My name is Anagh, and I’m 19 years old. I’m a sophomore at the Ohio State University where I’m majoring in biomedical science and minoring in business. Any casual observer watching me live my life wouldn’t notice any differences between my life and any other American student’s. I use Fahrenheit instead of Celsius and operate in miles instead of kilometers. I love 4th of July fireworks and I’m a die-hard Buckeye football fan.
However, my life is very different because I was born in India. My parents legally moved here with me in around 2002 on a Visa, but we didn’t apply for permanent residency until 2012, and since then, it’s been an indefinitely long wait.
Because I’m not a citizen or a permanent resident, I’ve always been ineligible to receive federal aid and most academic scholarships despite my strong academic performance and stellar test scores. I’ve had to forgo any paid internship opportunities as I don’t have a work permit, and because most top companies in my area of interest require internship experience in college, I’ve had to pass up lots of chances to get my life started.
I’ve not given up, but it only gets harder from here.
Medical school acceptance rates for American students are about 40%, which is already pretty low. But that’s nothing compared to rates for “international students”, which are about 8%. Because of this, even though the entirety of my life has been in the States, I don’t know if I have a future in this country, and living in this constant state of limbo is extremely mentally exhausting. In fact, there are still days that I can barely hold it together.
I’m certainly privileged to grow up in a country as full of opportunity as the United States, and to be able to get a great education through which I want to give back to my community.
But the way things are going now, if I age out of my family’s green-card when I turn 21, I won’t be able to do that. And I’m not alone. There are many who are in the same situation as me, who are legally here and just want to contribute back to the United States.
We’ve done nothing wrong. And we need your help.