A Legal Immigrant’s Anti-Illegal Immigration View

As some of you may or may not know, I am an immigrant. From the day I was born up until my eleventh grade of High School my official name was not Michelle. I had been going by the name Michelle ever since my obsession with Full House really took root and I decided that being named after the Olsen Twins would be the fulfillment of my life’s wish. I was about seven years old. However, no matter how many people called me Michelle, Ye was the name on all of my official documents. It’s what really connected me back to my motherland. The given name from my parents, named after my cousins. All of our given names meant “bright.”

Now why am I telling you all this? Because when I had my name officially changed to Michelle I did this to fully reflect who I had been for a whole year. An American Citizen. I didn’t have to take the test or the oath myself. That honor was all my father’s. Few years prior to my official name change my father came home, with papers in hand, announcing that he no longer wanted to be a Green Card carrying alien, but rather a full voter-card carrying citizen. For a year I helped my father learn the history of this great country. Learn the different branches of the government and its purpose. Learn who our representatives were at the time, etc. All the things one needed to learn to pass the test. And he passed with flying colors. Red. White. And Blue.

My dad grew up at the end of the Cultural Revolution in China. Living in a house with barely a roof, in a home that barely had enough food to eat from day to day, with a family where everyone had to work to provide for everyone else. He went to school six days a week from morning until evening, worked from evening until well into the night. And when that was done, he had homework to do. Even while struggling with poverty and the need to help provide for his family he was able to finish as one of the tops of his class. He graduated High School, College, and even made it so far as to obtain a Masters.

All his hard work paid off when he was invited to work in Philadelphia. And so began my family’s journey to America. He packed his bags and left my mom and me behind. About 2 years later he was able to bring my mother here. A year later, little Zhang Ye with a passport, a box of crackers, and 2 cans of Sprite, made it to the great land of the free.

Thirteen years later I became an American Citizen.

As an immigrant we often see a different side of the legal versus illegal immigration debate. We have a unique view of what it feels like to not be a naturally born citizen. We have a unique view into why some people work so hard to be able to come, live, and work here.

For this, some people believe that immigrants should be more sympathetic to the hardships that illegal immigrants go through. I recently read a blog piece by another Chinese-American who called anti-illegal-immigration immigrants people who “want to close the door behind them.” She accused us of not wanting others to enjoy what we have enjoyed. This view is simply absurd because she assumes we would close the door even to someone who was immigrating here legally. Can you imagine me standing at the doorway of a plane, tugging at the door and not letting legal aliens the opportunity to step off a plane like I did? This fellow Chinese-American seem to think I would.

My parents worked hard their whole lives to come here legally. They did that because they love this country enough to respect her laws. To respect her need to secure her border. To respect her desire to protect her own against those who wish to bring harm into her lands.

Some of you wondered about my journey alone on a plane with my cookies and Sprite. I will have to save that story for another day.

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Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Now THAT’S how it is done. Kudos, Michelle.

  2. Boston Blackie says:

    Michelle, that was a beautiful story. You should be just a proud of yourself and of your parents. They took a chance and opened the door of opportunity for you. You ran through it and didn’t miss a step. The current immigration debate is not about accents or skin tone or unpronounceable names. It is about following the laws of a country willing to be whatever you want it to be. Giving amnesty to those who think the rules don’t apply to them are punishing those waiting patiently in line for their green card so they can walk through the front door as opposed to sneaking over the backyard fence. You are one of the few that can truly understand the freedoms allowed in this country. Most, like myself, know nothing else so we can only empathize.
    We need to secure our borders THEN decide how to handle those already here.

    You keep promising us the story behind your cookies and Sprite. No better time than now while Jeff has his hands full!

    I loved your reason behind your choose of an American name, my daughter at one point wanted to be called Michelle for the same reason but since she had a cousin with that name, I told her it was not allowed. The excuses we give to little kids haha.

  3. Ruth says:

    Michelle
    My grandfather came from Italy when he was 17 and became a citizen of this great country as soon as he was able. Legal immigration is the reason I am living in this great country today. I am 100% for legal immigration and 100% against illegal immigration. No matter the country of origin, all who enter legally are welcome.

  4. Nicknack says:

    While your sentinments of acquiring citizenship can be admired by all, your choice of words is misguided.

    I too am an immigrant and was naturalized in 1974 as a teenager. That I was not a native born is not as great a disapointment as not being a ‘nautrally born citizen’ (as you put it) which requires that both parents be US citizens and being also born on US soil. Since I am not a nautral born citizen I cannot aspire to be president of the United States.

    I have to ask myslef how the current proported president can circumvent this constitutionaly requirement and I have to ascribe it to the lack of real journalisim that has become socially consience to the determents of the law. Those same laws that define what is legal and illegal immigration which somehow are racists as reported by the main stream media. Without the great equilizer of the law and justice that it defends we are all exposed to whims that may undermine all our rights not just the right to immigrate.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful, and inspiring story. Really cute picture!

