Friday, April 28, 2006

Immigrant Tells Immigrants To.... Get Lost!?

I am an immigrant. And proud of it. I came to the United States in 1987, on a visit to New York and Canada around Christmas of that year. Many people at that time told me that it was so rare for a single young male to get a visitor visa, I should not return. Of course, many of those people telling me that were here illegally, and living in apartments in Brooklyn and Queens, 10-12 people piled on top of each other.

I respected them for being hard working people, and trying to make a living, and being so hospitable. But, I found I disturbing that they found nothing wrong with breaking the laws of this land, where they came to make money. I refused their suggestions, and went back before my visa expired.

It was so amazing, almost a matter of fate, that on my return to Pakistan I found papers and scholarship information, that enabled me to literally come back to the United States, legally, and not only attend Columbia University in the heart of New York City, and get an MBA, but also to start a media and technology business here.

A few years later, after fulfilling my requirements, I also legally became a US Citizen. I am proud of my Pakistani heritage, and I am proud of being a Muslim, and I am proud of being an American. And, as I said, I am proud of being an immigrant.

Living in New York, which has such a large population of immigrants, legal and illegal, you would expect me to be pro-immigrant on everything. I find that wrong and foolish.

I am all for legal immigration. I am all for this country, MY country, the United States, being a shining beacon of hope for people around the world. I am all for people around the world, the best, the brightest, the hardest working, the socially responsible, to come here and to contribute to this great nation, its society and improve their lives too.

I am all for American PICKING and CHOOSING the best of the best, that IT needs, that will make OUR society better, who will make OUR future brighter. I want America to have an immigration policy that helps it become even greater, smarter, harder working, more capable, and more prepared for the intensely competitive global marketplace that is upon us.

Instead, we are going the opposite way. Doctors from Pakistan, engineers from India, techies from Russia, nurses from the Philippines, physical therapists from Poland all have to wait for years, if not decades, to be able to come here. So, we make people wait for YEARS even though they can become active, productive, revenue generating, service providing, tax-paying members of society from Day One.

Yet, we turn a blind eye to people who can simply jump over a fence, crawl over a border, with no skills, no education, no desire to learn our language, no plan to pay taxes or enhance our future. On top of that we have to listen to these people march through OUR streets burning OUR flag threatening OUR economy if we do not give them legal status.
Not only do we turn a blind eye, we actually COURT these people, we actually pander to them, we actually show them our politicians are afraid of them.

This is not about just criticizing Mexicans or Cubans or any particular group. I cannot stand the way some people seem to think that America has some sort of responsibility to accept every Tom, Dick, Harry, Jose, Amadu, Ali, Kumar, Chang or Yuri who wants to come here.

I cannot accept MY country as being the one that has to foot the bill for everyone who cannot find a job in their home country to head off to the United States, enter it illegally and then go on welfare, become a criminal, turn cities into ghettoes and not even learn the damned language.

So, to all those illegals out there. Listen up. Let’s be clear on one thing.

You ARE here ILLEGALLY. Many of you are stealing jobs from American workers because you will do them at lower wages than Americans can afford to do them and still remain in the middle class. Many of you do not even bother to learn the language, and you give us attitude if we do not speak to you in Spanish, especially in places like Miami.

If you are planning a march to cripple our economy on May 1, we Americans will make sure every Immigration agent is standing there to thank you for making it convenient to arrest and deport you. Get in line, and follow the rules. Then you are welcome here, to live here and live the American dream, as Americans, not parasites.

What do you think? If you said, "Jesus Christ!" then click to read 'Jesus Christ Super(Political)Star, Illegal Immigrant?'.

16 comments:

Scribbler said...

Thank you. You are well spoken and articulate, more so than the knee jerk redneck army that is rattling sabres.....

Radmila said...

well said.

Chris said...

Very well put sir.

Zhinker said...

I definitely agree with the need to prevent illegal immigration but I'm not sure if I agree with you on who to allow to legally immigrate to America.

If I understand you right, you suggest changing the laws to easily allow smart people who can improve America to come to this country. While that status of theirs might make them eligible for some slight ease in the immigration process, I don't believe we should make it too easy, and you probably won't care too much for my reason why.

