Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Pretty much anyone who reads this knows that I've been abroad for several years now. In fact, more than half of my post-college years have been spent in Europe, and 2/3 of my married years. I have sat nervously behind a desk, a counter, or some bullet-proof glass, waiting to hear if I've filled out all the proper forms, if my newborn's eyes are open enough in her photo, if our marriage certificate has been properly translated and apostilled, if our visas and residency permits have really been approved. I've paid people to stand in line for me hours before a government office opens, so that we would have some assurance that we'd actually see someone that day. I've driven 5 hours and spent the night, only to have my application turned down the following day. I've supported a friend as she asked for a student visa to the US, and realized that in the training and practices of our diplomatic staff, potential immigrants are guilty until proven innocent. Although my family and I live legally and lawfully in the Czech Republic today, I cannot say for certain that we have always been on the right side of the law. At the very least, we've been thisclose to being illegal immigrants at some point in our travels. I believe in following the laws of the land and work hard to do so, and I have great sympathy for immigrants everywhere, legal or otherwise. I find the new Arizona legislation on immigration offensive. It limits the liberty of everyone who sets foot in the state, and particularly hurts those who have worked so hard to reside legally in the USA.