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An Asian Student, Legally Resident, WritesTo Pat Buchanan
VDARE.com note: This letter is a shortened version of one that was sent to us by a mutual friend, who says that Pat Buchanan replied graciously. The writer was willing to let his name be used, but we declined. We thought he was revealing a touching, but in this case inappropriate, faith in America. The U.S. education and immigration bureaucracies are in the hands of people with their own ideas of what America should be. They might well decide that anyone who agrees with Pat Buchanan about immigration issues should be asked to leave the country—for being un-American.
Dear Mr. Buchanan,
My name is ——. I am from [Asian country] and have been legally in the United States for almost six years on a student visa. I currently work as a nurse at — Hospital in —, [State], with a legal work permit or OPT card that will be good for one year under my student visa.
I have a Bachelor's degree in Biology from — University and a Master's degree in Anatomy from —University, [Asian country]. I taught Anatomy at —University medical school in [Asian country] for two years before coming to the USA to continue my education. I planned to go to the nursing school at the University of [Southern State], but I did not have enough money. I entered the nursing program at — Community College instead.
When I was in an English class at — Community College, we discussed the idea of allowing illegal aliens to go to school. Nobody in the class supported it, but I actually agreed at that time that illegal aliens be given some education, so they could be productive, instead of living a life of crime.
But as time passed by, I have experienced things that completely changed my mind. Most significantly, I saw the disparity between how I was treated as a legal student, and how others who are illegal are treated.
Initially, my student visa did not allow me to work. Eventually, I could work, but only on campus, for twenty hours per week. And, because I was an international student, I had to pay out-of-state tuition fees, which are around five times more than in-state tuition.
I asked my international students' advisor what I could do if I ran out of money. She answered simply: "You have to go back to your country."
I was stunned a little by that. I thought back to that discussion in class about allowing illegal aliens to go to school. I just could not believe that illegal aliens go to public schools for free but I, as a legal resident who plays by the rules all the way, had to pay extra fees—and be kicked out of school if I do not have money to pay.
I started to think that there was something wrong with the system.
I wondered why there were so many Hispanics working and walking around, seemingly not worried about their status. I went to an Asian grocery store and saw a Hispanic working there. He was from El Salvador, and illegal. I asked him if he was afraid of being checked by police. He told me: "They don't bother us."
A couple of months later, I saw that what he told me was the truth. He was arrested for driving without a driver's license. He was in jail for a couple nights. He hired a Mexican civil liberties lawyer, paid the fine and went back to work in the grocery store as if nothing had happened.
I am sure that police knew he was illegal, since he did not have any ID or proof of legal residency at all.
How did he get out of jail and go back to work like nothing happened? Without being deported to El Salvador?
After that, he planned to get a driver's license. I asked how, since he did not have any ID? His answer stunned me. He said he could call a lady who worked at the [State] DMV to make an appointment. And then he would go to the DMV right before it closed, through the front door like others, pay $2,000, and she would put any information in the computer system for him.
Towards the end of my nursing training, my finances became very difficult. I had to move to a very cheap mobile home neighborhood where there were other low-income renters. Some were illegal Mexicans who occasionally worked. They would often be drunk, play loud music during the night, perform inappropriate sexual behavior outside of the mobile homes, and use drugs. I was raised in a conservative, middle-income [Asian country] family and I had never experienced people like this before. I stayed there, a bitter experience, for almost ten months. When I left, I had less than $100 left in my bank account.
After I graduated, I could apply for a work permit card or OPT card that allowed me to work under my student visa for one year. I spent my first three months looking for a job. It was extremely depressing living without money, but I kept looking because I knew that I had good credentials. Fortunately, I eventually was employed by — Hospital.
It is good to have some income, but it is also painful knowing that the government takes out almost a thousand dollars each month from my pay check and gives free health care, food stamps, free educational benefits, etc. to illegal aliens like those in the cheap mobile home park.
Why politicians need to “debate” illegal immigration? Entering the USA without permission is illegal, it is against your laws. There is nothing else that needs to be discussed any further.
The US can control its airports to limit what is carried on planes. The US can screen people at embassies and determine who can get a visa. The US can put troops into Afghanistan, Iraq etc. to “fight terrorism.” How come the USA cannot control illegal aliens who crossing a border that is only 1,969 miles long?
The US seems to be afraid of terrorists after 9/11. But doesn't the government realize that terrorists can just easily fly to Mexico, and then cross the border along with the illegal aliens already coming into the US?
My work permit will expire in May 2012. I went to the Homeland Security office in [Southern State] to find how to extend it. I have to file a form, I-129, that my employer will have to sign.
I asked: what if — Hospital will not sign the form? The answer was short and simple: "You will have to go back to your country."
I pretty much knew the answer, but it hurt. I love this country. I want to contribute legally to making it a better. I have fought all the way, paid all the legal fees, and played by the rules for almost six years—just to learn that I may not be welcome, even though I have a professional job.
But, on the other hand, illegal aliens are welcome to stay and walk around in public openly, with no questions asked.
My American friend went to Homeland Security with me. He said sarcastically to the head agent: "Maybe [—] can be an illegal immigrant, so he can get all the free benefits without paying anything."
The agent just plugged his ears, closed his eyes, and said: “I hear this every day."
Everybody knows what is going on with the illegal immigration, but nobody will do anything about it. Many people completely disagree with the government’s policy of turning a blind eye, but no politician seems to have the will to fight the powerful interests behind it.
I believe that one reason for your social and economic problems is that illegal aliens have taken jobs, earning money and sending it out to Mexico without paying taxes. And the government still provides them free health care and other benefits at taxpayer expense. I see that each night at —Hospital.
There is nothing that the USA is gaining from illegal aliens. The USA is losing, and losing badly. A country with a bad economy, high debt, high unemployment, and a failed experiment with multiculturalism, cannot be a superpower.
I do not gain any benefit from writing this letter. And, of course, it is not my business how your citizens should act.
But I do love this country and its hardworking citizens, whom I have come to know through my education and work. I just wanted to share my experiences as a legal resident and a professional who has played by the very difficult rules, while witnessing the illogical and self-destructive policies of your government towards illegal immigration.
Mr. Buchanan, sometimes I attend hockey games. I feel a special emotion when I sing the words of your national anthem, and think of your country and your history, and what your country means.
America has a great legacy. But it must act soon—or it will not survive.
I pray that your words will have effect.
Postscript for VDARE.com readers: Since writing this letter, my OPT work permit expired. —hospital has a policy of not sponsoring employees for the I-129 form, so I have returned to college to earn additional credits in a specialized field. But not being able to work legally, and not having any income, I depend totally on what I was able to save while employed. I am very uncertain if I can complete the coursework before I run out of funds—scholarships, fellowships, and loans for overseas students like me are rare.
If this happens, then I will have to return to [Asian country].
I want to offer my talents to the US. But I want to do it lawfully and correctly. I love this country's traditions of liberty and hard work. But your system works against those who play by the rules.