A few weeks ago, Obama made a huge step in immigration policy in the U.S. He allowed some of those who have been “living in the shadows” to gain proper documentation, and plans to do so for 5 million immigrants. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I don’t think that the U.S. is necessarily the land of opportunity. But for those who are trying to make a life there, proper documentation is the first step to moving toward their dreams.
After having worked with refugees in the U.S., I am so thankful to to have certain privileges. I have a strong passport that allows me to travel easily, I am a native English speaker and can find work teaching English despite not necessarily having all of the qualifications, and I come from a supportive and loving family who is there for me if I am in need. I am lucky enough not to understand how challenging it is to not have these privileges.
This month, I’ve been struggling to apply for my Moroccan work visa. First, my employers didn’t give me my work attestation, then when they gave it to me it was in the wrong language and took longer to legalize. I spent weeks reminding my employers that I need those forms, that my old visa was about to expire, and that if I got any closer to the deadline, I’d have to leave the country. When I finally did get all the forms I needed, it took me hours to turn them in because I needed an extra form from the police station to pardon how late I was. They did not care at all that it was not my fault! I finally managed to leave my documents and am now waiting three weeks to pick up the receipt that allows me to travel in and out of Morocco. Thankfully, I had no immediate plans to leave the country, because I can’t until I get that paper.
Despite all the worry this caused me, I had the option of leaving the country to renew my visa, and I have a fiancé and a family ready to help me when I’m in need. Despite how negligent Amideast was, I always had a safety net. So even though Thanksgiving is over, I’m thankful for everything I have that allows me to remain safe, both physically and emotionally. I’m also (sort of) thankful to have a better understanding of what it is like to be a migrant in Morocco (meaning, a migrant who is not taken care of by an American school), because I hope to make some difference in the lives of those who struggle the most in this country. But really Amideast, get it together!