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A Nice Immigration Story

Summary:
Last year a friend of mine married a woman from Brazil and, of course, he wanted to help her get her green card. I had gotten to know and like her and my friend asked me if I would write a letter, and get it notarized, to vouch for her as basically a good person and theirs as a good marriage. That certainly fit my perceptions of the case and so I was happy to do it. Here’s the bulk of the letter, with certain parts Xed out or Yed out to keep their identities private: I am writing regarding X, who is married to one of my best friends, Y. Y and I have been friends since September 1979, one month after I moved from the University of Rochester, where I was on the faculty, to the Cato Institute in San Francisco, where I was a senior policy analyst. In the last 15

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A Nice Immigration Story

Last year a friend of mine married a woman from Brazil and, of course, he wanted to help her get her green card. I had gotten to know and like her and my friend asked me if I would write a letter, and get it notarized, to vouch for her as basically a good person and theirs as a good marriage. That certainly fit my perceptions of the case and so I was happy to do it.

Here’s the bulk of the letter, with certain parts Xed out or Yed out to keep their identities private:

I am writing regarding X, who is married to one of my best friends, Y. Y and I have been friends since September 1979, one month after I moved from the University of Rochester, where I was on the faculty, to the Cato Institute in San Francisco, where I was a senior policy analyst. In the last 15 years, Y and I have spoken regularly and I have never seen him as happy as he is in this marriage. I could see it when I attended their wedding reception last April, and it has continued.  From everything I know, I can vouch for her good character.

My own background, in case it’s relevant, is that I moved from Canada to the United States to get my Ph.D. in economics at UCLA and in 1977 became a permanent resident. In 1986, I became a U.S. citizen. I was a senior economist with President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers from 1982 to 1984. From 1984 to 2017, I was an economics professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. I retired in 2017. From 1990 until the present, I have been a research fellow with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. I am still active in writing articles for major publications such as the Wall Street Journal, which has published over 40 of my pieces since the mid-1980s.

Y called me last week to tell me what the immigration hearing officer’s reaction had been. He looked at the letter, with Y and X and X’s lawyer present, and said, “Naval Postgraduate School. Wow! That’s a good school.” Then he said how impressed he was with the Council of Economic Advisers part. Y’s impression was that my letter cinched the deal. (I hasten to add that it probably would have been cinched anyway, but my letter made it much easier.)

I told Y that that was very heartening. I told him that back in 1980, after Reagan was elected and I expressed to my Hoover friend Robert Hessen my desire to be a senior economist with Reagan’s CEA, Bob encouraged me to follow up, which I did by calling Murray Weidenbaum the same day his appointment as chairman had been announced. I still remember what Bob said: “Even if you don’t love the job, it will be a great line on your resume the rest of your life and will make some things easier to get.” He was right, and helping my friend’s wife get her green card is only the most recent payoff.

By the way, X loves the U.S. of A.

David Henderson
David Henderson is a British economist. He was the Head of the Economics and Statistics Department at the OECD in 1984–1992. Before that he worked as an academic economist in Britain, first at Oxford (Fellow of Lincoln College) and later at University College London (Professor of Economics, 1975–1983); as a British civil servant (first as an Economic Advisor in HM Treasury, and later as Chief Economist in the Ministry of Aviation); and as a staff member of the World Bank (1969–1975). In 1985 he gave the BBC Reith Lectures, which were published in the book Innocence and Design: The Influence of Economic Ideas on Policy (Blackwell, 1986).

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