Voices: I received a green card, now I’m terrified to move

Voices: I received a green card, now I’m terrified to move
Philip Scott, Reuters

When I applied for a 2021 diversity visa lottery in November 2019, I was so excited.

As an Italian immigration lawyer working with a lot of United States clients for Italian citizenship by descent applications, this was a great opportunity to be closer to my clients and to improve and expand my services in the US.

Last November, no one could have imagined what would happen later.

Not just in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the social situation in the entire US, which has its climax now with the November election.

Maybe it’s the first time that the entire world is looking with so much attention at the US’ political situation, betting on who will win and hoping that they will bring some brilliance to the US.

I feel that this is not only a matter of Democrats vs. Republicans, it’s something much more.

The US election results will affect the entire world, as we’re talking about one of the most powerful countries in the entire world.

It’s something that affects everyone who wishes to relocate to the US, either to start a new life, a better life or to search out new opportunities, like me.

From mid-2020, when I discovered I was a DV2021 lottery winner, I started paying attention (with a certain anxiety, to be honest) to Trump’s immigration policies as he did his best to suspend, block or complicate immigration procedures like H1 visas.

At the same time, I was looking at the Democratic candidates, hoping their electoral promises would lead to policies in the opposite direction.

You can imagine all questions in my head: What would have come of my application? Would I have been able to apply and relocate to the US? What about my future and the future of my fiance and my future children?

Before each application, there is a story and there are human beings, with their life projects and dreams.

And the situation is now still fiery, day by day, as we approach the day when my destiny will be chosen by American voters.

From the one side, I’m so focused on what happens each day, looking at daily polls, American newspapers, Twitter and other social media platforms and praying that Trump’s restrictive policies will end and that the United States of America will return to be the country of liberty and opportunities, because from abroad – now – the image of the US is not so great.

I’m not an expert on US politics, nor am I a political opinionist, but it’s pretty evident that the US is no longer at its peak.

What I see from here, through newspapers, news programs and social media platforms, is a divided America. In 2020 people are still talking about racism, white supremacy and so on.

That’s so sad!

But at the same time, I feel optimistic when I look at the Democratic candidates as they seem to care about my problems and my issues, which are the same for everyone in my position. And not only immigrants from abroad, but also people who actually live in the US and who are maybe waiting to be reunited with their families.

Let me be clear: I’m not a fan of the Democratic Party or of the Republican Party. I was born and grew up in a different country, with a different political background. But I think all political representatives must care not only about their citizens but about their future citizens too.

It’s so frustrating when I see US election debates, for example. The first debate was more theatrical than instructive in my opinion, especially from Trump’s side.

From another point of view, the professional one, I see a clear situation and some huge consequences (and confirmations) on what I perceived and still perceive now.

As an Immigration lawyer, my firm mainly provides Italian citizenship assistance, services related to Italian citizenship by descent, which is very common in the US because of the wellknown immigration movement from Italy in the 1900s.

If we always had a great number of inquiries regarding these services, this year the situation exploded.

The US election is increasing the sense of division and a lot of US Citizens are looking abroad as a “Plan B” in case Trump wins again.

This is really a unique and unusual situation. In my professional experience, I have never seen so many people demanding immigration services or seeking information on how to obtain Italian citizenship by descent or how to apply for an Italian visa just in order to escape from the US and prepare themselves for eventual bad scenarios.

This is something that made me think a lot.

And, in particular, it made me think about my choice to apply for a green card. Was that a good choice? Is it still a good choice? What if the US election ends with Trump getting four more years in office? Will my business plans and my dreams be accepted, will I eventually become an American citizen?

To be honest, I can’t really find answers for these questions. Because I really can’t conceive of why “immigrants” have come to be seen as “enemies,” as people “who will come to the US to steal your job” according to President Trump. That’s simply total nonsense.

Use my case as an example. I would like to come to the US and become a lawful resident and expand my business, for which I will pay taxes in the US.

So not only I will bring new services to the American people, but I’ll do so by respecting American laws. Am I an “enemy”?

That’s why I’m following the US elections with so much attention and apprehension. And, if I can’t find answers to the questions listed above, what I can do is hope that Americans make the right choice. But not just for me, but for what America represents and has always represented in the world’s eyes: liberty, opportunity and meritocracy.

This Voices story was written by Marco Bersani. Marco is an immigration lawyer based in Italy.

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