Immigration laws have recently been under much debate in Hazleton, Pa as they actively ban illegal immigrants (AP). The town is divided by diversity and many are in favor of this law claiming that Hazleton is “[no longer] a place where you [can] leave your doors open”; implying that for the safety of all citizens, illegal immigrants must go (AP). Yet my quarry comes from not only the extremism showed by some Hazleton natives of picketing and telling Hispanics to “go back where [they] came from, but from the immigration laws themselves (AP).
The first and foremost requirement to be able to legally immigrate into the United States is that “you must have a sponsor in the United States. who wants to bring you to the U.S.” (Nolo). So the land of freedom and diversity, and equal opportunity shifts into an invitation-only society. Though once a potential immigrant establishes a sponsor they must qualify into one of the following categories: Immediate Relatives, Preferences, Ethnic Diversity, Special Immigrants, Refuge and political asylum, Temporary protected status, Amnesty, Special Agricultural workers, Long-term residents and special cases (Nolo). What is odd about Ethnic Diversity is that it acts as a “green card [lottery]”, the total number offered in this category being 50,000 to ensure the diversity of those who enter the U.S. (Nolo). Yet what is especially unsettling is the division of ‘long term residents’. Under law, “If you have been in the country illegally for more than ten years, you must show that your spouse or children — who must be U.S. citizens — would face ‘extraordinary and exceptionally unusual hardship'” to receive a green card (Nolo). Revealing to those who may tell illegal immigrants to return to their homeland, that maybe they are illegal because they are attempting to sneak through their only loophole to freedom. Maybe, they were unable to get a sponsor but still hoped for a brighter future than the one they saw ahead of them and took the first chance they could to better themselves by living in the United States. So at the first sign if illegality we attempt to deport those who we deem unworthy of freedom?
What gives Americans the right to deny freedom to others? What about us is so sacred that forbids us from showing humanity? Some have said in press releases in Hazleton, that if they want to be here, they should be legal. The law as it stands now is making it nearly impossible to enter the so-called ‘sanctuary’ united states without someone inland helping you through. The land of the free, they say. What real hope do people have when we’ve made it so their only access to freedom, is if they’re invited?
Laura Valentin is a sophomore at WCU.