Coming to America

By | July 19, 2012

Earlier this week we shared an Arizona news story from Pinal County. Sheriff Babeu posted details about a 17-year-old man who was stopped for driving 85 in a 35mph zone.  The young man told officers he was late to work. He did not have a driver’s license nor proof of insurance. He admitted that he and his parents were here illegally from Mexico. He did not know his address. When the DPS officer contacted Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) he was told to ticket the teen and release him. Over the telephone the speeder told the ICE agent that he had been here more than five years.

So that’s that. If you sneak into this country and do not commit a serious enough crime the government has decided it will ignore the laws and you can stay.

Contrast this to a young woman I know. Her uncle came to the United States from Egypt 30 years ago to attend college. A smart man, he was recruited by companies here and invited to stay in the U.S. He asked to bring his family over. It took many years but eventually he was allowed to sponsor his family. My young friend was five when her parents applied to immigrate to the U.S. with her uncle’s support. After a significant background evaluation and because of the U.S. family connection they were accepted and put on the waiting list.

From the State Department: If you want to become a lawful permanent resident based on the fact that you have a relative who is a citizen of the United States or is a lawful permanent resident, your relative in the U.S. will need to sponsor you and prove he/she has enough income or assets to support you, the intending immigrant(s) when in the United States.

My young friend’s parents, anticipating they would come to America, scrimped and saved in order that their children could attend schools where English was taught. They did not take vacation. They did not travel. They did nothing to jeopardize their place in line.

Finally, after 15 years on the immigration list they received a call that they could come to the States.

They have now been here five years. Both parents are working because part of their agreement with the country is that they not be a burden on the system. My friend and her brother have finished their undergraduate degrees, working their way through college, and are accepted in post graduate programs. They are shining examples of what our immigration systems should be.

These are the immigrants President Obama wants. But waiting 15 years? That’s a long time in anybody’s book.

If we do not close the borders, or at the very least, enforce our current laws our immigration system will continue to be muddled. Those who can, will come illegally knowing that this government will turn a blind eye to enforcing the laws.

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2 thoughts on “Coming to America

  1. John

    A close friend came to the United States, applied for and received a green card, then applied for citizenship – but that has languished.
    Finally, he was told recently that the INS had objections, and he was to appear in court. When he did, the INS lawyer said they were withdrawing the case – no explanations, not even a reason why the case was filed in the first place, they just dropped it.
    He has tried to get a response on his status, and his lawyer has finally advised him to RE-FILE his citizenship application, and go through the process again from the beginning.

    He originally came here in 1996, and he’s been working toward and waiting for citizenship for 16 years.

    1. Teresa Wendt Post author

      Thanks for stopping by John. I had a friend who came from South America and ran into similar hold ups. After more than ten years the family finally gave up and moved back. It was very sad. They were told if they followed all the rules they would be eligible to stay but with administration changes there were also changes in policies and their home country no longer was on the high priority list.
      It must be very frustrating to those who follow all the rules and get caught up in red tape to see those who bypass the lines and come in now getting priority.
      I wish your friend luck.

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