  6. Linda B. says:

    Thank you Michelle for sharing your story and for the courage, hardwork and loyalty of your family.

    Most all of us have parents or grandparents who immigrated to this country to seek a better way of life. My family came from Wales and Ireland on my father’s side and from Germany on my mother’s side. My mother used to tell me how my grandparents bought a farm and refused to speak German so their children would be Amerianized. The family even had a bakery store in Chicago. They worked hard and they wanted to be a part of this country not just to earn a living, but to make a contribution.

    I am thankful for what the legal immigrants have brought to this country. I am glad we allowed so many to come here and become citizens and contributors to her greatness.

    The new immigrants want things from this country, but they have no allegiance to her. They want to take from us and they do not want to learn any language or make a responsible contribution. The illegal immigrant does not participate in this countries history or great historical lineage as the legal immigrants. He is too impatient to go through the process, too vulnerable to those who abuse workers, too arrogant to understand what responsibility and integrity stand for, too uneducated about those who use them for political reasons. They do not realize that if those who currently want them here for whatever their purposes may be change their minds; they will be the first to be eliminated from this country.

    Thank you again for your story and the inspiration you give to others.

  7. Sam says:

    Hear Ye, Hear Ye,

    this is America at it’s very best.

  8. Lilly says:

    Thanks Michelle. You stated exactly how we all feel. We are not anti-immigrant, just do it legally by the laws of the land.

  9. Gail B. says:

    Michelle, thank you for sharing your story of becoming an American citizen (and about your family, too.) That’s what it’s all about–legality.

    Anonymous has it right, too–really cute picture!

    When may we read about the crackers and Sprite?

  10. Anonymous says:

    I can see November from my house.

    It is time to stop illegal immigration, once and for all. Only people such as Michelle and her family deserve a new life in America.

    Clean House 2010

  11. Nicknack says:

    Any reason why you censored my comment? Feedback would be appreciated.

  12. Jeff Schreiber says:

    I didn’t mean to, Nicknack. My fault.

    Jeff

  13. Anonymous says:

    Now we’re all so curious….. 12:34 – 1:40

  14. nana says:

    Thank You, Michelle, we need more positive stories like yours to illustrate the other side of the illegal immigration issue. I have listened to other legal immigrants on various programs and I am amazed that they sound more like ‘true’ Americans than some who were born and grew up in this country. Americans have always opened our arms to immigrants who wanted to come here legally and abide by our laws…we are the most generous country in the world and we have helped every nation whether it is through disaster relief or sending our brave military to fight for them and try to insure they have freedom like we have enjoyed. When I hear stories like this one, I cry because I feel the love and respect that you have for our country and I love people who love my country!! I would never want to prevent someone from coming here who respects our laws and wants to contribute to our society. For some to insinuate that the AZ law is like the Nazis is ABSURD…if you are here illegally, you will be returned to your country and THEN you can proceed to come here LEGALLY…we are not throwing you in a prison or killing you like the NAZIS did. Whether the MSM wants to admit it or not, there are some illegals who are criminals and who want to come here to commit atrocious crimes against our citizens…why should we not protect ALL our citizens from criminals coming across the borders and criminals who are already living here? God Bless you Michelle and I appreciate your courage in standing up for our country…you are my fellow American and I love you!

  15. Nicknack says:

    Why dont you get it from the logs and post it then?

  16. Jeff Schreiber says:

    It’s there, Mr. Paddywhack.

  17. 11:32 says:

    Give the dog a bone. He’s begging.

  18. Scotty says:

    Cap’n!!! is thar a prooblim wit da log?

  19. La Crimson Femme says:

    Michelle,
    I echo the sentiments of many others. This is a great personal viewpoint. I am Chinese American born and raised here. I’m the first generation since the original immigration of my parents. Not knowing the entire story of the other Chinese American who accused you (and I) are “closing the door”, I can only guess that the person is not understanding your viewpoint and perhaps is only projecting their inner feelings. Ever feel that some people protest just a bit too much?

    I too recall spending hours with my grandfathers to quiz then on the US history and law to help them take the citizenship test. Both my paternal and maternal grandfathers had to take the exam. The test was quite difficult in my mind and I can bet you the majority of natural born citizens couldn’t pass the exam. Side note – I always found that amusing. In fact, now that I’ve been out of school for a couple of decades, I doubt I could pass the exam!

    I agree with Linda B’s comment that we are not against immigrants migrating to US. They just need to follow the same laws. Who are these illegal immigrants that they they are above the law and that they should be granted benefits that THEY DO NOT PAY FOR?

    I wonder why it is that people believe it is okay to allow illegals to remain in America. There are other options. They can apply for citizenship. What I’d like to pose to all the people upset with the Mexican immigration situation are the following:

    1. Why are the illegal immigrants not applying for citizenship?
    2. Do they know the laws in Mexico regarding immigration?
    3. Why is it specifically the “Mexicans” targeted? Let’s look at the root causes that brought it to this critical issue.

