We don’t get to choose what country we’re born in or what socio-economic status...
It bums me out how few people (at least, in the US) seem to recognize this. It's such a lottery, and there's a big difference between pride and entitlement. The world would probably quickly get much closer to an actual meritocracy if this particular lottery ran closer to once-a-decade or so, instead of once-per-lifetime.
Out of the several billion people I could have been, I was born in Australia, to intelligent and kind middle class parents.
Really. My biggest single stroke of luck was to be born where I was born. Everything else is going to deeply path-dependent.
We should be running out to other countries and actively recruiting people like her to immigrate here. She's smart, she's hard-working, and she's obviously incredibly motivated. But despite all this, the process of even getting a green card took a ridiculously long time.
I really don't understand people knee jerk stance against immigration (well, I do understand it, it's largely racism).
I don't know any Americans who are opposed to immigration. I know lots of them who are opposed to illegal immigration. Interestingly, the people I know most ferociously opposed to the illegals are themselves immigrants, three from China, one from India, and one from France.
And racism has nothing to do with it. They just hate the fact that they came here legally, went thru a lot of trouble to do so, add a lot of value to this country, and then see others who drain the welfare system, etc., get a free pass because they can be expected to vote the "correct" way when they become citizens.
My wife is from China and there's never a week that goes by that she doesn't tell me how wonderful America is. I've lived overseas enough to get a sense of why she says that, but it's still interesting to see the U.S. through her eyes at times.
1. Many illegals die each year making the journey, and many more are brutalized on the way to the border. They have to deal with coyotes, drug gangs, etc. The current situation is untenable.
2. Once they're here, the illegals are cut-off from their families; they can't visit home and miss out on their children growing up, leading to further problems.
3. Just legalizing them doesn't solve the problem; just more people from south of the border keep trying to get in.
The solution, IMHO, is an "unskilled worker visa" available to residents of Mexico and Central American countries. Give preference to those with roots in their communities and a clean record. It would let them come to the US for manual work like picking crops, construction, etc. and go back (and forth) whenever they want. Many other countries (especially the Middle-Eastern ones) have such visas.
I live in a northeastern city with a significant Puerto Rican (as in people who moved here from PR) population, and there are lots of folks who are vocally calling for changes in immigration rules (yeah, yeah, I know) so prevent Puerto Rican's from "immigrating" here.
I suppose it really matters where you're from (among other factors).
The US currently takes in well over a million immigrants legally into the country every year. Are you "opposed" to immigration generally if you don't think it should be two million a year? If you think it should be two million a year, does that mean someone who thinks it should be four million can say you're opposed to immigration?
I'm in favor of a fairly high level of immigration, though I think our current system is completely broken (and seems to make it hard for the people we'd most want here to stay). But I absolutely support some controls on the sheer number and rate of entry, and I really don't agree that this makes me opposed to immigration in the general sense.
To this end, the popular opinion is in favour of making legal immigration harder, and kicking out all the illegal immigrants.
One of the more amusing headlines I've seen involved an Indian immigrant joining the British Nationalist Party, as he supported their policy of "Britain is full, stop immigration".
I first met Yasmine at StartupWeekend Baltimore. She'd come down from Philly to try and recruit help for her project. She'd been working on an existing startup already, and her idea was an extension of that (but new, so as to fit within the constraints of SW).
Not finding a lot of help, she sat in a corner, by herself, for what appeared to be the entire weekend, plugging away. She would occasionally ask some of us how to get something done in Python or whatever, but single-handedly turned her project into something that was later acquired.
In short, for all the talk about 'not enough women in tech', all I can say is that they're out there, and they're awesome. Hell, half the men I know in tech can't get as much as she does.
Your comment was excellent until you took the "My anecdote refutes data!" route.
Better stated: "Maybe there aren't enough women in tech, but they are out there, and they're awesome."
I didn't mean to bely the refute the numbers, but to posit that in spite of the numbers, women are in tech, and they're doing amazing things.
Though, since you brought it up, I'm starting to wonder if it's not a West Coast thing -- there are quite a few women in tech on my side of the continent. I honestly don't know the numbers, but the StartupWeeked I referred to before had about a third of the teams end up led by women.
But given that she was really motivated to master a challenge that was really hard, perhaps, just perhaps she justified her efforts by convincing herself that the results were really worthwhile.
So perhaps the policy is just, exactly right. After all, you don't see a lot of fat happy native born talking about living the American Dream (I hear them saying "you have to asleep to believe it" but as we see, there are other alternatives)
The US almost did in a way at the end of WW2 and we more or less got a space program out of it.
Here's a recent article about new initiatives the Canadian government is taking: http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Feds+plan+hand+pick+ski...
