- Posted January 29, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Naturalized citizens: Your thoughts on immigration reform
Legal Immigration Deserves Attention Too
For Legal Immigrants to the United States, like myself and my family, the debate over illegal immigration can be somewhat bitter sweet. Coming from Eastern Europe, we don’t have the option really to cross the border illegally, moreover, many of us jump through hoops and follow the legal process, often waiting for years and years to become legal residents and citizens. It can sometimes feel unfair that someone who did not follow the law can just easily get a pathway to citizenship. Not that I am not sympathetic to all immigrants, I am. All of our stories are unique and many times full of struggles and suffering. To be honest, I don’t know how my parents made such a difficult decision to defect from what was at that time was the Soviet Republic of Belarus. It was not an easy choice. Driven in part by political tribulation and persecution and the other part, that drives all immigrants, a hope for a better future for their children. While going through the legal process to obtain a green card, we were waiting for many years. I remember days not knowing of what will happen and the fear of being sent back. But not just being sent back and going back to our lives, but of being punished, jailed or worse. Many of use don’t come to the U.S. for purely economic reasons. We come for freedom, basic human rights and sometimes safety. We value our American Citizenship and our rights and often, immigrants are even more politically active and outspoken, because it means so much to us to have these rights. I feel personally, that cases need to be decided on a case by case basis. If you were brought here as a child and have spent most of your life here, you should be granted the opportunity to stay, granted you are not a criminal etc. However, if you crossed the border illegally as an adult, it’s a different question. I don’t think all illegal immigrants should be granted amnesty, it would be unfair to the rest of us who went through the process and followed the law. They should be granted the opportunity to apply and wait, just like the rest of us. I know it’s a painful and difficult debate, but it has to be fair to all immigrants. We all want the same things: Hope of a better future.