- Posted June 30, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Your immigration stories
Blues in Blonde
When I was 12 my parents sent me on vacation to visit my aunt in upstate New York. I loved it and knew then that this was my country.
I came back several more times and after I finished school in Germany I spent my senior year in Fredonia, NY, which confirmed to me further that I had to live in the U.S.
Realizing that I couldn't just move over, I started an apprenticeship as a freight forwarder in Germany. At the end of the apprenticeship I found a freight forwarding company that moved me to Miami. I remember arriving in the middle of the night and walking out of the airport into the warm night, with all the palmetto palms lining the freeway. I had arrived in paradise!
Anyway, many years and adventures later, I was living in Atlanta and an immigration attorney, who was supposed to change my visa to another, ended up not doing anything. He did it to a lot of immigrants and got disbarred over it, but I (and others) lost my status.
So, here I was, a goodie-two-shoes, daughter of a cop, who had always followed the rules - suddenly 'illegal' without any option to fix that. If you don't have status, you can not obtain it in this country. The best attorney can't help. One of them suggested to just keep doing what I was doing and paying my taxes and if I was ever caught I would have the right to have my day in court. And maybe some day there'd be an amnesty.
it was my dream, from 12 years on to live in this country and everything I've done after was done to facilitate that, so I was not willing to just give up my dream and move back to Germany, and decided to stay, even without proper documentation.
Looking back I can say that in some way that was the best thing that could have happened to me. While I never, ever would have chosen to go through this voluntary, it pushed me to dig deep and find things inside myself, that I never knew I had in me. I got pushed into a corner and learned to scale the wall.
That was 19 years ago and still nothing had changed to allow me to become legal again. My mother is 82 and can no longer travel. I haven't seen her in 12 years and don't know if I will ever see her again.
I have now lived +32 years in this county and I run 3 different businesses. One of them has helped many other people get their businesses off the ground. I've learned that I can be creative and always come up with solutions. I'm completely self-supportive and am living a pretty good life.
The part that's good for me, but sad in general, is that being blonde and European, I am never questioned.
What most people don't realize is that you can't just apply to come over, unless you fit into one of the following categories:
1) You have a direct relative (parent, child, spouse) sponsor you.
2) You are a political refuge
3) You invest $ 1,000,000 in starting a new business in the U.S., with a certain number of tulltime employees, which have to double in a few years.
4) You are extraordinarily, internationally accomplished: artist, actor, musician, athlete etc
5) You are specially trained in a business and no American can be found to fit that position.
That's it! Those are the criteria that allow you to come here and work.
How many of you would fit into any of these categories?
- My life