Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Migrant Worker

How about a different perspective to all of my anti-immigration friends out there?  I am an immigrant.  I have moved to another country and am seeking to establish permanent residency there.  Because of this, I have a, shall we say, more rounded viewpoint of the whole immigration issue that is currently a political platform in the USA.  Let me give you a little insight.
If you look at that photo, you will see over 360 pages of documents inside.  I am not finished.  This three ring binder is 95% complete…for my ONE YEAR visa.  Before I get my permanent visa which gives me permission to live here as a resident-alien indefinantly, I have to get a one year, then a two year, then a five year visa.  Each visa cost money and entails a ton of paperwork.  I was thinking about writing an article making fun of some of the requirements (like I had to show that my Bolivian landlord had paid his last month’s electric bill…to get my visa…what does his electric bill have to do with me?).  But instead, I thought I would just talk about the process and maybe shed some light on an issue in the States.
I added it up, and so far I have spent $6,922 on my American and Bolivian paperwork.  That is $692.20 per person.  The Bolivian side of this has been $4672, or $467 per person.  Before I receive my permanent residency I will spend another $500/each.  It costs right at $1,000 to go from visiting foreigner to resident alien.
I am from the USA.  I have advanced degrees and come from a middle/upper middle class area.  I have resources and access to resources.  THANK YOU ALL OF YOU THAT SUPPORT US!!!!
I am from the wealthiest country in the USA, where the median household income is $46,326.  My point is this: I have a great backing and some financial foundations to stand on, and this amount of money HURTS.  I was shocked to find out that it was this much. To keep costs down, I did all the legwork myself, including five trips to Consulates and Embassies.  In spite of that, I am choking on the amount of money that it cost me to get my residency.
Now, are you ready for something?  If I were a Bolivian wanting to move to the USA, then I would have to spend MORE THAN it cost for a United States Citizen to move to Bolivia.  It cost more money to legally move TO the United States from here than it cost to move FROM the USA to Central or South America. The median income in Bolivia is about $1,000.  If I were migrating to the USA from Bolivia, I would have to pay over one year’s salary in American fees.  That would be like you paying $46,000 to move to Bolivia.
My first point?  It is not impossible, just highly improbable for the average person to be able to legally migrate in the USA from Mexico and South. (for more on this, such as the hype about the ‘free-loading’ and the ‘cost to the taxpayer’ see my earlier blog )  Wherever you want to take this in your thoughts/arguments about immigration, take it and run.  It is just something to think about, and something that I have thought about a lot since I am in the process and incurring the huge financial burden of being legal.  I just find myself asking, “What would I do if I couldn’t live where I live, but couldn’t afford to move somewhere else?”
My second point is this.  We should all be migrant workers.  Our job is to move through this desolate place called earth, working our way to our true home.  Our King and our Kingdom is not of this world.  As a migrant worker, I should be constantly on the move THROUGH the land, not building a castle in it.  My home is not here.  My home is not now.  It is there.  It is then.  I am walking and working my way through this world.  One day I will be home, and my Father will welcome me into the City He has prepared.  I will lay all my burdens down.  I will enter into His Rest.  I will worship Him without sin in my life, my presence or the world.  I will experience true joy, true passion and truly experience experiencing for the first time.
This world is not my home, so why am I always so intent on behaving as if it were?