Vincy Workplace
May 6, 2005
Working illegally in the United States

Nothing is wrong with wanting a better life for your family; it’s a desire most humans share and for many people around the world, America holds the answer to that desire. Before you sell your possessions and quit your job just because you got a visitor’s visa to go to America, please consider the following.

Brooklyn, New York is where many West Indians live. It is where dreams are realised but it’s also a place that has destroyed many families hoping for a better life. {{more}}

There are countless examples of people who left their island where they had a house, a job, a car, savings and even a pension to look forward too but gave it all up to live in the Big Apple illegally. Unfortunately, the American dream they chased eluded them and many are ashamed of the misery they have created for themselves and their families.

It’s not uncommon to see people who were well respected in their islands, looking like vagrants or cramped into dilapidated living conditions. Promising young minds often get caught up in illicit activities and the pretty girl that everyone desired sometimes becomes a toy to many.

Compared to the Caribbean nations, America has lots of jobs to offer; however, the better jobs are available to those who enter the country legally. If you enter illegally be prepared to work in positions you probably would not normally consider such as a live-in babysitter, maid, construction or store clerk. The hours are very long and because you are not authorised to work, employers tend to take advantage of you. The pay will be minimum wage, which is approximately $5.15 per hour or even lower, and the working conditions will be less than desirable.

When you factor in rent, food, transportation, health, the need to send money back home and entertainment, building a sound financial future is near impossible on $5.15 an hour.

Since the US has adopted tougher immigration laws, it’s becoming more common for officials to do “sweeps”. A “sweep” can happen in the supermarket, the clothing store and officers will simply request proper identification from everyone. If you do not have the proper identification you will be deported.

Some people who enter illegally often find ways to become legal and achieve their dreams but that process is becoming even more difficult. It’s often sad to see the children of West Indian parents living in the US illegally. Although they will be able to attend middle and high school, many of these children will not be able to attend college, as the majority of colleges require legal immigration papers to matriculate. These children will not be able to take advantage of the many opportunities that are available to their friends and their dreams of becoming a doctor, lawyer or writer are just dreams as long as they are illegal. It is a disservice to that young person as their only hope will be another dead end, low paying job.

As you receive your visitor’s visa this summer and the excitement of coming to America hits you, think long and hard before you drop everything at home and move to America permanently. The pasture is not always greener on the other side.