When the Electronic Freedom of Information Act was passed into law, ordinary citizens were allowed access to previously secret government data. With the new Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (the HITECH Act) the government is now attempting to view and organize our countryâ€™s private health records. Itâ€™s quite a project.
Regardless of nationality, people from all over the world are treated in American hospitals. You donâ€™t have to be a U.S. citizen to purchase private health insurance in the U.S. nor do you have to be a citizen to pay to see a doctor. The U.S. has a private healthcare system that is open to everybody, who pays.
The American prison system is thriving in our shrinking economy. By 2010 immigration detention is expected to cost taxpayers over $1.7 billion. Some people believe we helped create this situation, relying on immigrant labor to fill low-wage, low-skill jobs. Now it appears that we want to criminalize the people who helped fuel the U.S. economy.
It may come as a surprise that the U.S. lacks effective screening tools to identify serious criminals when making an alien arrest. After an alien is arrested, both criminals and non-criminals are all held in the same county, state and federal facilities. As conditions become more crowded, inmates are moved without regard to where their lawyers and warrants are located. This leads to inefficiencies in managing cases and identifying the criminals. The time aliens languish in the already overburdened system increases.
Our federal government is responsible for immigration and citizenship. We would all benefit from a system that worked well.
It doesnâ€™t help that only a small fraction of government funding pays for citizenship training and outreach with uncertain effectiveness. When applicants wait a very long time to process their applications (not knowing why) this doesnâ€™t encourage new people to stand in line and work within our system. We could use a measurable and effective strategy to educate and integrate people to live in our country.
It is harder than ever to become an American citizen. The forms are long and complicated. Fees have gone up. There is a new, more difficult, citizenship exam. The government has posted a lot of new material in English on its website to try and help.