When you want to leave the airport in a taxi, there is one line for all, just as there is at the post office. At graduation ceremonies, those with caps and gowns are organized in alphabetical order, the Ahmeds getting their degrees before the Musks and the Rockefellers.
But when you want one of many employment-based immigration benefits there are two lines: one for the hoi polloi, and then there is another, shorter line for those who are willing to pay (usually) $2,500 for faster service.
Sounds like a scheme invented by the Left's caricature of conservative Republicans, doesn’t it? Better, quicker service for the rich, for a price. None of the equality nonsense of the Left.
Well, the system is currently being expanded by the Biden administration.
It is called “premium processing” and it is available in some migration situations, but not all. If you are a citizen seeking to bring your ailing alien mother to the U.S. as a relative, you cannot bribe the system to move faster. But if you are a would-be employer of an alien grad of an American college and you want quick Optional Practical Training status for that worker, for example, Uncle Sam will be happy to accept $2,500 to facilitate the process.
So Elon Musk as an employer — if he is in a hiring mood — can quickly get an alien worker, but Elon Musk as a relative cannot get an alien family member into the country quickly using premium processing.
All of this comes to our attention as USCIS announced the other day that it was expanding the use of premium processing, saying:
Beginning Jan. 30, 2023, we will accept Form I-907 requests for:
- All pending E13 multinational executive and manager petitions and E21 NIW petitions; and
- All initial E13 multinational executive and manager petitions and E21 NIW petitions.
As previously announced, we are expanding premium processing to additional form types as part of our efforts to increase efficiency and reduce burdens to the overall legal immigration system. In March, we will expand premium processing to certain F-1 students seeking Optional Practical Training (OPT) and F-1 students seeking STEM OPT extensions who have a pending Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. In April, we will expand premium processing to F-1 students seeking OPT and F-1 students seeking STEM OPT extensions who are filing an initial Form I-765. We will announce specific dates for each group in February.
NIW stands for National Interest Waiver. The Form I-907 is for premium processing.
We counted in a slightly older USCIS document that there were then 13 categories of nonimmigrant worker classes eligible for premium processing, with all but two (H-2B and R) costing $2,500 each and the last two $1,500 each; eight categories for immigrant workers, all at $2,500; and 14 applications to extend or change nonimmigrant status at $1,750, for a grand total of 35 different privileged subgroups. That number will grow to 41 when all the expected changes are made.
The fees quoted above are only for premium processing; they are laid on top of other fees for the basic benefit.
Should we be unhappy that some aliens are treated better than others because of these fees? Or should we be happy that employers of foreign workers are being charged more for the quick delivery of said workers? Perhaps, as a nation, we would be better off if all alien workers (and their employers) had to stay in the same line — there would be fewer jobs lost by citizens to the immigration system.