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  • An Open Letter to America

    I found this article written by an immigrant to the USA to be very enlightening and inspirational.

    An Open Letter to America

    Posted October 12, 2007 | 10:36 AM (EST)

    We live at a time of highly-polarized politics when solutions to every problem are categorized into two predetermined categories: liberal and conservative. Such a system has prevented people from becoming psychologically prepared for the idea that a third solution that combines the first two may be as legitimate or even the best way of addressing a problem. In no other case is that example truer than in the case of immigration. So as a human rights defender who has a background in economics and public policy and also is a Persian immigrant, I want to briefly share my immigration story with you and what we can learn from it.

    I was born in Tehran in 1982. I have a brother who is five years older. Ever since before my birth, my father dreamt of taking his family to the United States where they could live in a free country, have a good life and allow their children to take advantage of the opportunities that this country had to offer. But as much as he wanted to immigrate to the U.S., he was committed to do so legally. He took his family to Turkey to the American embassy to apply for visas in the late 1980s, but he was denied. We visited Turkey again for the same purpose a few years later and were denied again. We visited Cyprus to attempt to get visas and were denied for the third time. My father also applied for the annual green card lottery for about 10 years. He finally caught a break in 1996 when he won the lottery and got an interview for the whole family.

    But that break lasted for a short time as my brother was at a critical age between high school and college at the time and could not legally exit Iran to have his interview in Turkey. The U.S. immigration authorities would not give him an extension longer than a couple of weeks. The three of us received our green cards but could not move to America because we didn't want to leave my brother behind. So my mother reapplied for green card for my brother and she, my father and I went back to Iran to wait with my brother for his green card. But time ran out for me, and in 1999, I had the option of moving to the United States at age 16 by myself or stay in Iran and be drafted to serve in the army. I took the first option and moved to Chicago alone. My parents traveled back and forth because they could no longer be with both their sons at the same time. My brother's green card came through just last year after 10 years of waiting, and he moved to the United States two weeks ago, at age 29 and after having waited a third of his life for a better life. But now, he has to wait even longer because he is married but cannot legally obtain a green card for his wife in a speedy way. I haven't seen my mother since 2005, my father is now 70 years old and it breaks my heart every time I think about the fact that our two families remain broken up to this day.

    There are two lessons that my story offers, one of which is directed toward those who want to immigrate to the United States or have already done so; throughout this disheartening two decades of waiting and hardship and even while Iran was in a deadly war with Iraq, my parents didn't consider for one moment entering America illegally through Mexico. It's because they understood that what made America great was, in part, its laws. Without laws, racism and segregation would have continued, murder rate would have been out of control, monopolies would have left the economy paralyzed and inefficient and private possessions could have been confiscated by the government without legal justification. If those things happened, then the United States would no longer be the country that it is and we would not have wanted to immigrate here. A look at how much worse even a relatively small departure from the country's laws by the Bush administration has left us demonstrates this fact. We cannot justify picking and choosing which laws to break and which ones to follow by citing the goodness of our intentions. If we want to be respected in America as citizens, we must show our respect for it first by following its laws. If you are an illegal immigrant, you have broken the laws of this country. What makes this country great is that it holds accountable those who break its laws. There must be a difference between someone who stands in line for decades to enter this country legally and someone who chooses to break the law instead. If you broke the law and have worked without paying your taxes or taking the full responsibilities of a citizen, you have to pay the consequences that this country's democratic representatives determine.

    And the second lesson is for those who think the best way to deal with illegal immigration is to reverse it and send illegal immigrants back. Immigrants come to the United States not just because of a job, but because this country promises equality, respect for democratic principles, compassion, opportunity and generosity. It is that promise that attracts people from all over the world. Illegal immigrants have broken the laws of this country; but many of them have been here for years now and have children who were born in the U.S., gone to college and even served in this country's military. Furthermore, as my story demonstrates, legal immigration to the United States is one of the most difficult things that anyone may ever have to deal with. The process is extremely complicated and time-consuming and the odds of getting accepted can be very unlikely and sometimes nearly impossible. But to break up families now by deporting some back breaks that promise of compassion and understanding that the idea of America promises. While this country must seriously work on making illegal immigration more difficult through enforcement and oblige those who have broken the immigration laws of this country to pay the penalty and go to the back of the line to become legal citizens, it must also make legal immigration easier for people who are ready to come here with their unique talents, diversity and love for this country.

