Every day I tell myself I will bypass the comments on news articles I read, and every day I make the mistake of reading one, then two and then falling into frustrated anger. It never fails, there is always some moron who has no idea what he or she is talking about, but has to make a stupid comment that happens to be entirely false. So just because I type responses every day and then delete them before I hit post, I am going to take some of those falsehoods I see portrayed by ignorant people on the subject of immigration and provide the truth. And these truths don’t come from hearsay, they come from real life situations that I have lived myself, that people close to me have lived or that I have seen happen in front of my eyes. I am an immigrant, and I have lived in this country for 12 years now, on a temporary visa, without papers, with papers and now with a green card.
“She’s just lazy, if she’s been here for 21 years then she has had ample amount of time to become a citizen”
One of my favourites. Only those who are immigrants or related to immigrants know how HARD it is to become a US citizen. I was 21 in the year 2000 when my mother came to the US and she applied for my green card when I was 22. When I was 33 my mother applied to become a citizen, and a few months after she became a citizen I finally had my green card interview and received it a few weeks later. I can now apply for citizenship if I so choose as I have had my green card for 5 years. All in all this entire process cost my mother thousands of dollars and both of us a lot of frustration and tears. If she hadn’t become a citizen I would still be waiting for my green card, 16 years later, with no end in sight.
Keep in mind that I arrived in the US with a valid temporary working visa (for one specific job). Even though by the time I had my green card interview it had long since expired and I was working somewhere completely different, off the books. I had been given a SSN on arrival years before, because I had a valid, albeit temporary, working visa. I still have that same SSN. But because I had proof of entry into the country I was able to continue my green card petition from within the country without having to leave, even if my legal status had expired.
Now, imagine you come here with your parents at an early age, or even as a teen looking for a better life for yourself and your family back home. You get through the dangers of crossing the border, end up in a new city, learn the language, work hard and start creating a new life for yourself. Maybe you find love and have kids, and send them to school here in the US. You may be using a fake SSN that you bought off the street (more on that later), and you most likely pay taxes and all the rest that is withheld from each paycheck. Maybe you actually file those taxes and get a Tax ID number and whatever refund you are due. But most of the time you probably don’t and never see any of that.
The ONLY way you can possibly get citizenship right now is to leave the country and have someone apply for you (family member, work etc). Kids cannot sponsor anyone until they are 21. You don’t just apply for citizenship after a few years in the US and get a passport. So you spend the rest of your life hoping to fly under the radar, never leaving the city you live in because you are worried that if you travel anywhere you will get caught and deported, never seeing your homeland again.
Yes, it’s a choice that we all make. But it is never an easy choice and there is never anything easy about being an immigrant in this country.
“All these unvaccinated immigrants are going to cause outbreaks of diseases again!”
In order to obtain a green card you have to go through a vigorous medical exam (not covered by any insurance) and you are tested for immunity in all different things, including chicken pox. I had never had chicken pox before so I had to be vaccinated before I got the clean bill of health from the doctor. This was not my regular practitioner but a doctor who specialized in immigration laws.
In Mexico vaccinations are taken very seriously and all children have to be vaccinated before they can go to school. They even vaccinate against TB at birth which is not done in the US. More information HERE.
Actually, take a look for yourself… Here is the World Health Organization’s chart containing percentages of coverage of each available vaccine for each country.
I think the US should probably worry about US citizens not vaccinating their kids rather than immigrants, documented or not, invading the country, spreading infectious diseases all over the place. Because if you are concerned about things like measles and whooping cough, the outbreaks that we see happening across the country are not due to immigrants.
“It’s a felony to use a fake SSN, so ‘illegals’ are criminals”
First of all there is a HUGE difference between stealing another person’s identity and using a fake SSN. If you steal someone’s identity you are using a REAL SSN that belongs to someone. A fake SSN is a fake number that someone has made up that doesn’t belong to anyone. Usually this fake number is printed on a fake card and bought on the street for a certain price. Anyone who knows what to look for will know that this fake number is FAKE and cannot be used for anything. It is however possible to pay taxes and any other federal withholdings towards that fake SSN. The money just goes into the federal banks, and everyone knows about it. Using a fake SSN IS a crime but depending on what it is used for can be considered a felony or a misdemeanor. Which leads to my next point…
“Immigrants come here and steal our jobs and all of our benefits and don’t pay for anything!!”
