The Obama administration’s preferential treatment of illegal immigrants is a “slap in the face” to legal immigrants like Manmeet Singh, who reveres the country’s rule of law and had been warned by federal officials of the “grave” consequences illegal immigrants face.
In his “Lament of a Legal Alien” essay in The Wall Street Journal, Singh, a legal immigrant doctor in Mississippi, who is from India, said at every point during his application process, he “was warned that if [he] lied or falsified information or tried to find work other than the job [he] was authorized to do in the U.S. there would be serious consequences.” In recent years, he has watched the immigration debate with “a sense of utter helplessness.”
“In particular I was warned about the rather grave repercussions if I chose to stay here illegally,” he wrote, adding:
I was impressed with the United States’ laws and those who enforced them. I felt that if I had to stand in line so did the others and that the process was fair to everyone. I did a whole lot of waiting, filled out lots of forms, got photographed and fingerprinted and waited some more to be called a “legal alien physician.”
He said that people in his situation “probably represent the most law-abiding segment of the population” since “any skirmish with the law–even one not involving violence–can result in loss of working privileges and possible deportation.” That is why he felt it was a “stinging slap in the face to all of those who chose to do the right thing and get here by following the rules” when he read that “legal immigrants’ applications are being stalled because the officials who process files are overwhelmed with applications for deportation deferrals.”
Singh, who explained that he has been in the United States for seven years and “married to a U.S. citizen for a little over three years,” said, “My wife and I often joke that if I came here illegally and married her then I would at least have had a green card by now.”
“What is really surprising is that, in a nation that prides itself on being a nation of laws, the enforcers of the law are told to deliberately look away when it comes to illegal immigration,” Singh observed. “Also the politically correct term now is undocumented rather than illegal. I for one–after being fingerprinted, photographed, inquired about in detail every time I re-enter the U.S.–know for sure that being undocumented is illegal.”
Singh noted that as the mainstream media focuses on the “plight of willful wrongdoers, America’s reputation as a nation of laws and as a nation of immigrants is at stake here. Making the law-abiders feel discounted would not have rested well with the Founding Fathers either.”
As an “alien,” I have always been and always will be extremely grateful for the education that I have received and the opportunity to work and live in the U.S. In return I have been a good citizen (well, not exactly a citizen), paid my taxes, paid immigration attorneys and stayed on top of the paperwork.