Archive for Thursday, May 11, 2006

Asian immigrants face long process

May 11, 2006

People are constantly looking for ways to improve their lives. Many choose different paths that they feel can best provide them with the opportunity to accomplish this.

The road to a better life can be filled with many treacherous turns and obstacles that could probably hinder the weak at heart. This is why you hear some people risking their lives for a chance to live in the United States.

The recent spectacle of the "guest worker" initiative has caused many to challenge their sentiment and place in the evolution of the American society.

While I can't claim to have a good understanding of the proposed program, I have my own biased response stemming from the fact that I am an immigrant myself.

As I saw pictures and news reports of the protest and reaction to this program, I reminisced of my road to becoming a lawful resident. The process itself is very tedious and time consuming. But in doing so, I have all the access to the liberty and the freedom this country offers.

I suspect this is what many immigrants pursue because there are not many countries that have the appeal or the opportunity the United States has. Even when I was young, I had always dreamed of coming to America. It was considered a privilege and chance of a lifetime even if one got the chance to visit.

The allure of Disneyland, Los Angeles, New York and other world-renowned places was irresistible. That sentiment was, and is, shared by the rest of the world.

While the United States provides the opportunity and chance to make many dreams come true, it also has certain guidelines on how someone can become a legal resident or citizen to live the American dream. This is where the whole guest worker program gets a little murky in my mind.

I have to preface that by admitting I don't have a complete or a good understanding of the program. All I have is my opinion from reading some of the news on that topic and observing the reactions to it.

The biggest problem I have with it is that it seems to favor people from just one country -- Mexico.

When there was all the protest going on, it was mainly by people of Mexican decent. There weren't many, if any, Chinese, Indian or European protesters. The need for cheap labor and the ease of illegally entering the country has made this the issue that it is today.

I am all for the people from all over the world coming to America to take part in the opportunities available, but it has to be done through the proper channels. Just because someone can work hard and cheap doesn't mean they should get the free ride to this country.

The irony of this is that someone who has a specialized skill or qualification from another country would have a much harder time coming to America.

They would have to go through a very strict review process and have to prove that they won't displace any American workers. Once the due diligence is done, they only have a limited time they can stay in this country. Once that time runs out, they have to return to their native country.

I find this ridiculous because these are the kinds of people you would want to serve in their respective positions.

Many of them contribute to the economy by buying homes and consumer goods.

The other end of the spectrum we are told is that many of these illegal workers come here to make money so they can send it back to their families and support them. At the same time they depend on the social services of this country, which is funded by taxpayers.

If we legalized this process, I don't see how it would have a positive effect on the economy.

There is also the debate on how this will impact the political parties in the upcoming elections. I don't even want to go there.

I believe people in the world should have the chance to make their lives better. How they go about doing it is now the subject of concern for some.

I have to believe that when the pursuit of a better life becomes a political cause -- no matter what country a person is from -- there is something amiss.

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