Barred from Entering

The argument that immigrants should just “come here legally” ultimately comes from a place of privilege. For countless immigrants who don’t have extensive financial resources, coming to the U.S. illegally is the only way they can support their families.


Ally Aguirre, Staff Writer

While I wished it was as easy as just saying so, telling an immigrant simply to just “come here legally” is like attempting to show up to a dance after doors close. Without a good reason, you most likely won’t get in, and the excuse of simply being late is not worth much. But just like many other aspects of society, money can always speed things up and be a deciding factor in the process. 

For instance, my mother, a first-generation immigrant, was fortunate enough to have a stable job and income, even while being a single parent. This allowed her to “invest” more money into her immigration application when it came to lawyers and streamlining towards citizenship. She could pay lawyers to put in the application, review it for her, and give any advice she needed based on their abundant legal experience. Normally, if you’re even possibly able to qualify for permanent residency, the wait can be from 5 to 27 years, with the possibility of rejection even then. Fortunately, my mother was able to receive her green card only one year after applying, even with the pandemic occurring halfway in the process. 

All these expensive, time-consuming factors of moving to the U.S and becoming a citizen is why many have to resort to illegally crossing the border and staying here as an undocumented immigrant. It’s a painful choice to make since this risk puts everyone, from young children to elders, in the danger of death, rape, and of course, the possiblity of getting caught. DACA, which protects young individuals from deportation, can also be expensive for many because of its $500 unwaivable fee, and as of 2020, around 800,000 people are left with no path to permanent residency or citizenship in the U.S. 

While most of you who are reading this were privileged enough to be born into a country with endless opportunities all around you, others weren’t so lucky.

Moreover, without a qualifying reason or set job in the U.S, a request for a U.S. visa will likely be rejected. Visa refusal rates can range from 25% for Mexicans to 84% for Cubans. With time being so precious in our society, many cannot wait or handle a visa rejection, which leads them to, as previously said, illegally cross the border. 

While most of you who are reading this were privileged enough to be born into a country with endless opportunities all around you, others weren’t so lucky. They have war around them, gangs, and sometimes violent disputes occurring right outside their homes. My mother had many advantages that we’re very grateful for, which has led to the recent receival of her legal status with only five years to go until possible citizenship. Others who don’t have such access may take the risk of getting caught and arrested. But that possibility is overpowered by the opportunities that the U.S can offer them. In a nation where the law isn’t on everybody’s side, legality is, sadly, not always a plausible reality.