Ah, the process of immigrating to America. For decades, it’s been romanticized in media, a lightning rod issue for politicians and a source of curiosity for those who’ve never had to deal with the fine people at U.S.C.I.S. If I may, allow me to draw your attention towards the lightning rod facet of the system. Recently, things have been developing frequently on that front.
You see, in the last few weeks, Republicans in Congress have made the news for tying funding for the Department of Homeland Security to President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. The President has vowed to veto any bill that overrides his decisions and Republicans have not backed down from their demands. Though a pathetic bill to fund the government agency for one week was passed, the legislative war is set to continue.
In the midst of this hubbub and conversation about what to do with the mostly Latino and Latina people who are here in this country illegally, a certain class of foreigner that I belong to is being left on the sidelines, those who are in the country and pursuing a degree at a University.
Yes, I am a foreign student. In these last four years, I’ve had an F1 next to my name on all my important papers while I’ve pursued a degree at W.S.U. During this time, I’ve learned that the process of coming to this nation that I love so dearly is an exercise in frustration and absurdity.
For starters, if I want to stay in this country after I graduate in May, I either need a job or a wife. Yes, as I’m sure you’re imagining, both those options are tougher than they sound.
If I get married, I and my spouse are investigated by the federal government to determine if our union is a sham. From what I can gather, they put us both in a room and ask deep and probing questions about the relationship separately. If enough of our answers don’t match, I get deported and banned from entering the U.S. and my spouse gets jail time and a half million dollar fine.
On the job front, if an employer wants to add me to their organization, they have to sponsor me for a green card. When going through that process, they have to justify to the feds why I alone can do the job they’ve offered to me and no other American is capable. If the feds don’t like the reasoning, the application is not approved and I have to go back up to that terrible place up north.
Maybe I sound egotistical, but I think I and foreign students like me are more deserving of U.S. citizenship than most people. I’m educated, never have committed a crime and I have put an insane amount of money into the American economy. The fact that no mechanism exists for me to attain citizenship by the time I graduate is a sad example of political gridlock in America.
In a perfect world, this posting would go viral on the web and Congress would be compelled to act. But alas, we don’t live in an elaborate fantasy land that benefits me. In our reality, talented people will continue to slip through the grasp of the United States and American politicians will still be focused on winning re-elections and increasing their net worth. Truly a sad time for all.