Following the U.S. presidential election, many Americans who are immigrants are asking, "What's in store for my future?" For Juan Carlos Angulo, a Grand Rapidian who moved here from Mexico for work several years ago, the reality of that is uncertain.
Following the U.S. presidential election, many people who are immigrants are asking, "What's in store for my future?" For Juan Carlos Angulo, a Grand Rapidian who moved here from Mexico for work several years ago, the reality of that is uncertain.
Rapid Growth: How long have you been living in the United States?
Juan Carlos Angulo: For about three years.
RG: What encouraged you to make the move?
CA: The company I worked for offered me a position. They presented me with an irrefutable offer to grow within the company and in my profession.
RG: What was it like moving from Mexico to the U.S.?
CA: It was hard because you [have to organize] your life - [I spent] 29 years back home - and take care of everything. From the selling of my belongings, motorcycle, and car... to deciding to move furniture or not. What to keep and take and what to leave. Here you have to start from scratch again.
RG: What sort of system in place for the renewal of your citizenship?
CA: My work visa is handled by the company, as well as an immigration attorney. So much information is required, and every time I go back I have to reapply. The next step is to decide if I want to stay; then I'd have to apply for a different document. This is a work permit I have and has to be renewed. It doesn't allow me to apply for citizenship or residency.
RG: Is there potential for you to receive dual citizenship?
CA: I am currently not planning on obtaining my dual citizenship because the visa I am on doesn't allow me to.
RG: What was your immediate reaction to the results of the recent election, given that President-elect Donald Trump has such a strong opinion on immigration policy and reform?
CA: My initial reaction was being scared. I'm here on the right means through the right processes, and he's thinking about his policies and making them more difficult and restrictive. I'm scared that the visa I'm on is dependent on the NAFTA treaty. If he means to remove the treaty or renegotiate it, I'm worried my visa will be revoked.
RG: What do you think of his plan to “immediately deport approximately two to three million undocumented immigrants”?
CA: I really hope he said that to win votes. And I hope that his immigration reform will be more thought through. It's scary to think that everything you've been working for the last few years might end.
RG: Why do you think Americans react so strongly to the idea of immigration reform?
CA: I think Americans are scared, but I really don't know. We're all just trying to make the best with what we're given, and there are opportunities for everyone. You just need to motivate yourself to the right opportunities for you. People are scared of change, but that doesn't mean it's a bad thing. To legally enter the country you go through a strict process, so the people that are here are well-intentioned and hardworking immigrants.
RG: How do we change the narrative to this conversation?
CA: We need to remind ourselves that we all came from somewhere. This country was built on immigration, and the fact that it was doesn't make it any less great.
Jenna Morton is the RapidChat correspondent for Rapid Growth Media.