Illegal immigration, to be specific. Like the border security bill being debated with finger pointing galore by both parties.
Do I have an opinion?
Damn right, I do, and it’s bipartisan!
You see, the issue is personal to me, and several people have brought it up lately.
The reason; because I’m a LEGAL immigrant to the United States. Which is why I have very little sympathy for all those illegal Canadians among us. And it’s come to my attention that we now have some unathorized entrants from SOUTH of the border.
When my father and I escaped from the former German Democratic Republic (East Germany) via Berlin to the West, it wasn’t easy to enter the United States.
The first problem being that the U.S. didn’t recognize East Germany. So first we had to become citizens of West Germany which took just under two years. And only then could my father and I visit the U.S. Embassy in Hamburg to apply for immigration.
Which wasn’t as easy as it may sound.
You see the U.S. has a quota system which dictates how many persons from each country will anually be permitted to obtain a visa for permanent immigration.
It just so happened my father’s brother had moved here in the 40’s, so he became our sponsor which probably fast tracked our application. He also told the Feds that he, as an established business owner, would “look out for us.” Meaning make sure we didn’t become a financial burder to the U.S. Government.
Alhough he had to walk a very fine line in guaranteeing my dad a job upon our arrival in America, because it couldn’t look like the waiting job was denying an American the opportunity to get it.
About two years after our escape from communist East Germany we arrived by ship in New York City, with Grand Island, Nebraska our final destination where I was inducted into the seventh grade.
Could I speak any English? Not a word (some claim that I’m language challenged to this day).
So how did a survive junior high under those conditions?
They moved me all around from 7th to 9th and to 8th grade classes, depending on which teacher could speak a little German.
As far as my German goes, I don’t get to use it much anymore, except when I run into Scott Parks at KMBZ. He still speaks it well dating back to the days when his family was stationed in Deutschland. And when counting numbers in my head—there it goes again.
Dreizehn und Fuenf ist Achtzehn.
Five years after our arrival to these shores we were sworn in as proud American citizens. And let me assure you that the citizenship test was no breeze.
But it should be hard to make one appreciate the great country we live in.
Over the years – less so today – I’ve been called a Kraut, a Nazi and more.
Those who’ve gone the Nazi route obviously don’t know their history since I grew up under Communism.
My real name is Juergen. But kids back then had too much fun referring to me as J”ergen” – as in Jergen’s Lotion – hence the name Jack. My legal name however remains Juergen.
Which brings me back to the present and our broken immigration system.
My father and I did everything required by the U.S. to enjoy the priviledges of this great country. And yes, I believe that everyone should have to do the same—be they Canadian, Chinese, Mexican OR even German.
It just doesn’t make sense to support shadow populations.
Here’s hoping for bipartisan immigration legislation and a border security bill—and law—that really WORKS for America.