My experience coming to america essay
We come here because we want a better life and a better education. I felt very frustrated and lonely when I first come here because I dont have any friends or knowing anyone that speak my language. Maybe some time I pronounce the words wrong or use the wrong words so people around me start laughing. And I have a lot of friends now. They very nice. Some of them I get to know since I first come here they help me alot. I have a friend that I got to know her since second quarter of my first year here, she from vietnam same as me she is very important to me because she love me, help me, take care of me when Im sick.
When she smile she look like an angel. The weather in U. I will never forget how difficult my life was for not knowing how to speak english but now Im very happy. Im not scared anymore. Instead, I felt the possibility of freedom: At 22 years old, I had only heard about the ability to make my own choices, to follow my dreams, to travel as I pleased, and to enjoy life.
I wanted to be free from the regime and the man who enslaved our lives, and stole our money and our future. It was then that I decided to give up my studies — I was in my third year of pursuing a degree in engineering — and to work with the Americans.
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My job hunt was successful, and I began working with American forces as an interpreter in the western Anbar Province in Every day there was intense fighting against al Qaeda — and so many times, I came close to death. Three times a roadside bomb hit our tanks, but I luckily made it out alive. Fighting with Americans, I was ready to sacrifice my life for freedom and democracy. Long before I filled out my application for refugee status, the Mahdi Army and the death squads in my hometown found out that I worked with Americans. When they could not find me, they started pressuring my family.
They demanded that my father give them information about me, but he refused. I started to ride the bus wherever I went, for fear of someone bombing my car. But even that soon became too dangerous: It was not long before my father called and told me to stop now and get off the bus.
They came to our home looking for you, he said.
It is not safe. I spent that night in the desert and took a taxi back to Baghdad the next morning, where I had friends and family and could find a place to stay. I agonized over whether I should contact them, as I did not want to put their lives in danger.
My Immigration Story | The story of U.S. immigrants in their own words.
I disappeared in Baghdad for a few months, changing where I lived every week. My father later let me know that I was accused by the death squads of being a spy for the Americans and working with the CIA under the guise of being a journalist. It was difficult for me, but I kept a low profile, and the militia was so busy with fighting that I was not their priority target. I did everything I could to protect myself and conceal my identity. I had another ID made under a different name and that showed I came from a different area of Iraq.
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I used it only if the militia checked me. I also bought a gun and carried it with me wherever I went — I even slept with it underneath my pillow, just to feel safe. I lived like this for one year. The application first seemed simple: It requested basic information about me, my family, and the names of my brother and sisters. But then the application delved into the most minute details: the date my parents married, if I had received military training, if I had ever shot anyone, and if I or my family had joined the Baath Party.
There were questions about the threats against me.
How had I received them? Had I and my family been displaced because of them? Did I believe the militia was still looking for me, and how did I keep safe? I then needed to provide some extra paperwork, such as a recommendation from my boss and a copy of my employment contract, and the process of approving that meant it took four months before I could even apply for an interview.
While waiting, many of my friends who also applied were killed by militias or al Qaeda before getting approval. I was torn in two directions: I had to maintain a low profile and keep away from my family, while also being available for my interview when the embassy called me. The darkest time of waiting was in , when several Iraqi journalists were hunted down — assassinated with silenced guns or bombs attached to their cars.
Once, my father called to tell me that someone left a grenade in his car. All I wanted was to hear that I had been approved, as I felt that I was a burden to my family and I should just run away — but I had nowhere to go.
I continued to wait and wait, remembering the sacrifices I had made to work with American forces. My mind was overwhelmed with worry for my life and the safety of my family. At the end of , one year after applying, I received a call and scheduled my first interview. I was risking my life by simply showing up for the interview. I had to enter the Green Zone to reach the IOM office, but extremists lurked around the checkpoints leading to the area. Anyone could see you walking to the gate that refugee applicants had to go through. It was a huge risk to stand in line and wait to be called for the security screening at this location.
go site Everyone there was an easy target for the militias. The room where I was interviewed looked like an office: white walls, very simple desk, and a small shelf of files. The person interviewing me was younger than me by a few years and Jordanian-American. He asked all the questions that I had answered on the application with a focus on how I dealt with the threats and how I was surviving. If I was Sunni, Shiite, or had connections with Islamic groups. I remember he ended the interview by asking why I wanted to live in the United States, and how I imagined my future.
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More importantly, was I a threat to America, or to Americans? Then the waiting process, and its dangers, began all over again. Almost one year later, at the end of , I had my second interview, in the same location and through the same gate as before. At this interview they took my fingerprints, gave me several medical examinations, and asked me more questions. Unlike the first interview, it was a lot easier and shorter too, around 15 minutes. I met with a U. She checked my ID and asked if the threats had stopped, or continued to this day.
I told her they were ongoing and that I really needed to leave Iraq. After this she asked me to leave her office and told me that I would hear their decision soon. I learned that the security background check could take another year and perhaps more, depending on each individual case. I was told that the U. S Embassy had a large database of each Iraqi citizen provided by the Iraqi local police and Iraqi intelligence. I agree that there has to be precautions to keep the United States safe from potential threats, but taking so long to complete this process risks not only the life of the refugee applicant, but also the lives of our families.
Waiting was never easy and the security situation was getting worse for the entire country. The process left me feeling unsure of my safety and desperate for an answer. I would sometimes email the IOM for my application status. All I hoped and prayed for was word that I was cleared to go.
Once I thought about leaving for Europe, but that would have required trusting smugglers. It would have put me at risk of getting killed during the journey, or having the large fee simply stolen.