Saturday, February 24, 2007

Putting a face on immigration

This is Dana with a sister from Dominica. She recently received her green card to live in the US permanently. People from many countries can wade through endless hassles, spend 1000's of dollars, and wait 5-10 years for the green card. She was one of the lucky ones--she had a close relative who applied for her so it only took a couple of years. Unfortunately, she and her husband thought the relative had applied for both of them, but it was only for her. When his card didn't come they waited a month or two before they were informed that he hadn't been applied for. She has since applied for him.
There is little work in Dominica so it really doesn't matter how hard you study (she is a teacher) or how hard you work you can't get ahead. If you're fortunate and everybody in the family works long hours 6 days a week you can make it. Dominica, like most of the islands of the Eastern Caribbean is okay though--most people have food to eat, a house to live in, clothes to put on, etc. In Mexico and Central America, not to mention Africa and Asia, many don't have a job (because there is no work) and wonder where their next meal will come from. Is is surprising they are willing to do whatever it takes to come to the States?
I do not condone breaking the law, any law, but I do understand why people do it. Usually it isn't that they can do "better" in the States, but rather that they can support their family.
When we talk about "illegal aliens" as a group it's easy to forget they are just people too. But when you get to know some of these people you understand why they do it--that doesn't justify it, but at least you understand why.

No comments: