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Saturday, January 28, 2017

Should I be worried as an immigrant in United States?


Politics can be immensely divisive. Families got into arguments that ended up really nasty and friends turned into enemies.  So in as much as possible, I do not want to enter that dangerous ground. Sometimes, you need to let your voice be heard though no matter how small or insignificant it may seem.

When the new US president was elected, I received quite a number of messages from friends and family expressing their concern about me as an immigrant here. My husband and I were solid about our view about it, I came here legally and I followed the process so what’s to worry about? The new president was clear about it. He was after illegal immigrants with criminal cases.

The process of my papers took almost two years to finish. My husband and I went through the agonizing journey of waiting to meet all the requirements of US government. I needed to submit police certificates/ NBI clearance attesting that I never had any derogatory records. Aside from all the documents we needed to submit, I had medical examinations (thoroughly checked physically and psychologically) to ensure I don’t pose health threat and I was required to have various vaccines as well. To top it all, I went through three security checks before boarding the plane coming here, going through another security check in the US port of entry which included scanning all my luggage, removing my shoes and jewelry then being checked in a tiny room by a lady security guard before I was allowed to pass the immigration. My husband and I were in complete agreement those precautions were necessary if America wants to stay being safe. So, why do I need to worry? I came here legally and if only illegal ones with criminal records are the focused of reforms, there is definitely nothing for me to worry about.  

However, the effect of the executive order signed by the new president was unprecedented.  Suddenly, legally obtained visas and green cards lost their worth and people from seven countries banned from entering theUnited States were detained in airports. Some of them just came from their home country because of family emergencies. I am a permanent resident like them. My country was not included in the seven countries specified in the executive order he signed BUT the president is clear that more countries will be added in the current list. Who knows which country will be the next?

On the side note, those people currently being detained now came here legally, too. Probably, they went through the same I process I had. 

When a wall is built for protection, there is nothing wrong with it. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs states safety and security as part of the basic needs of an individual. America has the right to be protected just like any other countries in the world. But, if one is built based on hate, then the bedrock of values where humanity is based, loses its significance.

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