For the past few centuries the developed, western civilization has leeched off of the resources of the undeveloped. They have taken thing like their gold and oil at measly prices just so that the west could improve THEIR countries and make THEIR lives easier, while ignoring the plight they send those in undeveloped nations to.

What you are suggesting seems to be going in the same direction, except now the resource is intelligence. Undeveloped nations are already finding their intellectuals rapidly emigrating, which is just accelerating their rapid decay. Those people find it easier to simply leave their country and live in an already prosperous nation, rather than work hard and risk life and limb to bring their nations to glory.

Don't get me wrong now, I don't blame them for how they feel (heck, my family's one of them). It's not just easy street immigrants are coming to when they leave their country; their lives are often in danger as well. However, they are their country's only hope, and if countries like the United States simply opens up its arms to those intellectuals then there will be almost no reason for them to try to save their nation.

We need to keep in mind that we are not the only people living on this planet, nor should we be hogging all its resources.

Here's something I just thought of about how the future might turn out if we did allow intellectuals easy access to our country. Like I just said, this just occurred to me so it probably needs some refinement. The decadence as I have already mentioned will occur in the undeveloped lands, and this would lead to the escalation of crime and violence as has already started in various countries world wide.

Now think, the U.S. cannot live aloof from those countries for ever, sooner or later they'll have to collide (9-11 comes to mind). The future of this nation would not be assured if it's surrounded by cut-throat countries willing to do whatever it takes to get what they want. How long can our prosperity last while there are others that live in great poverty? I'm imagining things like the French Revolution a worldwide scale. Scary though, isn't it? All the more reason to help developing nations prosper equally and to help bring them up to the level of greatness that we have achieved.

I'd appreciate any feedback you have on this, though I'd prefer it if you left it on my xanga at www.xanga.com/zhinker or e-mailed me at zhinker@gmail.com

Imran Anwar said...

Thanks, everyone, for the kind comments. More specific response to Zhinker. Thanks for the detailed comment, but, I had analyzed your point several years ago and even discussed it at length in my CNN profile a few years ago. The USA is not LEECHING off anyone. No one BEGGED me to come to USA. Pakistan, my country of birth, had NO opportunities for what I can do. It is also full of jobless Masters of Arts (MA English) who make more money driving cabs in New York and send more money back every month than they would have made in salaries there, if they had a job. Additionally, if someone wants to change their homeland, they can come here and do it better. e.g. I was able to be start Internet email for Pakistan BECAUSE I was here in USA. In Pakistan I would be rotting away in some government job. Or, in politics - and assassinated by now.

Imran

Anonymous said...

Imran, you are a great American & this country needs more immigrants like you. Thanks for your webpage and posts.

Smurf said...

Wow. At first reading your post I almost backed down in how I feel but as I read on I realized you feel the same way I do. I dont mind if people from other countries are here, but just be here LEGALLY!!! But yes like everyone before me said... GREAT POST AND I LOVE THE WAY YOU PHRASED IT ALL!

Let said...

(copied from thelobbyists.blogspot.com thread)

I'm sorry but I cannot agree with you. What you are saying in essence is that we should only let doctors and lawyers in to the US, pick from the creme of the crop as if this country had no room for the day laborer. Illegal immigrants are not parasites. This country has created the system that they run from and it is appalling to read you of all people describe them as such.

Based on what I have read from you before, you seem to come from an mid- to upper middle class home in your home country. You seem to have been able to afford schooling most US citizens cannot. So I ask you, what type of background DO YOU have to call into question someone else's motives when you have lived a life of semi-privilege? It is so easy to shake your finger at other but how many servants do you keep in Pakistan? How much do you pay them? How do you treat the people that work for you? How did YOU become a US citizen? Were you privileged enough to be sponsored?

I would not be so quick to judge Imran for you seem to have little knowledge on the subject of labor, struggle and the life of an immigrant. As a matter of fact, you seem like an atypical immigrant and not one to speak for the masses. I would lie quietly in a corner and thank god that I am the exception and not the rule, for you are not the example of masses. It seems you had a few things on your side, not the least of which was luck.

