Do you remember watching any action adventure movies made by Hollywood with a predictable plot ? Bunch of white folks rent a boat in Amazonian forest to find some secret place. They hire few brown/black guys. As they wade through knee deep water, we see something move underwater. We know the giant snake is going to leap out and eat someone. But who exactly ? The A-lister white guy ? No, he is the hero after all. The white girl scientist ? Nah. We all know that hot white girls are last to die. As expected the anaconda jumps out and before you know it, it is the brown/black guy who gets swallowed whole. If there is budget, the snake might even spit him out back for extra horrors.
US immigration system is nothing short of an amazonian bog. An Everglades like endless pit of mire and filth. It is infested with alphabet soup of visas such a A,B1,B2,H1, H2B, H4, O1, O2, O4, L1, L2, EBx, M, J, TN, P, R, E, T, C, U, V. Each of those visa categories have subcategories. But visa means very little. How long you can stay in the country is determined by forms like I-94. Even though you do not have any of these papers you might still be under TPS, Deferred Action, Advanced Parole and what not. You may have all perfectly valid unexpired papers but you might still be considered illegal if you do not meet some other arbitrary unenforceable criteria. Each of those visa categories require extensive form filling. Last time I checked there are around 102 normal forms. Few hundred additional forms. And these are just the forms one has to fill every now and then, but applicants are also expected to provide very open ended “evidence” which in cases can run into thousands of pages.
American immigration law thus is like a marshland in Amazons. But who is the anaconda of this marshland ? Which is the killer crock in this Lake Placid ? It has got to be AILA. American Immigration Lawyers Association.
The baptist and bootlegger effect
Baptist and bootlegger effect is a well documented phenomenon in economics. It has its roots in prohibition era USA. A town typically has a priest (The Baptist) who acts as a respected member of society. He insists that alcohol consumption is bad for people and hence must be restricted by law. His intentions might be good and he might be a honest person. Bootlegger is the guy who sells alcohol illegally. Illegal goods get sold for a premium because of the risk of law enforcement involved. Hence the bootlegger makes profit by selling alcohol illegally.
The Bootlegger thus sees the Baptist as a useful idiot in his scheme. Bootlegger will donate to the Baptist and make sure he gets lots of publicity. Baptist puts pressure on politicians to pass the laws which eventually benefit the bootlegger.
Thus two folks who no one imagines might be related end up helping each other denying people basic freedoms and making money in that process. I highly recommend the following video on this topic.
AILA is the Bootlegger
Coyotes in the Mexican border towns aren’t the only people benefiting from US immigration system’s mire of regulations. The Immigration lawyers too are the white collar coyotes who operate within realm of law. They are the classic bootleggers here.
Immigration lawyers benefit by a broken immigration system that relies on backlogs, massive complicated forms, RFEs, constant renewals, concepts like premium processing, long USCIS delays etc. The more unpredictable the immigration system is, higher you rely on lawyers to make sense of it. The more arbitrary the regulations are, more you need a lawyer. Premium processing which involves paying USCIS thousands of dollars is not worth the risk of filing the form yourself. You might as well pay a lawyer to fill it. Thus lawyers mint more money.
But who is the Baptist in this case ?
For Indian immigrants stuck in the 200 years long green card backlog, the answer is very very simple. They have observed the immigration space with eyes of hawk. Every regulation, every proposed law, every tweet by USCIS has been scrutinized by them very carefully. They have met members of Congress and called up their offices a thousand times a day. Nothing escapes their ire and eyes.
Someone like Senator Dick Durbin
The baptist in this story is a person like Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois. Senator Dick Durbin pretends to be an “immigration stalwart”. The progressive media refers to him as “champion of immigrants”. He delivers lengthy sermons on behalf for immigrants. He hobnobs with the immigrant advocacy groups pretending to be on their side. Remember that I am singling Senator Dick Durbin out here because he is second highest ranking Democrat in Senate but there are plenty such folks for rent in Washington DC.
But in reality his track record on immigration is absolute worse. He has not managed to propose and pass a single bill (immigration related) in his 30 years career. But he has most certainly sabotaged various immigration proposals that actually had chance of passing.
Dick Durbin betrayed President Bush (along with Junior Senator from Chicago Obama) by initially supporting his immigration reform but changing his position abruptly in the end. Dick Durbin was in charge of negotiating a deal with Trump over DACA. Trump was willing to negotiate. Dick blew it by rambling about Trump’s comments on third world countries.
In case of Indian immigrants his betrayal was much more obvious. He managed to block the bill S386 without giving any reasons. He relented only when Congress was near the end of its term. We know for certain that he sabotaged the various immigration proposals in the BBB act by not sending them to the Senate Parliamentarian.
Is there a covert deal between Senator Dick Durbin and Immigration lawyers ? We will never know for certain but the way Immigration lawyers ignore all facts and rally behind Durbin, it is easy to see they want Durbin to do his thing. That is, throw a wrench in any changes of immigration reform. Durbin has done exactly that.
How the bootleggers (immigration lawyers) work with baptists (anti immigrant folks) to create problems for unsuspecting immigrants.
Immigration lawyers benefit from the complexity of the immigration law. They financially are better off if immigration law puts people into chains and the keys are with the lawyers sitting behind a pile of forms.
This sort of online advises should give you a fair bit of idea as to how the lawyers work. They have all the incentive to deeply entrench themselves into the USCIS and other federal agencies that are responsible for creating rules.
Note that these lawyers constantly work to undermine good bills that might help reduce the paperwork and bring relief to immigrants. S386 was one such bill. The chances of this bill becoming law were very high and see the reactions.
How immigration lawyers themselves work with some of the most vile and racist immigration groups. In this case USTechWorkers a shady group which is extremely anti-immigration is being implored by an immigration lawyer to stop S386 bill.
Note that lawyers associated with these racist groups and such racist views might actually be responsible for filing your paperwork when you renew your H1B.
BEWARE DEALING WITH IMMIGRATION LAWYERS
A lot of immigration lawyers come across as nice people online. They hold livestream events where they supposedly answer people’s questions and offer their advice and opinions. A lot of us have fallen prey to this drama and have made these people popular and influential.
It is time we realize that these are the hidden snakes in the murky waters of US immigration. Do not make them popular online by sharing their posts or attending their livestreams.
It might be tempting to share your personal case details with these people or pay these folks to join some phony class action law suite. While I can not offer you any personal advice, I would say that if I was in your shoes I would hire a an independent lawyer not associated with such vile associations for legal advice. There are many such lawyers.
Hat tip for images : kiabms5@twitter