Work shifted, not ended
The Monitor’s recent editorial (March 28) erroneously claims that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ plan to phase out its international field offices would stop the agency’s work overseas. This is false. The plan reflects an administrative change to where the work is done and who the work is done by.
USCIS is in preliminary discussions to shift its international workload to our domestic offices and, where practicable, to U.S. embassies and consulates abroad to maximize resources and free up funds to help address growing backlogs. Comparatively, the State Department has a much larger international footprint than USCIS, and already provides certain limited immigration services in more than 200 locations worldwide. USCIS is working to mitigate any service disruptions that might affect applicants and petitioners during a transition.
Much of the rhetoric surrounding this issue fundamentally misunderstands USCIS operations. The vast majority of our refugee officer corps is already based in the U.S. They will continue to interview refugee applicants through regional visits abroad, as they have done for years. Likewise, most of the agency’s work on intercountry adoption cases already occurs domestically. USCIS will work with the State Department to provide any necessary in-person services, including those for intercountry adoptions and military service members seeking citizenship while overseas.
The United States takes pride in having the most generous legal immigration system in the world. In fiscal year 2018, the Department of State issued more than 9.5 million immigrant and non-immigrant visas at foreign posts. There also were nearly 105 million entries to the United States last year, which includes entries to the U.S. for work, business, travel and lawful permanent resident admissions.
Phasing out USCIS international field offices will not alter our nation’s generosity. It will make our government more effective, efficient and, ultimately, better for those we serve.
L. Francis Cissna, Director, USCIS Washington, D.C.
Responses to questions
The letter of Ms Ruth Wagner (April 9) deserves an answer. She asks what is wrong with universal health care, including women’s “reproductive rights.” Reproductive rights is a euphemism for abortion, and some people consider the killing of the unborn a serious crime.
Although it may not be so for Ms. Wagner, why should the government force those who think differently to provide insurance covering such a gruesome procedure? Besides, health care is very, very expensive. Those countries that provide it tend to limit it by delays and denying certain procedures, like dialysis to relatively young people.
College education is not cheap. Who would pay for it, if the government that has no money, only what it receives from taxpayers, has to pay professors and the enormous number of administrators? Those countries that provide such a service tax the middle class and the not well off very highly, through value-added taxes or sales taxes, very regressive.
Vocational education is already very inexpensive or heavily subsidized. Low-cost day care has a big problem: it is high cost. The regulations that cover such services are not simple, and somebody has to pay the caretakers.
High minimum salaries have a huge cost, called unemployment. Why are fast-food outlets developing machines to replace human workers? Check with anybody running one of those facilities what is going to happen to them, to their volume of sales, if the costs are increased?
Equal pay for equal work is deceptive. When all factors are considered, women and men get essentially the same salaries. To compare, high-risk jobs, or those requiring big efforts, performed preferentially by only one group of people, tend to pay more. If jobs are equal, every employer takes the lower costs. If women were really cheaper, men unemployment would be much worse.
Nobody opposes a green and sustainable economy, except when it is not economical or feasible. Wind and solar energy are much more expensive than our polluting one. Most people I know would not like to see their electric bills and their heating (in those areas of the country that require it) go sky high.
Finally, I don’t know what is easy-as-pie voting. I see voting as a serious duty for citizens. I don’t feel entitled to determine what type of taxes or services should be provided in Honduras. Why should a Honduran citizen determine what we pay?
Finally, why do so many people try to move into this country, if we are so cruel and unfair?
Raul Alessandri, McAllen