Friday, April 14, 2006

Wait a minute!

Wait just a darn minute! Spot has some second thoughts about Jaco Van Rooyen, Katie’s latest crush that she wrote about yesterday in her column Start immigration reform with those who follow the law. Spot had some comments yesterday. Spot got to thinking – always a seditious thing to do – coupled it with a little knowledge of immigration law, applied the Rule of Probability, and concluded there are probably some things to ol’ Jaco’s story (he’s actually 22) that don’t meet the eye.

Here’s the setup from Katie. Kristie and Marlyn Seidler, a heterosexual couple and ranchers north of Bismarck, North Dakota, need a ranch hand. They look far and wide, high and low, and Jaco Van Rooyen reads their ad in the Transvaal Times and is the only one to respond. (Spot made up the part about the Transvaal Times.) The Seidlers hire Jaco, paying a small fortune for lawyers to get him into the country as a temporary worker each year.

Now, the Seidlers want to take Van Rooyen on full time, year around and want to “adjust” his status. (A status adjustment is the term used in immigration law to move from a temporary to a permanent, or immigrant, visa.) And they find out that Jaco will have to wait maybe five years! Oh the criminal insanity of it! But Jaco plays by the rules; he’s a good boy and he’ll go back when his temporary visa is up?

Spotty, why can’t Van Rooyen come back on a temporary visa every year, until his number comes up for a permanent visa?

It’s apples and oranges, grasshopper. If you enter with a temporary visa, you cannot be an intending immigrant at the time. So, when he makes a move to get a permanent visa, he signals that he is an intending immigrant and he’s not eligible for a temporary visa. There are a lot of things in immigration law right out of Kafka.

Spot’s memory does not run to a time when this wasn’t the rule.

But here’s the part where you, boys and girls, need to decide if Jaco’s case is quite as hard luck as Katie would have you believe. What is the probability that a kid raised on a farm in South Africa is the only person on the planet who wants to be a farm hand in North Dakota? Spot thinks that the probability is pretty low.

If Spotty was a betting dog, he would bet that the Seidlers had a specific motivation to employ Jaco and bring him into the country. Maybe he’s a distant relation; maybe he and the Seidlers hold similar peculiar religious views; maybe Jaco is especially useful to Marlyn in his dirt track auto racing. Marlyn reports in Katie’s story that Jaco is mighty handy at fixing things, perhaps like dirt track cars!

And this is the way the game is often played, boys and girls. If you have an alien in mind who you want to bring over, and you’re willing to spend the money to do it, you may be able, with good legal counsel, to write a job description that, say, only a lonely boy on the Transvaal can fill. There is really no other explanation for going to another hemisphere for a farm hand.

You gotta watch that Katie; she's nothing if not a spinmeister!


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