For those of us who are natural-born American citizens, we may not think about immigration or immigrants very much. If we do, it’s often in the context of illegal immigration or the political rhetoric argued on news shows. Even for the immigrants who are documented, we don’t stop to consider their precarious legal position. It’s very easy to think, Get a green card, people! without ever considering how difficult it is to obtain one. It’s easy to think, Why aren’t they citizens by now? without considering how difficult that process is, too. After all, we’ve never had to do it. Not here, at least.
So meet Bronwyn Lea: Christian, wife, mom, speaker, writer, and I’m sure I’m forgetting a lot of other things! She hails from South Africa, and she’s got a unique view on immigration because she is an immigrant. Please read her words. They are powerful.
In the ten years I have lived in the United States, people have often been shocked when I tell them that not only do I not have a green card, but that I couldn’t get one even if I tried.
I would love to be the holder of a green card—that elusive piece of paper which would grant me the right to remain in the US indefinitely—but as it is, I don’t and can’t qualify. There is not a single category under which I can legally apply for permanent residence.