Aurore Fournier

Black Panther is Undocumented

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Aurore Fournier

Cincinnati, OH

I will try to make this story short. I was born in France and moved to the US about 11 years ago because of dad’s employment contract. We got here on work visas that were associated to my dad’s company; I was 16 and entered sophomore year in high school. My dad’s contract kept renewing so I after high school, I went to a state university and got accepted to the #1 program in my field. My visa status changed to a student visa, while my parents were on the work visa. After graduating with a bachelor of science in 2011, I could not find a job because employers realized I would need visa sponsorship (cost and paperwork). So I decided to go back to school for another bachelor’s degree that I was able to complete in 1 year, and graduated in 2012. During that year I knew I wanted to obtain a Master’s degree (I am a scholar and enjoy school). I recently finished my thesis and received my master’s in early 2014. At this point I am 27 years old, and after endless job applications, interviews, second interviews, and positive feedback, I still have not found a career in which employers are willing to sponsor me. This discouraging fact is emphasized with the fact that when I turned 22, my dad’s company finally decide to grant my family with a green card. Unfortunately, I was over 18 and over 21, so I was classified as independent. Thus I have been on a student visa ever since. Because the company neglected these important years, and the American law finds me to be independent, I have no rights, but have been living here, paying my taxes, my parents’ paying for expensive schools, and not being able to find side jobs, like most people (because my jobs need to apply to my education specialties) for 11 years. Now I find myself, struggling with little money, paying taxes, with no health insurance (because the exchange program does not support temporary residents). And because I have been living here with my parents for so long, making friends and being in a long-term relationship with an American, I would feel more of a foreigner going back to my birth country. My English is now better than my native language. I have talked to many foreigners, and I still find myself being the only one in this situation; perhaps I am not? It is difficult to keep my head up high and become the woman I want to be, with so much knowledge, ambition and enthusiasm to offer, when everyday, I face obstacles for not being a permanent resident, and not having any rights, in the land of the free. I feel like my life in the US, with my parents, my friends, and long-term boyfriend, is going against the clock and I am running out of time.

I hope that somehow, my voice and story can be heard. I tried to condense my story. Thank you for your time. I hope things will change before I run out of time being in this country.

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