A look at immigration by an immigrant
By Alun Thomas
The current immigration debate over whether or not to allow thousands of illegal Mexican immigrants to have legal status in the US is one I can't help but observe closely, considering the eight years I've been embroiled in the system trying to become a US citizen myself. Am I in favour of the proposed changes? No. I arrived here legally and have had to do things the right way, a long and ongoing process that has cost thousands of dollars and tremendous strain and pressure to those by me who have endured it also. Why should they have it easier? To work minimum wage jobs we won't? To get a slice of the American dream which isn't much better than a poverty filled life in Mexico City? If these border jumpers were made to do it the right way, my way, they might consider jumping back over the fence and back to their fifty cent a day job at Maytag.
When I think of the possibility of the laws being lessened to accomodate these Aliens it makes the struggles of millions of others including myself seem invalid and unfair. Will I be refunded the eleven hundred dollars I recently paid to obtain my citizenship? Of course not. It goes towards keeping Mexican immigrants happy and content, despite flagrantly breaking the law. If I moved to Mexico and tried to become a legal citizen wouldn't I be expected to go through the same process? What makes them think they can just walk in here and not have to meet any criteria? The mere thought of it disgusts me.I want them to suffer immunisation shots, HIV tests, inquisitions from robotic INS agents, forced appointments in Chicago almost weekly at their expense and being made penniless in the process. If I and others from other nations had to, so can they.
You could only understand my hostility if you had been through the rigours of the INS and the never ending politics of their regime. Everything has to be perfect in order to make the ordeal progress smoothly. I became unstuck multiple times, due to insufficient paperwork, the worst occasion being when I was interviewed for my green card and my medical records were not in order which meant my case was held up. What made it more intolerable was driving to Chicago and having to go back a week later to return the right paperwork. That meant taking extra time off work, losing money and the expense of having to drive up there. Little things like that make it painful, which makes me want these hundreds of thousands want to suffer the same frustrations and anger I've dealt with.
It's not a race issue either. Simply a case of doing it the right way. After all illegal aliens aren't paying taxes. I have since I started working. How am I supposed to feel sorry for them after getting away with murder like that? It makes me feel pathetic for being honest. After watching and reading about the recent large scale marches of the immigrants throughout the US the main reason behind the pleas for fair treatment is that these people work the low paying, undesirable jobs most US citizens won't. They keep trying to convince us that they are hard workers, honest, will do anything for a better life for them and their families, give us a chance! Not a problem unless it is conducted properly within the guidlines of the rules adopted by the INS that although flawed are considered legal and necessary.
What haunts me years later however is seeing Mexican hopefuls at INS offices being treated with more respect than myself. Despite speaking English, doing everything correctly, I was treated with distaste and ignorance by several INS agents who seemed to doubt my intentions of living here in the US. Then I watched the same people while interacting with Mexicans in the same position as if they were gold. How could this be? It bothers me everytime I think about it. Fortunately my immigration dealings have been made tolerable by the excellent Liz Voyles in Galesburg, a true professional in every sense of the word and a woman who has made it easier than it seems. Sadly she has no hold on the INS officials themselves, which makes that aspect somewhat tedious and a stale affair.
I don't want to see anymore protests or rallies regarding this subject. All it succeeds in doing is riling my senses which is not desirable. If I knew the Mexican frauds had to perform the same duties as all other immigrants then I might not be as rankled. But until then their whole cause is unjust and a sick joke. They can have all the six dollar an hour jobs they want, but have a work permit to prove it. Jump the border and expect nothing in return. The nation should be rallying against this whole drama. Once you decide to treat one set of particulars differently then do the same for everybody. Therefore I demand instant citizenship with a full refund and an apology for the years of waiting and wondering and doing things correctly. If I'd known I could have done it all illegally and maybe gotten away with it I just might have. At least then I might have something to show for myself after eight years except debt and fatigue.