  20. Anonymous says:

    whack the paddy? what kind of erotic blog have I stumbled into?

  21. TNelson says:

    Thanks for the story Michelle.
    Speaking of immigrants:
    http://www.sodahead.com/united-states/obama-using-someone-elses-ssn/question-1011569/
    I almost hate to bring it up, but this needs to be looked into.

  22. Jeff Schreiber says:

    TNelson,

    I’ve spoken with Jerry Corsi on many occasions. I like him. But this, along with a lot of the other stuff at WND recently, I’m really not so sure about.

    Jeff

  23. La Crimson Femme says:

    @ Anonymous,
    You are jesting, right? It’s from a very old children’s song; I think I learned it around 2 or 3 for counting purposes. Jeff was doing a play on words in his note. The lyrics to the song are as follows:

    This old man, he played one,
    He played knick-knack on my thumb.
    With a knick-knack, paddy whack,
    Give a dog a bone,
    This old man came rolling home.

    This old man, he played two,
    He played knick-knack on my shoe.
    With a knick-knack, paddy whack,
    Give a dog a bone,
    This old man came rolling home.

    This old man, he played three,
    He played knick-knack on my knee.
    With a knick-knack, paddy whack,
    Give a dog a bone,
    This old man came rolling home.

    This old man, he played four,
    He played knick-knack on my door.
    With a knick-knack, paddy whack,
    Give a dog a bone,
    This old man came rolling home.

    This old man, he played five,
    He played knick-knack on my hive.
    With a knick-knack, paddy whack,
    Give a dog a bone,
    This old man came rolling home.

    This old man, he played six,
    He played knick-knack on my sticks.
    With a knick-knack, paddy whack,
    Give a dog a bone,
    This old man came rolling home.

    This old man, he played seven,
    He played knick-knack up in heaven.
    With a knick-knack, paddy whack,
    Give a dog a bone,
    This old man came rolling home.

    This old man, he played eight,
    He played knick-knack on my gate.
    With a knick-knack, paddy whack,
    Give a dog a bone,
    This old man came rolling home.

    This old man, he played nine.
    He played knick-knack on my spine.
    With a knick-knack, paddy whack,
    Give a dog a bone.
    This old man came rolling home.

    This old man, he played ten.
    He played knick-knack once again.
    With a knick-knack, paddy whack,
    Give a dog a bone.
    This old man came rolling home.

  24. La Crimson Femme says:

    @TNelson and Jeff,

    I went to the article regarding SSN. There is a statement in there that makes me wonder about the article. It indicates that people can only have 1 SSN in their lifetime. I don’t believe this is true because women who get married and change their surname need to apply for a new SSN. I have heard this from several married women. I personally never changed my name so I can’t verify from experience.

  25. Michelle Zhang says:

    @ La Crimson Femme

    I can answer one of your questions. Our country does have a cap on how many immigrants they allow legally every year. There are also different tiers. Those with higher education/work background (aka people who are more likely to contribute to the society) usually get admitted first. People seeking asylum usually goes at the top too, but this issue is more complicated and the State decides who’s actually qualified. They also limit how many.

    They also have caps and quotas for how many from each country.

    Mexico is one of the biggest immigration countries because many of those people are seeking “asylum” or a better life. Problem is many of them are illiterate (in both Spanish and English) so they really can only do labor jobs where they don’t need to have that ability.

  26. TNelson says:

    My wifes D.L.# changed, but not her SSN. We’ve always resided in the same state and had SSN’s since shortly after our births in the 60′s. It sounds like different states have different procedures with regard to that. The only thing that needs to be verified is if he indeed has a connecticut SSN and never lived or worked there. If he does, there is an issue. But of course, we’ll never know (with real proof to back it up) either way… will we? That is the real problem in and of itself.

  27. Anonymous says:

    La Crimson Femme,

    lol, I was jesting. I never pass up a chance to jest.
    I am 58 so I am too aware of the song, ha ha.
    The Canadian, being so young and out of touch, may have never heard it.

  28. Boston Blackie says:

    La Crimson Femme-
    When you legally change your name for any reason (marriage, divorce, hate the name given to you) you have to get a new social security card by filing the appropriate paperwork with the feds. However, you number does not change. There have been a few times that the courts have allowed someone to receive a new number but it is VERY RARE, usually due to severe identity theft for many years or someone whose life is in danger and has gone into hiding because of it. SS#’s assigned in the early 70′s or later have certain numbers so you can tell which state(first 3) and decade(the 5th) they were given out in(me, my sister and my best friend have the same ss number except the last two digits since we applied together on the same day as teenagers for our first job). I have doubts about the article because it states 1890 as a date associated with the 042 social security number in question. The Social Security Act was signed by FDR in 1935. Regular ongoing monthly benefits started in January 1940. Maybe 1890 is the birthdate of the person the number supposedly was assigned to. But is certainly adds to the mystery that is Obama.

  29. Boston Blackie says:

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