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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Snags in the System

The LA Times tells the story:

As a child, Traci Hong came from South Korea to the United States as a legal immigrant. Fifteen years ago, she became a U.S. citizen.

Yet in March, when Hong, now 37, applied for a congressional staff job, an employee screening system that is the linchpin of the Senate's immigration legislation told a different story: It flagged her as being here illegally.

Hong spent eight days navigating the bureaucracy to correct a database error and convince officials that she was entitled to work here — and she's an immigration lawyer, a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and its law school.

This is but a single, straightforward example of what is at stake with the complexities introduced by the recently proposed regularization and temporary guest worker programs for the 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States, with their background checks, touch-back schemes, and the like. This includes expanding Basic Pilot, the screening system used in Traci Hong's case, to function as a national verification system within 18 months and subjecting all the country's 150 million workers to it in three years.

The president can insist all he likes that the current plan is the right thing to do, and I agree in principal. Nevertheless, I remain skeptical that the right things will get done.

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