I’ve lived in America for most of my life. I moved here when I was 8 years old and since then I’ve had the unfortunate privilege of going through pretty much every aspect of the American Immigration system. I came here on a dependent Visa with my family, and thus I had to go back to India on a regular to re-up on our Visa. Every 2 years for the first 10 years of my tenure in America, I’d miss out summer with friends. Not that I didn’t really enjoy going back to India to see family and experience my country of birth, but I also missed my new friends.
Our Visa was once denied because the right paperwork wasn’t filled out before we got there. We then had to re-book our flights and stay two weeks longer than expected, which resulted in me missing the first week of school in 10th grade. I wasn’t a popular kid to begin with, but when you miss out on the first week of school, you miss out on all inside jokes and fun ice breakers that people go though at that age. I felt alone even in my nerdy friends group who had an entire summer to get closer and then first week of school.
I’ve dealt with aggressive TSA agents questioning me about G.I. Joes and my Gameboy Color at the airport. I’ve been through the Green Card process from top to bottom. I’ve spent years explaining to every level of authority from Airport security to cops to government officials what a Green Card is, because most Americans have no idea what the immigration system is. A Green Card is your permanent residency card. It allows you the same rights as every American…except the right to vote.
To most Americans, they still believe immigration is like Ellis Island. Some Americans even believe that’s where immigrants still come to! You have no idea how many times I’ve been asked if I came through Ellis Island and I have to explain the history of America to Americans. It left me wondering how is it that these ignorant people just get their citizenship, but people like me have to go through hell and high water to earn our citizenship? What kind of system would allow that? If you’re wondering what made me the radical I am today, it was asking that question based on my interactions with average Americans.
After that it was an endless conversation about getting my Citizenship. And quite frankly I didn’t even want to get my Citizenship because the only additional thing it would grant me is the right to vote. And in America’s broke-ass electoral system where I have to pick between Rapey McGreed A or Rapey McGreed B, I didn’t feel like my beliefs and perspectives were being represented. But under the Trump era, my mother and now ex-wife were concerned about safety and I went through that process as well.
After an endless barrage of Paperwork, an awkward interview where we spent a little too much time talking about Parking Tickets and the creepiest oath ceremony you’d ever see, I got my Citizenship at the end of 2019. It would’ve cost me over $2000 had it not been for a loophole and more paperwork to show that I was below the poverty line. For me it took 23 years to get my Citizenship. Even if you go through these legal channels which involves a Visa, a Green Card and then a citizenship, it can take up to 15 years to become a full fledged Citizen of America. And that’s not counting the years that it can take get sponsored and pay upwards of $10k to come to the States.
Turns out the cost of unbridled freedom is about $10,000 and most of your civil rights.
Regardless of all that, I continue to face persecution in America. But at least now when I am persecuted I get persecuted for both my skin color and radical ideologies. Liberals have come out said I can’t have an opinion what POCs are going through because I have “white passing face”. Pretty much denying my whole life history because I’m not brown enough for their sympathies. At least under Trump, conservatives were willing to listen to me. They still argue and say immigrants are trying to steal your jobs, but they’re willing to listen and don’t deny my ethnicity whenever its inconvenient for them.
Hell even after I got my Green Card, when I went through states like Arizona, California, Texas, or New Mexico, Border checkpoints made me extremely nervous. Hell it makes me nervous even though I’m a citizen now. The human roid-rages that join Border Patrol might not think a Brown person is allowed to be a citizen of America.
Look I’ve been through the immigration process under Clinton, Bush, Obama and Trump and I can tell you with confidence that nothing much has changed, except maybe the platitudes. And nothing much will change with under the Biden Administration either. In fact things might get worse because that’s how compounding effects work.
Under Obama, Immigration & Custom Enforcement was introduced, which made things regarding policing Immigrants even more confusing. Is it ICE’s jurisdiction or Border Patrol? If an immigrant is inside a mall do we call the regular cops, mall cops or ICE or is it Homeland Security? All of which are equally racist and think immigrants come through Ellis Island.
Obama also built the Immigrant Detention Centers, which Trump used to detain immigrant children and separate families. Now under Trump these were called ‘cages’, but under Biden & Obama they’re called ‘Detention Facilities’. You guys remember detention from School? It’s a room you’d get sent to if you weren’t obedient enough where you’d stare a wall and contemplate your fleeting existence. That’s what liberals would have you believe these are under Biden.
