I came to the United States in 2010, for my Masters degree. I graduated the next year, got married, got a job, worked for 5 years, bought a house, got another Masters but every single time I cross the border to travel anywhere, I have to answer the question : “Why Do You Want To Go To The United States?”. I’m a legal, tax paying, law-abiding ‘alien’ in this country but the ‘us and them’ hasn’t stopped even after all these years.
Most days I don’t care — I earn enough, I own a pretty good house in California and my workplace never showed any signs of racism. Also, I do understand it’s difficult for any country to accept too many outsiders. But some days are just painful. Can’t I at least expect a little bit of respect since my hard-earned tax-money helps those immigration officers retain their jobs in the first place? Expect them to realize that my unprejudiced contribution towards their families doesn’t deserve prejudice in return?
I haven’t stolen any American Job — my company waited 3 months before hiring me. They waited to find a suitable American-born talent to fill the job they were hiring me for. They couldn’t find any.
American economy has been steadily growing strong and immigrants are a major part of it. Highly-skilled immigrants have been working their asses off all these years but somehow Trump is getting all the credit for it and no one is questioning him. Democrats, liberals and major TV show hosts keep suggesting, if you want to change things : “Vote”. I can’t even do that. Even after 8 years, I can’t vote.
One could argue, if its so bad why don’t you leave or move to some other country? You see, I didn’t mind not having a voice for 2/3 of these 8 years — I felt obliged to have been allowed to migrate. I didn’t know I had rights. Gradually, as I became a part of the society I began to notice that people who were citizens didn’t have the same hiccups as I did. I paid all the fees and the mortgages and the taxes like everyone else but I didn’t get all the benefits. At that point, I had two choices — the ones anyone ever does — Flight Or Fight. I chose the latter.
Don’t get me wrong. Fight doesn’t mean hatred for the Far Right — it simply means expressing that my shoe hurts and I want a new pair before it begins to bite. When everyone deciding future of immigrants of all kinds is deliberating, I want a seat on that table. I want a voice that allows people to know I have earned my place in the society. And that I contribute as much.
Taxation without representation is slowly poisoning the air of democracy in this country — and that needs to change. Don’t You Think?