About that anti-illegal immigration fence along the Mexican border…

You know the one I’m talking about. The one the Republicans are always crying about not being finished. The one that prompted John McCain to put out a campaign ad where he promised that he’d “complete the danged fence.” It even shows up in the background in his commercial. The one that costs about $4 million dollars per mile to build and that’ll cost us some $6.5 billion to maintain over the next 20 years.

Yeah, that one.

Ever wondered how effective it is in keeping illegal aliens out? Here’s two average height American girls putting it to the test:

Hoo boy! I sure sleep better at night knowing it takes illegals an extra 20 seconds or so to get into the country. What an efficient use of taxpayer money that is, eh? The Republican’s have got to be mighty proud at how such a simple solution utterly fails to do what they said it would and at such an exorbitant price!

Wait, did I say that last bit out loud?

Here’s what’s involved in legally immigrating to the United States.

The ongoing debate in an older entry over whether or not illegal immigration is a problem in the United States reminded me of a good infographic I came across the other day that explains what is involved in immigrating legally. This is something a lot of people aren’t aware of and while I did share it on my Facebook account I didn’t get around to posting it here. So I’m correcting that now:

Infographic on legal immigration.

Click to embiggen!

It’s a big graphic so you may need to scroll around a bit to see it all. If you’re using Firefox keep in mind that your browser will auto-shrink the image to fit your screen so you may need to left click on it to make it full size and then scroll around.

At any rate, it shows that, unless you’re a big celebrity or millionaire of some sort, the process of legally immigrating to the United States is both long and has very specific requirements which exclude millions of hopefuls. If you don’t have family already here then your only hope of legally immigrating is if you have a skill set desirable enough for a company to offer you a job that’s also willing to go through the expensive process of sponsoring you. When you’re an engineer or computer programmer that’s less of a problem. When your desired skill set is standing out in a field in triple digit temperatures picking crops for minimum wages then it’s much more of a problem.

Here in the U.S. we are taught in grade school about the inscription on the book the Statue of Liberty holds which reads as follows:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I can recall feeling a special kind of pride at learning this as a child. How cool are we, I used to think, that we’ll take in anyone willing to work hard to realize their dreams. Except that’s not how it works anymore and it hasn’t for a long time.

In short, the fabled story of a poor immigrant coming to the U.S. to start a new life and perhaps realize the American dream is impossible today. There once was a time when that was possible, but those days are long gone now. Unless you’ve got a good reason to be here — family, highly skilled, wealth or fame — you can forget about legally immigrating to the U.S. anytime soon.