By Daniel Kim*
Trump has been called an “anti-immigrant” extremist, but I’m telling you, as a Korean aspiring to immigrate to the United States, that is simply not true. Trump wants to set a new way of immigration system by following both Canadian model and Australian model. Both Canada and Australia are far stricter than the United States when it comes to immigration. They do not have a lenient policy on illegal immigration. They do not try to attract people without a high English-speaking ability and high education level. And there’s no green card lottery in those countries. Rather, they give points to the immigrant applicants when they have accomplished each step of requirements such as official English exam scores (Either TOFEL or IELT), high educated diploma in the speaking-English countries, certified careers of occupations.
Trump and some of his allies in Congress are pushing to abolish the diversity lottery for green cards and increase security on the borders. He has put a halt to Obama’s DACA policy of giving temporary citizenship-level status to illegal immigrants who came to America as children. To be honest, many international students who come to America legally quite agree with suppressing the number of illegal immigrants because they might reduce the potential for legal immigration. At the least, it is extremely unfair to let illegal immigrants stay—or even become citizens, as some have proposed—while enforcing a harsh line on law-abiding students and foreign workers who have to jump through many hoops to try to get a job or student visa in the States.
Foreign students holding F1 visas (student visas) are not permitted to work on US soil. They cannot legitimately make money for feeding themselves and paying tuition on their own. Even public colleges like the University of California, University of Washington, and all the other state colleges require them to pay more US$40,000 dollars of annual tuition while illegal immigrants in many states are given in-state tuition, at rates many times lower. Our citizenship status is the same—and legitimate foreign students are actually abiding by the law—but foreign students have to pay more.
Yet it often seems like Democrats unceasingly focus on the plight of illegal immigrants to the detriment of legal immigrants. They wave the banner of “human rights” for illegal immigration, but where does it end? Should anybody have the right to cross a border as they wish and claim residence? What happens to Americans caught working illegally in a foreign land?
It is hard for foreign students to find a job in America even after graduating. Despite how much money we have invested in American education, we have not had any chance to earn fair opportunities. Furthermore, foreign graduates from American universities could help fill in knowledge gaps in the U.S. economy.
I have chosen to go to Washington & Jefferson College, even though I originally wanted to go to the Penn State University. I have been accepted to both schools, yet I had to pick the former due to the budget of my family. Washington and Jefferson College has offered me $27,000 of annual merit-based scholarship for two years. Its original annual tuition begins from $40,000 dollars, so I only have to pay $13,000 dollars per year, which is as same as the annual tuition for general Korean 4-year colleges. The public schools in the United States barely give scholarships to the international students because they earn a lot of money from foreign students paying full tuition. Pennsylvania currently doesn’t offer illegal immigrants in-state tuition, but its legislature in 2017 considered a bill to do just that, as it did in 2011.
Richard Nixon always despised JFK as Nixon could not afford going to Harvard, although he was accepted while JFK from his rich and influent family went there in spite of his low grades. I suppose that I can understand him very well about how he felt. The genuine American dream as far as I know is to earn based on one’s authentic efforts, and therefore, the current immigration system does not fit this fundamental virtue.
About the author:
*Daniel Kim has served as an artillery man and an interpreter in the Republic of Korea Army and is currently enrolled at Eastern Washington University where he is majoring in interdisciplinary studies.
This article was published by Bombs and Dollars