Press Release

For Immediate Release

U.S. Immigration Quotas Contribute to Illegal Immigrant Numbers

Mexican Applicants Must Wait ‘Two Lifetimes’ for Visa Approval

Washington, D.C. May 7, 2010

The U.S. immigration system itself is to blame for the large number of immigrants from Mexico who have entered the United States illegally, according to a former Department of Homeland Security executive.

Prakash Khatri, the nation’s first Ombudsman for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (2003-2008), says inefficiencies and outdated country-based U.S. immigration quotas have resulted in shameful delays for visa applicants from Mexico hoping to reunite with family members living legally in the United States.

“If you were Mexican and the brother or sister of a U.S. citizen, your U.S. citizen sibling could file an immigrant petition for you. But because of the country-based quota system, you would have to wait approximately 131 years to reach the front of the line to receive your visa!”

Other Mexican family members of U.S. citizens face similarly long waits to obtain immigrant visas

Given the choice of waiting more than 100 years for an immigrant visa or slipping illegally across the border to be reunited with family members, many Mexican immigrants have come to the obvious conclusion … why wait?, says Khatri.

Adding insult to injury, he says, is the fact that U.S. Department of State consular officers have the discretion to deny a temporary visitor visa to individuals who have pending applications for immigrant visas.

“Thus, Mexicans in the immigration queue with close family members in the United States are more often than not, de facto, barred from visiting those relatives in this country until they receive their U.S. immigrant visa – virtually more than a century later!” says Khatri.

He says Congress could solve much of the illegal immigrant dilemma by passing legislation that eliminates nationality-based immigration quotas and temporarily increasing quotas to facilitate migration of Mexican nationals who have been waiting in line for many years. The current system has contributed greatly to the backlog of visas for immigrants from Mexico, the largest single source of U.S. immigration visa applicants

Click below to read more of Khatri’s analysis on how U.S. immigration policies actually contribute to the flow of undocumented immigrants into the United States.

Contact: Prakash Khatri, Khatri Law Firm, LLC. (202)470-0431