Today, exactly 13 years ago, on Fri, Aug 13th 1999 I landed in this country. It was just before the turn of the millennium and I was so excited about being in this land of freedom and opportunities. To mark my excitement I decided to spend the new year's eve in NY. And like every tourist does, I visited the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and remember reading about how Ellis Island was the door to numerous people that made it to America. All they had to do was just show up, cough two times to prove they don't have any major ailments and their papers were stamped for permanent access to this country. I wondered if my process would be anything like this.
And oh boy, it has taken 13 long, patient, and sometimes frustrating, years to finally get this much desired freedom. Little did I know that this land of freedom will deceive me for so many years. The freedom that unlocks opportunities, freedom to make your own personal and professional choices, freedom to compete on an even footing and to maximize your potential, freedom from arcane immigration rules and its misuse by employers, freedom to create a startup and employee others, freedom … to make this amazing country even more amazing! I never imagined that it would be nothing like the previous generations who breezed through Ellis Island. It took many tribulations, lot of waiting and many sacrifices to get to this finish line. Now finally, (finally!), I am done with the long wait and have obtained my permanent resident status.
For those unfamiliar, I refer to freedom as obtaining the permanent resident status, commonly known as the green card. Here is a long list of small and big things this freedom can help one get.
Why do I care to write about this? Because the immigration rules are broken and has full of holes that is misused by many. And if you are caught on the wrong side of it, you are screwed for many, many years. All of this barely matters if you just want to do a job and save some money. But if you want to live the American dream, start a company, do something world changing - reality strikes. You are just not allowed until you get your green card. Now that I am on the other side, I hope to not only make good use of it but also be a voice against the broken rules.
I am super excited about the prospects that come with this freedom. For starters, I am soon quitting my mundane day job and deciding to startup. Do something different, take the risk. As an immigrant I wake up every day thinking just one thing "GO BIG OR GO HOME". So here I come America!