    People who move to the United States have a dream. It's the American dream. They are all Americans; they just weren't born here. The greatest thing about the American dream is that sharing it doesn't leave us with less of it.
    An Open Letter to America

  • #2
    I found this article written by an immigrant to the USA to be very enlightening and inspirational.

    An Open Letter to America

    Posted October 12, 2007 | 10:36 AM (EST)

    We live at a time of highly-polarized politics when solutions to every problem are categorized into two predetermined categories: liberal and conservative. Such a system has prevented people from becoming psychologically prepared for the idea that a third solution that combines the first two may be as legitimate or even the best way of addressing a problem. In no other case is that example truer than in the case of immigration. So as a human rights defender who has a background in economics and public policy and also is a Persian immigrant, I want to briefly share my immigration story with you and what we can learn from it.

    I was born in Tehran in 1982. I have a brother who is five years older. Ever since before my birth, my father dreamt of taking his family to the United States where they could live in a free country, have a good life and allow their children to take advantage of the opportunities that this country had to offer. But as much as he wanted to immigrate to the U.S., he was committed to do so legally. He took his family to Turkey to the American embassy to apply for visas in the late 1980s, but he was denied. We visited Turkey again for the same purpose a few years later and were denied again. We visited Cyprus to attempt to get visas and were denied for the third time. My father also applied for the annual green card lottery for about 10 years. He finally caught a break in 1996 when he won the lottery and got an interview for the whole family.

    But that break lasted for a short time as my brother was at a critical age between high school and college at the time and could not legally exit Iran to have his interview in Turkey. The U.S. immigration authorities would not give him an extension longer than a couple of weeks. The three of us received our green cards but could not move to America because we didn't want to leave my brother behind. So my mother reapplied for green card for my brother and she, my father and I went back to Iran to wait with my brother for his green card. But time ran out for me, and in 1999, I had the option of moving to the United States at age 16 by myself or stay in Iran and be drafted to serve in the army. I took the first option and moved to Chicago alone. My parents traveled back and forth because they could no longer be with both their sons at the same time. My brother's green card came through just last year after 10 years of waiting, and he moved to the United States two weeks ago, at age 29 and after having waited a third of his life for a better life. But now, he has to wait even longer because he is married but cannot legally obtain a green card for his wife in a speedy way. I haven't seen my mother since 2005, my father is now 70 years old and it breaks my heart every time I think about the fact that our two families remain broken up to this day.

    There are two lessons that my story offers, one of which is directed toward those who want to immigrate to the United States or have already done so; throughout this disheartening two decades of waiting and hardship and even while Iran was in a deadly war with Iraq, my parents didn't consider for one moment entering America illegally through Mexico. It's because they understood that what made America great was, in part, its laws. Without laws, racism and segregation would have continued, murder rate would have been out of control, monopolies would have left the economy paralyzed and inefficient and private possessions could have been confiscated by the government without legal justification. If those things happened, then the United States would no longer be the country that it is and we would not have wanted to immigrate here. A look at how much worse even a relatively small departure from the country's laws by the Bush administration has left us demonstrates this fact. We cannot justify picking and choosing which laws to break and which ones to follow by citing the goodness of our intentions. If we want to be respected in America as citizens, we must show our respect for it first by following its laws. If you are an illegal immigrant, you have broken the laws of this country. What makes this country great is that it holds accountable those who break its laws. There must be a difference between someone who stands in line for decades to enter this country legally and someone who chooses to break the law instead. If you broke the law and have worked without paying your taxes or taking the full responsibilities of a citizen, you have to pay the consequences that this country's democratic representatives determine.

    And the second lesson is for those who think the best way to deal with illegal immigration is to reverse it and send illegal immigrants back. Immigrants come to the United States not just because of a job, but because this country promises equality, respect for democratic principles, compassion, opportunity and generosity. It is that promise that attracts people from all over the world. Illegal immigrants have broken the laws of this country; but many of them have been here for years now and have children who were born in the U.S., gone to college and even served in this country's military. Furthermore, as my story demonstrates, legal immigration to the United States is one of the most difficult things that anyone may ever have to deal with. The process is extremely complicated and time-consuming and the odds of getting accepted can be very unlikely and sometimes nearly impossible. But to break up families now by deporting some back breaks that promise of compassion and understanding that the idea of America promises. While this country must seriously work on making illegal immigration more difficult through enforcement and oblige those who have broken the immigration laws of this country to pay the penalty and go to the back of the line to become legal citizens, it must also make legal immigration easier for people who are ready to come here with their unique talents, diversity and love for this country.

