I have many thoughts swirling in my mind this morning. Yesterday I found out that the US Department of Labor has denied my initial application for a permanent visa which would allow me to live and work here permanently. Though I was denied, I am very thankful that I have a school that is very supportive of me and willing and able to reapply but the reasoning for the denial of the request is really interesting to me and I think it sparks different conversations not only on immigration but the value we put on individuals and the skills they have.
The essential reason why the initial request was denied is that, based on my skill set and job requirements, it would appear that I have or should have about three degrees with all that is expected of a teacher. However, the amount that I am being compensated, according to the US Department of Labor, is not enough to match the skills; their suggestion for compensation for my job, including my skill sets, is double what I currently make. Essentially, what it looks like to the government is that my school may be employing an immigrant so that they will work for much cheaper wages.
So many thoughts!
1. First, I promise the school I am working at is not a “sweat shop” for teachers. I do not make less than my coworkers. Rather, we all are committed to Christian education and have made a choice to work where we do. I suggest that the government looks at the other salaries or our school budget before making that assumption. Silly.
2. Second, this is not a rant suggesting I should make double what I do; not at all. No teacher would be foolish enough to get into teaching for the money. But, I do find it fascinating that the US Department of Labor, after carefully looking over an entry-level teacher’s list of job requirements, infers that 1) this looks like the job for a person with three degrees (I have two, not three… but still) 2) that this job requires double the salary to match the requirement and skill set and that the employees should be compensated as such. Very few teachers anywhere(!!) are making double what I do. How is it that this society is comfortable with paying athletes, celebrities, models so much but cannot see value in paying educators, social workers, people who work with PEOPLE! what their skill sets deserve?
3. Third, I am annoyed that Justin Bieber can stay here because he is an entertainer. I suppose that he, too, is working and shaping the youth of our future … but is he shaping them in ways we want? I am annoyed that he can break the law, pee in public, be a nuisance to society, and be allowed to stay? How is that fair that a Canadian who has lived here for ten years and is trying to continue teaching in a small Christian school for little pay can’t but an annoying pop celebrity who contributes very little is allowed to stay, no problem?
4. Fourth, I truly understand why many people choose not to go through the legal process; I am not justifying that choice by any means but it is understandable. I have lived in the US for ten years; I have filed paperwork correctly. I have not committed any crimes. I have followed the rule book. I have taught for 6 years in MPLS. And I am stuck right now. I am someone who technically has “everything going for me”… to make this process easy; I speak English, I am educated, I do not have a family to provide for, I am employed, I am not fleeing from danger, persecution, crime, etc. It makes me sad for the people who truly want to be here, who have skills worth utilizing and celebrating, who want to contribute to the country… and can’t. Immigrating is hard!
5. Fifth, I am hopeful and thankful. I am thankful for employers who are doing all they can to help me and encourage me in this journey. I am thankful that my school is willing to adjust the application and try again. It’s a little silly because they have to make my job look more “simple”, less “skilled” to hope to try again; I am hopeful that I can stay but I am thankful that if I can’t, I am not being deported to an unsafe, unlivable place. I am thankful that I have two wonderful homes – Canada and MPLS and that I would love living either place.
So, those are my thoughts this early Tuesday morning; I couldn’t sleep so I wrote instead. Here’s hoping my second application is a
pproved! American immigration… here I come!
pproved! American immigration… here I come!