You simply haven’t done Black Friday until you’ve done it in Minnesota—especially this year, as we endured one of the coldest Thanksgivings since 1930.
It is indescribably cold.
I’ll never forget one particular year as I stood shivering outside a department store with my family. When the doors finally opened, we all watched as several people ran in from their warm cars in the parking lot—cutting in front of every single sucker who waited outside for hours.
It’s a trivial example but the correlating principle remains the same: how do you think America’s legal immigrants felt when President Barack Obama announced that he was paving the way for several million illegal immigrants to do exactly as the Black Friday cheaters did? That is, reap the benefits of this nation without following the rules?
I was recently told by someone on Twitter that “most immigrants, after going through hellish process of immigration, are alright with others getting a break.”
I’ll say again what I said to that individual: “I can ABSOLUTELY guarantee that that is not entirely the case.”
And yes, for most—the process is hell.
Meet Wayne, Tina, Bryan, Paty, Robert and Miho.
Read these names and read their stories (full versions of which can be found on my blog)—and know that this is but a sliver of the vast numbers of people still stinging from the slap in the face we all received with President Obama’s executive order to award amnesty to millions who broke the law.
Wayne Scholes (United Kingdom)
"Why on earth would you bother to do that? I have never done it, and won’t do it until—well, you know Americans. They are always going to give it away every ten years or so; if you just wait long enough you can get it all free. No hassles.”
This from a man who laughed at Wayne Scholes’ legal immigration efforts.
The man didn’t seem to care that Scholes had spent 10 years and over $50,000 to eventually obtain his citizenship in July of 2014.
“Americans don’t respect their own country, especially not when it comes to immigration, it’s all about the votes,” the man said. “And, anyway, it happens every ten years or so, so why should I value it if they don’t?"
Scholes, who today is the CEO of Red Touch Media, once worked for just a few dollars an hour at gas stations at night, and cleaning toilets during the day to keep his head above water while waiting. “I lived on my savings, which was $3800 for the six months until my visa came through,” said Scholes. “Then I was given a temporary work visa—six months. Nobody would hire me because I was on such a short visa; I was waiting for a two-year visa.”
The president’s amnesty announcement left Scholes utterly flabbergasted. “Honestly, I’m gutted. I feel like my efforts were disregarded and, frankly, mocked,” he said. “I feel like I was conned somewhat, like I was the only one at school studying for the big exam and someone brought in the answers and everyone passed, but no one but me studied.”
Tina Prien (Germany)
Tina Prien fell in love with the United States long before she met her future American husband. Traveling back and forth as a young girl—studying and working on her limited student visa—Prien had the opportunity to truly embrace the country she would later call home.
When she and her now-husband finally married in 2011 after many years of communications and sparse visits back and forth, their immigration lawyer explained that they’d have to file for an adjustment in status. “Little did we know what that meant,” said Prien. “Finally, after thousands of dollars for attorney fees, INS fees, doctor fees, humiliating blood tests for syphilis, fingerprinting, postage, evidence (gazillions of pictures, printouts of emails, phone records, letters, cards), etc., we eventually were invited to an interview in Southern California.”
Prien eventually received her green card in March of 2013, and is in the process today of paying additional funds to have the conditions removed from her permit.
Her adult daughter remains in Germany and will have to go through the same process to be with her mother.
“I have to admit it hit me hard,” said Prien of the amnesty announcement. “That was a slap in my face. President Obama, I work, I pay taxes, I have a clean background, I speak your language, I respect your laws and regulations—so tell me Mr. President: Are you kidding me?”
Bryan Preston (Japan)
Bryan Preston (now of PJ Media) chose to join a legacy of service to this nation—following in the footsteps of ancestors who defended the country as far back as the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.
His military service took him to Japan, where he met his now-wife. The two married just months after meeting—and then faced the monumental task of figuring out how to get her back home with Preston to the United States.
“Our process was somewhat expedited for us compared to most, because I was in the military and she is from an allied country, and we know that many others who follow the laws face much longer waits than we have, and have paid much more out of pocket,” said Preston. He also shared that he and his wife did indeed spend years and several thousand dollars to complete the process.
“President Obama’s amnesty decree... is an insult to everyone who is following and respecting America's immigration laws. President Obama is treating the Constitution with contempt."
Paty Newman (Mexico)
Several decades ago, two Mexican nationals finishing their education in Los Angeles made an incredible decision: knowing full well the benefits that they could have reaped had they decided otherwise, they made arrangements to be back in Mexicali, Baja California, for the birth of their daughter Paty.
Before she was even born, they actively chose not to use their daughter as an “anchor.”
“By the grace of God,” said Paty, “I came early!”
Despite the advantage at their fingertips, the two finished their studies a few months later and returned to Mexico. “They did not anchor me! They respected the laws of the United States,” said Paty.
From a very young age, Paty witnessed what she aptly notes as the “corruption of the government and unequal application of laws,” and realized that if she wanted to succeed, she needed to leave—eventually coming to the United States legally under her status. “Those of us that have lived under the rule of a corrupt government know how important it is to maintain and protect the rule of law,” she said.
“Obama's announcement this past week was a slap in the face to my parents. They did not take advantage of the opportunities they could have benefited from by using me as an anchor baby,” said Paty. “They did the right thing!”
Robert S. (Italy)
Robert’s is a simple yet incredibly important story: he and his wife (now a naturalized citizen) made extensive sacrifices simply in order to be together legally.
“We followed the U.S. immigration laws to the letter, which also meant we were separated for five months while we awaited document processing in her native country,” he recalled. “We waited, we spent thousands on fees, we lost time away from work. We did everything we were supposed to do.”
He balks at the claims that the president and others in his party have tried to make in the name of so-called fairness. “They speak of fairness—why is the priority no longer with helping American citizens, but rather millions of lawbreakers?”
Miho T. (Japan)
Miho listened to the amnesty announcement with great interest. Lisa T., the young woman’s mother-in-law, watched as the look on Miho’s face became increasingly confused.
“Thinking she was misunderstanding because of the language barrier, she asked if she had heard correctly,” recalled Lisa. “All weekend she has repeatedly asked how this could happen. She wonders how those who made a decision to enter and remain in the United States illegally can be rewarded...”
Miho’s journey—from student to permanent resident—has been one marked with difficulties, incredible expenses paid for both lawyers and government fees, as well as a painful separation from her family. Her residency came through just in time for her to return to Japan to see her dying father.
Many in Miho’s position feel that they are owed the money they spent completing the process legally, and justifiably so—given the unfairness that amnesty presents. Though faced with the frustration of watching those who broke the law receive privileges otherwise reserved for the law-abiding, “she doesn’t feel the U.S. owes her anything,” said Lisa. “She says part of the beauty of being in this country is the struggle it took to get here.”
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Share these stories. Go to my blog and read them in their entirerity. Spread them as far and as wide as you can. As my immigrant husband and I can attest, precious few people understand just what we all went through for the privilege of calling this country home. And even fewer understand the incredible extent to which they value that for which they fought so hard.
Maybe, just maybe, we’ll awaken a once-widespread sentiment in this nation: that is, to fight for what is right... not for what is convenient.
Mary Ramirez is a full-time writer, creator of www.afuturefree.com (a political commentary blog), and contributor to The Chris Salcedo Show (TheBlaze Radio Network, Saturday, from noon to 3pm ET). She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org; or on Twitter: @AFutureFree.
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