The ongoing debate in an older entry over whether or not illegal immigration is a problem in the United States reminded me of a good infographic I came across the other day that explains what is involved in immigrating legally. This is something a lot of people aren’t aware of and while I did share it on my Facebook account I didn’t get around to posting it here. So I’m correcting that now:
It’s a big graphic so you may need to scroll around a bit to see it all. If you’re using Firefox keep in mind that your browser will auto-shrink the image to fit your screen so you may need to left click on it to make it full size and then scroll around.
At any rate, it shows that, unless you’re a big celebrity or millionaire of some sort, the process of legally immigrating to the United States is both long and has very specific requirements which exclude millions of hopefuls. If you don’t have family already here then your only hope of legally immigrating is if you have a skill set desirable enough for a company to offer you a job that’s also willing to go through the expensive process of sponsoring you. When you’re an engineer or computer programmer that’s less of a problem. When your desired skill set is standing out in a field in triple digit temperatures picking crops for minimum wages then it’s much more of a problem.
Here in the U.S. we are taught in grade school about the inscription on the book the Statue of Liberty holds which reads as follows:
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
I can’t speak for anyone else, but I can recall feeling a special kind of pride at learning this as a child. How cool are we, I used to think, that we’ll take in anyone willing to work hard to realize their dreams. Except that’s not how it works anymore and it hasn’t for a long time.
In short, the fabled story of a poor immigrant coming to the U.S. to start a new life and perhaps realize the American dream is impossible today. There once was a time when that was possible, but those days are long gone now. Unless you’ve got a good reason to be here — family, highly skilled, wealth or fame — you can forget about legally immigrating to the U.S. anytime soon.