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Kevin M. Litwin

ASB 340

Tues. / 6:30p


Case Study


“Wait, I forgot my lunchbox!”


     “U.S. policy-makers and the general public believe causes of immigration are evident: poverty, unemployment, economic stagnation and overpopulation drive people to leave their countries” (Sassen, p.14). In many cases this can be a true statement, however, during the course of study it was found there are many other factors influencing migration to the United States. Either way, migration to America can only happen in two different forms, legally or illegally. The U.S. Border Patrol effortlessly tries to contain the flow of people across state lines, but the main reason this epidemic exist stems from the policies that deter people from taking the legal route. The processes involved to becoming an elite member of the American society is costly, time consuming, frustrating and can often lead to dead ends. By performing a case study on an immigrant that is taking the legal approach, the conclusion can be drawn on why individuals slip under the citizenship radar.

     The Netherlands, Amsterdam, a country and city with extremely liberal laws and open policies. The visualization were Dutchmen and women walk around in wooden shoes and wear large hats, why exactly would a person travel half way across the world and land in the United States? A non-bordering country, fairly unaffected by globalization and maquiladoras. I sat down a talked with a native Dutchman and asked him many of the questions from my opening paragraph and this is what I learned. His name is Koos Van Leeuwen, he lives in the northwest valley of Phoenix, Arizona:  

“Kevin, did it work out for in California? With the job interview you had? Were the offers they made any good? I did not get my working permit yet. Because my boss has to give more proof that they need all the education I have had. I might be over educated. But we'll see how it works out.

Question 1=what made you migrate to the united states? I was studying Theology at the University of Utrecht. At the end of my studies I wanted to travel, because that is more than likely the only time that you will have the opportunity to travel. Later on you get a job and then a home and traveling for a longer period of time becomes more and more difficult. I had a few countries I wanted to visit: Japan, Canada, Australia or USA. Finally a good friend of mine in the Netherlands convinced me of going to the States because he knew a great pastor there to work with. So that's what I did. This pastor asked me to work full time with him. I had never had plans to migrate for a period of time.

Question 2=where exactly are you from in the netherlands? I was raised in Almelo, the East part of the Netherlands close to the German border. And I moved to Utrecht to study there.

Question 3=what are some major differences between here and there? The size of the country. The Netherlands almost fits 4 times in the state of Arizona. Less laws in the US because it is less crowded. E.g. in the Netherlands there are all kinds of laws how you have to build your home. What kind of style etc. Here it does not matter. Because of the available space. If you pollute an area here, you can move on. In Europe you cannot waste land because we need it too bad. Everything is big here. Food (super size, thirst busters), people (worked out), cars, stores, homes, streets. In the States people are less educated on the average. Less emphasis on culture and education. Friendships are less intense here. The USA is less organized. It is more in a pionering phase. Because of it there is more opportunity, but also more risk. USA is a risky country to live in. You can rise high, but you can fall very deep and very easily. People are friendly here. Money talks here. Money is much more important here than in Europe. If you are rich and uneducated in Europe, you are kind of frowned upon. In Europe being cultured is more important than money.

Question 4=you talked about getting a work visa, under what regulation are you trying for? I am trying to get the H1B visa. That is the visa for (highly) educated people.

Question 5=you also talked about how much it is costing you to do this, where does the cost come from? The attorney wants to have his 'fair' share and the INS is not cheap either.

Question 6=describe any other processes it's taking to be able to stay here legally? I do not understand this question well. I hope this is an adequate answer. I have to proof the education I have received. My employee has to proof that there is no qualified American who wants to do the job. The employee has to proof that they are able to pay me the salary you would expect for my position. The employee has to proof that they need the education I have had. That is now the problem. I might be over qualified.

Question 7=just some basic thoughts about the united states, the style of living, the people, etc... The thing I most appreciate of the US is their enthousiasm. In Europe if you have plan, people first want to see that your plan works and then they might get enthousiastic. People are more cynical in Europe. Here they are in this sense more open. People are more practical. But sometimes people from the USA might contemplate more on the things they say, want and do. E.g. people marry each other too quick with the result that the divorce rate is quite high here. That is the other side. People are very friendly and sociable. But it is hard to get friendships which last. Many people do seem lonely. They might know a lot of people they consider as their friends, but if they are in real trouble then they don't have many people to turn to. I like the space and the variety here. In the Netherlands you have to adjust more because the country is crammed. Here you see more different kinds of people and styles. It is more about the looks. Guys have to work out a lot. Girls have to be skinny. If you have any questions feel free to call me or email me. You take care, Koos.” Many of Koos’s statements are quite eye-opening.Some of the original general public beliefs about migration are defined in his statements (overpopulation, etc…). His frustrations and problems with obtaining citizen status can clearly show why people take the illegal path, especially considering his education and skills, as compared with a Mexican day laborer.

In conclusion, just as it is stated in the article, The New Immigrants, the American society is constantly asking the questions that deter people from wanting to expose themselves as foreigners. Such as, “Are immigrants doing enough to fit into American life, Should immigrants be permitted to hold dual citizenship?” and most importantly, “Are Americans doing enough to ease the transition of new immigrants?” In Koos’s situation more pressure is being put upon the first two inquires and less on the last, which causes many of the problems America faces today. In general, no matter what approach a person is going to take to find a better life in the U.S. they need to remember one thing, it is going to be a long journey so they better pack a large lunch.