©By ILANA MERCER
The late Charles Krauthammer was right about the rules of good writing. The use of the first-person pronoun in opinion writing is a cardinal sin.
To get a sense of how bad someone’s writing is count the number of times he or she deploys the Imperial “I” on the page. Krauthammer considered a single “I” in a piece to be a failure.
Use “I” when the passive-form alternative is too clumsy. Or, when the writer herself has earned the right to, because of her relevance to the story. (The story itself, naturally, should have relevance.) The second is my excuse here.
As a legal immigrant to the U.S., now an American citizen, I have a right to insert myself into the noisy narrative.
As a legal immigrant who was separated from her daughter, herself a legal immigrant, the onus is on me to share a scurrilous story that is part of a pattern:
America’s immigration policy—driven as it is by policy makers and enforces—exalts and privileges those of low moral character. It rewards law-breakers, giving them the courtesy and consideration not given to high-value, legal immigrants.
The same U.S. immigration law enforcers who cater so kindly to each illegal immigrant—the kind that is a drain on the country and has no right to be in the country—stripped my daughter of her American permanent residency privileges.
A young person travels alone and gets bamboozled at the border-crossing in Blaine, Washington State. So, they strip her of her green card.
That’s our immigration story.
My girl was studying in Canada. She got intimidated at the border and gave the wrong answer to her petty American inquisitor. So, she was quick-marched into a small booth and peppered with more questions meant to terrify.
With an intimidating display of machismo, the burly men of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) bullied a young girl into relinquishing her right of permanent residency (also the road to citizenship).
La Bandida was at bay. America was finally safe.
More fundamentally, hers was not an ill-gotten green card.
The principal sponsor, a Ph.D. in electrical engineering, had entered the US on an O-1 visa. Unlike the H-1B visa, the 0-1 visa doesn’t replace Americans; it adds to them. For it is granted to those with “extraordinary ability in the fields of science, education, business or athletics.” The O-1 necessitates “a level of expertise indicating that the person is one of the small percentage who has risen to the very top of the field of endeavor.”
Not by deceit did my child gain her green card. But by deceit is how the swarms on the border will get theirs. The squeaky wheels squatting on the southern border, funneled daily into the interior to create facts on the ground, are not refugees or legitimate asylum seekers. Rather, they are merely from what President Trump has termed “s–thhole countries.” By that criteria, Americans could be forced to welcome the world.
A refugee, conversely, is an individual who is persecuted on the basis “of race, religion, nationality, and/or membership in a particular social group or political opinion.” Like my South-African compatriots, who, every day, are culled like springbok in a hunting safari. But for South Africans, U.S. refugee and immigration authorities reserve their unalloyed prejudice.
Let’s be realistic. Aside from their demands, the hordes on the Southern border have nothing to offer the commonwealth.
Back to la bandida. Was my daughter allowed a phone call to her parents? No! What about access to an immigration attorney? No!
A well-behaved, legal resident, who did not enter the USA to cause trouble, this young lady obeyed the laws of the country. She did not defy its enforces. Timidly, she accepted her lot.
Our daughter had her hard-won green card stripped by state bullies because she gave the wrong answer to a trick bureaucratic question.
Her case, no doubt, was further hindered by the fact that she simply was not a sympathetic “type.” After all, she speaks good English, was attached to productive people, residing lawfully in their own home in the U.S., mere hours away. And she is not of a more exotic persuasion. At least not visibly so.
No, not simpatico at all.
So, she was tossed out of the United States of America like so much … white trash.
I hazard that had my daughter spoken in tongues or rendered a “good” Pidgin English; had she cried, created a scene; called for the presstitutes and the immigration advocates—she’d have “passed” with flying colors and would have been sent on her merry way.
It’s as though people of early American probity, to paraphrase writer Mary McGrory, are carefully and purposefully weeded out by contemporary America’s immigration policies and policy makers. (Until Trump.)
Indeed, we South Africans are just not part of the “multicultural noise machine,” now sitting on the southern border seething with rage, poised to make common purpose with America’s professional merchants of racial hatred.
We are not pushy. We do things the right way. And we swallow the pain and indignity.
All this was in 2006 or thereabouts, shortly after the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) changed its name to USCIS. Only now, in 2018, has mother (me) been able to “share my story.” (There’s another vernacular tumor that should be excised by all decent editors.)
“Family values don’t stop at the Rio Grande,” roared George W. Bush, at the time.
El presidente forgot to mention that family values do stop with the decent, documented residents of the United States.