Ścieżki do obywatelstwa

Ścieżki do obywatelstwa

Ameryka zawsze srogo traktowała uchodźców. Byłem jednym z nich. Wraz z innymi polskimi uchodźcami wojennymi czekałem sześć lat w obozie w Niemczech, czy Ameryka zdecyduje się przyjąć 12 milionów wysiedleńców, uchodźców z urządzonej przez Niemców rzezi, jaką była druga wojna światowa.

Ostatecznie amerykański rząd zgodził się przyjąć 275 tysięcy z nas. Tak, zgadza się – 275 tysięcy.

To my byliśmy tymi szczęściarzami, którym udało się tutaj dostać.

Ci, którzy nie mieli tyle szczęścia, trafili do krajów swojego pochodzenia, wtedy już będących pod kontrolą Sowietów. Mój wujek był wśród tych, którzy zmuszeni zostali, żeby wrócić. Po trzech latach spędzonych w niemieckim obozie koncentracyjnym trafił do syberyjskiego łagru. I tam umarł.

Kiedy my przybyliśmy do Ameryki, rozpoczęliśmy starania, by w przyszłości zostać obywatelami. Złożyliśmy wnioski o zielone karty i dostaliśmy je. Na zielonych kartach było napisane: „Zielona karta to dowód, że jej posiadacz, legalny stały rezydent otrzymał oficjalnie przywileje imigracyjne, a wśród nich prawo do zamieszkania i podjęcia pracy w Stanach Zjednoczonych.”.

Zielone karty sprawiały, że czuliśmy się bezpieczni, dzięki nim czuliśmy, że Ameryka stała się naszym domem, a po załatwieniu odpowiednich formalności mamy szansę na zostanie pełnoprawnymi obywatelami.

Teraz często słyszę historie i czytam w gazetach, że nawet jeśli posiadasz zieloną kartę i wkroczyłeś na ścieżkę do obywatelstwa, to wcale nie oznacza to, że na niej pozostaniesz.

Dzisiaj rano w telewizji oglądałem materiał o dwóch uchodźcach, którzy zostali wsadzeni do samolotu i odesłani do swojego kraju, mimo że dopełnili wszelkich formalności, aby móc starać się o pozostanie w Ameryce. Pamiętam też historię polskiego imigranta, doktora Łukasza Nieca, któremu groziła deportacja na podstawie oddalonych zarzutów dotyczących przemocy wobec dziecka. Jeszcze wcześniej czytałem w gazetach o prezydenckich rozporządzeniach grożących zakazem wjazdu dla uchodźców, imigrantów, a nawet dla posiadaczy zielonych kart.

Dobrze wiem, co oznaczają te wszystkie zakazy, groźby i deportacje.

Znowu znaczą to samo – jakaś matka, jakiś ojciec i jakieś dziecko nie mają dokąd pójść.

Pathways to Citizenship

America has always been hard on refugees.

We were Polish refugees who waited for 6 years in DP camps in Germany while America decided if it would take in the 12 million displaced people left behind by the German carnage of WWII.

Finally the USA agree to take in 275,000 of us.

That’s right, 275,000.

We were the lucky ones.  We came here.

The unlucky ones went back to their home countries, now controlled by the Russians. My uncle was one of the ones who was forced to go back. After 3 years in a German concentration camp, he was taken to a Russian camp in Siberia. He died there.

When we arrived here in America, we began the process of becoming citizens. We applied for Green Cards and got them.

Here’s what the Green Card was:

„The green card serves as proof that its holder, a lawful permanent resident (LPR), has been officially granted immigration benefits, which include permission to reside and take employment in the United States.”

The Green Card made us feel that we were safe, that America was our home, and that eventually we would be full citizens after we followed the procedure toward citizenship.
But now, I hear stories in the paper that even if you have Green Cards and have come here and started on the pathway to citizenship that’s no proof that you’ll stay on that pathway.
Just this morning I heard a story on the news about two refugees being put on a plane and sent back to their home country even while their legal trial to remain in this country was in progress. Last week, I read about Dr. Lukasz Niec, a Polish immigrant, threatened with deportation on the basis of child abuse charges that were dropped. And I remember earlier reading about the Executive Orders threatening to ban refugees, immigrants, and Green Card holders.

I know what all these sorts of threats and bans and deportations mean.

It tells you again that you are a mother and a father and a child without a home.

John Guzlowski

amerykański pisarz i poeta polskiego pochodzenia. Publikował w wielu pismach literackich, zarówno w USA, jak i za granicą, m.in. w „Writer’s Almanac”, „Akcent”, „Ontario Review” i „North American Review”. Jego wiersze i eseje opisujące przeżycia jego rodziców – robotników przymusowych w nazistowskich Niemczech oraz uchodźców wojennych, którzy emigrowali do Chicago – ukazały się we wspomnieniowym tomie pt. „Echoes of Tattered Tongues”. W 2017 roku książka ta zdobyła nagrodę poetycką im. Benjamina Franklina oraz nagrodę literacką Erica Hoffera, za najbardziej prowokującą do myślenia książkę roku. Jest również autorem dwóch powieści kryminalnych o detektywie Hanku Purcellu oraz powieści wojennej pt. „Road of Bones”. John Guzlowski jest emerytowanym profesorem Eastern Illinois University.

