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. 

Comments (Archived):

  1. marshal sandler

    My father Born In The USA used to say while the Pilgrims were sitting around drinking perfect martinis in there private clubs and doing the two step , my immigrant grandfather and his friends were building a United States of America-Nuff Said

    1. Gotham Gal

      I love that. Perfect.

      1. marshal sandler

        Thanks this an excellent article, also my immigrant grandfather built companies in Arizona Colorado California Michigan Canada and DC. This was a guy who landed at Ellis Island only spoke Yiddish and Russian, worked for Ford Motor at $5:00 per day saved money founded companies and sent all his children to college we have people in the US today born here and still on the dole-I want all are kids to survive and not sit around drowning in a Sea Of Guiness-and developing ideas we need a closed America-Immigrant’s children are setting the curve in our school systems we need this type of competition to create better schools-America developed because it was for all of us lets keep it this way sorry for the Soap Box today but I am proud to be the Grandson of an Immigrant

  2. ellen

    I don’t want to sound prejudice but every person i have hired that has come from a foregn country has been excellent as their job. Their work ethic is beyond anything I have seen from many American workers doing a similar job for me. In construction the American young men make fun of the Brazilians because they are so good , hardworking, and diligent. I have never had a young man from a foreign country not show up for a job unless he has called with a valid excuse. long before the morning of the job. How many of you waited for American construction people who don’t bother to show up nor call after they were hired?

    1. Gotham Gal

      You bring up a very good point. Worth ethic is something that should bedrilled into our education system. Is it the sense of entitlement ofAmericans that believe that they don’t have to be hardworking and diligent?

  3. tammy gia

    The Girl From Brazil….I have said this in many email exchanges, and it just doesn’t seem enough… THANK YOU! Gothamgal has been an amazing and inspiring force to both my mother and I during these last 8 years with my immigration, and now I can finally say I’M COMING HOME!!!! After 9 Christmas’s and New Years, after 8 Thanksgivings, 8 bitrhdays. After having gone to graduation without any family member there to support me or take pictures of me walking the plank with the empty tube in my hand… no one to hug me and tell me congratulations… after many nights wondering how much longer would I have to stay away from my family. After having suffered and agonized while my mom went through a very difficult brain surgery so she could hear again. I can go HOME!!! i can pay my taxes and work a decent job, and I will be able to soon vote for a president in a country I believe it to be my own.Gothamgal, I will be forever in debit with you for all you have done!Thank you.T

    1. Gotham Gal

      Believe me, I am just as thrilled as you are!

      1. tammy gia

        If you don’t have a voice no one will hear you.Gotham Gal YOU were my voice and you became my FREEDOM! You screamed as loud you could, you kicked as far and as high as you could, raised hell for me to be in heaven again!Gotham Gal you can count on me anytime!!! We cannot express how grateful for you never letting go! You didn’t rest until you could reunite us. Thank you!

  4. Tanya Monteiro

    I sent this out on Twitter, wonderful article and as I see the future and the world a very relevant problem, not just for the USA?Thank youTanya