IN OTHER WORDS: False hope

After encouraging thousands of highly skilled workers to apply for green cards, the US government has snatched the opportunity away. The tease came in a bulletin issued by the State Department in June announcing that green cards for a wide range of skilled workers would be available to those who filed by July 2. That prompted untold numbers of doctors, medical technicians and other professionals, many of whom have lived here with their families for years, to certify records and sponsorship documents, pay for medical exams and lawyers and send their applications in. Then they learned that the hope was effectively a hoax. The State Department had issued the bulletin to prod Citizenship and Immigration Services, which handles immigration applications, to get cracking on processing them.

The flood of new citizens now cresting across the country celebrated Independence Day July 4, but for many the magic date is July 30, when a new fee schedule for immigrants takes effect, drastically jacking up the cost of the American dream. The collapse of immigration reform in the Senate showed the world what America thinks of illegal immigrants — it wants them all to go away. But the federal government, through bureaucratic malpractice, is sending the same message to millions of legal immigrants, too.