Immigration, Take a Number

By: Gienie Assink

Jasmin Salehi. More than likely it is a name you do not recognize, unless you happened to page through the metro section of the Los Angeles Times a few weeks ago. Though her name may not be important, her situation is.

You see, Jasmin is facing deportation to her native country of South Korea because she is not a legal citizen of the U.S. “Why should I be concerned?” you may ask. “After all, this country is struggling to support its legal citizens as it is. Shouldn’t they take precedence over illegal residents?”
While the issue is black and white for some, it is not black and white for Jasmine. She was well on her way to achieving legal U.S. citizenship. But all that, and much more, was yanked from her grasp when her husband fell victim to a fatal robbery. Now, without the assistance of her late husband’s citizenship, the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) considers Jasmin an illegal alien who should be deported immediately.

How can this be? According to the INS, Jasmin’s marriage to her husband did not meet the two-year minimum that is required for immigrants to acquire permanent residency. Here is a woman still mourning the loss of her husband being told that she is no longer fit for U.S. citizenship, even though she paid 5,000.00 to be here while she waits the time period out. There is something wrong with this situation.

Jasmin’s marriage, like many of our own ancestors, embodied the American dream. She and her husband came to the “Land of Opportunity” to live and raise a family in a country that accepts all races, creeds, and nationalities. Jasmin is not one of the many illegal residents in the U.S. relying on government aid. She immigrated not for financial assistance, but to pursue her dreams.

It is time to step back and ponder the intentions of our government when it will not allow a widow to gain the citizenship she was so close to achieving, yet will sanction the dispersion of myriad benefits to hundreds of illegal aliens.

Perhaps we ought to establish an ad campaign directed toward those who are considering potential citizenship in the U.S.”””Welcome to America, land of the free, if you fit our profile.”