As I was passing by the American Consulate last week, I saw something that really made me sad. There was a young Vietnamese girl just coming into her mothers arms and putting her head on mom’s shoulder. She had a few tears and with all the documents in her hand I knew what had happened. She had just gotten rejected for a visa. It really got to me in the fact that I understood how nervous she must have been as she woke up, meticulously groomed herself, prepared her documents, and put on her brand new blue dress. I can imaging the anxiety she must have felt as she passed through all the metal detectors and turned over all those extremely hard to get documents to the consular and tried to answer as best she could all those hard questions in a language so different from her native tongue. I can feel her nervousness and extreme disappointment when the consular basically said that America does not want her, even for a short visit.
I understand that the consular was just doing their job, but sometimes it just isn’t fair. It really makes me angry when I see so many Americans who do nothing but try to keep people out from entering the country such as those vigilantes in Texas, or those that rail against immigration do to their believe that America is solely theirs and they have an inherent right to it just because they had the luck to be born there. I really detest the argument “Well I pay taxes and those immigrants do not!!!” I’m sure if those immigrants had the good fortune to be born in America and have the money to pay taxes that they would too. I also wish those that do not want to offer the poor immigrants health care and their kids schooling would fall off the face of the earth and die. It is true that America has to practice fiscal responsibility but I really hate those who have always had enough money try to keep those that do not out of the club.
When we are children, we are taught that America is the land of immigrants and how the Statue of Liberty “cries with silent lips.
“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
They should also add:
“Unless of course you don’t have enough money in your bank accounts, do not have the proper documents, have not mastered English or do not give money to the Republican Party.”
They should also be advised, that all shall be fingerprinted, have pictures taken in-case you are a terrorist against are unfair policies, and that if you do not understand our English we will just repeat it louder in unfriendly tones.
It would be most excellent if Americans were subjected to the same treatment we are currently giving other nationals. If this were the case, we would have to pay an $80 processing fee every time we applied, and be subjected to interviews in other languages that almost nobody would pass. If there were not enough money in our bank accounts we simply couldn’t leave America. Americans think that people cannot leave China because it is Communist when the fact is they can rarely get a visa!!
Just for spite, let me reply to myself in the form of a jingoist. “Those immigrants would come to American and take jobs from hard working Americans! They have no money so would be a drain on the public benefits, and should not be entitled to schooling, health care, or anything else. Send them back! We pay taxes, and it’s unfair that these heathens come to OUR country and take OUR jobs! Why don’t they go fix their own country and live there!” Unfortunately, this opinion is not uncommon.
I detest people that think they have an inherent right to something they were born into and try to keep it from others. What happened to the lessons in sharing that we were taught as children? Guess it got lost in all the materialism.
Great website…I enjoy stopping in and reading your posts from time to time. I live in NYC and you met my roommate in HCMC in January 2005. His name is Keith if you call him. Would love to have the guts to pick up and live in Asia someday soon.
Mateo (guess I’m kind of ignoring that ‘work’ comment I made earlier),
While specific incidents might certainly seem heart-breaking, as this does, that doesn’t mean the entire policy is bad – nor does it mean that it needs to be changed. As a country, I believe that the United States probably takes one of the largest chunks of all immigrants in the world (when one considers the population of immigrants, not necessarily as a % of population of the receiving country). This has always been a good thing for our country and it likely still is – though history may end up having a different viewpoint of this down the road. However, as you point out, we* have to continue to be fiscally responsible. If we were to let in every single person who wanted in to our country, it would have significant detrimental impacts to our economy, which makes no real sense. Therefore, we have to set some limiters on the population influx.
Secondly, the ease of obtaining a visa tends to be in proportion to the probability of the person defaulting on said visa. I.e., if a country thinks the person from a specific country is likely to use the visa to get to their country and then not leave, then they’re going to make it hard for those folks to get here. One of the easiest ways to do this is economically – if the person is well-off in their own country, why would they want to leave and come to new country? The logic might be simplistic, but it does seem to work.
Now – I think the folks in TX are getting an undeserved rap. One – they aren’t preventing illegal immigrants, they’re reporting them. Secondly, while some of them might want to keep all immigrants out, a primary reason that I’d support them is to stop illegal drug trade. Don’t get me wrong – I support responsible immigration and tourism. It profits everyone.
Now, to the jingoist rant you had – there’s some truth in that. There are illegal immigrants that are being a drain on our fiscal resources. However, if someone from another country comes here legally and out-competes you for a job – too bad. You should’ve worked harder or more efficiently. Seondly, if they’re here legally, they’ll pay taxes and therefore, earn the right to the same services.
*To avoid further confusion, I’ll try to limit the use of ‘we’ to mean America as a country – not specfically related to the current administration.
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