a greeting and my newest column

Hi friends,

I´m in Mexico, more details later, but I had a column published a few days ago and I thought you might enjoy reading it as well as the numerous comments I received.

Here is the link. Please feel free to add additional comments. =)


13 Responses to a greeting and my newest column

  1. laurafern says:

    From R.W. —

    Learned a great deal in today´s article and only wish this message could get out more of us. Its all about educating ourselves about the real truth of immigration policy as you so clearly are capable of doing. Now, how to reach many many more.

  2. laurafern says:

    From J.P. —

    In her December 15th column, Legal immigration is futile for many”, Ms. Laura Fernandez forgot to mention some very special immigrants, such as: Bearers of such untreatable and contagious diseases as drug resistant TB; Drug smugglers; Previously deported persons; Members of truly horrid Latino gangs (Many of whom have been previously deported); Identity thieves; Potential terrorists (Including persons from the Middle East trained, by some of our Latin American un-friends to pass for Latinos); And, other criminals.

    She also forgot to mention those immigrants known to be in the USA who we most certainly do NOT need or want here: The many thousands of such now confined in our Federal and other prisons and jails; And, the foreign born and trained Muslim “clergy” who preach hate of the USA, our laws and civilization well beyond the boundaries of free speech.

  3. laurafern says:

    From E.G. —

    Enjoyed your column today on immigration issues very much. It has become an issue I want to feel passionately about but I’m not educated enough to enter into debate. Could you recommend a website where I could go to learn in concise layman’s terms about US immigration policies? I travel in largely suburban conservative circles (Brookfield) and would love to “educate” my friends and neighbors.

  4. laurafern says:

    From J.W. —

    Great article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this morning.
    As you point out, we aren’t very knowledgeable of the rules regarding legal immigration. How about a follow-up story including some of the rules? Country quotas, waiting lists (numbers/time) and the process for applying (references/employer initiated application/complexity of forms) are some of the issues you might consider including.

  5. laurafern says:

    From B.W. —

    You make some excellent points! This was a well written piece and very timely. My spouse and I have major disagreements over the immigration situation. I feel it would be impractical and extremely costly, well beyond what most US taxpayers would feel is reasonable, to “deport” all the 11 million undocumented workers. That’s assuming it would be practical, which it isn’t. And most people don’t realize that there is no “legal” immigration option for most people. There are quotas allowed from every country, and one has to be in one of the specific desired groups. Most US citizens would not be allowed to immigrate here.

    I feel the undocumented workers add a lot to our country, for the most part work hard, educate their families who are US citizens if born here, and those citizens go on to add a lot to our culture and economy. I just wish there was a way to get the undocumented people into our system so they can acquire a Social Security number, pay taxes and vote. This country needs new blood.

    You’ll probably get a lot of “hate” mail for this piece. But you were courageous to write it.

  6. laurafern says:

    From M.F. —

    Thanks for keeping the immigration debate alive! Your title (or the Editors’) succintly stated something that many advocates try to get across, and most times I have found it to be successful – when angry people realize that immigration is costly and not possible for most people in other countries (even Canada), they tend to cool down.

    AS for your family- views on immigration, maybe unless they are extreme, are neither liberal or conservative. There are anti-immigrant activists that have very valid and correct concerns about these issues. The fact that your conservative family talks about this issues shows that there is concern. I have had close relationship with people who were rabidly anti-any kind of immigrant, to people who want to kill every Mexican coming across, to people who advocate for a blanket amnsesty.

    There was one *very serious* error, though in your article – perhaps you may want to write a retraction. It was about restaurant owners petitioning for a worker.

    **No** immigration attorney would file paperwork for a restaurant owner to sponsor a cook or any other employee–unless the cook is actually an internationally acclaimed chef, and the owner would have to prove that with extensive documentation.

    And if you know of any—I would be really interested in knowing who that person is. Most of the immiration attorneys in the state are decent and stick to the rules–because if they don’t, there are serious repercussions.

    Now, a notario may do this, and they do try for many people not eligible to immigrate; they have a very basic knowledge of immigration law and fraudulently file paperwork.

    Work visas are only available for very high or very low skilled workers. Those visas are usually gone soon after they become available during the prior year. Sometimes exceptions are made in emergencies – when this country is short of a particular category.

    There are few visa (maybe about 600,000) available for agricultural employees – certainly not nearly enough for the work available.

