What is Immigration? A personal reflection.

July 20, 2022

The Oxford language dictionary defines Immigration as the act of coming to live permanently in a foreign country. But, to immigrate means to be an immigrant.

Being an immigrant means consistently working 10 times harder than everyone in the room and living in fear, knowing that you might get a “visa denied” email followed by a heartbreaking phone call one day. Informing you that you must leave the country you have come to love as your own. 

Immigration is a lottery – so it is about living for our brothers and sisters that never made it here. Immigration is about dreading the day your parents die… because you know you won’t see them say a final “goodbye.” It is about saving the bonuses or extra money earned to see your family in your home country while all your peers globetrot to Cancun or Spain. 

Immigration compromises for family –  so a mother can pass a test to show she is already qualified and see a father start over, hoping for a better life. Immigration is diminished and belittled – “what is that?” “your accent is funny!” or worst of all…

“Go back; you don’t belong here.” 

Immigration is about hanging your head down, not causing trouble (because maybe the trouble will be brought up in your citizenship hearing), and waiting patiently even though the country you have given everything to makes you wait, wait and wait. 

Immigration is about smiling ear to ear when someone you meet is from the same place as you – maybe I can finally be seen. Immigration is about never belonging… Not in a home country, not in America. 

While everyone works a summer job by the beach, immigration is about not having a social security number: Does America not recognize an immigrant? 

Immigration is about fighting for everything: your job, your visa, your house, your car, your teachers, your grades, your language, your culture, your beliefs… just everything. 

Immigration is hoping that once citizenship is confirmed, there is safety, protection, and the qualification to be someone’s first choice. 

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