It’s been two days of absolute terror and hell and fear and anxiety. It’s been two days of being hung up on and ignored and laughed at. But now I have confidence. Now I have a plan.
But to be honest I feel like the big, giant signs on the front of the Australian Immigration website homepage that say “You will not make Australia your home” are really, really offensive. I am doing my very best to go through the proper channels, and the people visiting your Immigration website probably aren’t the ones going there illegally. Because those people can’t even afford a proper boat, let alone internet service. Listen, Australia, I love you. I want to become a citizen of your beautiful country and add to its amazing culture. But when you tell me, to my face, that Australia will never be my home… I can’t help but feel like I’ve spent more than $5000 to be humiliated. You can say that sign isn’t meant for me all you want, but the truth is, it’s on your website. The website I, as a legal applicant to become a temporary citizen of your great nation, must use on a daily basis. It IS meant for me. All the anti-immigration slurs and demeaning comments made by Australians ARE meant for me. I want to call Australia home because that is where my family is now, where my friends are, where I want to raise my children. I am doing all I can to go about this in a legal and respectable way, and it’s next to impossible.
My fiancé’s friends go around making comments about “brown people” and “towel heads” and other racist remarks. They think it’s completely ok to demean immigrants or just people in general if they don’t look exactly like them- white, Northern European descendants of explorers or prisoners. I’m not knocking Australia, or its citizens. There’s a reason I want to live in that country. But that reason is not because I want to be humiliated every day for the rest of my life. The reason is far more complex than that.
My parents are dead. My family here is small. But every moment of every day, I have a living, breathing family in that country. I have friends and sisters and brothers and yes, they are all in-laws, but they are family. My fiancé is all that keeps me going some days. He’s my light at the end of this long, dark tunnel. He is my safety, my happy place, my reward for pushing through another day. So to see such open and obvious hatred towards immigrants of all kinds- those seeking asylum in a country that hates them for no real reason, or those trying to go about making a new lives for themselves through the proper legal channels- it’s so frustrating. I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle. I feel like I’m the only one on my side and it’s next to impossible for me to win.
I’m not seeking asylum. I’m not seeking welfare or money or someone to fix my problems. I have been fixing my own problems for nearly four years now and I will happily continue to do so for as long as I am able.
I’m seeking my home. I’m seeking my family. I’m seeking the one person in this world I can count on to love me, unconditionally, for the rest of eternity. I’m seeking a place to raise our children, should we be lucky enough to have any. And I’m seeking a safe place that will welcome me with open arms.
I am sorry, Australia. But you cannot tell people they are welcome in your country as long as they go about things the legal way and then put up a big sign on your immigration website that says “You will not make Australia your home”. It doest not matter that you aren’t directing that message at me. Because like it or not, that message has gone out to everyone, all over the world, whether they want to make Australia their home or they just want to visit.
There is no kindness, helpfulness, or generosity found on your immigration website, Australia. I understand the message you’re sending, I’m hearing it loud and clear. And I desperately look forward to the day when I am a legal citizen and I can vote to change that message. Because no one should feel like they are superior to anyone else just because of where they happen to be living. I know what you’ll say- you’ll say “America’s no better”. And you’re right. There are some Americans that aren’t any better. But it’s not our official government policy. And I will vote to make America better every single time I get the chance.
For now, I will do what I can to obtain my legal visa to go to Australia, marry my fiancé on the date we’ve chosen in the place we’ve chosen to commit our lives to each other and then I will work my butt off to become a legal citizen. Of both countries.
All it takes is one person willing to make the world a better place. It only takes one. Australia, you are better than this. Please be better than this.