Bronwyn Lea is a South-African transplant to California, raising kids at home and raising questions atwww.bronlea.com.
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Immigration: The Unforgivable Sin?
When I share the story of how brutal the path to citizenship is for us, people are often shocked. We are not what people have in mind when they think of ‘immigrants.’ We are white. We speak English. We have graduate level degrees. And yet even for us, as documented workers, it sometimes seems nearly impossible that we will be able to gain permanent residency. The path is so much narrower and steeper than people realize, so we speak up.
I speak up because I would love legal residency to be more easily within our reach. As a mom, it would give me so much peace of mind to know we could continue to build a life in the U.S. with our children. But mostly, I speak up because I can. As a legal immigrant, I have a first-hand perspective on just how harsh the current legislation can be, and I also have the freedom to speak about it without fear of being deported.
And so I speak and write in favor of equitable and reasonable immigration reform. I believe it is the right thing to do ethically, and it is the wise thing to do socially and economically. However, whenever I raise the issue I am met with this response: “We’re not objecting to you — because you got here legally and have obeyed all the laws. We are objecting to all the law-breakers who are here illegally: if they disrespected the law, they should not be rewarded for it!”
I Am the Immigrant
I am a card-carrying alien. Literally.
I have an official alien number, assigned to me by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service.
After nearly 10 years in the U.S., my husband and I have spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars on paperwork and travel to keep our visas current. We have been retina scanned and fingerprinted; we have submitted exhausting and exhaustive records of every job we’ve ever held, every school we ever studied at, and the names and addresses of every person we are related to.
Now, with three children born in the U.S. (call them anchor babies if you must), we don’t want alien cards anymore. We want green cards. We want to be allowed to stay permanently in the country where our children are, without fear that we will find ourselves with no legal purchase in the country where our kids live.
But applying for permanent residency is a lot tougher than you might think.