The rest are a mixture of bribery, and racism. (See parent-contributory, english requirements, etc).
All of the above only get you Permanent residency (You can't vote, or receive non-health related welfare).
Once you can speak and read english fluently you can apply for citizenship.
Hardly a 'points based system'.
That said, Australians in turn have access to the E-3 visa in the USA, which is a pretty sweet ticket.
and fluency in English.
But, I'm bias in the opposite way.
The US doesn't have an official language. There is a free press with publications in almost every language. And, at least in the states I'm from (California and Washington), voting materials are translated into all the statistically significant languages found during the census.  (The Federal Government helps too. )
I live in Australia now. It's made very clear that English is the official language here. Different strokes for different folks.
 See: Voting Rights Language Assistance Act
My mother recently "enlightened" me as to how backwards medication pricing is and how its shouldn't be legal what medical companies are doing (its a long, unethical, story). I retorted with: We have people who don't even know how the internet works deciding how to regulate it, and yet we have these very same people regulating countless number of other industries that they don't understand. A great many senators and congressmen don't even read what they vote on, never mind understand what they vote on (ndaa anyone?).
So getting back to the topic at hand. How is it that "we" can read this story and be disgusted. The men in power in our country have spent the last few decades (imo, perhaps longer) making our country worse and have deluded themselves in to thinking they have made it better. I am annoyed with them, but I am really annoyed with the people who know what is broken and instead of taking the initiative, sit back and talk about it. They sit back and they talk up a storm about how crooked companies are and this that and the other thing. And oh yeah, its racism , or its this or that.
And you know what? Its not even worth it to point any of this out. In the off chance you actually agree with anything I have said, your an American, a docile consumer. You will go find some company, some NPO and throw money at it. Problem solved, case closed, you accomplished your civic duty for the day. Maybe you will go the extra mile and share with your facebook friends some pointless meme that suggests they share with their friends. What a joke. If our country's forefathers saw what has become of their great nation, they would writhe in their graves. In all likelihood, you don't agree with anything I have said, you are content with people telling you what to think and what to buy. You believe this country is great and are content letting the "little" imperfections of our government programs go ignored or worse, broken further.
But yeah, totally agree. Let me know when you share a "lets fix immigration" meme on facebook so I can share it with my friends and we can fix kono 2012, -I mean whatever really important thing we were talking about. Hey, did you see my new car. I know, its banging right.
To the author: Respect your fucking readers or don't click "post." Your mother said health care pricing is screwed? Explain and teach me something or don't throw it out there. You have some godawful stereotype of people who complain about the government? Back it up with facts or get the fuck out. Don't feed me some "you are" and "you will" morality play when you invented your hypothetical audience out of thin air. Don't write three paragraphs about your straw man moron without an iota of any actual information besides rambling. Give me a break.
My family immigrated as well, from the former Soviet Union, but thankfully we had help and I got my citizenship only 5 years after moving to the US.
I really am thankful every day that my parents braved the incredible hardships of moving to the other side of the world to a country where everything was different from what they knew.
If it wasn't for them making this decision, I wouldn't have the incredible opportunities that I do today.
Guess what I'm trying to say is, if you've been putting off giving thanks for something similar, now is a better time than ever.
It's kind of frustrating that the state department consular staff dropped the ball on informing your family about applying for citizenship -- I know of people who ended up stateless after the fall of the USSR for similar reasons.
I suspect on the west coast there would be more opportunities to go to college without an SSN for financial aid (by using state or private grants), due to the relatively larger number of non-citizen or undocumented immigrants.
I first came to the US when I was 16 on a high-school "exchange" program, which was actually a one-way "exchange" (nobody went to my country from the US), sponsored by the US government in order by promote democracy, American way of life and thinking, etc., across the world, and especially in the former Soviet Union, where I was from. The American plan was to immerse 15-17 year-olds from the former Communist bloc into American mentality, then send them back to their home countries and let them loose into their societies.
At the time, my former USSR republic was in chaos, the Union just collapsed a few years earlier, economy was in turmoil with ridiculous hyperinflation, food supply failures, crime rate skyrocketting, etc. Needless to say, everybody wanted to get out, and the competition to get into this US-sponsored program was crazy. To get in, you had to pass 3 rounds of testing: prove your English language skills, submit an essay in English, and finally, pass an interview. In my high school of about 1500 students, I was one of the two people who made it that year.
I then spent my last year of high-school as a senior in an American high-school out in the Middle of Nowhere, USA and lived with an American host family, who were proud "rednecks". I didn't fully understand the full meaning of that word at that time, but in those parts of the country, it wasn't anything to be ashamed of. Needless to say, I learned quite a bit about "American way of thinking" during that year.
