Michael Reagan: Our irrational immigration system

Cagle Cartoon Syndicate Published:

The state of California tossed the conservative media another hunk of red meat last week when its Supreme Court granted an illegal alien a law license.

You probably heard plenty of outrage on your favorite talk-radio show about how the liberal Left Coast judges rewarded a lawbreaking immigrant instead of deporting him or throwing him in jail.

Mindless outrage is probably all you heard.

But the more you learn about the case of Sergio Garcia, the more you'll understand what is the No. 1 problem with our awful immigration policy.

It isn't because we have too many liberal judges, too many illegal aliens or too many holes in the U.S.-Mexico border. The main problem is our failed, insanely bureaucratic U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services department itself.

Garcia, 36, is just one of its countless victims. More than 20 years ago -- when he was a teenager -- he came from Mexico to pick almonds in California with his father.

In 1994, his father, who was a permanent legal resident of the United States, applied for a work visa for Garcia. That year his father also applied for U.S. citizenship for him.

While Garcia waited for the lawyers and bureaucrats to process the paperwork, he worked and studied hard. He went to community college, became a paralegal, went to law school and passed the bar exam.

When he applied for a license to practice law in California, the U.S. Department of Justice prevented him from getting it because of a federal law prohibiting anyone in the United States without permission from getting licenses from government agencies that use public money.

I'm not mad at Sergio Garcia. Why should anyone be? He did nothing wrong.

In fact, he did everything right. He played by the rules -- the dumb rules. And that's why he's still an illegal alien.

Ditto for countless other immigrants who want to come here, work hard and someday become American citizens.

Talk radio should aim its anger where it belongs. Not at Garcia, not at California's judges, but at our irrational immigration system and the politicians responsible for devising it and refusing to fix it or blow it up.

A recent study counted 234 government forms related to immigration, issued by seven Cabinet-level agencies. Even highly skilled immigrants -- the 65,000 people we want and need the most, and to whom we grant H-1B visas --face 16 forms, nearly 20 hours of paperwork and $2,500 in application costs.

Our immigration system is so broken, so complex, so expensive, so slow, so legalistic, so bureaucratic, and so counter-productive it's a wonder anyone ever successfully becomes a citizen.

No one wants to get in line for 20 years to get into the United States. No one should have to. The long wait is one reason we're losing the brightest immigrants to other countries.

California officials, for once, probably did the right thing when they stuck up for Sergio Garcia.

Instead of laughing at California for giving a law license to an illegal immigrant, our conservative friends in the media should be working to tear down the USCIS and bring our immigration policy into the 21st century.

Copyright ©2014 Michael Reagan. Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of "The New Reagan Revolution" (St. Martin's Press). He is the founder of the email service reagan.com and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his websites at www.reagan.com and www.michaelereagan.com. Send comments to Reagan@caglecartoons.com. Follow @reaganworld on Twitter. Mike's column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. For info on using columns contact Cari Dawson Bartley at cari@cagle.com.

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  • Always wondering, but never knowing. No wonder you follow so easily.

  • Still wondering...

  • Still wondering lil_whiner?

  • Reagan is right. The immigration system is too complicated and needs fixed, but that doesn't mean we need to swing the borders wide open to criminals, etc. Let's make it easier for the Sergio Garcias to come here and be productive citizens. For them, let's open our arms and welcome them.

  • Now this is food for thought.  I wonder what our vocal liberls will have to say?