Amnesty Preview in Vermont

By David Seminara on May 15, 2010
A story in Saturday's New York Times

on the recent influx of illegal Haitian migrants coming into the United States from Canada offers us a micro-preview of what might unfold if illegal immigrants in the U.S. are granted an amnesty. Ever since the Obama Administration unveiled its mini-amnesty for all Haitians in the U.S. at the time of the January 12 earthquake, Haitians, many of whom have been previously deported, have been coming to the U.S. to try to take advantage of the new (limited time only, cannot be combined with other coupons) "Temporary Protected Status" offer. (Void where prohibited, and see Mark Krikorian's blog on how "temporary" status is never temporary.)

But how will the recent migrants conjure up phony proof that they were living in the U.S. prior to the earthquake, you ask? If there is one thing I learned from my years adjudicating visa applications at American embassies overseas, it's that aspiring migrants are very, very good at procuring documents. Ask a visa applicant for an original copy of the Magna Carta, and they'll be back at the embassy the next day with a piece of paper they swear is the genuine article.

Anyone who doubts that migrants who are determined to live in the U.S. won't be able to figure out how to procure bogus apartment leases and other documents to "prove" that they've been living in the U.S. for a given amount of time is either hopelessly naive or willfully ignorant. If a full-scale amnesty becomes a reality, be sure that aspiring migrants from around the world aren't going to be deterred by any arbitrary "must have entered by" hurdles that Congress lays down.

It's also important to remember that would-be migrants from all over the world are following our debate over the fate of illegal immigrants already in the country. They won't know or care about all the fine print attached to any amnesty plan because all they'll hear is this: The Americans are giving out green cards, now is the time to go.