The Ying And Yang Of U.S. Immigration

Thomas F Campenni
2 min readFeb 21, 2024

The United States is one of the hardest western nations to immigrate to…legally.

Yet when it comes to those “huddled masses” streaming across our borders without authorization, the surge is unprecedented. It is the ying and yang of what coming to America has become. Our antiquated system keeps out immigrants who would and should be welcomed.

Depending on your country of origin, a proposed immigrant can wait up to eight years or more before legally coming here. That is because every nation has a different quota, and then there are the immigrant categories such as family-sponsored preferences and needed employment categories that have their own limits.

There is a nursing shortage in the U.S. Yet it can take years to process nursing applicants. Earlier this year, the State Department stated it would only process applications for those who had applied prior to December 2021 because the backlog is so great. The Cato Institute states that there is bureaucratic red tape that has blocked legal entry for years.

Now we are witnessing the craziness of tech and computer scientists being forced to return to their countries of origin because they have been laid off. This makes no sense for this group of PhDs and their families to be uprooted from their homes. 44% of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants and 21.7% of all business owners are immigrants.

The old perception by some Americans that those crossing the southern border without authorization were men from Mexico and Central America needs to be updated. Now it is entire families making the trek with Mexicans and Guatemalans in the top positions followed by Venezuelans, Columbians. Ecuadorians, Chinese and Indians.

Since there are not enough judges, agents, or facilities to adequately process their asylum claims, they must be given court dates sometime in the future with a year or more being the standard. The recent bi-partisan Senate bill would have provided the money to alleviate the years of waiting and changed the asylum laws. Fewer would have been eligible to claim asylum. Many would have had their cases heard and most would have been deported within 6 months.

With the United States at full employment, we need workers who can only come through migration. We are so short of able bodied employees that we are changing child labor laws to accommodate the need for unskilled workers. Instead of high school kids with an after-school job, we want to have kids working full time squeezing in their classes.

It is time we acknowledge the need to completely update our immigration system and to give ICE the tools to keep our borders safe. This shouldn’t be a campaign issue. It is important that we work together to insure America’s future.

Photo by Greg Bulla on Unsplash

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Thomas F Campenni

Currently lives in Stuart Florida and former City Commissioner. His career has been as a commercial real estate owner, broker and manager in New York City.