Sentinel Stories: Immigration Reform through Octavio Sanchez’s Eyes
As we think about immigration, we are inundated with opinions from media pundits, news anchors, and policy analysts alike. Octavio is none of the above. His perspective is important though because he is an American citizen, and it is unique because he came here from Mexico 16 years ago with his wife and children.
Immigrants who come here lawfully have the opportunity to thrive in a place where the words “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” have real meaning. That’s why Octavio came here and why he loves America.
Life Was About to Change
Happily living and working in Mexico City, life was going to change for Octavio and his family in a big way that he had not planned. His company, a large U.S. corporation, asked him if he’d like to take a position in the United States. He consulted his wife, Elizabeth, and their two children, who all gave their consent.
The United States was to be their new home.
The process was quite simple, and it was facilitated by his company, which provided him with a lawyer to do the necessary paperwork. He was given a H-1B visa, which is given to highly qualified technicians. He also applied for permanent residency, and 9 years later, he and his family became citizens of the United States.
For 16 years, he and his family have felt very blessed to be able to be here. They’ve worked hard. Elizabeth Sanchez is a volunteer in her community, and Octavio and Elizabeth’s two children are now grown. One is working as a lawyer and the other as a doctor.
Octavio is conservative, and he appreciates the opportunities this country has afforded him and his family. Conservatism – the knowledge that in America all people have the opportunity to succeed if they work hard and the belief in limited and efficient government – is a guiding force in his life.
Proud to be an American
When I had the opportunity to speak with him, there was no mistaking: he’s very proud to be a U.S. citizen.
Like any good, principled conservative, Octavio has always considered his family his primary responsibility. His professional responsibilities are a close second. Again, that’s what he loves about America. Working hard and living by sound principles gives him the opportunity to succeed. And succeed he has.
But Octavio is very cognizant of his responsibilities to his fellow citizens as well. He has run for city council and justice of the peace in the past, and he is currently part of various conservative organizations that are geared toward sharing conservative principles with others. He sees this as part of his duty – part of what it takes to keep America great. And of course, he makes sure to share his views with his representative and senators in Congress.
If we do not fight for our freedoms, he said, they go away.
Octavio, though he hails from another country, is a quintessential American. Because what unites us is our principles – our philosophy of limited government, strong civil society, and traditional family values. When you come here and work hard, you can prosper. Octavio and his family embody that reality.
So what about others who want to come to America?
Clearly, Octavio believes he is blessed to be here, as are all Americans. But he waited 9 years to become a citizen, and he came here through the proper channels. He understands that the Gang of Eight immigration bill contains many of the same flaws as the 1986 immigration overhaul. Citizenship is something that has to be taken seriously and treated cautiously.
Not surprisingly, Octavio is not happy with the Senate’s immigration bill. It puts the cart before the horse, he said. There are steps that good immigration reform would entail that just don’t exist in the Gang of Eight bill.