Immigration

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Immigration is one of those topics that create a lot of conversation.  I believe that we are a country of immigrants and we should continue to open our doors to other people who want to come to the US and participate by being working educated citizens.  Not always so easily done. 

In Australia, if you want to become a citizen, you have to have a degree and then work.  After 3 (or 4) years, if you become a working member of society, you get to become an Australian citizen.  It is helping the Australian economy grow and because of this law, many Asians have moved there for work. 

In this country, we have treated many of our immigrants not with open arms but quite the opposite.  We are forcing them to leave this country instead of letting them fill jobs that I am not sure many Americans would want.  But what is worse is that we have been deporting 18 year olds who have lived in the US their entire life, who grew up here, who's parents have become US citizens or have green cards and are sending them back to where they came from.  Why they don't have the paperwork is probably because the system is really hard to navigate and most of them are not educated enough to figure it out.  But, where these kids come  is the US. 

Any kid under 18 regardless of being at US citizen will and must be educated while they are here, it is the law.  For instance, in Denver, 60% of the kids in some of the public schools English is not their first language.  I don't know if they are legal of illegal but they are being educated.  Once they hit the age of being able to go to college, they can't go because they do not have a VISA or green card.  Instead, we deport them.  Did anyone think that perhaps these young "Americans" might be good hard working citizens that have been educated in our public school system and can make an impact on our economy?

There is a woman who works for us.  She is wonderful.  She has been part of our family for almost 10 years.  Yes, we pay her taxes.  She came to the US illegally with her daughter in tow 25 or so years ago.  She started out in Chicago and eventually ended up in NYC.  She worked hard.  A total jack of all trades.  She came here to make a better life for her only daughter.  She is from Brazil.

When it was time to go to college, the only place she could afford to send her daughter was to the top University in Brazil.  Perhaps not well thought out but once her daughter got to Brazil to go to school, she couldn't return because she wasn't an American citizen.  She got on a plane to come home for Thanksgiving ( an American holiday ) and was turned away at the gate.  Her mother, who has been happily married to a US citizen for over 10 years, can't have her daughter visit her.  Although her husband tried to adopt her daughter years ago, the wonderful state of Florida lost all their paperwork for 2 years and by the time they found it, she was too old to be adopted.

Now comes the long tedious process of attempting to get her daughter back to the US.  Seven years have passed.  It should have taken 10 but I was aggressive about pursuing this through the NY State Department.  Her first interview, in Sao Paulo, was done by a person who works for the US Immigration Department who proceeded to harass her in the interview.  I won't go into details but it was disgsting. Regardless, she eventually went to the next level which takes a few more years.  The process is tedious and frustrating.  More important, nobody cares.

Yesterday, was the finale, and her VISA has been approved.  She will be here in 10 days.  What resonated with me more than anything else was when she called me to thank me for all my help, the first thing she said was "I'm coming home".  Home because the US is her home.  The US is home to the thousands of kids we deport for not having the proper paperwork.  Why don't we help them become happy engaging citizens instead of sticking them on a plane back to a place where they no one and don't even understand the culture.

In cases like this, I believe nice guys finish last.  I am always amazed at the people who figure out how to work through the system, particularly the immigration system, who get here and are not good citizens.  Our policies must change.  We should be helping all kids of immigrants figure out how to stay, be educated and love this country.  We should be opening our doors to any educated person who wants to come here and start their business.  We should be opening our doors to people that have the skill set to work in our companies and make them better.  Our world is flat and until we participate with that in mind, our economy is never going to be as robust as it should be.