When my wife was refused a visa after seven applications (at $131 US a pop), we gave up. I had been scrupulously honest each time I applied, and was dismayed when during the times we were applying, two friends of hers had gotten travel visas and ‘jumped ship’ while in the USA, finally finding Vietnamese American citizens who were willing to marry them and allow them to stay in America. It seemed that our honesty was being punished for no apparent reason, and that these lying women were rewarded for their duplicity.
I left for America to get a new pacemaker–without my wife. Then the day after I left, my wife received a call from the US Consulate and was told to reapply immediately and that she would be given a visa. We had gotten letters from many of my friends asking that Kim Lien be given a visa and attesting to my plea that she had neither the need nor the desire to immigrate to America. I had written to my Senators (no help) and to my Congressman, Henry Waxman, who DID help. I also wrote to the Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City and to the Ambassador in Hanoi. I don’t know what finally changed the mind of the people at the US Consulate in HCMC, just that Kim finally got her visa, and subsequently two more, and that we, as I promised, are still happily living in Ho Chi Minh City with absolutely no plans to emigrate to America. It is necessary that Kim continue to get a visa so that she can accompany me in the event I need pacemaker replacement or medical care in America, and the consulate has been kind and understanding in granting her a visa.
Now her sister is facing a similar problem, actually a worse problem. She has two daughters who are American citizens, born in Vietnam. She took them to Texas to enroll them in school there. The younger child is autistic, and in six months in America has shown more progress and positive development than she did in six years in Vietnam, despite special schooling and tutoring.
But Kim’s sister came back to Vietnam to attend to business matters and reapplied for a new visa. Surprise! She was denied. Refused. Told she would “Never get a visa!” Now the kids are with an aunt in Texas and the autistic child is beginning to slip back, crying every night because she doesn’t have her mother and beginning to vent her anger by self-abuse. The school tried to medicate her, but it is not working. Frustration is growing everywhere, but nobody knows what to do. The mother is wealthy and owns a good business here in VietNam, so money is not an issue. She would be happy to pay taxes and contribute to the American economy and her shopping habits would probably contribute to a rise in business throughout America.
I’m not sure why I’m posting this, but perhaps I just want my readers to know just how good American education really is, and just how difficult it is for honest people to come to America for legitimate reasons. Judging from the numbers of people outside the US Consulate every day, I would guess that the US earns about $250,000 US a week just from rejected visa applications.
While I can really appreciate the need for scrupulous screening of visa applications, I see that most Asians who emigrate to America become hard working contributors to American society and the US economy. They remind me of the Italian and Jewish waves of immigration which washed over America around the turn of the last century–while there were a few Al Capones and a few Meyer Lanskys, the majority were honest, hard working immigrants who gave the nation the Mario Cuomos and Ruth Bader Ginsburgs.
America is a land of immigrants. Since the first settlers landed in Virginia and Massachusetts our country has grown & benefitted because of immigration–from Europe, Asia, Africa, and Central and South America. Our strength is in our diversity, the new methods and ideas brought in the minds of people who were brought up thinking a little differently than we do, and becoming homogenous in the mixing bowl that is America. If everyone was the same the world would be boring beyond belief, and I really cannot picture an individual going to university to become a dishwasher, maid, or busboy. We need a blend, not just to survive but to make the foundations stronger.
Steel and concrete are not made of only one material. Great nations are no different.