The international student orientation I just attended got me thinking about the rights I do and don’t have in this country by virtue of not being a citizen. I can live with not being allowed to vote, on the grounds that voting is globally based on citizenship. But most other restrictions are unfathomable. Although ideally there should be open borders, except in emergencies of military or epidemiological nature, none of the following ideas requires such a radical change.
1. Unless there’s a very good reason to deny someone an F-1 or H-1B visa, the government shouldn’t do that. “Americans can do this, too, although far worse and at a higher cost” isn’t a reason.
2. Every person in the US should have the right to strike without fearing deportation. Using immigrants as strikebreakers not only is heinous but also encourages populist xenophobia.
3. Seriously, whoever thought of putting “Do you seek to enter the US to engage in terrorist activity?” on the visa form needs to be fired and preferably sent to an insane asylum.
4. If keeping a database of all American citizens and their whereabouts is an infringement of civil liberties, then so is keeping a database of all non-citizens. SEVIS should therefore be scrapped.
5. Asylum seekers and refugees should be allowed to stay, no matter what. Especially if they’ve been here for 20 years. Any xenophobe who thinks there are too many people in the US is welcome to move to Cambodia.
6. Everyone who’s been a resident for 5 years has been here long enough to get a citizenship. I could live with a language/American history requirement, or even deporting serious criminals, but dragging the process on for more than 10 years just because DHS can is pointless.