Han is from New Zealand, and came to America on a student visa, with dreams of one day becoming a U.S. citizen, until those dreams hit reality. Han has earned two degrees from Ivy League colleges, and for the past 15 years, has tried to become an American citizen. In a recent essay for Vox.com, he has documented perhaps the most complete breakdown of how difficult it is to become an American, and outlines the various obstacles and costs even he has been unable to overcome. If an Ivy League graduate cannot navigate our dysfunctional system, how does a family from Central America or Asia with little money and no legal resources stand a chance? This is why we have illegal immigration; many of these immigrants do not want to flaunt our laws; they are often left with no other choice.
While Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) should be tracking down true criminals like Kate Steinle's murderer or gang members, they focus on easy targets for deportation, like families trying to gain legal status or students like Han. Here's an excerpt from his essay:
When the rest of the world send America its best and brightest, America says 'Go away.' Numerous American friends, when the subject of my immigration status came up, have said to me things to the effect of, "Why don't you just become a citizen?" To the Americans I have known, it really seems that people, or at least law-abiding people like me, should be able to just go down to the DMV, fill out some paperwork, and get citizenship. Time and again I have had to disabuse my friends of this misconception. What matters when it comes to obtaining citizenship is your "status" while you're in America, and your status can be difficult to change. Years spent as a student do not count. Neither do years on a work visa unless your employer is willing to sponsor your green card.
To read his entire piece, click right here to visit Vox.com.