I came to this country in 2010. By 2017, I had came close to being forced out of the country by the immigration system on three separate occasions. Each time I was acting on my dreams.
These experiences left me little-t traumatized. It seemed like the system was stacked against me. So I learned to defer my dreams.
Following your dreams entails taking risk. You may have to give up a steady income. You may set your career back by a few years. You may have to spend years waiting tables or making lattes waiting for your big break.
For immigrants, though, there is another risk: getting a knock on the door from Uncle Sam.
We have to abide by the rules of the immigrant visa. The most common one (the H-1B) is tied to a specific employer. Lose the job, and you have to immediately pack your bags and leave the country.
For most of us, this immigrational risk is not one we're willing to take. So we defer our dreams.
And the longer we defer our dreams, the weaker the inner voice gets that tells us to pursue them.
The flame of ambition needs the fuel of possibility. Starved of this fuel, it slowly dies. And with it, most immigrants become resigned to a life of corporate comfort.
In the world of business and technology, the system does offer accelerated paths to permanent residency. Those who are bold and well-connected use them and are able to follow their dreams with some delay. Others wait decades - especially Indian and Chinese people.
But one has to wonder: where are the immigrant actors, comedians, performers, and writers?
They only exist in an alternate reality. One in which the system isn't stacked against them. In which a life of corporate servitude didn't extinguish their dreams.
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