For the last month or so, I have been watching ever-growing rallies of immigrants in cities across the US. An overwhelming majority of them are of Hispanic origin, asserting that it is their right to first come to this country illegally and then demand legal status. All along, I have not heard a pip-squeak from Indian immigrants.
I’ve cast my net far and wide. I have been following responses to editorials regarding immigration in newspapers, letters to the editor columns in two major newsweeklies after they published many stories on immigration reforms but nada, not a single word from Indian immigrants asserting their rights, demanding that, in this noise over illegal immigration, a very genuine grievance of legal immigrants is getting drowned out; that legal work-based immigration takes too long, that in many cases people have had their work visas expire while their immigration process was moving through the labyrinth corridors of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Amongst all the major media outlets in the country, Wall Street Journal was the only one to talk about issues concerning the immigrants who work in the knowledge economy (I did write a letter to the editor in response but it has not yet made its way to print). In a way, the muted response from the Indian community did not surprise me. We are hard working people, most of us had our noses in books through our school and college life and were never involved with any kind of social or political movements because we were too busy getting good grades so why that should change now?
But in a way it disappointed me as well because my expectations were raised by the very active Indian community on the blogosphere. It is said that decisions are made by people who show up. By our refusal to actively raise the issues concerning us as immigrants in this country, we are letting the more vocal group drown our voices despite being one of the most successful immigrant group in this country. Thus anytime an immigration reform comes up, the main issues getting discussed are regarding illegal immigrants – improving the process for work based legal immigrants is always put on a back-burner and that is our loss.