It is IMPOSSIBLE for an immigrant without documents or on a visa to be granted any type of benefits. If you hold a green card then it is possible (after 5 years of holding this card). EVEN if you have a fake SSN your request won’t even make it past the first step because Social Security will confirm that the number is FAKE. There is only ONE type of benefit that an immigrant without papers or who has a visa can actually obtain and that is pregnancy Medicaid (and not in all states). This is a very specific prenatal and birth health insurance coverage for pregnant women who earn under a certain threshold, and only covers certain things. This health insurance is removed 3 months after the baby is born.
I hear people stating that immigrants use their US born children to get benefits for them, but honestly, you would really have to work the system to make that even work. I mean I don’t know how a 2 year old can fill out paperwork and go to interviews… That would be a sure sign for CPS to get involved, no? Maybe they take advantage of Medicaid for their kids, which makes sense because their median earnings most likely fall under a certain threshold (we do, there is no way we would be able to afford our eldest’s regular cardiology check-ups if we weren’t eligible for Medicaid). But all in all, I seriously doubt people are flooding into the US to steal all the amazing (not) benefits this country provides. If that were their main interest they would be flocking to places like Finland and Sweden.
And stealing people’s jobs?! I read today that California farmers are regretting their Trump votes because now they are worried they will be losing their field workers. I don’t know if anyone actually researches facts anymore, but the unemployment rate peaked at 10% in October of 2009, and then went down gradually to sit at 4.8% in January 2017 (where it’s been hovering for quite a while). I see that McDonalds is always hiring, so if you are really struggling then I’m sure there is a job for you. (This is coming from someone who has seen her fair share of crap jobs, cleaning puke filled hotel rooms and other super glamourous stories – a job is a job). However, if all of these highly skilled immigrant workers suddenly disappeared from the employment market I can only predict the strain that it would cause on the economy and the companies that employ them in general. I mean, they might even have to start paying minimum wage and providing benefit packages to their employees!
No one is stealing your job. Actually, let’s take that one back. I did. I came here on a visa where my company stated I was doing something a US citizen couldn’t do. Well technically I WAS doing a job no one else could do, which is why I ended up leaving it, but yes, I’m pretty sure any US citizen could have done it too. You are welcome to that job though, I would rather clean puke-filled hotel rooms.
“They only come here to have babies so that the babies become US citizens”
The US is one of a few countries that grants automatic birthright citizenship (jus soli). And while I am sure there are people who come here with the sole wish to have their baby on US soil (and I have read some of the stories first hand too), this isn’t what usually happens. Life happens. I know many, many immigrants, some very close friends of mine, who didn’t decide that they were having a baby here so that they would be US citizens (myself included). We just happened to have a baby. And we weren’t going to leave our lives behind just because of this life change.
“All Mexican immigrants are drug dealers and rapists”
Yeah no. And also, just so you know, if you thought being undocumented only applied to Mexicans then you don’t really know much… You think Europeans only do it the “right” way? Let me go laugh quietly in my corner while you continue to think that. The only difference is the way someone enters the country. After that it’s all the same.
“I did it the right way so why can’t they??”
Good for you. Not everyone has your life, funds or even someone who wanted to actually marry them. Some people actually only want to marry for love, not for a green card. Others are running for their lives. Not everyone happens to be white and well-regarded. Not everyone has the time to wait for years until their number pops up. Not every country is eligible for the green card lottery (Great Britain wasn’t for years). Some countries have such a small quota of visas that decades could go by before you get yours (and that’s not including travel bans and things like that raining down). It takes YEARS for the normal everyday human being to get a green card. Even if the rest of your nuclear family lives in the US. Trust me, I know, I experienced this.
So, please, if you want to continue blaming immigrants for everything bad that has happened in this country, please do so by using the correct FACTS. Otherwise you just sound like a racist, ignorant bigot who spends his or her day reading “alt-right” news and repeating things about people you have never even encountered. It’s easy to believe propaganda if you don’t bother to learn the actual truth.