Meanwhile, the message from my parents back home was simple and consistent: find a way to stay there FOR GOOD. Get into an American university. Oh, and by the way, we have no money for that, so figure out how to do it for free. Which I did, by the end of my American senior year.
I lucked out because I got into a graduating senior class, even though I was supposed to stay with my age group and be a junior. As a senior, I got to take SATs and ACTs, and studied hard for them, having figured out that those were an important ticket to American education. Surprisingly, my results were higher than national average, even though my English was nowhere near native. It would be enough to get into most colleges in the universities in the country.
Unfortunately, just being accepted was not an option in my circumstances, since I had no money whatsoever to pay for college. I needed a full-ride scholarship, nothing less. Fortunately, my (pretty high) GPA and test results turned out to be enough to get one at only one college out of over 200-300 applications that I sent out.
In the meantime, I was back home, back from my first year in America, wanting to go back, this time on my own, without the hand-holding by the State Department and the chaperones. To do that, I needed to learn more about a whole another side of the State Department -- the consular office, the visas, etc. With my letter of acceptance, and an offer of full scholarship in hand, I braced the throngs of my countrymen lining up at the American embassy. I did end up getting one, a student visa this time, although with a frown from the consular officer about the fact that I just came back from the US on an exchange visa. At the time, that was a minor detail I should have paid more attention to.
Fast forward several years.
I have a Bachelors and Masters degrees from US schools (both paid for by the schools themselves), have interned at cool companies, met my wife (also an immigrant, but not from my country) and married her, and switched from studying on a student visa to working on an H-1B visa. At this point I've lived in the US for over 13 years, and investigated the possibility of finally getting a green card.
It turned out that it was nearly impossible for me to get a green card without having to first go back to my country for two years and fulfilling the State Department's original goal for me -- sharing what I learned in the US as a 16 year-old kid with my countrymen. This, despite the fact that Internet erupted and connected the entire world in ways unthinkable since that time. Despite the fact that I have shared quite a bit with many of my countrymen via various online forums and discussion boards during those 13 years. Despite the fact that I have started a family with roots in the US and my wife does not speak the language. Despite the fact that my skills are better suited in the US, which is proven by high-paying jobs I held, along with similarly high taxes I paid along with that.
And so, after 13 years in America, after having received Bachelor's and Master's degrees, with respected schools completely subsidizing my tuition, and after having worked at some of the more respected companies in American tech community, I had nothing left to do but pack up and immigrate to Canada, who was gracious enough to take me, and glad enough to use my skills and take my tax dollars. For me, American Dream remained a dream. Canadian Dream is not as hyped-up as its bigger sister down south, but it has its fair share stories. This is one of them. :)
It is unfortunate about the 2 year requirement for your particular case. Since it was a US govt. sponsored program they paid for your stay, travel and allowance while here. It was not just a program to benefit you personally and to eventually help you integrate into the American society, but rather it was to create future leaders in your country that would support and follow "Western" ideals, and to have you spread your knowledge about the American culture in your own country. As they see it, you have failed that task since you came right back for college.
- That "task" was never clearly spelled out to mostly immature, 16 year old minors. The attached strings were slowly revealed much later into the deal. I don't want to call it a "bait-and-switch", but it does have many attributes of it.
- There's no way to repay the State Dept for the expenses if you don't want to "do the 2 years".
- As I already mentioned earlier, communications mechanisms were revolutionized since then with the advance of Internet. Most communication and spread of informal knowledge now occurs online, even in my home country. Most ideological "debates" over Western ideals, etc., happen online.
- I wonder what the failure rate was for the program. Most people I know either came back to the US immediately, or eventually. I believe the program is shut down now. Unfortunately, a failed program to a government official is just that -- oh well, time to move on. To a participant, it's a life-altering experience, for better or worse.
And completely agree, someone should have the option to basically repay all the expenses associated with the 2 years and get a waiver in return. Heck, you have probably already repaid it many times over just by paying taxes and producing value in this country.
Looking back at my experience I did actually do some of the sharing. I was only 15 at the time and so I had 2 more years of high-school before heading back to US for the University (also a full ride scholarship). There were a number of times when teachers from my high-school back home invited me in for a round table discussion so I could share some of the teaching practices from American high-school. For example I told them about how frequent quizzes and tests are used to make grading more objective and it keeps tracks of students' progress. Or how group and research projects are used. At least in that one high-school some teachers chose to implement that. I encouraged my extended family members to study English (2 of my younger cousins followed in my footsteps). Also remember tutoring some classmates in English and telling them about American culture informally. I would like to think I made some contribution at least.