Imran Anwar said...

Let, I did not expect you to agree with this posting of mine. ;-)

Overall, Yes, there are native born people in this country who have no useful bone in their body (except drug-driven boners to screw six women and leave illegitimate children with who then get on welfare) and who would not work if they were given Donald Trump's job (even without the hairdo).

BUT, the vast majority of AMERICANS are hardworking people. They will just not do the jobs at the wages ILLEGAL immigrants will do them at, and still hope to remain in the middle class. The TAX PAYING legal and native AMericans are also paying the cost of the MILLIONS of ILLEGAL ALIENTS giving BIRTH to kids in this country, without insurance... I think one in three in California, as I recall reading somewhere.

Would we be as accepting of 11 million Rusians marching in via Alaska, or 11 million Chinese coming in on ships? How about 11 million Arabs chanting Anti-America slogans coming in via Canada? Will we say, oh, let's start making America an English-Arabic country and not deport them because they make such good falafels?

It is NOT America's job to be the dump for everyone South of the border. I don't see those running crying to defend Mexican illegals show much interest if one says, OK, let's open the doors for out of work Chinese, North Korean, Indian, Bangla Deshi, Pakistani, Afghanistani, people from every country.... So, is it America's responsibility only to take UNSKILLED, UNEDUCATED and ILLEGAL people ONLY from Mexico or Cuba?

I did NOT have a life of semi-privilege. I went to Columbia Business School on a scholarship. It was open to people from here and other places. I did not come here and disappear. I went back and came back legally. I still call someone who comes to this country, with no skills and simply to exploit the host’s tax payer financed healthcare of social benefits a PARASITE. That can be someone from Pakistan or Mexico. If they are here illegally but hard work, so damn what? They are still illegal and they are a PARASITE and a THIEF because the LEGAL IMMIGRATION APPLICANT waiting his turn in Karachi OR Mexico City to come to America is following the rules and would come here and work as hard and be paid even better but has to wait 10 years.

THAT day laborer, OR Doctor, OR musician, OR retired grandmother is welcome to come here….. LEGALLY. THAT is the point, Let.

Imran

Let said...

My response is at the Lobby. We will have to agree to disagree.

brother_bones said...

People come to American to work, not to go on welfare. If you want to go on welfare you go to Canada, or Sweden. People come to American illegally because it is easier than coming in legally. The solution is to make it easier to come in on a work permit (less bureaucratic horseshit), that would eventually lead to citizenship, and harder to come in illegally.

To make it harder to come in illegally, border security is only part of the solution. Institutional changes are required in the punishments and fines for companies that hire illegals. Institutional changes are required in the way we handle illegals. Amnesty and/or free trips home don't work to stem the flow.

Another tactic to help reduce the number of illegals coming in from Mexico is to improve the Mexican infrastructure. NAFTA really only works on the border. The farther south one gets into Mexico the worse the travel is, and thus, the worse the supply and logistics become. Border town factories work because they have easy access to shipping routes. Improving transportation routes throughout Mexico would allow factories to locate in the south, taking advantage of cheap labor there, and improve economic conditions throughout Mexico.

Of course, this is a double-edged sword. Mexico is in a transition stage while developing. By being undeveloped they can compete with developing nations in labor resources, such as China. The more developed they become and the higher labor rates rise, the less able they will be to compete in those areas and the quicker they will need to transition to another area of business. Something Americans have had trouble with over decades.

11 million illegal workers isn't an insignificant amount. It's roughly the same amount of unemployed American workers. They're doing jobs, they're working, they're contributing to our economy. We can't simply send them back. Of course amnesty isn't the answer either as that only encourages more unlawful behavior.

(On a side note this is why I'm against decriminalization of drug use, it either needs to be legalized or we need to keep fighting this insane war on drugs.)

So where do we go with this? Easier accessability for legal migrant and immigrant workers (which would eventually lead to citizenship), greater punishments for illegal workers and those who higher illegal workers, and increased border security. This still leaves the question of what to do with 11 million established, productive members of our society that are here illegally.

