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Vatsala's Story

America, the land of opportunities. The country millions of immigrants move to in order to succeed in life. My family was one of the millions of immigrant families who moved to the United States in order to lead a better life. I moved to the United States with my parents in 2005, when I was only 2 years old.

 

Growing up, I never thought of myself as “different”, I did everything my American friends did, whether that be playing tennis, or celebrating the 4th of July by the beach. Once I got to highschool, I was constantly reminded of how I was “different” than my friends. I couldn’t work a summer job because I didn't have a work permit, I couldn’t vote, or even accept any scholarships that I was academically eligible for. Every three years me and my family face a period of uncertainty, not knowing if the application to extend our visa will be approved.The recurring question of “Why don’t you just apply for citizenship” always makes me upset because I wish it was that easy. With my 21st birthday not far away, my parents and I are now discussing whether I should switch to an international student visa (F-1). This would buy me a few more years of legal residency, but it would also massively inflate the cost of my education. If I make that switch, I’m also giving up my current shot at a green card; I can’t be an international student and also keep my place in the green card line at the same time. I see my friends leading a “normal” life, not worried about the possibility of having to move to a completely different country, restarting their lives, having a job, or being able to vote. In spite of living in the United States as long as they have, I am not able to do any of these things because according to the law I am classified as an “alien”. Georgia is my home. This state has invested in my education, and it’s where I want to be.

 

The broken immigration system is currently affecting many immigrant families like mine, with the possibility of having to wait over 100 years just to get a green card. I want to use the opportunities that I have been given and give back to the country I call my home, the United States of America.