Yeah you made a good point about how Internet sort of made this obsolete. I agree 90%, the other 10% are reserved for the case when actually meeting someone who have been abroad and has acquired some of the culture and ideas is still different than reading it from a magazine or seeing it online.
Anyway, the fact that you also went back to the US after graduating validates my last point -- yet another "future leader" failed the "task". ;)
Good guess! Yap had to to that. But it was a fun time. I already knew all the material and didn't really have to work. Had more time to hack on my computer which is what I really wanted to do.
> yet another "future leader" failed the "task". ;)
True. Not much of a future leader more of a introverted nerd who likes to code. It worked out great for me though.
Nice meeting you here. I also came to the US as a Freedom Support Act exchange student in high school. I never went back to my home country, got accepted to a University, graduated and was out of status for a while. I married a US citizen and now I am dealing with a 2-year requirement. I applied for a waiver based on "no objection" from the home government. I received a favorable recommendation, but the exchange program wrote a letter to the Waiver Review Division stating that I violated the program and therefore go home. I can reapply basing my case on hardship or political asylum.. but my chances of winning are very slim. You mentioned in one of your posts about repaying the sponsor the amount that was spent? Could you please elaborate? I am in dire need of advice. Please e-mail me at email@example.com
Also did you read the whole thread? Nobody mentioned that you can _actually_ pay back for the 2 years and actually get a waiver for it. It was a hypothetical ("what if" type scenario) that the original poster suggested in response to my claim that US govt. spent the money on these "future leaders" not to help these kids easily become American Citizens, but to share and spread American culture, ideas and ideals in their home country. So hypothetically since you didn't fulfill that goal (the 2 year stay is a proxy for it) _in theory_ you can think of them letting you pay back all the expenses they incurred having you in this country.
You can try another country like the original poster did. Canada is a great country and probably better than your home country at the moment.
> ... applied for a waiver based on "no objection" from the home government.
Yeah not sure I see how that would work. I can imagine any post Soviet block country having a "student exchange program
monitoring and tracking system". So who wrote that "favorable recommendation"? Be honest. Was it someone in your family and then you paid someone to sign. I am saying it because that is how things run in my home country and that is why other (let's say "Western" governments) don't really trust letters, transcripts or recommendations from any such places.
I'm frankly surprised you were able to transition away from the H1-B from the F-1.
(My partner is in a similar boat, but still on the F-1. I'm currently in his country, and we're hoping that despite him being on the F-1, the accumulated time that he spent in his country totalling two years will be enough to count for the requirement, despite it not being contiguous. The problem is it seems to be all up to the discretion of the officer handling the issue, because the rules don't seem to be anywhere.
My biggest regret in life is not having had a good advisor in choosing which colleges to apply to. Upon applying to college, I was being given reasonable advice as an American high-schooler in California when in fact I was in a very similar situation to yours(ex Soviet, exchange student, and so on).
In the early 90s when I applied it cost money for college applications. I applied to Stanford, Harvard, UC Berkeley,UCLA and UCSB, because everyone else I knew was applying (I did not have access to Usenet just yet and there really were no other sources of information).
I got accepted at UCs and got confronted with the fact that college would cost a small fortune for an out of state student that UCs considered me(and I was already working part time as a programmer for UCSB).
To this day I wonder what would have happened if I had managed to get a reasonable scholarship to one of the lesser known colleges.
I did some prior research into scholarships and didn't even consider top schools (Harvard, Stanford, etc.), as I knew there was no chance to get a full-ride with my credentials. I mostly focused on smaller regional colleges.
Sorry for the unintentional lie, I wish I could edit the original post. I guess so many years do weird things with memory.
Canada isn't a bad place to end up after all.
Compare to comments elsewhere (not the same article, but immigration related):
I'm guessing (without having done much research) that it's Cufon that's pushing the JS requirement. I also saw FB Connect, so I guess it could be that, but I've never seen it do that before (but I've also never looked.)
Some people don't seen to care about moving to the US to live "the American dream" or whatever.
It's incredibly disheartening when anyone who lives in the United States believes that they are poor. Too many people born with the privilege of being American citizens choose to blame their life on outside circumstances, when the reality is they've been given the best outside circumstances anyone could ask for. Many people want to redefine the American dream as some kind of struggle for subsistence, but you've perfectly exemplified the true American dream: if you're willing to set goals and work your ass off, then you can choose what kind of life you will live.
"I can speak out against the government, if need be, without fear of being prosecuted, imprisoned, or killed".
Probably pays not to take that sentiment too far however. This is still the USA we're talking about.
Which is a real shame, you have the option of a real boost in the economy if you those who want to work get into the country.