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Statutes of Liberty: The virtues of the immigration racket part 1 — The rules of the game

This sponsored column is by Law Office of James Montana PLLC. All questions about it should be directed to James Montana, Esq., Doran Shemin, Esq., and Laura Lorenzo, Esq., practicing attorneys at The Law Office of James Montana PLLC, an immigration-focused law firm located in Arlington, Virginia. The legal information given here is general in nature. If you want legal advice, contact us for an appointment.

Note: In this Guest Essay, our anonymous friend, Prof. Erasmus, explains his rather unusual thoughts about U.S. asylum law, which — of course — we do not endorse or even pretend to understand. If you like Prof. Erasmus’s work, stay tuned, because he intends to make this a regular feature. We’ll see if he intends to pay our advertising bill.

Prof. Erasmus Explains It All!

I, Professor Erasmus, read your newspapers, your books, even your advertising features, and I have noticed a disturbing trend: everyone hates American immigration law. One side says that U.S. immigration law is far too permissive; the other side says that it is far too restrictive. Both sides say that U.S. immigration law is “broken,” Both sides are completely mistaken. I am here, in all Christian mildness, to correct that. I am here in praise of folly.

Let us begin by explaining the rules of the game. Law should not be judged by what it says it does, but by what it actually does. What does U.S. immigration law actually do? Here is what it does: it permits certain kinds of people to enter the United States, where they are (usually) happier, more productive and richer than they were before.

Who gets to enter? Three kinds of people:

  • People Who Actually Qualify As a Matter of Law

U.S. immigration law pretends that this is the only category of people permitted to enter. Tripe! People who qualify are of course permitted to enter, but they aren’t the only ones.

  • People Who Do Not Qualify, But Fool Consular Officials

A common way to immigrate to the United States is to fool a consular official at a visa interview. This is not easy, because most consular officials are not fools. To fool a consular official, you have to be able to tell a story about how you intend to come temporarily to the United States. That story may be false, but it must be consistent, credible and persuasive. Telling such a story requires being smart and resourceful.

  • People Who Do Not Qualify, But Fool Border Officials

Another common way to immigrate to the United States is to fool a border official at a credible fear interview. The ostensible purpose of a credible fear interview is to determine whether there is a “significant possibility” that the applicant will someday qualify for asylum under U.S. law.

Passing a credible fear interview is easier for some and harder for others. If you present yourself at the U.S. border with Canada and state that you fear Justin Trudeau’s spelunking habit, you will be denied entry. But if you present a story that is consistent, credible and persuasive, your odds of being admitted are actually quite high. Telling such a story requires being smart and resourceful.

So far, I have demonstrated that a certain kind of person is permitted to enter the United States. That person is either (a) actually qualified as a matter of law, or (b) smart and resourceful. In my next article, I will explain how the law intends to treat people in category (b), and how, in practice, the legal system operates to their advantage.

Questions? Ask, if you like. I have no confidence that the legal commentariat will understand me, but I expect slightly better things from ARLnoow readers. Try not to disappoint me.

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