyers housed deep within the White House whose job is to devise fiendish ideas for the worst possible visa categories, in order to desensitize citizens to the nation-wrecking insanity afoot.
This concept has been in limited use for a while. But it recently received an upgrade.
The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 expanded laws against sex trafficking and general slavery, in legislation which was necessary given the open borders and diversity of crime America now faces. Its main provisions, particularly the U Visa, were touted as a way to help law enforcement keep witnesses to serious crimes handy to testify. But the benefits allotted are considerable. The U Visa does not merely allow crime victims to stay through the trial—it opens up the whole benefits smorgasbord, including eventual citizenship.
The law allows 10,000 U Visas to be dispensed annually. But the small print permits spouses and children as well. So the total may be much higher each year if lawyers have anything to do with it.
Certainly there are many genuine horror stories of foreigners being held against their will as slaves (nearly always by other non-Americans). But the idea that Americans should be made to compensate those foreigners for their misfortune is simply unreasonable.
What other public policy arena besides immigration rewards people for being crime victims? Does a rape victim get lowered college tuition? Does someone whose car has been stolen get a replacement vehicle charged to the taxpayer?
Why should it be the job of the federal government to give citizenship to a foreigner whose only qualification may be a few bruises?
To see what a monumental scam the program is, consider one prominent "victim" featured in recent AP reporting as someone who "qualified for a 'U' visa"—Eleuterio Rodriguez Ruiz.
"The 30-year-old Mexican citizen was one of seven people held at gunpoint at an Arizona rest stop by an Army reservist as they were crossing illegally into the United States.
"Rodriguez Ruiz said he cooperated with authorities, who subsequently filed aggravated assault charges against Sgt. Patrick Haab. The county attorney later dropped the charges, citing a state law that allows citizens to make an arrest when a felony has been committed." [New US Visas Offered to Crime Victims, Google Associated Press October 19, 2007]
So Ruiz was not a crime victim at all, but was himself a criminal, an illegal alien caught in the act of invading this country along with six of his pals by Patrick Haab, a US Army reservist who made a lawful citizen's arrest. Ruiz now works with a permit as a picker near Sacramento. But he wants the full monty, so he can visit Mexico and return legally.
The Violence Against Women Act also instituted incentives for fraud. An illegal alien woman who can convince authorities that she has been abused can get permanent residence on that basis alone. Even foreign prostitutes may qualify if they cooperate with police.
Last year the San Francisco Chronicle produced a sappy ("her dark hair ... fell like silk to her shoulders") four-part series about human trafficking, Diary of a Sex Slave. By Meredith May and Deanne Fitzmaurice, October6-10, 2006]
The Korean subject, so cleverly called You Mi, was not the most sympathetic character. She originally got into trouble by running up her credit card to $40,000 with shopping sprees. She didn't even have the excuse of being a crackhead. She was not drugged and kidnapped. She signed up of her own volition for an obvious sex job in the US to make big money fast.
And after getting away from her first sleazy prostitute gig, she volunteered for another one to pay off her credit card debt. As a worker, she was engaged in illegal activity and employed by bad-guy foreigners.
Was she an appealing poster girl for the degradation of human trafficking? Not so much.
Nevertheless, You Mi got her treasured Victim Visa plus a starring role in the Chron's "immigrant" redemption fable so readers could feel warm and wonderful about American generosity. And no one asked whether the national community would be improved by the presence of a spendthrift ex-prostitute.
"Ivy Lee, [email] an attorney specializing in human trafficking at Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach in San Francisco, helped You Mi apply for the T-1 visa. After a five-month investigation, the government concluded that You Mi was a sex-trafficking victim and granted her the visa on July 25.
"You Mi is ready for her new life in California. She has fallen in love with the landscape and the relaxed attitude about gender roles. It amazes her to see women running companies or running errands in ponytails and sweats." [In San Francisco, You Mi begins to put her life back together—but the cost is high, San Francisco Chronicle, By Meredith May, October 10, 2006]
But You Mi is sub-minor player in comparison to those illegal aliens officially recognized as victims of 9/11. They received the same financial payments as citizens, thanks to the bureaucrat-czar Kenneth Feinberg who was in charge of disbursements from the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.
And despite the fact that these illegal foreigners have become wealthy from the jackpot of money shoveled at them (with $2.1 million being the average payout among their exclusive little club), they whined that they haven't been given citizenship.
"One widow has more than $2 million but walks or rides the bus everywhere, terrified of drawing attention. Another millionaire widow stopped going to 9/11 support groups because she feared that families of police officers and firefighters might betray her. A widower has enough money to start a business building houses, but cannot buy himself a home." [With Millions in 9/11 Payments, Bereaved Can't Buy Green Cards, By Cara Buckley, New York Times, September 3, 2006]
A Mexican woman described as having "soulful eyes"—and a baby from a "new companion" —remained in the New York area, even though she could live like a rock star at home with her millions of dollars. The Times tried to illustrate her dubious pain by describing her traipsing about as she did her errands on foot because she could not get a driver's license.
Of course, she has more than enough cash for a cab. Furthermore, there are plenty of cars and servants and education for the kiddies available in Mexico and other Third World countries for anyone who has the money. But the Times suggested the foreigners believed an amnesty was in the near future—an idea perhaps pushed by financial "advisors", who may gain from the millionaires' continued presence.
What a shame that our policymakers are so stupidly generous as they contemplate foolish victim-based programs that value a black eye more than a college education.
Brenda Walker (email her) lives in Northern California and publishes two websites, LimitsToGrowth.org and ImmigrationsHumanCost.org. Like the majority of Americans across the political spectrum, she believes immigration must be legal, controlled and REDUCED.