President Barack Obama’s push to legalize millions of illegal immigrants is leaving many Americans’ families locked out of the United States.
American engineer Jimmy Gugliotta and his Argentinian wife and children have been stuck in Chile for so long that he’s pleading for donations to buy food and airfares while the U.S. visa agency slowly processes the visa documents needed by his wife and children.
“I was initially told the process would take 6 to 9 months and we had enough money to get us through until that time,” he wrote in his March 19 GoFundMe online appeal.
“We are trying to sell the few possessions that we have left,” said Gugliotta, who escaped a hard-knock childhood by learning computer design while earning $8 an hour in various manual labor jobs.
Chile’s immigration laws have kept Gugliotta from working in Chile, but U.S. immigration laws have kept him and his family from going home to the United States.
“I have been unemployed [in Chile] since early 2013, trying to get back to the U.S. to work… it has been 16 months and still no visa,” he added.
On March 25, he got another letter from the visa agency at the Department of Homeland Security.
“The National Visa Center (NVC) received your documents on 23-MAR-15.
We are currently receiving an increased number of approved petitions from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. As a result, we are experiencing increased review times for documents received.
“We expect it will be at least 60 days from the date we received your mail before we complete the review of your documents. We will notify you when we review your documents.
“We are working to reduce these processing times and we appreciate your patience.”
According to Jessica Vaughan, the policy director at the Center for Immigration Studies, Gugliotta is a victim of bureaucratic incompetence exacerbated by Obama’s choice to rush millions of illegal immigrants past routine immigration barriers.
In November, Obama ordered his agency to reorganize themselves so they can start awarding work-permits and other documents to four million illegals who were brought to the United States by their parents.
That’s level with the number of Americans who will turn 18 in 2015.
The agency’s workload was also raised when Obama allowed roughly 130,000 Central American adults and youths to cross the southern border in 2014, and when he ordered officials to grant extra work-permits to roughly 100,000 spouses of foreign guest-workers.
Since 2009, Obama ahas also given work-permits to roughly 4.7 million foreign students, tourists and border-jumping migrants.
On March 23, Obama also invited companies to bring in “hundreds of thousands” of L-1B guest-workers, who can work in the United States while being paid wages level with the wages paid in their home country, such as India or China.
Obama’s support for foreign workers contrasts with this 2012 campaign rhetoric, in which he repeatedly told Americans that he would bet on American workers. “Ohio, we’re not about to take a knee and do nothing… I stood with American workers. I stood with American manufacturing. I believed in you. I bet on you. I’ll make that bet any day of the week,” he told a cheering audience Sept. 3, 2012 in Ohio.
This effort to provide documents to foreign workers has sidelined people with legitimate claims, said Vaughan.
Before Obama’s push for amnesty and more guest-workers, the spouses and immediate relatives of U.S. citizens were in the highest priority category for visas processing, and were supposed to be completed in five months, Vaughan said.
But by last December, the processing time had stretched out to eight months, she said.
Kevin Morgan filed in March 2014 to get a renewal of his immigrant wife’s residency card. By March, the agency still had not delivered the card, according to a YouTube video posted by Morgan.
The New York Times highlighted the emerging problem in February 2014.
“Jessica Veltstra, applied last March to bring over her Dutch husband. But he is still in the Netherlands, and she is rooming with relatives in New Jersey, unable to make plans,” the Times reported. “Their older daughter, who is 4, refuses to speak to her father on the phone in Dutch, her first language, and bursts out crying when she sees a photo of him.”
In contrast, illegals are getting preferential treatment, Vaughan said.
For example, the administration is using the “Advanced Parole” process to get current illegals onto a fast-track to citizenship, she said.
That process usually takes four months, but has been accelerated to 1.8 months according to agency data, she said.
The agency’s shift in priorities was quietly admitted in statement provided in January to GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Senate’s judiciary committee.
Obama’s deputies “care more about opening up back-door entries for illegals aliens to get [legal] status than they do for legal applications,” Vaughan said.
Gugliotta asked for a visa for his wife and children 16 months ago, and they were told March 25 that they won’t get a visa for at least another two months.
Gugliotta was born in New Mexico, but moved around the United States with his parents. He lived in Hoboken, N.J., Waco, Texas, Montgomery, Alabama and Killeen, Texas.
He didn’t go to college, but worked his way into the job of a field engineer for international companies.
In Sugarland, Texas, a friend “asked if I wanted to take an AutoCad course with him that cost four hundred bucks and that we could go from making eight bucks and hour to twelve after the course,” he told TheDC.
“I got a loan from my [step-]father for the four hundred, took the class and was a natural. A few weeks later I was making twenty two dollars an hour. Next thing you know I am in Sterling, Louisiana making twelve grand a month in my early twenties,” he wrote.
That engineering work has taken him to Merida and Isla del Carmen in Mexico, Quito in Ecuador, Santiago in Chile, plus Peru, Argentina, Texas, Louisiana, Arizona, and Washington state.
The well-paid work can be very dangerous. Gunmen have killed his coworkers in Algeria and Ecuador, for example.
He met his Argentinian wife, Roxana, when he was working in Chile in 2012. Roxana has two children, high-school age Maxi and 20 year-old Maira, who is legally blind.
“Maira did not attend school last year because we thought we were moving. Fortunately she was able to take a test and they gave her credit as if she had attended the whole year,” Gugliotta wrote to the TheDC. Maira “did not enroll [in school] this year… because we thought for sure we would be in the states for the coming year.”
The schools cost $500 a month.
The couple have one son, Valentino.
Gugliotta’s inability to bring his wife and kids into the United States also separates him from his two kids from his first marriage.
He posted the GoFundMe appeal because the family is stuck between Chile and United States, where he can restart his career.
“This is all new to me as I have worked all of my life and never asked anyone for help with anything,” he told TheDC.
“However I do not see an out on this issue… I believed the folks at the U.S. embassy when they told me the visa process for my wife and daughter would take six to nine months,” he said.
Without a job, “we started a small rotisserie chicken business working day and night to make ends meet…Thinking that we would soon be leaving Chile, I sold the business for a little less than the original buying price,” he said.
That leaves Gugliotta, Roxana, Maxi and Valentino penniless in Chile until the DHS agency diverts its attention away from Obama’s visa-for-illegals strategy.
“Valentino just turned 3 on March 18th… always asks when we are going to the U.S.A.,” Gugliotta said.