Immigration

Too many are talking about immigration and apparently do not know much about the topic.

They often are talking/writing based on literature that is, at best, 20 years too young. We are not there yet. Maybe one day the American Dream may be realized for many in their country of origin and there will be a different paradigm.
As a first generation of immigrants in my family, I have lived through and experienced the United States of America’s immigration process. As a naturalized American, I have earned the right to an opinion about immigration. I made a deliberate choice and swore allegiance to the ‘Star Spangled Banner,’ symbol of the great American ideal including:Justice for all and Freedom of expression.These are the guiding lights.
I have personally benefited from many opportunities, including a graduate degree, life-time employment and I’ve paid my share of taxes. Now I am benefiting from a pension and Social Security. I have, conservatively attained the symbolism of the promises. So very grateful and proud, I am a US immigrant who is a citizen today.

Immigration is a dynamic issue. Especially for our ‘Good Old USA’, Truly, it is.

Unarguably, immigration is one of the system’s replenishing sources for manpower. The immigrants, especially the undocumented ones, are fair game to labor exploitation. Millions are without legal status. They are vulnerable with no legal protection,  no legitimacy and without a work permit.  Pressured to run from abusive environments, political, religious or other kinds of persecutions in their countries of origin. In search of better living conditions, we are here, wanted or not. You can change what pushed us to emigrate: . Most of all, the lack of local opportunities, chronic unemployment, 80% in Haiti, for instance.
People have attempted to cross the seas several times, even after close brushes with death. First, on the wooden boats that capsized. Loved ones perished, survivors were returned to their departure point. At the second attempt, some were caught by coast guard boats, picked up,their wooden boats burned or sunk. . Rescued people again were returned to departure points. Third attempt, the boats landed at a different not chosen destination. The passengers jailed pending being returned home. Yet they will try anew. Relentless trails proved ‘it’s a do or die’ situation.

On the other end, we can only reinforce the pull that the Statue of Liberty represents. This dream is undergirded by the American ideals, all mankind aspires to it today: A higher standard of living, better quality of life, access to education, health care. Painstakingly, once in the US, the immigrants seeking the dream are now forced to live an underworld life. Still it’s far better than what they left behind. At best, it is a long endeavor. Often, reaching assimilation stage in their new country takes multiple progressive generations.
For the undocumented immigrants, the fear of deportation is permanent, at best long lasting. At first the immigrants represent a perfect labor pool for small businesses. Thousand of immigrants live and work in domesticity. Even when highly skilled, over qualified, they work under the radar, under paid and in lower skills jobs. Of course the entrepreneurs love good workers. This labor, the employers can pay and still make a living. This immigrant has precious culinary experience. He can be taught how to run a kitchen. That one is a seasoned auto mechanic. If not skilled they are highly trainable. Without permission to work these numbers find plenty of work offers. Jack of all trades,  handy men are all called to work as needed. They are hungry to work and have great work ethics. Understand, whatever the pay, it is for sure ten times better than what they could have earned in any of their Countries of origin. In any place where opportunity is limited there is strong emigration.

Wherever the ideal “American Dream’ is heard, it’s the lightning spark. The world of the US is an attractive star, the dream that has become possible for so many earlier immigrants.  All they had to do is work hard and abide the law. Millions of them now are professionals. Their children are college graduates. I’m talking Doctors, Lawyers, PhDs, ITs, educators, managers, etc. Once given the chance through a ‘Work Permit’ or through TPS status, the dream becomes possible. The motto is work hard and keep your nose clean, your dream will come true. A Next door neighbor is evidence of this ability. He only became a US citizen five years ago. He had given me rides in his 2011 Cadillac. He has his own shop, a couple of employees, a few with no work permit(secret). They  are making kitchen cabinets in his garage. Orders are waiting in line. Soon we’ll put the word out, position open, job offer, work permit not required (understood). Word of mouth is quickly spread in the Diaspora. The next worker without a work permit, an A+ worker, got the job. His reputation as a good cabinet-maker has preceded him. He can start work, next day. No background check takes place. Records are blank anyway. Another unfair advantage over the American born individuals. There is a record good or bad. Young, stupid, adolescent mistakes are held against many. It’s a life long albatross, the sword of Damocles. For these non-immigrant men. lots of jobs are forbidden, too often, for ever.

The immigrant labor pool offers skilled as well as non skilled workers, no record is a good record.

The ideal ‘American Dream’ cannot be contained behind fences. It belongs to humanity. As long as the immigrants can flourish underneath our societal belly, incognito, immigration issues are there to stay, possibly worsened. The dream has fired the immigrants up. The US pull is irresistible. At the other end, is the push from a survival life style, zero chance to work, guaranteed poverty. The choice is clear. The wind is strong; it’s blowing in the USA’s direction. It carries a force defined as HOPE. People, whenever possible, will emigrate from places where there is fear of tomorrow and no viable chances to realize the’ American Dream.’
No one ought to try to keep it only within our national, geographical frontier. Let’s create more employment opportunities in our neighboring countries. Hopefully, increased security, better access to health care and education. These ought to be human rights as well, in the immigrant’s countries of origin.
The results, will a be a better balanceed, more managed immigration process.
Tou Lumen

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s