One of the hidden specialties of the U.S. immigration system is the way it facilitates the immigration of aliens deep into, or beyond, their working lives.
The country-of-origin limits on immigration, coupled with high demand from some nations such as the Philippines, means that many migrants have been waiting for 20 years or more – and are thus about 20 years older than the average migrant when they finally arrive in the U.S. You can imagine what this does to the welfare costs.
I was reminded of this by a Homeland Security press release proclaiming:
USCIS to implement Filipino World War II Veterans Parole Program.
One's immediate reactions is: There can't be too many of these people, and they must be awfully old. If the youngest of the vets was only 18 at the end of the war in 1945, then the youngest of the new migrants will be 89 years old today. And given the medical system in those islands, how many of them can be left?
While the math above is correct, it is based on the assumption that the USCIS headline is telling us the truth, which it is not. The program, if you read the fine print, is only indirectly related to the vets — it might cause the admission of an odd spouse or widow of a Filipino veteran, but it primarily relates to the children and grandchildren of Filipino vets now living in this country, and to the children and grandchildren of veterans who have already died here.
The program offers a way around the intent of Congress to place ceilings on immigrant admissions by paroling in these relatives of veterans (who did not serve in our army, but in that of the Philippines). The people who benefit must be on the waiting list created by their relationship to either an elderly or a dead veteran. Most of the principal beneficiaries must have been born before 1960, and thus be at least 56 years of age. They must not only have the correct relationships, they must have secured approved migration petitions based on those relationships. All are in the family categories of potential immigrants and all are on visa waiting lists.
The press release says that the new policy will "allow them to provide care for the elderly veterans or their surviving spouses."
That holds true, except for those who can self-apply on the grounds that they are related to a dead veteran. (The veterans, dead or alive, need not have served during the war, though many of them did; being in the service as of December 30, 1946, a year and some months after the end of the war qualifies them as a war vet.)
The Federal Register announcement suggests that about 6,000 people will apply.
This is yet another administrative decision that adds more immigrants to the nation, even though Congress has not approved the action. The beneficiaries will be in parole status until some years hence, when they will adjust to the status of permanent resident aliens. In the mean time they are free to work and to cross our borders.