Let me tell you a story about family reunification.
A relative moved to Canada on this merit-based approach. He’s brilliant and has a very in-demand skill set. He’s doing great financially. So he said, let me bring in my retired parents.
Canada said, ha ha ha. Why are we going to take in people who won’t be making money or paying taxes but will want full access to our welfare system?
Do you know who took them? The United States. Take a wild guess on whether they are happy and loving this country. Obviously, not. Do you think they learned English at the age of 60+? Paid any taxes? Made any friends? Streamed any Netflix? Nope.
Is there a reason anybody can explain as to why the US prefers them to model immigrants like my husband?
In N’s graduate program at Purdue, the overwhelming majority of students were immigrants. I don’t know why but it’s a fact. I think it would be great if these programs were filled with Americans but they just aren’t. And in case you are thinking this is some kind of a racist thing, these immigrants are not white. N and his Dutch thesis director were the only Europeans in the program.
I said this before but it does look insane that American universities educate all these students for free, pay them stipends to study, and make sure their English is great only to send them all back to their countries and bring in unhappy, non-English-speaking retirees like my relative’s parents. Who are not even happy! Because you can’t possibly be happy in a place where you don’t speak the language, can’t understand anything on the TV, aren’t making any money, and are feeling completely alienated.
People are not furniture. You can’t move them around like you do boxes of stuff. If people don’t feel like part of a society, they become extremely miserable. If they are old like these relatives, they’ll just get sick and depressed. They self-destruct. But if they are young and alienated, they can project the destructiveness outwards.
Not everybody can be happy in any society. I was doing very well financially and professionally back in Ukraine. But I was alienated. I was very, very miserable. I know what it feels like to be completely alienated in a society, and it stinks. And I didn’t even experience linguistic isolation.
Many people don’t realize how much their language, their culture and their community means to them until it’s too late. When I leave Quebec and all the billboards and signs are suddenly in English, I feel so good. And I do speak French! I turn on the TV and I immediately understand what the stupid talking heads are discussing. It sounds like such small things but they aren’t. People are language, people are culture. They are often seduced by the possibility of more and cheaper consumer goods but that’s not what happiness is.
I remember how after immigrating to Canada and leaving a very enviable, secure economic status, I found myself sitting in a crappy, tiny, bare rented apartment (I owned back in Ukraine), with no money even to go to a stupid Tim Hortons, completely at a loss as to how I’d make money, and… utterly, ridiculously, painfully happy. Because people around me spoke the same language I had said my first words in (English, for those who are new to the blog) and cared about the same shit that I do.
I know, the post is too long but this is something many folks are not getting. They think they are doing a kindness with these immigration policies and they aren’t. Why not learn from somebody who does it better, like Canada?