One Immigrant's Story

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Special Podcast

J.P. speaks about why her family moved from South Korea to the United States, the challenges she faced as an undocumented immigrant and how gaining temporary legal status changed her life. She also discusses immigration reform legislation, the subject of this week's editorial in America.

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Robert Klahn
4 years 2 months ago

As much as I understand JP's feelings and situation, her story stopped me when she got a near full ride from a college because she was an illegal immigrant with a problem. Now she has her first real job in her late 20s. Gee, that's sad. I know a couple young black men who are also college grads, but native born US citizens. One just got his first "real job", meaning full time self supporting, in his thirties. The other is mildly handicapped, in his mid 30s, and has never had such a "real job." Both have clean records, not even a criminal background for even something so small as being here illegally.

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I have three daughters. My oldest daughter got her degree back in the 90s, when we didn't get hit so hard to pay for it. My second daughter is just paying off her student loans, for a degree she to a couple years ago. She got lucky and managed to come up with the money, but she just got cut back to part time and no longer has a "real job" that can support her. My youngest daughter had to drop out of college due to lack or money to pay for it. Oh, and I am still paying my parent loans back.

So the thought of special funding for non-citizens at all is hard for me to accept, but for those who didn't even come here legally it's too much.

Yes, we are all immigrants. Unless you were born in Africa you are the descendant of immigrants no matter where you live, we all started out in Africa. JP's family, from her description, would have had a good life in Korea. Instead she received advantages those born in America don't get, while minorities and the poor citizens of this country are shut out.

Sorry, I find it hard to sympathize with her.

Helen Liu
3 years 12 months ago

Four decades ago, I came from Korea to the US for college education as a foreign student. I studied in a field that was considered ‘in demand’ by the Immigration Office, and my employer sponsored for my application to become a permanent resident. That process took over six long years because of the limited quota granted each year. I remember when I finally got the ‘green card’, my immigration lawyer told me ‘Good things come those who wait.’ Once qualified, I became a US citizen.

It’s important to know why one wants to be a citizen. For me, while ‘economic advantage’ and ‘sense of security’ are all acceptable reasons, I value especially the freedom of speech and religion, the balance of political parties, the encouragement of creative thinking, the emphasis of education, the volunteerism (giving back mentality), the at-ease communication styles between generations, the respect of individual space, and the protection of privacy…

I understand and agree with Mr. Klahn’s comment. JP, in her interview, seemed to be focusing on all her feelings of uncertainty and wishing to enjoy the privileges of what a US citizen has. There is a glaring lack of gratitude in JP. I would like to recommend JP to seriously offer some of her time and energy to volunteer and serve the poor and destitute. There are many opportunities to volunteer in the DC area.

Helen Liu
3 years 12 months ago

Four decades ago, I came from Korea to the US for college education as a foreign student. I studied in a field that was considered ‘in demand’ by the Immigration Office, and my employer sponsored for my application to become a permanent resident. That process took over six long years because of the limited quota granted each year. I remember when I finally got the ‘green card’, my immigration lawyer told me ‘Good things come those who wait.’ Once qualified, I became a US citizen.

It’s important to know why one wants to be a citizen. For me, while ‘economic advantage’ and ‘sense of security’ are all acceptable reasons, I value especially the freedom of speech and religion, the balance of political parties, the encouragement of creative thinking, the emphasis of education, the volunteerism (giving back mentality), the at-ease communication styles between generations, the respect of individual space, and the protection of privacy…

I understand and agree with Mr. Klahn’s comment. JP, in her interview, seemed to be focusing on all her feelings of uncertainty and wishing to enjoy the privileges of what a US citizen has. There is a glaring lack of gratitude in JP. I would like to recommend JP to seriously offer some of her time and energy to volunteer and serve the poor and destitute. There are many opportunities to volunteer in the DC area.

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