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Old 01-18-2010, 10:10 PM
 
Location: Houston
3,567 posts, read 3,832,864 times
Reputation: 931

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I just feel like posting this after I came across an essay of a friend.

I met her a few years back at the local Community College. She's from Romania, and her family back home is not doing good financially. She always deamt of coming to the United States to have a better life. She came here on the F-1 visa, which is a student visa and only allows you to work on campus ( only on campus) for no more than 20 hours a week. I already knew a lot about immigration and out-of-state tuition at that time. Since she was struggling, she started her education at the Community College. However, she still paid 3000 Dollars per semester with no financial aid available to her. She was always the first at the Community College job fair, where they offered a few on-campus jobs. Everybody who has attended a Community College knows there aren't many jobs available. She went there at 5 am in the morning just to make sure she would be the first at 9am when they opened. She knew she needed the minimum wage job in order to pay for basic necessities. Her family got into deep debt, since they had to provide for anything else. 6.50$ and hour and no more than 20 hours a week ( mostly even less than 20) don't buy you much. She would always study and fight hard for her dream. She knew that she owes it to her family who loves her and supports her. She had to live on a very tight budget. She had to pinch the pennies.
She didn't even speak English when she got here. She took intro English classes to improve her language skills. I admired her for that. She was still lable to keep a 4.0 GPA, and transferred to the University of Houston after she was finished with her basics. Ever since she has been struggling with the out-of-state tuition, which is about 14 000 Dollars a year. I don't know how she did it, but she always managed to get a job on campus, since that's the only job she could do being on a student visa. She kept on fighting for her dream. She even started volunteering ( for no money, of course), helping other Americans that needed help at a local shelter. Volunteering on Chsitmas Eve. She jsut always wanted to be around Americans. Although she knew that she needed money so badly, always knowing she will have to return back to Romania if she can't afford it, she would still help Americans. Trying to put a smile on the face of those in need.
I still remember her talking highly of the United States. She loves this country so much. She always went to the July 4th parades here in Houston, proudly holding up the American flag and singing the anthem of the United States. She embraces and lives the culture of the United States. She loved Thanksgiving, and she loves talking about the history of the United States. She is always eager to learn something new.

The U.S. let her down so many times. I told her that it might help to work under the table. The out-of-state tuition and living expenses were just too much. She would outrageously refuse my idea. She said that you do not cheat the country to love. She did not want to cheat Americans. She paid taxes but did not qualify for in-state tuition. She said that hard work will always pay off in the end.
I honestly thought she wouldn't be able to make it. Boy was I wrong. She is still here and fighting harder than ever before. She only keeps giving to Americans, but has not gotten anything herself. She now has qualified for a scholarship of 1000 Dollars ( well ,that's nothing compared to the tuition) and she even has now the chance of qualifying for in-state tuition. Again, no financial aid at all, it is still all out of pocket.
She could have done it the easy way. She could have boarded a plane and could have lived here illegally. That way she could even have gotten in-state tuition. She never even considered doing that. She could have gotten a free ride. Remember what she said? Do not cheat the country you love so dearly.
I do hope that she will be given the chance to get a work visa once she's done with school, I hope someone will honor her for what she did, I hope that she will become an American citizen one day. I've never met anybody else who would deserve it more than she does. All the hard work, all the pain, all the time will hopefully pay off for her one day.

This is what I call the American Dream. She is truly a hero to me. The U.S let her down, but she would not give up and fight even harder. All the struggles she went through, she would always make the best of it. She knew that it takes a College degree to obtain a work visa. This was always her goal and she did stick to it. This is what the founding fathers would have wanted her to do. Obey the laws and the rules no matter what. I know I could not have done this with all this pressure, always facing the return to her home country.

I despise the State of Texas ( and others ) for giving a free ride to those who came here illegally by giving them in-state tuition. I despise the State of Texas for letting down the hard working immigrants who gave so much to this country and even paid their taxes. I am very liberal and have always supported liberals. But this makes me realize how wrong illegal immigration is. Just using the system and waiting for an amnesty. It is a shame that this is happening in this country. We ignore the hard working and award the criminals. This must stop and it must stop now.

Sorry, it's a little longer than I had originally intended. I just had to get this off my chest. If anyone is interested in reading her application essay, then you can do so right here:

Nicoleta Cotoi_Essay (http://www.class.uh.edu/class_scholarships/__essay/essay_cotoi_n.html - broken link)

This is what we need. We need people like her. I am just glad that there are still honest people out there. And I'm sad about everything she went through. But I do hope that she was right when she said " hard work will always pay off".


Thank you Nicoletta for everything you have given to this country.
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Old 01-18-2010, 10:26 PM
 
Location: Minneapolis, MN
5,893 posts, read 12,277,756 times
Reputation: 2531
This is a perfect examle why following all the rules makes little sense at times.
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Old 01-18-2010, 10:29 PM
 
Location: Houston
3,567 posts, read 3,832,864 times
Reputation: 931
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slig View Post
This is a perfect examle why following all the rules makes little sense at times.
At least she can say she deserved it and actually worked for it... legally. I'm very proud of her.
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Old 01-18-2010, 10:33 PM
 
2,857 posts, read 5,858,994 times
Reputation: 1705
I fail to see how the US has let her down. She has followed all the rules and received the assistance she qualified for. Are you suggesting that US immigration laws are unfair? Maybe that's why so many take "alternate" routes.