    People who move to the United States have a dream. It's the American dream. They are all Americans; they just weren't born here. The greatest thing about the American dream is that sharing it doesn't leave us with less of it.
    An Open Letter to America

    Comment


    • #3
      America cannot be expected, and should not police the world or take in everyone and anyone that wants to move here. If people want to immigrate to the US, they need to do it the correct way, legally, according to US law. It's unfortunate some people can't grasp this concept.

      Comment


      • #4
        This article demonstrated how difficult it is to immigrate to this country. Our immigration laws are flawed and need serious reform. And the person who wrote this article did follow the process, so I don't understand your reply, Jeff. Did you just need to vent your frustrations?

        Comment


        • #5
          No more than you venting by paste/coping this article, as it is one sided, or were you expecting everyone to agree with it?

          Comment


          • #6
            I didn't have any expectations, Jeff. I simply posted it for others to view. It doesn't necessarily reflect my viewpoint either, does it? It's just an article I thought would be interesting to share. Nothing more, nothing less.

            Comment


            • #7
              Sooo if you didn't have any expectations, you shouldn't be surprised when someone comments on this ...or...you didn't want anyone to comment on this article? You should have stated that.

              Comment


              • #8
                The article wasn't about opening our borders and allowing everyone in. It simply articulated how difficult it is to immigrate to this country. That's why your reponse surprised me - but, you're entitled to post what you like. Carry on.

                Comment


                • #9
                  If you don't like it, get out !

                  God Bless America and NO ONE else !

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    You first

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      A repost, and I'm throwing this back into the air, if nothing else, just for its relevance.

                      Yeah, the word is ambivalence. Throughout history, immigrants (both legal and illegal) are the lyrical chunks of humanity that Americans "love to hate or hate to love." But due to her greatness that radiates away in the global community of man, America was, is, and will always be the magnet for migrants and immigrants whether it be in search of a better life or to be with their loved ones. The same string of events will continue tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, the day after then, henceforth, and for a long, long while to come. Yet, indeed, it's your freedom to accept or be hostile to this fact. But then again, immigrants will continue to build this great nation. And spewing hatred on this forum will never change anything even a little bit, and you know that. But one thing is sure: when you breathe your last, an illegal immigrant will build your coffin, take you to your last journey, dig your ground, trample on it, and spit on your grave afterwards. Unluckily, you don't know it anymore.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        compassion is not the same as ignoring laws...and illegals only want something they don't want to earn by following the rules....so toss their sorry behinds out of America and bring in those who are playing by the rules....NO exceptions...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Someone12:
                          compassion is not the same as ignoring laws...and illegals only want something they don't want to earn by following the rules....so toss their sorry behinds out of America and bring in those who are playing by the rules....NO exceptions... </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

                          a hollow statement not in anyway near to mean that you welcome any immigrant

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Being a nation of immigrants, many of us are first and second generation Americans that can recall the difficult challenges our parents and/or grandparents encountered in their quest for America. For me, it was my grandparents and the difficulty wasn't just the language barrier.

                            It has to be difficult and take time, simply because of the massive number of people who desire to come here. More importantly, its not practicable to take everybody!

                            Right now, my sister-inlaw is visiting us and she will leave on 1/2/08 after a six month stay. In approx. 2 years the I-130 will be reviewed and possibily 2 years after that, she may be permitted to come here as a Legal Resident Alien. She must wait her turn.

                            Illegal aliens currently here have broken our laws and they must not be rewarded regardless of family ties. The rule of law must prevail or all is lost.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Immigrating to the U.S. is dishearteningly difficult as the writer says. It's obvious he came from an educated family that didn't have intentions of working as cheap labor in the U.S., therefore, applying in the appropriate manner. Not everyone arriving here in the U.S. has come from the same stock as he and his family with the possible chance of emigrating no matter how long it takes. Apparently they had the financially means for the parents to travel back and forth. Most immigrants' families don't even have the money to apply like this family has done.

                              He's a human rights advocate for his own people I'm sure which is his perogative. I'm sure he's on a mission to fight for family unification since his brother is needing his wife to come to the U.S. They chose not to migrate through Mexico. They chose not to because they wanted to work in a professional capacity without risk of deportation. They didn't intend to come here and do our dirty work. The U.S. has allowed these laws to be broken so I don't agree with his stand about the laws, etc. There's parts of his letter I have issues with. Oh well!!

                              Comment

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