My Dad and Chain Migration

I was surprisingly pleasant with Trump’s SOTU delivery. It seemed like Trump was actually on script for once, it gave me a tiny glimmer of hope that just maybe, maybe Trump can actually learn how to act presidential. That is until he tweets something outrageous.

Nevertheless, there is one area I find myself disagreeing with Trump. In his speech, he promised to end chain migration as part of a major comprehensive immigration reform, which we certainly do need badly.

Chain migration is not a dirty word, it’s an academic term that describes an immigrant who now has settled in USA bringing over his or her spouse, children, relatives and so on, which in turn, these sponsored emigrating individuals can also sponsor other immigrants within their own social circles. In fact, it’s nothing new, I would argue that it’s been that way for ages since America was first settled by that Big Bad White Man.

The reason I disagree with Trump on chain migration is because my Dad was part of this.

My Dad was born and raised up in Hungary, a landlocked country sandwiched by several countries. He was born in 1950, so he was a little boy when in 1956 he witnessed Soviet tanks rolling into his village which was 1 or 2 miles from the border with Austria. He saw firsthand the brutal crackdown on the rebels and severe mistreatment his family received at hands of Soviet troops. His family lost everything and was forced to relocate to another house.

In 1969, my Dad and another friend was planning to go to another town to watch a soccer ball game but could not get travel permits. My Dad told me that if no work permits were present when demanded by soldiers, one could be shot and killed. Traveling anywhere is one of things Americans take for granted, anyway, my Dad and his friend decided to stay in their village and went to a bar. Eventually they talked about planning to escape and decided it was time to try that. My Dad grew up watching the border troops placing down the mines, so he knew where the mines were located to make a pathway through the minefield. They kept the plan a secret from their families, about a week later, they escaped. It took them over eight hours to make good on their escape even though it was only 1 or 2 miles from the border.

After my Dad and his friend climbed over the V-barbed fence, they immediately searched for someone to surrender themselves. They asked a farmer whose land they went over and landed onto to call authorities. The authorities took them to a refugee camp in northeast part of Austria primarily intended for refugees fleeing communist countries that bordered Austria. They went through a lengthy process to ensure they’re not communist spies in disguise. They were released from the refugee camp and settled down in Austria.

When my Dad’s aunt received the news that he had fled Hungary, his aunt suggested him to take an once in lifetime opportunity to emigrate to America on her sponsorship. My Dad had heard many things about America, mostly of negative side due to communist propaganda, but decided to check it out for himself. After few months in Austria, my Dad took a chance to emigrate to America on his aunt’s sponsorship. Shortly after arriving in America, he fell in love with American culture and the opportunity to earn his way into American Dream. In 1970, US Army offered him an opportunity to enlist and in exchange would help him get his US citizenship papers. He enlisted, and even though some of his friends went to Vietnam, he stayed stateside and did his duty for 2 years. He probably got his papers in 1973, an immigration judge told him that his case was the fastest route to US citizenship he’s seen in his time.

My Dad did it legally and did everything according to US law at that time. Sure, he ‘broke’ the law by fleeing to Austria, but immediately surrendered himself to the proper authorities. He emigrated to America on his aunt’s sponsorship, which I might add that she came over legally as well. She was fortunate to have emigrated long before Hungary fell under communist rule. My Dad was part of LEGAL chain migration and reaped the reward of taking a chance to start a new life in America. He had no skills to speak of, he was just a 19 years old kid who yearned to taste freedom, to break away from under the communist yoke unlike so many young kids nowadays seem to relish the idea of ever increasing government intruding into daily aspects of ordinary life. Nevertheless, he was determined to make best of his chance in a strange new country that opposed communism.

As Trump promises to end chain migration, we should remind ourselves that America is still the shining city set on a hill and a light beacon to anyone seeking a better life as my Dad did. As long the immigrants do it legally, I see no reason to end chain migration. I also see a need to balance between allowing in skilled and unskilled immigrants. Both groups can offer contributions to America by the way of economic production. Unskilled immigrants who enter here legally usually have a burning desire to improve their lot, and in time, some can even surpass the skilled immigrants in ambition and wealth. Chain migration has its benefits and just because there’s growing issue of illegal aliens abusing the fruits thereof, we shouldn’t deny such to legal immigrants who did nothing wrong except to arrive here amid the native hostility toward immigration.

After all, America is indeed a nation of descendants of LEGAL immigrants.