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: True Immigration Reform

Gerry Clinchy
05-30-2010, 05:47 AM
NY Times today

There is something very wrong with a system that does not take care of legal immigrants, who actually support the economy, while obsessed with finding a way to make the illegal immigrants legal.

Hey, the bright side is that if they became "legal", we might be able to send them home ... like these people in Maine?

Dean and Laura Franks, a British couple who opened the restaurant in 2000, found that after nine years of running their business, they could not renew their visa, forcing them to shutter the restaurant and leave the country.

It has been an enigmatic process for the Franks, uprooting their lives even though they have paid all their taxes, own the restaurant and its adjacent rental house, and have no debts except a mortgage on their home in Arundel, about 35 miles away.

“This is the forgotten story of immigration,” said Angelo Paparelli, a prominent immigration lawyer in California. “The headlines deal with Arizona and border crossings, but these are real people too. This is what happens when you play by the rules.”

In denying the Franks’ renewal application last year, immigration officials said their restaurant had become a marginal business. The government sets no specific dollar amount, but it defines a marginal enterprise as one that “does not have the present or future capacity to generate more than enough income to provide a minimal living” for the visa holder and his family.

The Franks were surprised and confused to learn last year that they were deemed marginal. Their tax returns show that their gross annual income in 2008 was $64,000, in addition to rental income of $16,800. Their gross profit for the year was $38,800, which was down from their gross profit in 2007 of $50,700 because of the recession (, which hit most businesses.

They said they barely needed more than enough to provide for minimal living because that is how they live — minimally.
“We live frugally, we don’t drink, we don’t smoke, we don’t party, and we live within our means,” Mr. Franks said by phone earlier this year from Nova Scotia, where friends had given them use of an empty house. “We pay all our bills, we don’t have car payments, we pay our credit cards off every month, and that seems to count against us.”

... a bureaucratic disinclination to take the time to examine applications by mom-and-pop operations; and immigration officers’ perceptions that local economies already hurt by the recession and job losses could not sustain more businesses.

This last statement is ludicrous ... forcing a viable small business to close down? Doubly confusing as this small business also employed 3 to 4 American citizens as wait staff ... jobs now lost to the economy.