In reality they are same cages that liberals and faux-progressives freaked out about when Trump in office. Right now, Democrats like the Queen of All Yas Queens Nancy Pelosi calls this a humanitarian crisis while ignoring the human rights violations of the Biden administration. Right now, there’s a record number of children being detained in these facilities – which are really immigrant prisons. In the last month alone the number kids in these facilities have gone up by 1000 kids! And instead of being released to families or guardians, they’re being sent to an “Immigrant Decompression Centers”. That really sounds like it’s a Clockwork Orange style room where they pump these kids with pro-America propaganda, or as its known in many circles, CNN, MSNBC & Fox News.
Those kids are going come out of those Decompression centers like pro-Capitalist zombies saying “Consume…must consume everything!”
Now Biden did boast, similar to Trump, that he’s sending immigrants back from the border. He said immigrants are coming up here because Joe Biden is a “nice guy”. Actually no one is saying that about Joe Biden. Even when Obama says it, you can see him grit his teeth so hard that they might crack. The guy that tried to cut social security 4 times, voted for the violent extermination of brown people in the Middle East, legislated the violent incarceration of Black people in America, sexual assaulted women and can’t go more than 10 minutes without spouting a racial epithet is not a nice guy!
No wonder Kamala Harris and Biden were teamed up since they both given themselves terrible nicknames. Joe Biden just gave himself the nickname of “Nice Guy” and Kamala Harris gave herself the nickname “Top Cop”. At least Kamala’s nickname is accurate.
One of the ways Biden is “sending immigrants back” is by using Title 42, claiming it’s a public health concern due to COVID-19. Title 42 also rejects due process for these people and strips them of their belongings before they’re kicked out of America. Why would you need to strip them of their stuff? Oh right because we’re a Capitalist country and we can’t let a day go by without severely fucking over the under privileged.
If America goes a day without fucking over the poor and under privileged it starts shaking and sweating like Ewan McGregor in Trainspotting. And yes America hallucinates babies crawling on the ceiling too. And the first question for that baby is where are its papers? Just because it’s a hallucination doesn’t mean that baby shouldn’t go through right channels to be a hallucination in America.
Now if this was really about protecting Americans against COVID-19 from other countries, there would be better systems in place to take care of Americans at home. This would involved sending masks to every American, an emergency UBI at the least, universal healthcare, a cancelation of all sports and turn these facilities into triage centers for COVID patients, educating Americans on vitamins and supplements that would help prevent COVID and a reasonable vaccine rollout where we know whether the vaccines will prevent you from getting the disease. But no, Biden is more focused on getting that economy back open so workers can be exploited non-stop.
And those that do make through get put in crammed spaces where COVID is spreading very quickly. The same goes for the kids as well. They’re put into former oil fields at 4 times the space’s capacity. So in reality, this isn’t about COVID or protecting anybody, but more about a callous immigration system that punishes people for wanting a better life. These immigrants are coming to America because their lives have been wrecked by neoliberal economic policies and corporations that have taken over their towns and left them with nothing. They are refuges of Capitalism and because that might be revealed, America has to chuck them out as quickly as possible.
And for those that say “well they should go through the proper channels”, they missed whole beginning of this podcast where I explained how difficult and expensive it is to become a citizen of this country. I was lucky to go through the system via legal channels and even then I faced ignorance and racism from government officials and propagandized citizens. Immigrants that are desperate for a better life and try to come through the US-Mexico border face even harsher conditions are demonized as job stealers and criminals. And in reality the only ones that can go through the process legally are the ones that can afford or are willing to go into debt for it.
I’ve been an immigrant under 2 Republicans and 2 Democrats. It didn’t matter which corporate party was in charge the situation just kept getting worse. And as we can clearly see, under Biden it’ll get even worse. Joe Biden isn’t a nice guy, nor will he help immigrants and refugees who’s lives American capitalism has ruined. The goal of every administration is to keep the public in the dark about the difficulties of being an immigrant to further divide the working class. This is the time to get educated and show some compassion and realize that both parties don’t really care about Immigrants.
Krish Mohan is a socially conscious, Indian standup comedian and writer who regularly tours the country. He performs at small theaters, bars, comedy clubs, colleges, DIY and house venues. With his quirky attitude, charming personality, and intelligent humor, Krish captivates and engages audiences of all backgrounds, tackling hot button topics like race, religion, war, immigration, while adding an optimistic, philosophical & sociological twist!