The other day I was going to post about something about morality without a deity. It was going to tell you about grey thinking vs. black & white thinking and how dogmatic religions force this way of thought. While I still stand by this ideology that religion makes you believe that you are sick and only it has the remedy, I was faced with a moral dilemma today that really put me to the coals.
Here in Texas there was a Valedictorian from McKinney Boyd High School that graduated with a GPA of 4.95 and has been accepted to Yale. There’s just one small catch. In her speech she reveals that she is “One of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the shadows of the United States…“.
Now, my initial reaction to this was … well not very progressive or liberal. I was initially angry that an undocumented immigrant had made it in this country and I took this speech as a “fuck you” to the citizens and immigrants that are trying to become citizens legally; however I then realized that I didn’t have all of the story to this and was thinking like a jackass and someone that would vote for Trump. So, I dug deeper into this story and found out that Larissa’s mother had applied for citizenship and was going through the proper channels. She applied almost 7 years ago when they entered the country on a tourist visa.
So, now the question I had was this: “Are illegal immigrants “illegal” or just can’t afford the cost of a Green Card upon entry, especially if they have a family. According to US Citizenship and Immigration Services and form I-485 the cost of applying for a Green Card is $1070 ($985 + $85 biometrics service fee) for anyone between 14-78 and not a refugee. If you are 79 or older they waive the biometrics fee so it’s a flat $985. If you are under 14 & being admitted with at least one parent then the cost is $635 (again a waived biometric fee) but if you are under 14 and don’t have any parents you are going to have to cough up $985 (but again, hey we are waiving that biometrics fee!). Mind you this is just to file for a green card. You still have to wait and then after the money spent, you can still be denied (To my knowledge). To make the magic even better, to become a citizen you then have to have a green card for 5 years ( 3 if you marry someone that is already a citizen), you have to cough up another $680 ($595 + $85 biometrics fee), take a civics test, speak/read/write fluent english and then you get to file your form for processing. In the meantime, keep that green card up to date! The renewal fee is $450 and they expire every 10 years which is about how long it may take for all of this to get processed.
So, if Larissa’s mother has paid for her and her kids Green Card and has filed for citizenship then she has shelled out (according to the sites above) $4380 and is still in a holding pattern after 7 years. Here’s my other dilemma: If her mother has filed for citizenship, she had to have had a Green Card for her and her kids. So, aren’t they documented?
“They put in an application for citizenship almost seven years ago and are still waiting for it to be processed.”
My question now (according to what I know based on this article and what I have read about our immigration system) if they have Green Cards, then they are not undocumented or “illegal” immigrants, they are just immigrants. The thing is, I want Larissa to succeed. I want her to reap the rewards for her hard work no matter what and I want a simpler (and cheaper) way for more immigrants to get into this country to contribute to America and succeed like Larissa has. Despite her amazing GPA, speeches, and digs at Trump aside, the confusion that I believe has swept this country and has blurred our vision on this issue is that people have developed a mindset that all immigrants are bad. That is what xenophobia is.
This is where my dilemma still lies. While I know the US immigration system sucks, I also know that illegal immigration is an economical impacting issue in the US. Do I know that these people go through a lot to escape a horrible existence in a poverty stricken country and make a new life here in the US? Yes, I do. Do, I wish that they had a better life? Yes, I do. Do, I feel that they are entitled to come here and put a drain on our already fucked up economy? No, I do not. Does that make me an asshole? Depends who you ask. Does this make me xenophobic? Absolutely not.
I guess my dilemma is with how I view immigrants vs. the popular views of immigrants in this country. While the Liberal side has a view of “open the borders” and the Conservative side has the view of “build a wall”, I just think we should make it more sensible, and accessible (ie; Cheaper) to come into this country for people that can contribute to our culture and our country.
Because thousands of dollars for a “maybe” that takes years to process is a little fucking stupid.