- Posted January 29, 2013 by
Green Bay, Wisconsin
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Naturalized citizens: Your thoughts on immigration reform
Agonies of a Legal Immigrant
My parents and I immigrated to the United States from India nearly a decade ago. We applied for permanent residence in 2006 under the EB3 category and to date we have not proceeded farther than receiving our employment authorization identification. While it has never pained me so much to be patient for something that is definitely worth the time, I find myself in a position where this has become crucial.
I was made aware of my plight when my Language Arts teacher asked me whether I was a citizen, so she could nominate me to attend American Legion Auxiliary Badger Girls State. If one were to look into my credentials, he or she would find that I am extremely competitive and hardworking, have a 4.0 GPA, hold several leadership positions—including the president of National Honor Society in my school, a captain of the tennis team, and a representative in Student Council—and definitely spend several hours in community volunteering. Thus, you could only imagine my frustration at not being considered for a program simply because of my citizenship, or the lack thereof.
It is really unfair to put someone out of the running before she is ever given a chance. As I am beginning to find out, I am ineligible for so many scholarships simply because I am not a permanent resident. Nor am I eligible for scholarships offered to international students, to those who are just coming into the country. Where does that leave me? Stuck in a limbo with virtually no scholarships to apply to and certainly robbed of a chance to reduce the strain of the whole college process. Mind you, I am not an illegal alien; we are law-abiding people who pay their taxes, contribute to the economy, and do whatever we can to help the community. As such the basis of my ineligibility is unfair to say the least.
Every year we have to have documents and work permits renewed to prove the legality of our residence here. We have to go to the DMV just as often to renew the driver’s license, which is based on the validity of our documents. Not only is our income shelled out to taxes and education but also to these added expenses. So, being denied the opportunity to apply for substantial scholarships becomes the pinnacle of my vexation. It is to me as humiliating and demeaning as being discriminated based on gender or race or religion or disability.
To further complicate my problems, I was informed that once I turn twenty-one, I will not be considered a derivative of the green card application that my parents filed. This would require me to file a new application, putting me, once again, at the bottom of the pile.
Education was something I thought I could always rely on, yet under these circumstances it is proving to be another great obstacle in my life. I have learned that not everything in life comes easily, but I believe this situation is completely out of my hands. I have worked extremely hard to get to where I am today, and it is really unjust that my current immigration status can prevent me from getting a fair chance to apply for aid.
I’m hoping that the state of the immigration laws improve to benefit those in my situation.