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February 24, 2010



"...they represent essentially same spectrum of opinions - those who support the fight for immigrant rights, and those (especially legal immigrants in the US) who are against them"

My husband (who is american) always says that the "last ones to come in are the first ones to try to shut the door behind them".

It is indeed completely unfair for these children to be punished by their parents life choices - however, there isn't an easy way to define who indeed grew up here and/or establish a "cut off" age for these kids (eg: you maybe become legal if you are 25 and younger). It's a complicated legal matters as well as a social one.


"fight for immigrant rights"

This is NOT an immigrant rights issue at all. Immigrants don't have any of these problems, and their rights are not challenged.

Foreign nationals that live and work in the U.S unlawfully, have nothing to do with immigrants, and are not entitled to the rights that immigrants have. They need to be more honest about who they are, the crimes they have committed, get over their entitlement complex, and stop projecting themselves as victims.

"immigrant rights" is a complete red herring, intended to give moral/legal legitimacy to the phony social "justice" movement that they have fabricated.

"broken immigration system"

I'll concede that our immigrant system is "broken" only in so far as the government does not regulate it enough, and enforce our laws. The culprits here are the american citizens who hire illegal aliens, creating the incentive for people to come here and work illegally. They (american business owners), should be required to confirm the legal status of all employees and be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

"children brought to the US by the parents, illegally"

This is an unfortunate situation that these young people are going though, that has been brought upon them, not by the U.S government but by their irresponsible parents. Fingers need to be pointed in the other direction, because the U.S government is not liable, nor should we have to change our laws because of their irresponsible actions.

"there are some solutions out there that could help"


1) Enforce the laws, and go after employers.

2) No path to citizenship for illegals, and no special rights for them. Every time in history we have given amnesty it totally invalidated our immigration system and encouraged future illegal immigration. If we want to eventually legitimize our system we have to be more strict, start saying "no" more often, and send the message that illegal immigration is NOT an option.

3) I agree that immigrating legally is unreasonably difficult. We should make legal immigration more feasible and inviting. People who have been playing by the rules for years, should not have so many problems getting green cards / permanent residency.


"rights to an education, or health care"

since when are those rights?

I guess this goes back to the function and role of government in society.


Historically and culturally, the United States as a society defines a right not as an entitlement but as a freedom for the individual to do as he sees fits when he/she has a need. So a right for an education doesnt mean the government should be forced to provide education; instead, the people have the right to do so without government interference (and if one group disagrees with the method of the other group of people, they just go separate ways and do so differently).

A passive population with an entitlement mind-set expecting he government to do everything for them or a, active community of individuals with a high ability to cooperate and compete to solve common (social, political and economical) problems?


I have little sympathy for Americans who work themselves into a frenzy of indignation about people coming here illegally and violating U.S. immigration laws, given that the U.S. was established in the first place by dispossessing others (the American Indian tribes who already lived here). That had much more serious consequences for the Indians than illegal immigration has for most Americans.

Ashley, the Accidental Olympian

Add this to the growing list of topics I desperately believe need to be changed/repaired/altered in some way or fashion but personally can't even begin to come up with an adequate solution to.



Rachel, you said something really important in this post. And, this is what I am mostly care about. I do support the Dream Act and I honestly wish people understand the urgency to take action and do something to change. I also think these kids have no fault for their parents, at most cases, irresponsible behavior. Of course, not all stories are equal (meaning not all parents act irresponsibly) but overall their action is all a consequence of current US immigration laws.

There is, however, one thing you don't get it right in the post. (Soorry!) To come here legally or stay here legally is not for "rich" people, as you imply. Sure, money plays a big role. But to say that only those who can afford can come here and/or stay here legally is not the total picture. You are missing an important part of this story. I am living proof of this and if you go around CUNY (or language schools) in NYC you will find that a good part, if not the majority, of international students who stay here over the years come from poor backgrounds and work really REALLY hard to stay here legally.

I live in Astoria, where there is a huge Brazilian immigrant population. Most come here with visas - not crossing the borders. Most get their visas by making arrangements, if you know what I mean. I came here because I worked at the Airport (spent less than R$200 - about US$50 - round trip with taxes included) in Brazil and therefore got cheap tickets. Many of my friends came here after saving for years to study for a few months (or weeks!) or they paid an agency to find them "cheap" work as an aupair. We work very hard to stay here legally. So to say what you say is to tell only one side of the story. May I remind you that immigrations fees have only increased substantially over the past few years, mainly due to 9/11 attacks and change from Immigration Naturalization Service to Homeland Security?

All my friends, who came with a visa, and overstayed (meaning, stayed illegally) have enough money to buy houses (yes, plural) in Brazil, cars, businesses, etc. etc. etc. AND they live pretty well here. So, money is NOT the issue. They worked hard in construction, services, etc. and make good money. They decided NOT to be legally, though. The only option was always there as far as I know, for some of them, the younger ones, who could have enrolled in school but consciously decided not to.

