Disclaimer: All facts listed in this post are true to the best of my knowledge. The intent of this post is to substantiate some of the policy issues based on my personal experience. No malice or slander is intended and should not be perceived as such. Excerpts of policy have been taken from Bernie Sanders campaign website. Full immigration plan can be accessed using this link.
I have been following this election very closely, as are most people, not just in the US but across the globe. Even those who have actively refrained from getting involved in politics in the past are finding it difficult to ignore the curent race to presidency. The world looks up to the US as a leader so when this great nation ends up with the choices for its leader as they are today, tension is palpable. Bigotry, prejudice, arrogance and, simply put, a blatant lack of decency are the foundation of some campaigns, and what’s worse is that they are gaining traction. Is this the future of America, and consequently the whole world? It’s a scary thought.
I first got interested in the Sanders campaign when I was forced to buy health insurance at what seems like exorbitant rates in my current circumstances. I am not a citizen so I was forced to go to private companies. I am a healthy, young individual with not much money to spare at the moment, so when I have to shell out $200 per month for practically no benefit, it makes my already bad situation worse. I am all for universal healthcare, but I think what we have right now is an example of a good idea poorly executed. I was immediately interested in Sanders’ single-payer plan. Reading further through the issues page on the campaign website, I found myself constantly shaking my head in agreement. And then I hit the jackpot- immigration! Today, I simply want to use my story to validate some of the points in his plan. I don’t have a right to vote, but if I can change just one person’s mind I would feel that my voice was heard.
I am an immigrant worker on H1-B visa. Since June 2014, I have several documented communications submitted to my former employer about my workload being in excess of 300 hours per month. My requests were either left unacknowledged, or were acknowledged without a remedial action.
I continued working to the best of my ability as my employer essentially owned me. If I made too much noise and they decided to terminate me, I would lose everything.
Admittedly, my former employer considers all non-US persons to be equal. I was given counseling by an authority figure who is neither of US origin, nor Indian, about how I ought to work with Americans.
During this ‘counseling’ session, the authority figure told me that I would “not have a future here [the company] or anywhere else” in this country. The whole discussion left me feeling humiliated and discriminated against. I reported it to my then manager who dismissed the subject as a misunderstanding on my part. I then reported the incident to the human resource department who promised to investigate but I heard nothing further on the matter. Few months later, my manager hinted that I should mend my relationship with the authority figure as this person had a lot of power and control over my fate. I was forced to apologize out of fear.
After months of being treated unfairly, I was ultimately forced to file a formal complaint with the Divison of Human Rights. Exactly a week after I filed the complaint, I was abruptly let go.
I have been struggling ever since to maintain my legal status in this country. I have lived here for many years and this has become my home athough I wasn’t born here. I did nothing wrong, always followed the rules, but when I decided to stand up to injustice, I ended up being the one suffering. The current United States immigration system does not offer me any accommodation in these circumstances. I am nearing the end of my visa term and the only way I can continue living here is if an employer petitions for my permanent residence. I don’t even have the right to petition for myself.
This country boasts to be “the land of the free and the home of the brave“. I tried to be brave by reporting abuse, but so far it seems like I will be losing my freedom in the process- the freedom to protect my rights, to protect my dignity, to protect my life. A change is crucial if those words truly mean something to today’s Americans.
Thank you for taking the time to read this!