Just Call Me An Immigration Socialite

We’re a big hit on the social circuit….

You think YOU hate gosocialiteing to parties and other social events?  Maybe  you’re shy, or what your spouse lovingly calls ‘antisocial’.  Maybe you get bored, or just don’t know what to talk about.   Discussions on the weather can only take you so far, so most people resort to talking about their careers at things like this.  But what if you recently lost your job? Or you do some obscure research that no one understands?  Maybe you’re a dermatologist and when you tell strangers they ask you to look at the rash on the bottom of their feet.   When I had young children, and wasn’t employed outside the home, I would dread the question “So what do you do”?  I would panic and stammer something like “Uh. Nothing.”, when that’s the LAST thing that could describe what I did all day.

All that pales in comparison to my experiences these last couple of years.  My husband works for a health insurance company. (Was that a shudder that just went through you?)  Anyway, we’ve started keeping it secret from new acquaintances.  It’s just no fun getting that hateful glare as they digest the fact that he makes a living with the ‘evil empire’ that single-handedly destroyed their friend’s aunt’s life savings, or refused to pay for their sister’s neighbor’s liposuction.  I think people would take it better if he was a used car salesman (apologies to all you used car salesmen). 

Those that try to remain polite in the face of such circumstances will inevitably turn to me to change the topic of conversation.  They try to disguise their contempt as they struggle to maintain their composure and not attack my sweet hubby in public.  “Me”? I say. “Oh, I work in immigration”!  There’s an audible gasp, and then silence. Their face turns white.   And then they let me have it. 

No one has mild feelings on the subject of immigration.  I’ve heard it all. Every misleading idea, every misunderstanding, every out-and-out lie that gets spread as if it’s the gospel truth.  So I have taken this on as my personal life’s mission:  to educate the average American on 1] why our country NEEDS immigrants; 2] why our country should WANT immigrants; and 3] how the US is inestimably richer for our melting-pot culture.  I back them in to a corner (figuratively if not literally) and explain how immigration law is the only federal law that is completely made up. It’s been cobbled together from politicians good and bad over many generations, and currently makes as much sense as the continued popularity of America Idol.  I tell them heartbreaking, personal stories of clients I’ve worked with (no names of course!), which show the truly ugly picture of our broken immigration system. They’ll look sheepish and say something like “Oh that’s different, I’m not talking about THAT kind of immigrant”. I smile sadly, and say as gently as I can, “But there’s more of this story than you can possibly imagine”.

Well, I may not change the world, or even my little corner of it, but my husband and I are getting very good at publicly defending our chosen fields!  Both are at the forefront of the public’s minds right now, because they both desperately need to be fixed.  Until then, every hostess in the Triangle is scratching the Prathers off their guest lists…..