They have colleges in Romania where she could live much cheaper. Maybe she should consider going home if the sacrifice is too great.
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Old 01-18-2010, 10:35 PM
 
Location: Houston
3,567 posts, read 3,832,864 times
Reputation: 931
Quote:
Originally Posted by domino View Post
I fail to see how the US has let her down. She has followed all the rules and received the assistance she qualified for. Are you suggesting that US immigration laws are unfair? Maybe that's why so many take "alternate" routes.

They have colleges in Romania where she could live much cheaper. Maybe she should consider going home if the sacrifice is too great.
We let her down because we prefer the illegal immigrants over those who come here legally. She does pay taxes and gets nothing in return.
They also have Colleges in Mexico. Your point? She does not want to go home. I already mentioned that. She wants to keep fighting for her dream.
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Old 01-18-2010, 11:03 PM
 
Location: Oklahoma(formerly SoCalif) Originally Mich,
13,387 posts, read 16,234,181 times
Reputation: 4611
Quote:
Originally Posted by XodoX View Post
We let her down because we prefer the illegal immigrants over those who come here legally. She does pay taxes and gets nothing in return.
They also have Colleges in Mexico. Your point? She does not want to go home. I already mentioned that. She wants to keep fighting for her dream.
No "WE" didn't,.... our Government did.
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Old 01-18-2010, 11:11 PM
 
Location: Houston
3,567 posts, read 3,832,864 times
Reputation: 931
Quote:
Originally Posted by mkfarnam View Post
No "WE" didn't,.... our Government did.
Well, since we elect out government, we are kind of responsibile too Not enough Americans standing up for this.
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Old 01-19-2010, 12:44 AM
 
Location: Bike to Surf!
3,080 posts, read 9,708,993 times
Reputation: 2977
Quote:
Originally Posted by XodoX View Post
We let her down because we prefer the illegal immigrants over those who come here legally. She does pay taxes and gets nothing in return.
They also have Colleges in Mexico. Your point? She does not want to go home. I already mentioned that. She wants to keep fighting for her dream.
Prefer illegal immigrants? Nonsense!

As an F-1 visa holder, she can claim residency, apply for a driver's liscense, apply for insurance, apply for a SSID, get a bank account, she can even work legally (less than 20 hours).

An illegal immigrant can get none of these things. If they do, they are breaking the law and subject to civil fines and deportation if caught.

Saying that the US favors illegal immigrants because of charges to visa holders is like saying that realtors favor squatters because they charge homebuyers the cost of the dwelling.

Your friend is actually quite privileged compared to most illegal immigrants. That she was able to secure the massive loan necessary to attend school in the United States as a foreign student means that she or her family must have significant means or collateral. It's not surprising that her family has money troubles as she will have had to take out a Romanian loan cosigned by, lets assume, her parents for tens of thousands of USD at a minimum. An option not open to most illegal immigrants.

I hope that she has the wherewithal to complete her degree and find a job with an American company that will sponsor her on a H1-B. Hopefully she's in a technical field like Engineering, otherwise there's little chance of that. Her only other option (and the easy one) will be to marry into a Green Card, and I'd wager that's what she ends up doing--or going back to Romania.

By the way, you gave her terrible advice when you suggested she work under the table. An illegal immigrant might be deported, but at least they are not saddled with thousands in debt. If she were caught violating the terms of her visa, then her F-1 would be revoked, she would have to purchase a plane ticket home immediately, plus she would still be burdened by the massive student loan with no prospects of completing her education in the US and being able to gain the earning power to pay it back. She is very smart to obey the law.

I'm curious as to how she can qualify for in-state tuition. I doubt that's the case. International students, by definition, are considered non-residents. Schools usually have clauses allowing someone who has resided within the state for a year or more to qualify for in-state tuition, but the usually exclude those who have resided within the state for "academic reasons." Since she is on a F-1 visa, she won't be able to have any qualifying time that would apply toward being able to claim in-state status.

The idea being that a state resident has paid enough taxes (sales and income) to justify the state support offered to in-state students. So, when she does become "in-state" she will be supported by the government, and probably "unfairly".

Still, it sounds like she's a great individual and would be an asset to our country. I wish there were a better system to allow her to immigrate legally so she could become a productive citizen as quickly and painlessly as possible.
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Old 01-19-2010, 06:56 AM
 
Location: Pa
20,310 posts, read 18,913,834 times
Reputation: 6517
Xodox is making a valid point. We have folks here legally who didn't cheat the system. Who are honest. Unlike 100% of all illegals. She breaks no laws and is actually following an honorable path. Her only request is to allow her to be honest, reward that honesty.
We as a nation. We the people who continue to elect politicians who cater to the illegals, the hispanic lobbies and all other lobbies continue to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the majority of americans. We the people do not agree with an amnesty program. We do not want to reward those who do not have the integrety of the legal immigrants. We don't want to refer to illegals as immigrants. We want to refer to them as criminals, because that is what they are.
Xodox I agree with you. This nation is letting down all those who did it right. We are failing the honest legal immigrants. For what? Certainly not because its in our best interest.
Most folks raise their children to believe its always best to be honest. That Winners never cheat and cheaters never win. That their is no honor in the cheat or the lie.
Our Gov however seems to feel that rewarding certain criminals is a far better solution than holding them accountable.
It really is sad.
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Old 01-19-2010, 07:22 AM
 
Location: The Wine Country, CA
807 posts, read 1,118,290 times
Reputation: 302
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slig View Post
This is a perfect examle why following all the rules makes little sense at times.

Yes, Those immigrants that decide come to the U.S. legally are just senseless and naive..
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