- Posted July 10, 2014 by
los angeles, California
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Your immigration stories
The Republican Party is not anti-immigration. I am proof.
I arrived in the United States on a student visa in the great state of New York. Like most immigrants and a lot of native born Americans, the fees for schools were way beyond my reach and the reach of my ever loving parents. My parents were supportive but there really was no way I could afford the exorbitant fees without taking out student loans. Like most immigrants however, I had no history, no SSN, no credit and therefore no loan. No fees meant I would be forced out of school and either return home legally or stay in the United States undocumented.
After extensive research, I learned that many red states offer out of state tuition waivers to international students which meant that our fees to attend college would be in-state even though we were international students. In exchange, we worked to educate the local population on cultural awareness. I took the opportunity and moved to Georgia. My parents could afford the first semester. This gave me the necessary cushion I needed to apply for assistant positions at my university which I eventually obtained. After graduating, I took advantage of the initiative signed by Roberts Gates (A republican) referred to as the MAVNI program. This program enabled legal non-citizens enlist or be officers in the US military if they had key skills (for officers) or spoke certain languages (for enlistees). Being enlisted however gave me the opportunity to apply for expedited citizenship for all military personnel signed into law by George Bush (a republican) in July 2002.
As much as I would like to say my goal is accomplished. It is not. As much as I would love to say it has been easy. It has not. I however proudly wear my uniform in service of my adopted homeland each day. Many may see this as a detour but I choose to see it as building the necessary tools required to be successful. I am proud to enjoy both the rewards and responsibilities of calling myself a US citizen. I continue to be amazed by the beauty of this great nation we all call home. Immigration reform may be necessary to provide people with the opportunity to earn their citizenship. I would hate to see new comers after me be stuck without an opportunity to earn their seat at the table. Immense personal growth came from the process of earning my citizenship. I appreciate the opportunities I enjoy each day because of how hard I worked for it. They should not be deprived of the opportunity to work for their citizenship as well. Many against “Amnesty” have concerns that should be aired and respected and not unnecessarily labeled as bigots. Together we can achieve a humane and responsible solution to the immigration crisis affecting our amazing nation. This is my immigration story.
- My life