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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

DHS sinks CruiseWise.com and puts us all out to sea in a leaky ship.

Am I the only one outraged that our immigration laws and policies have become hostage to the restrictionist rabble such that any public discourse on immigration is a game of one upsmanship on how high the wall on the Mexican border should be, or whether or not little children should be allowed to go to school unless they can prove their legal status in America.  Lost in the hyperbole and grandstanding is a real (as opposed to imaginary) problem best illustrated by a true and unfortunately all-too-common story.

Amit Aharoni, a native and citizen of Israel graduated from the Stanford University School of Business, and rather than taking his prodigious education back to Israel, decided to stay in the U.S. and open up an online cruise booking business called CruiseWise.com. Investors were so confident in the prospects that he received $1.65 million dollars in start-up capital, the majority of the money coming from abroad.  With that money he was able to get up and running and he hired nine U.S. employees with plans to eventually expand to hundreds.  These are workers here in the U.S.—not India, or "Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan".  What's more, these are new jobs created at a time when America desperately needs them the most.

So recently, after Amit had filed the necessary paperwork to be able to stay and work in the U.S. he was stunned to learn that the agents of the Department of Homeland Security denied his request.  Amit, who was forced to leave the U.S. and presently is overseeing the start up operations from Vancouver, Canada is reportedly moving his company to one of any other countries whose environment is more hospitable for foreign entrepreneurs, maybe even Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan.

This past August, the Obama Administration announced initiatives to streamline business related visas and provide much needed help for start-up companies.  But as usual, the message so clearly enunciated at headquarters didn't even make it out of the building let alone the beltway.  Just like the well-intended prosecutorial discretion memo that pragmatically outlined DHS priorities on who should be removed from the country which was not only ignored, but prompted a wave of insubordination as ICE field officers, denied their red meat, howled in protest.

So let's step back and see where we are in all of this:  as our economy continues to languish we have people willing to invest money into our country and create U.S. jobs.  Yet despite instructions from the President, the functionaries empowered to adjudicate visa applications still have the mindset they grew up with in a post 9/11 world:  immigrants are bad and are coming here to do us harm.  We should all be so harmed to have Amit come here with a giant bag of money and hundreds of jobs.  And while this Kafkaesque circus rolls on, Mitt, Perry, Newt, Cain et al have this surreal discussion about how much fencing is enough to protect us.  Protect us?  From who?  Amit?  Schoolchildren in Alabama?  Tomato pickers? 

Clearly any adults left in the room need to stand up and stop this madness.  Fixing our broken immigration system can go a long way to fixing our broken economy.  But to pretend that the real issue is the swarms of illegals that are snapping up all the good paying jobs and our "generous" welfare benefits is an insult to our traditions as a nation of immigrants not to mention our collective intelligence and distracts us from seeing the self destructive folly of Amit's situation and the thousands of others just like him. 

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