    Also, marriage is *no guarantee* of legalization. There may be something in that immigrant’s background that would prohibit him or her from obtaining leglization: service in a miliatary action against the US, certain other types of military service (especially if it is not disclosed or lied about at time of application), drug crimes or other crimes that are misdemeanors but under immigration law are felonies, prior arrest that a border, etc. It is simply a myth that a lot of people believe that by marrying a citizen, automatic legalization (some people even think citizenship) is granted.

    I know a family of 10 that were granted Amnesty in 1986. Almost all have a college education, some have graduate work. One refuses to become a citizen (I generally see that with Mexican men), and I have tried to tell him that being an LPR is no guarantee against deportation if something should happen. Two of the females who are nurses belkieve that they are citizens since they married citizens. Myths abound with immigrants and non-immigrants alike.

    Here is a recent practice by the USCIS: holding an immigrant’s application for Citizenship if it is a male from a Middle Eastern country, even if that person’s background has checked out.

  7. laurafern says:

    From R.O. —

    I just read your article “Legal immigration is futile for many” on JSOnline.
    Although I agree with you that the immigration is hard for blue collar
    workers, it is not easy for so called skillful professionals.
    I earned Ph.D. here and could not find a job, because I do not have
    permanent residence.
    What is worse, I was not born in country of hot growing economies like
    China or India.
    I guess I need to spent more time to write more papers, maybe books
    than I will be able to apply as outstanding scientist.
    The problem is that it will take years and the outcome is uncertain.
    There is no way I can get employment based green card since I am
    overqualified for small companies willing to offer sponsor ship
    My wife got her employer based permanent residence approved, but due to
    retrogression we need to wait more that 3 year to be able to apply for
    change of status.
    After being here for 10 years I really have enough of temporary life.
    In summary I would say that legal immigration to US is unobtainable for
    99.9% of world population.

  8. laurafern says:

    From C.L. — (this one is full of lies and half-truths which I do not have time to respond to at this moment, but I just think it´s interesting for some of you to see the sort of mail I get.)

    Mrs. Hernandez:

    I have had the misfortune of reading two of your columns in the Milwaukee
    Journal, most recently “Legal Immigration is futile for many.” I felt
    compelled to respond to your laughable article which predictably contained
    nothing but pie in the sky liberal drivel.

    First, do you understand WHY we need an immigration system? You seem to want to let every poor, disenfranchised brown person on the globe to waltz right into our country and set up shop. The lower skilled, less educated the better, right Mrs.
    Fernandez? As you so eloquently surmised, “…these workers are critical to
    our economy, where the service and hospitality industries are booming, and
    the typical you, American-born worker is more likely to be in college..than
    flipping burgers.”

    So let me get this straight, we need to open up our borders completely so that we can continue to enjoy the benefits of these ‘critical’ elements of our economy; maids, fast food workers, vegetable pickers, etc? Lets further analyze how this deal really works out for the United States.

    Since Mexico is so dear to your heart, why don’t we start there. Being unable to deal with its mass of uneducated, poor citizenry, the Mexican government distributes leaflets encouraging residents to ILLEGALLY enter the US. (I know you hate the word ‘illegal’ since to the laws of this country are meaningless, so feel free to substitute ‘undocumented worker’ if you are so inclined). This is a great way for
    mexico to get out of paying social services for its citizens, while
    continuing to benefit as illegals ship most of thier paychecks back to
    mexico every month.

    Meanwhile we are stuck paying to teach these people english, educate thier children, and foot the bill when they show up at the hospital with no means to pay and no insurance. Wow, what a fantastic deal for us taxpayers!!! They get free health care, schooling for kids, tax free employment, and we get the best tomato pickers and bean burrito folders money can buy. Do you see a disconnect here?

    I love your well thought out Ellis Island analogy. To anyone who objects to people illegally circumventing our borders, you would reply, “they scarcely realize they
    would not be here had the laws of today applied 100-150 years ago.” Is that
    a joke? Can you be that incredibly stupid to actually believe there is some
    parallel to the immigration police of the US of 150 years ago and today?
    150 years ago this country was vastly underpopulated and needed a new work
    force. There was a reason we let almost everyone in back then, because we
    needed them to work!

    Believe it or not Mrs. Fernandez, these ‘vital’ jobs mexicans perform, such as changing hotel sheets, picking vegetables, and making tacos, can be done by people that are already citizens of this country! The only difference is if citizens of the US were doing the jobs they would be making at least minimum wage, and paying taxes on their income. When your husbands amigos jump the border and start picking fruit,
    how do they pay taxes? What social security card do they use? Have you
    ever thought about these things? Do you ever think how much this illegal
    immigration plague is costing our society?

