Saturday, October 8, 2011

An "apology visa" would set things straight with the people Americans have wronged

Photo by Elentari86. Licensed via Creative Commons.

I'm always brainstorming about visa rewards. That's "visa" as in green cards, not credit cards.

Many people don't qualify for a green card under the current bureaucracy, or the waiting list is 70 years, and not because they're sick or criminals, but because perhaps they're poor, or don't have existing ties to the U.S., or from certain countries where the demand outstrips supply.

So the U.S. needs new visa products. Three I've suggested before (and that I recommend you check out) are the friends visa, the sacrifice bunt visa, and the bankruptcy/reboot visa.

I have another visa for Congress to consider: the apology visa.

The apology visa would be for anyone in the U.S. who is wronged by an American person or company. If an American takes advantage of you or wrongs you, you get an apology visa. The visa creates justice, actual and poetic. The actual justice is kind of obvious; the poetic justice is that any American who wants to harm someone without immigration status will actually be granting them immigration status. Take that.

The idea of this "apology visa" came to mind after I saw Jose Torres-Tama's show about abuses of immigrants and of their labor in New Orleans, which I wrote about and Mack of Coyote Chronicles also wrote about. But we don't need too much of a reminder to know that people who come here without obtaining or maintaining good status with ICE are vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. Not only that, they are cooking and cleaning and building and rebuilding our country, and they live among us for years paying sales and property taxes in every instance and contributing to the communities in most instances, without the government ever acknowledging their status as budding Americans.

We can decide what kind of wrong would qualify someone for an apology visa, but it's fairly easy to justify that there should be one.

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