Define American

Transcending politics through a new conversation

I Am A Californian

Oakland, CA | Ishtiaq Hasan

I love America.

I have loved it ever since I stepped foot in this country, when I was thirteen. From my phone conversations with my immigrant uncle, I always heard about how great this country is, how nice the people are, how full of opportunities and top notch education she offers.

So, when my father decided to apply for a tourist visa, I was on cloud nine...I would finally be able to visit America, the land of the free, the home of the bold. My first couple months were great. I made so many new friends, I never wanted to leave. But, I knew that my time is coming to an end.

All of a sudden, one day, my father gets a call from his office in Bangladesh, asking for his help. He tells my mother, my sister, my baby brother, and I that he will be back soon enough to take us back. In the meantime, my uncle enrolls us in American high school, and both my sister and I do great, we become straight A students. At that point, my dad ends up applying for a work via for the whole family. We get approved.

Unfortunately, what the lawyer didn't tell us was that my father can't apply for a work visa from outside the US. By this point, it's too late. My dad has left his job back there, and he is here. That's what has led us to this day. Now, I am 22 and attending a California State University. My dad works 20 hours a day to pay for my tuition. I have looked for jobs, but without any sort of papers, it is hard. Inside my heart, I feel American. I love this country. I just wish I would feel loved back at some point.

Let's Talk.

It's time for a new conversation about immigration in America, and it starts with us.

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