    The vast majority of people in this country are sick and tired of picking up the tab for these illegal social parasites. If you care so much about these impoverished, unskilled illegals, why don’t you consider moving back to your husbands birth place?
    I’m sure the journal can find some other moronic talking head to spout trite
    liberal platitudes in your stead.

  9. laurafern says:

    From A.D. —

    It was a pleasure reading your article. The emotion and sincerity in your tone was overwhleming and I hope your piece goes on to inspire Americans and non-Americans to prevail on the negative posture our politically-minded (rather than fact based) congress ladies and men have on such a volatile issue.

    However, from your article- one may come away with the idea that “exceptionally skilled foreign workers” are having a fun ride in this country. Truth be told, it is a much different story. I moved to the US in 2004 from Nigeria and recently completed my MBA program. However, finding an employer that will judge and employ you based on intellect rather than your documentation (no thanks to hidden Patriot Act provisions and post 9/11 employment anxieties) is a tough task.

    I have witnessed countless cases of people taking the ‘alternative route’ in a bid to experience the American Dream. I have decided to go the legal way- the hard way and it is not a funny ride. With a postgraduate degree, young and revving to build a dream not only for myself (since the capitalist within would like to recreate an entrepreneurial story!), I am still struggling to get a work visa- talk less of a green card. America trains and discards. It is a sad story.

    However, I am very confident in God and the law that things would turn around; not only for me but for thousands of others like me. The source of my inspiration? The fact that I am an immigrant, starting from scratch and the only way to go is up only.

  10. laurafern says:

    From C.U. —

    Ms.Fernandez, whether you like it or not, our country has the right to
    control immigration, set quotas and qualifications, and make its own
    immigration policy. Illegal immigrants have no right to crash our
    border, and burden the taxpayer as they do with medical costs,
    incarceration costs, welfare and housing, and education for people who
    brazenly break our law by the thousands daily. They should stop their
    complaining and do the right thing. Stay where they came from and work
    to change conditions there. We have plenty of poor United States
    citizens to take care of. They are our first and only obligation. We
    don’t owe anything to illegal immigrants – they are not our

  11. laurafern says:

    From K.M. — (another doozie)

    Your pro-mex article was bad timing. Another article in the
    same edition cited the arrest of numerous slim bags for selling
    drugs. Most were Mexicans and probably illegal. They didn’t
    sneak into this country to mow lawns and clean toilets. Their
    mission was to destroy the USA. Now if you want more of these
    slim bags to get into this country then you’re one too.

  12. laurafern says:

    From P.W. —

    I “care enough to educate [myself] about the real truth of immigration
    policy” but I don’t know where to look.

    There was a time when apparently one could get into this country by
    marrying a citizen, but that is not only true. I recently read an
    article about a US citizen who married a Chinese girl in England–and he
    has not been about to get her into the country for the last year. Do
    you remember reading about the woman from Somalia, married to a man from
    Waukesha I believe, who was held for several months in jail and then
    deported? Marriage is apparently not enough.

    However, I would like to know if there are quotas for how many people
    from Mexico can come here legally? A Colombian man I know (now a US
    citizen) told me there are quotas from each country, but he didn’t know
    what they were. Perhaps you do.

    What do you propose for people who have been breaking the law for years?
    They may be good workers or neighbors, but what does letting them stay
    say to those who came legally? Or doesn’t it matter to your husband?
    This is a serious question.

    I have friends from Nigeria. They have been her 20 years. Somewhere
    along the line they forgot some paperwork. They are both MPS teachers
    with Masters Degrees. They have been under deportation orders. Their
    daughter, who had not been in Nigeria since she was about 5, was deported
    last year. She went to UW Madison on a Kohl Scholarship, became a
    mechanical engineer, worked for several years and began graduate
    school–and was deported because her parents didn’t fill out some
    paperwork about 10 years ago. She was able to get to Canada, but she
    cannot come to the US for ten years. The system, or whoever processed
    this, is nuts. So now Canada has a highly qualified engineer that we
    could have had. They may send two MPS teachers to an unstable country
    (they are Christians, so they could face persecution).

    So what can you tell me? Have you a plan that you think is workable?

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    Variants of townes van zandt.

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