Sentinel Stories: Jose Aldana’s Journey to America

What makes my case the most interesting – I didn’t have any sponsorship, no relatives, no sponsor, no amnesty.  I am here based solely on my merit.  – Jose Aldana

In 1997 Jose Aldana came to the United States to pursue a degree at Ozarks University in Arkansas in his area of academic passion, chemistry.  He loved chemistry so much that he also obtained his Ph.D. in nanotechnology from the University of Arkansas.

Needless to say, it took a great deal of focus and perseverance.  Fortunately, Jose had an excellent example in his parents, who instilled in him the same work ethic they had.   A middle class family by Guatemalan standards, they worked hard, took their children to church, and were never dependent on the government.  Jose emulated his parents’ virtues, which helped him to transition when he came to the U.S.

Coming to the United States was not that difficult, as he was here on a student visa with a merit-based scholarship, working to obtain his degree.  There was not an “iron wall” or any “anti-immigrant sentiment” that he experienced.

“As long as you work hard,” he said, “you can come here.  What is difficult is staying here.  That’s a little bit harder.”  Jose does not see the immigration system as unfair, but it is certainly tough.  Tough as it was, it was definitely worth it.

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Janet Napolitano’s Magic Amnesty Wand

Regardless of how you may feel about amnesty and the cost thereof, you simply cannot ignore that the Gang of Eight immigration bill fails to fix the flaws of our border security system.

If it takes one step forward with its strong language on improving border security, it takes two steps back by giving the Secretary of Homeland Security broad and sweeping discretion to waive its border security requirements, Hans von Spakovsky explains.

The bill appears to have strong language setting forth strict rules and requirements for border security.  But perception is not reality because it also gives the “secretary of homeland security pretty much carte blanche to waive the vast majority of the requirements detailed in the bill.”

Don’t believe von Spakovsky?

Institutions such as the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council of the American Federation of Government Employees and the United States Citizen and Immigration Service Council expressed serious concerns with the bill on May 9 and May 20, respectively.  They fear the “virtually unlimited discretion” the bill gives to DHS and they sent a letter to Congress letting lawmakers know. 

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