Monday, December 21, 2009

Immigration and Undocumented Immigrants 101

This resulted from a facebook message (of all places) sent to me by an friend and old coworker. Even as I become more open with my status to others, there is still so much misinformation out there, that people who know me don't really understand what exactly it is to be undocumented. I Omitted the name of the person, for privacy reasons.

Also, please do not judge -----, as this person is a legal immigrant from Hong kong, for which English is a second language and who may not be so familiar with what is going on immigration wise in the USA.

" From: -----

i want to say something about immigrants and illegal...

According to my understanding from the post of USA Today, those people are really come to the USA illegally. However, they can't be blamed and deported like this because USA didn't stop these immigrants coming over illegally. USA should work hard on stopping illegal immigrants at the border instead of deporting them when they found out.

I don't know about the high school stuff, but those illegal immigrants can register to and graduate from High's the USA's problem that they didn't require SSN. Do people need to pay for attending High school? If yes, these illegal immigrants are able to pay is lucky and good for the kids to be educated. Education is always the most important whereas nowaday's kids/teenagers are so rude and not respecting others. Especially there're so many single-parent families and parents are not allow to hit their kids when they're not behaving.

Sometimes it's hard to trust illegal immigrants will study/work hard. I personally sometimes don't like those just come to the States and get benefits without working. And some of them just keep giving births to babies and get benefits. Some of them even use the food stamps to buy valuable foods to eat...I heard of it like shark fins and all other expensive foods.
For those really want to stay here for study and work hard, I'll suggest creating a record and keep track of their status. If they do study well and work hard, they can stay since those are working have to pay the TAX. :D Childrens go to school have to pay for tuition fee...this should be one of the incomes for the State/Country?"

And here is my response:

" Hi ------ :)

Thanks for the opinions. Although i think we have some slight disagreements when it comes to this topic. I'm not sure if you are aware, but i am undocumented (or as you refer, illegal), I was brought to the US when i was 7, so i see a lot of the myths that are thrown around to describe people like me. I want to let you know that i did not cross the border, but rather came on a visa (which expired) as do the majority of undocumented immigrants. While i do agree with you that the US has to do something, i disagree on actuality of what should be done. I mean, the US Immigration System is broken and does not reflect the actual needs of this country, as such it should be reformed so that not only will it allow easier and more regulated movement of people, but also bring 12 million human beings out of societies shadows.

It is allowed for undocumented children to attend US public school (Supreme Court Case Plyler v Doe 1982), and you're correct education is very important. But unfortunately after high school many of these youths do not have the option (in some states) or money (in most states) to attend college ( about 65,000 graduate High School every year). Instead they have no choice but to go to work as gardeners, painters, waiters, ect. These kids want to continue their education, they want to study so that they can contribute to this country, which they consider their home like i do.

Another misconception that i wanted to touch base on was that of undocumented immigrants, babies and benefits. Yes undocumented immigrants have babies, but you are misinformed, because undocumented immigrants do not qualify for any federal assistance (like i didn't get financial aid for example). I do agree that immigrants (legal or not) that do not contribute to this country and are just a drain on resources should not be rewarded with food stamps, but in the grand outlook, it is only a small percentage that do so. the majority of immigrants (legal or not) are hard working people who want a better future for their families and who call this country home.

As an undocumented immigrant my self (one that has been here 20+ years) I do not consider myself a drain on society, i pay federal income taxes, state taxes and sales taxes. I paid for my entire college education (which is why it took me so long LOL :P) and have thankfully never had any problems with the law.

I do consider my self and the many other undocumented students (many who were brought as very young children), a lost opportunity for this country. We are being wasted on jobs that pay us minimum wage, and that dont utilize our skills and education to the fullest. Not only that, but if we were able to work in our fields of study we would make more money which really means we would pay more taxes (like 8 dollars vs 15, you pay more taxes). Which is why i am an advocate for the DREAM Act ( which would provide me with a way to gain legal status (there is no other way to do so unless i get married).

Anyhow, I hope i haven't overloaded you with my points on this issue :P, it is a subject that is very personal to me. I also hope that if you did just find out about my status, it does not change the dynamics of our friendship.

Merry Xmas!



  1. wonderful response. made me feel all warm and fuzzy. u go gabe.

  2. Very good points GABE. I'm in my 38 years old, and continue my battle in get my bachelor degree in technology, when I think about my future I get frustrated because I know my potential, but because of my immigration Status I can only work as a janitor instead Engineer as I have in my degree.