The horrific terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon should have been enough to convince anyone that our immigration system is not just broken – it is shattered, dysfunctional, and perilous to our nation’s wellbeing.
The fact that our government granted citizenship to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the younger of the two terrorists brothers, on September 11, 2012 -- less than a year before he waged a terrorist attack -- should confound and appall you.
Meanwhile, our government turns away productive, functioning individuals like Sophie Cole, a British citizen and licensed attorney who has been working in this country, paying taxes, and adding to our economy.
This juxtaposition is the unfortunate and sad tale of America’s immigration system.
As Dzhokhar Tsarnaev spewed anti-American hatred on the campus of UMass Dartmouth, Sophie Cole pursued her law degree, studying feverishly at the College of William and Mary.
While the Tsarnaev brothers were plotting to kill Americans, Sophie Cole worked diligently as an attorney, living the American dream, and hoping her love for America would lead to American citizenship.
Her dreams would end when her application for a high-skilled visa (H1-B) was rejected, shortly before the Tsarnaev brothers would kill 3 and injur 176 with their homemade bombs at the Boston Marathon.
Despite the fact that there was ample evidence that the Tsarnaev brothers were disturbed young men who evidently posed a threat to this country, they were allowed to remain within our borders.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Dzhokhar’s brother, was arrested for domestic abuse, posted militant Islamic videos on YouTube, and interrupted sermons at his Mosque with extremist rants. The Russian government even warned us of Tamerlan’s extremist ties, and the FBI questioned him.
Sophie, on the other hand, is a qualified US-educated attorney who, in her words, has “called Virginia home for years.” She says, “I’ve never taken a hand out nor would I. I’ve always paid taxes, bought insurance, and played by all of the rules. I’ve never committed a crime nor do I intend to.” Her greatest hope was to defend the Constitution of this country boldly and proudly.
Tamerlan’s application for citizenship was placed on hold pending further investigation; Sophie’s was rejected without explanation and without the opportunity to re-file.
And as the US government placed Tamerlan’s application on hold and rejected Sophie’s, they were simultaneously naturalizing the young terrorist, Dzhokhar.
With a brother as disturbed as Tamerlan, why was Dzhokhar ever granted citizenship?
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services should abide by a simple rule: if one of your family members is under federal investigation for extremist ties – as Dzhokhar’s brother was – your citizenship should be denied, and you should be escorted politely out of the country.
Neither of the brothers should been granted or considered for citizenship, and both should have been closely monitored
Perhaps the three innocent Americans killed last Monday would still be here if they were.
Our immigration system is in shambles when we bestow the honor of citizenship on individuals like Tamerlan and Dzhokhar while neglecting individuals like Sophie, who says, “All I want is a chance to legally live, work, and defend the Constitution of my country. I'm being punished for abiding by the law while others don't play by the rules or are not here with peaceful and productive intent, and they are being rewarded."
It’s time our country’s immigration system undergoes true reform. We simply cannot afford to hemorrhage talent and import terrorists. American lives depend on it.
You can find Sophie Cole’s White House petition, called “Let Sophie Stay,” here. https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/immediate-action-requested-sophie-cole%E2%80%94grant-permanent-legal-status-high-skilled-immigrant/q8zcgy3z