My thoughts on this are that they need to take a vacation, go home, visit their families, and come back when they have the paperwork filled out. Give them an amnesty period to do it legal and proper (acknowledging that we do want them here, just not illegally), but not blanket amnesty that would encourage more illegal behavior.

As to what to do about encouraging immigration of knowledge workers? Staple their citizenship papers to their PhD.

If you have a strong back or a strong mind we can use you here. And, I'm more than willing to make it easier for you to come in and stay permanently. Especially those Cubans. Anyone with the ingenuity to build a raft out of milk jugs and a lawn chair and then have the sack to climb aboard and navigate through 90 miles of shark infested open ocean, well hell, I'll stand on the beach myself with the forms for you to sign.

Tania said...

As an immigrant myself having come to this country legally, I am outraged at the government's willingness to so easily grant citizenship to any illegal immigrant. The only criteria necessary to qualify.... that you are illegal.

I understand why so many want to come to this wonderful country that I call my home, after all I came here for those same reasons and choose to remain here. I have no desire to go back to my native country, Holland.

I agree with Let's comment that we do need day laborers. However, I will disagree on granting them citizenship. Rather, why don't we treat them like all other working immirgants and give them an H1 visa... good for working here legally for a total of 6 years, but does not grant you all rights due a citizen. And when your 6 years are up, you must leave the US for one year in order to return and do it again for another 6 years. So, if Americans are not willing to do the work for low wages, I say let in the day laborer and give them a work visa. Why should you get any more rights or have greater privileges than those foreigners who come here to work with legal visas, be productive, pay taxes and contribute all without permanent status granted them. Most of them too would like to have permanent status, but NO ONE wants to address their desires and their status. Is it because they are more educated than most illegal immigrants and are middle class? Or is it that they have just not figured out how to organize themselves with one voice? Why is no one fighting for THEIR rights? And what happens to our economy when all the foreign legal immigrants without permanent status are forced to leave because their visas have run out and the immigration quotas have already been met? But hey, who needs quotas when you have 11 million illegals to grant permanency to?

Having worked for a regional Latin America headquarters of a major US corporation, I understand legal immigration better than most.... the hurdles, the bureaucracy, the time it takes, the cost of obtaining visas, the frustration, the disappointment or if you are lucky, then maybe, just maybe a green card. I see many of my coworkers, colleagues and friends struggle to figure out how they can continue to stay in this country legally. Yet many of them are not able to and unfortunately have to leave at some point in time. So I ask, by granting illegal immigrants legal status, are we being fair to all immigrants within our border? Or are we over-reacting just to those who scream the loudest? And if we really did some analysis to determine who should and should not stay here, would we so easily grant 11 million legal status just because they do work no one else wants, and just because they happen to be willing to protest? What criteria should we really use?

Imran Farooq said...

I completely agree with your post. I think it's unfortunate that the people trying to immigrate to the United States legally are facing more roadblocks because of the attention that the illegals are causing. There needs to be a sense of accountability and justice in this system. The protesting is distorted and has become an issue of pro-immigration and anti-immigration when this is an issue of ILLEGAL immigration and not banning all immigration in general. A lot of the kids that are missing school are not even aware of what the issues are and are doing things for the sake of doing them.

Anonymous said...

So much talk against illegal immigrants, meanwhile big corporations in the US are the real tax dodgers. No one steals jobs from the US than greedy Corporate America, shipping factories to countries with more competitive work force than the US. Stop blaming these bad times on those without a voice. Welcome to Foreclosure Land and enjoy the American dream turned into a financial nightmare.

Anonymous said...

You are awesome.
I have to do a report for my comp class and was wondering if I could use a couple of quotes from your passage.
Very well put.
It's nice to know that an Americans like you are still out there.

Imran Anwar said...

To Anonymous 1 of "3:00 PM" - who's defending tax dodging corrupt corporations? It's only lame nameless bleeding hard apologists for the plague of an illegal hordes of immigrants that just try to divert attention from Topic A by bitching about Topic B.

To Anonymous 2 of "12:02 AM" - thank you for your kind words. Please feel free to quote me but with attribution. :-) I would be happy to have you email me a link to what you write. Thanks.

Imran
12/17/2008