Because of overwhelming response to Brian Wooddell’s Thursday column “Citizenship nonnegotiable; live here legally or leave” and Friday’s letter to the editor “Illegal immigration like stealing,” we are unable to include all letters in full; however, we are including excerpts below:Becoming legal not so simple
Contrary to what Wooddell stated in his article, most illegal immigrants living in the United States did not casually stroll across the border willingly. Many were fleeing from corrupt, totalitarian governments, or seeking refuge from crushing poverty. Just because immigrants – both legal and illegal – have national pride does not mean they desire to go back home.
While many will agree that illegal immigrants do need to strive to become American citizens, many immigrants lack the time and the resources to wade through the bewildering bureaucracy to achieve that goal. Most who came to America, the “land of opportunities,” cannot afford to sit around for six years and wait for a permit to work legally.
And becoming legal, let alone a U.S. citizen, is, in fact, practically unfeasible. My friend, an honors student here at TCU, was born in Mexico. Although she was granted legal status in the United States in a matter of years (after her brother, who was born in America, turned 21), she has lived here for more than 10 years and is still waiting for her visa so she can apply to work here legally. She is also about 10 more years away from becoming a citizen, if all goes well.
Amber Parcher, sophomore
Mexicans not only immigrants
I was very upset at the fact that the author is implying that the immigrants here are from Mexico. An illegal immigrant includes everyone that comes to the United States without any legal documentation; it is not just Mexicans. So implying that building a 700-mile border between here and Mexico is good is so racist and stereotypical. Like we need to pay more taxes for a border that is completely useless.
Maria Ibarra, freshman
Illegal immigration is normal
The United States was built in large part by illegal immigrants. Ask a history professor about the Trans Continental Railroad and the Chinese labor that was used to build it. Or better yet, ask about the first Anglo settlers to this continent that were told to leave by the land owners (Native Americans) but refused. They and their children would be illegal immigrants.
The Friday article stated that “illegals” do not pay for services in this country. Last year alone, illegal immigrants contributed more than $20 billion to the federal tax base. By most estimates, this far overshadows their take of federal services.
The president of the United States even recognizes that this country needs these workers to do jobs that legal citizens refuse to do – jobs like mowing the lawn of the parents of TCU students or busing tables for $5.75 an hour while fortunate college kids eat out.
Shawn Myers, Texas Tech alumnus
Getting citizenship is difficult
Imagine being able to speak perfect English, attending American schools, enrolling in college, paying United States taxes, interning at the Texas Capitol and living in the United States for your whole life, yet that means nothing. Tony Sevilla is a 23-year-old political science major at Austin Community College. He has lived in Texas all but the first three months of his life, and has undergone the many hardships of trying to become an American citizen.
His parents’ petition for him to obtain permanent residence in 1991 was declined because they did not have legal documentation to prove that they were married, or that Sevilla was their son. They were also rejected because they were not able to prove that he had been in the United States before Nov. 7, 1986.
In 1992, Sevilla’s parents applied for a family visa, but were unable to receive information about their approval. At 13, Sevilla began to inquire about what he could do to become a citizen but was never given proper information. At 15, Sevilla found an immigration attorney to assist him in obtaining his permanent residency, but first, his parents had to petition for a visa. If he had gone to an immigration judge at 8 years old, he could have had his citizenship. In 1998 he applied for a visa. Sevilla has waited seven years to have his visa priority date approved and now has one month to wait till he receives a permanent residency. After receiving his permanent residency, he will still have to wait five years before he can apply for citizenship.
Sevilla says, “America is the only country I’ve ever known. It’s where I grew up, and where my family and friends live. The only thing that prevents me from being an American citizen is a piece of paper.”
Rachael Riley, junior
How to join the U.S. library
If the United States were a library, with citizens as library patrons, here are some rules from its membership policy:
1. If you are born in the library, you automatically get a permanent and irrevocable membership card. Even if you take all the books, burn down the library, or do anything else against the rules, you won’t lose your membership. On the other hand, depending on how badly you break the rules, you will be restricted to a special area or terminated.
2. If you are not educated, we don’t want you. If you are educated, we welcome you. Unfortunately, we only give out 65,000 membership cards a year. If you are very educated, there’s another 20,000 cards. Please take a number and sit over there – outside, of course.
3. If you are related to one of the children born inside the library, you may apply for a permanent membership card as well. Take a number and sit over there – outside, of course.
4. If you want to marry one of our inhabitants, you may apply for a permanent membership card. Please understand that you will have to have a different gender from the person you are marrying, that we will watch you to make sure you are a happy couple and, if you do happen to get divorced within the first few years, you will have to leave.
Sebastian Moleski, senior