An Immigrant Tells Her Story

By: 
Judy Kramer
County Reporter
Immigration is currently a buzz-word, and is especially concerning along the U.S./Mexican border. Immigrants have contributed to our country in many positive ways, but there is a fear that those who enter unlawfully may be “up to no good!” Maria Brown, who lives in the local area, legally immigrated to the U.S. in the 1980s and is angered by those who try to enter without going through the visa process.
“My sister had married a GI stationed in our homeland of Germany and moved to the U.S. when I was 11 years old,” said Brown. “I always wanted to join her in this country.  So she sponsored me and I left the rest of my family behind, taking only my daughter from my first marriage. I had to fill out paperwork, provide my birth certificate and go through a criminal background check before coming here.”
Brown said that she made two trips to the U.S. One was in 1981, and then she went back to Germany in 1984. She was able to return in 1988 and became a U.S. citizen in 2002. Brown got her green card and worked immediately after settling here. She had worked in a sewing factory in Germany and got a similar job in the U.S. She also worked in grocery stores and sometimes had two jobs at a time to support herself and her daughter. A friend of hers introduced her to Chiropractor James Anderson Brown, now deceased, and they married in 1999.
“I am mad about people who want to come into the U.S. illegally,” said Brown. “Nobody knows anything about most of them. They need food, housing and medical care, and who is going to provide it? How can we do that?”
According to an online article by abc7news.com, aired last summer, there are six ways to legally enter the U.S. and possibly obtain a green card. The largest group of immigrants entering the U.S. is by way of citizens and legal residents who bring foreign spouses or fiancés as well as unmarried children. They may also sponsor siblings 21 or older and parents. Another way is through Work Visas. Employers can sponsor a foreign worker with specialized skills if they can’t find qualified candidates in the U.S. The third way is by Student Visas. An F student visa allows a foreigner to pursue academic studies or language training programs, and an M student visa is for non-academic programs or vocational study. There are certain limitations if they wish to stay permanently in the country. A fourth way is by way of the Diversity Visa Lottery. Every year, the government gives out 50,000 visas randomly to people who live in countries with low immigration numbers to the U.S.
Investors can also buy their way into the U.S. if they invest at least $500,000 in a business and create at least five full-time jobs. Asylum seekers may also show up at a U.S. Port of entry and seek asylum if they can prove they have been or could be persecuted in their home country because of race, religion, nationality, participation in a certain social group or because of their political opinions. Anyone who is illegally in the U.S. can also seek asylum protection.
Nearly 44 million immigrants were living in the U.S. in 2016 according to www.migrationpolicy.org. During that year 1.49 million individuals moved to the U.S., a 7 percent increase over 2015. India was the leading country with 175,100; China/HongKong immigrants numbered 160,000; and 150,400 were from Mexico. Immigrants and their U.S.-born children now number approximately 86.4 million, or 27 percent of the overall U.S. population according to the 2017 Current Population Survey.
The Immigrant Visa Process is available online at www.thelawdictionary.org.
 

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