How I Became an Illegal Immigrant – New American Media

It is important for those involved in the immigration debate directly to tell us their stories. Here is one story of an Indian woman that thought she was following all the immigration laws, but then realized she was actually here illegally. By account of this story she is very intelligent and would obviously be a benefit to this great nation.

How I Became an Illegal Immigrant – Full Article
New America Media, Commentary, Supna Patel, Posted: Dec 06, 2007

Editor’s Note: An Indian woman who believed she was following all immigration laws found to her surprise that she had become an illegal immigrant. Supna Patel is a pseudonym. She can be contacted through South Asian American Leaders of Tomorrow (SAALT), at or via mail at IMMIGRATION MATTERS regularly features the views of the nation’s leading immigrant rights advocates.

I came to the United States legally with my parents as a child more than two decades ago. My father was here on an exchange program, and my parents hoped to remain here once it ended. However, my father, notwithstanding his numerous graduate degrees and other qualifications, was unable to find an employer to sponsor him for a work visa before his exchange visa expired. Thus, my Indian parents, law-abiding citizens always, left the country.

In most all cases it is the employers that are responsible for issues with immigration. Whether they’re taking advantage of immigrants or , as in this case, failing to inform their employee that they have not followed through on paperwork, employers must take more responsibility. In regard to undocumented workers it is not the workers that are “taking” jobs, but it’s the employers that are giving them. Of course I think we need to accept immigrants into this country, but they shouldn’t be taken advantage of.

Immigration laws need to be changed to penalize employers such as mine, and provide an avenue for appeal in cases of employer abuse and noncompliance such as this. Immigrants like me have spent years jumping through hoops and dodging minefields in order to comply with the broken immigration system currently in place, yet employers are not held accountable for doing the same.


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