John Guzlowski’s writing has been featured in Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac, Akcent, Ontario Review, North American Review, and other journals here and abroad.  His poems and personal essays about his Polish parents’ experiences as slave laborers in Nazi Germany and refugees in Chicago appear in his memoir Echoes of Tattered Tongues.  Echoes received the 2017 Benjamin Franklin Poetry Award and the Eric Hoffer Foundation’s Montaigne Award for most thought-provoking book of the year.  He is also the author of two Hank Purcell mysteries and the war novel Road of Bones.  Guzlowski is a Professor Emeritus at Eastern Illinois University.

 

 

fot.Peter Foley/Epa/REX/Shutterstock

Categories: Guzlowski

Comments

  1. Anonim
    Anonim 20 sierpnia, 2018, 11:02

    We came as DP Displaced Persons! I hated that title! We were called dirty in 1952. I wasn’t displaced! I was born in England! I had a home, I was Polish born in England! Ther difference with refugee today and than, is we were legal! We didn’t cause problems! We didn’t get a penny from anyone! Within a couple of years, our hard working parents provided us with a real home!

    Reply this comment
  2. Theresa
    Theresa 20 sierpnia, 2018, 11:24

    John, your article gives us all much to think about. As a 1st generation Polish-American, my parents’ story is similar to yours. Immigrants always live in fear of deportation, legal or not!

    Reply this comment
    • johnguzlowski
      johnguzlowski 20 sierpnia, 2018, 14:34

      Theresa, thank you for reading my post, and I hope you continue reading them. My father never became a citizen of the US because he felt that he had only one God and one country, but he always cherished his green card.

      Reply this comment
  3. Larry
    Larry 20 sierpnia, 2018, 11:53

    John Guzlowski serves as a living example of how immigrants are such a large part of what has made the USA strong. We are pleased and honored to have him as a friend and neighbor. His stories, mostly via poetry, remind us of the horrors that drove his family and thousands of others from their homelands to our (then) welcoming shores, including the trials and tribulations they experienced during their journey and assimilation here. Sadly, many in this country have been indoctrinated with an alternate truth by a nationalist political ideology that is changing how immigrants are viewed, and treated here. Hopefully, the voters will soon speak with their ballots to demand change we we can once again be seen as the welcoming beacon of freedom to future generations of emigrants.

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  4. Anonim
    Anonim 20 sierpnia, 2018, 20:38

    John this article is excellent and I hope to see many more. Thank you.

    Reply this comment
  5. Anonim
    Anonim 21 sierpnia, 2018, 12:34

    You are doing work that no one else is doing, perhaps because no one has the writing skill and the strength to pull it off. Whatever the case, your poems and stories leave me in tears and anger and determination to go on, to write more. Jesteś moją nagrodą.

    Reply this comment
    • johnguzlowski
      johnguzlowski 23 sierpnia, 2018, 12:07

      Thank you for reading about my parents. I will keep writing until I can’t write any more. You can bet on it.

      Reply this comment
  6. LeonK1953
    LeonK1953 21 sierpnia, 2018, 13:01

    I was born in the 50’s and grew up in Milwaukee. I remember my father, born of late 1800’s Polish immigrants, speak disparagingly of “DP’s”…. I did not undrstAnd what that was, and most likely, he neither…

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  7. Gray
    Gray 21 sierpnia, 2018, 16:32

    I’m so ashamed that this nation of immigrants has taken the turn it has in the last decades (esp. under Obama and now under Trump) of incarcerating and deporting immigrants, even those whose lives are endangered, and these latest turns of separating parents and children, and creating so much suffering in the lives of those already in peril . . . I’m sure you’ll find lots to write about, and will write with compassion and style. I look forward to reading more.

    Reply this comment
    • Anonim
      Anonim 22 sierpnia, 2018, 12:56

      A very moving piece.

      With information I didn’t know: USA agree to take in 275,000? A mere pittance. Shame on you.

      My parents both ended up in London. My mother worked with the Resistance, my father with Anders Army. They stayed there 7 years, then came to the States. My mother went back twice. My father never. His first troubles were with the Soviets. He felt if he went back, he would immediately suffer the same fate as John’s uncle. He had already been in a Siberian labor camp, he felt he would have been fortunate to get even that far if he went back. He felt they would shoot him on the spot. If he went back home . . . This is not a thing of which the American government was ignorant. Thank you John for bringing this to light again.

      Reply this comment
  8. AZ
    AZ 22 sierpnia, 2018, 17:59

    Thanks for your article. As a son of a Polish and a Mexican immigrant, I think it’s important to remind the Polish-American community where they came from. It seems that a great deal of my father’s friends have forgotten what many of their compatriots went through and how they were treated in the same manner that a lot of Hispanic immigrants are being treated now. Legal or not, we all deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. The degree of human suffering is not the metric we should be using to turn our backs on those in need.

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