Regarding Immigration and all, I am so fed up and tired that even when I am mostly against illegal immigrants who feel entitled for "equal rights" (except for the young kids brought up here), I find myself considering going this coming March to Washington. To me, it is more like a symbolic action than anything else. I do happen to feel not much sympathy for Felipe for he has come here old enough (14 y/o) that he could make his decision to return to Brazil and fight-the-fight down there (very needed, by the way) so I don't feel bad for him at all. Something in his story is just not right, especially now with better "opportunities" in Brazil.

I am actually thinking of documenting this march for a film class. If you, by any chance, are planning to come and want to meet-up, let me know. ;)

Rio Gringa

Hi Simone, I understand where you're coming from, but it's substantially easier to immigrate to the US if you have money, a caveat which doesn't really include studying abroad. But even so, most international students I know had to put up a lot of money upfront for tuition and cost of living -- it's not feasible for a lot of people. I'm not saying you have to necessarily be rich, but you have to have enough to prove to the government that you won't go broke while living here. I know people who wanted to come for study/temporary work who were denied visas because of finances. It is a reality, though it applies more so to immigrant visas less so than temporary ones.
Also, for those that come on tourist or very temporary study visas and stay illegally--that's exactly the point. They can't afford to get a work visa or a longer term student visa, and the only option is overstaying their visas. In regards to visa fees, visas for spouses/fiances have been consistently expensive to discourage "marriages of convenience."


Yes, you are right. There is, however, ways to get around the proof of income thing. You do NOT need to have tons of money upfront for tuition or living costs. You just need to have someone to sponsor you (they will not be liable in case you cannot pay tuition) - that's what most people in my situation try to do -- or save enough money (about $10.000 for a language school) to proof you can support yourself. However, you do NOT use this money at all - at least not upfront - you just pay for tuition. I know it is not an easy solution but it is one of the very few options available. That's why overstaying the visa as tourists is so common - it is the easy way. Thus, it is not surprising the most Brazilians opt to do the easy thing instead of taking the long "hard" road. I am talking about relatively young people though. There are people who are a bit too old for that and for them there is no other solution but to overstay. If there were no jobs around here, these people would not come. That's why recently many Brazilians (like in Boston) have decided to return to Brazil.

I don't know much about marriage applications but if an American marries an illegal immigrant here in the US it is just as expensive (I suppose) but it is way cheaper than paying someone to get married. Many of my gay friends have done this - they really have no other option even when their real partners are Americans. So, it is the price tag for a Green Card. And, if you think about it, with all the money I already have spent here (discounting the few scholarships I have won when I attended a Community College) it is way cheaper and less time consuming than marrying for money. Not an easy choice but it was my choice.


Brazil is the only country in the world where I have met large numbers of Americans and Europeans living and working illegally. Where there simply is no route to immigration and employment beyond marriage or an expensive investment visa, many people make the choice to overstay and live in the informal economy.


Like Simmone, I am surprised at your notion that legal immigration only boils down to having money. As she points out, it's very difficult for anyone to immigrate to this country and get legal permanent residency without some sort of sponsor - an employer, "agency," school, or family member. Sure, having money and connections helps with this, but for many people there is no way to legally immigrate to the US permanently no matter how much money they have.

Even in your own case, I am curious as to what your husband would have done with that $3000 to immigrate legally if he didn't have your sponsorship. I don't think there are many people with legitimate paths to US residency that are held back just due to money.

Either way, I really enjoy your blog, which I've been reading since I started dating my Brazilian fiance. :)

Rio Gringa

Hey Laura, Is having a sponsor not a form of having financial resources, as I mentioned? You need to either be sponsored by an employer (meaning you have some form of advanced skills in an area) or by a person (who has to have a sufficient salary and the willingness to support you financially if necessary). It's all a part of the idea of needing money--someone in the equation must have enough money to satisfy the immigration authorities. It doesn't mean you have to be rich, but immigrating legally means the government trusts you will not become a financial burden of the state. When it comes down to it, you either need money, a job, or someone willing to pay your way until you have the first two things. This idea of needing money to immigrate means money from all sides, not just the immigrant.

Also, it's possible to become legal after entering illegally if you have money for immigration lawyers (and a LOT of patience). It's not easy and not always doable, but it's definitely possible. One good example of that is Cesar Millan; I also have friends that managed to do this.


Crap, I got an error when I tried to reply and lost my comment. I'll just summarize.

First I wanted to say I re-read my first comment and thought I could have worded the part about Eli better. I hope you didn't think I was being rude but that wasn't my intent. If so I apologize. We just started our process.

From your comments I do see what you mean about it coming down to money, but in the form of a sponsorship. Your original post made it sound like some forms and 3K would get you permanent residency, with no mention of the sponsorship behind it. I do agree that in the end it comes down to having someone (or some company) willing to support you unless you're VERY wealthy. I just wasn't getting there from the original post.

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