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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 May, 2004, 16:33 GMT 17:33 UK
'I hope to obtain a special permit'

BBC News Online readers have been telling us their experiences as migrants - why they left, what they like about their new countries and what they miss from the place they left behind.

Miguel Angel Gonzalez from Mexico wants to stay in the US, but is finding life there very expensive.

I was born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico, only a few minutes away from the US-Mexico border.

Miguel Angel Gonzalez
Miguel: 'I intend to finish my education and make my life in the US'
In 1995 my family and I moved to San Diego right across the border from Tijuana - we had been granted Permanent Resident status and were looking forward to living on this side with the promise of greater opportunities and a brighter future - pretty much what everyone else coming to this country has in mind.

After finishing high school I've been attending college and working as a computer aided drafting operator.

Finding work isn't necessarily difficult, but the wages in general aren't enough for the high cost of living here, plus the average price for a home is just under half a million dollars, well beyond what most families can afford.

My family is planning to move to Arizona, since they, like many other lower income families, cannot afford to live in California or San Diego anymore.

I intend to finish my education and make my life here - so I want to live in Tijuana and continue to work and study in the US.

Maybe some time I'll be able to afford a home in the US
The only problem is that US immigration policy doesn't allow Permanent Residents to live outside the country, even if it is just a few miles away, so ironically I cannot live in Mexico unless I first obtain US citizenship.

Crossing the border every day will be a hassle since it takes about two hours to do so in the mornings, but I hope to obtain a special permit that is available to a small number of commuters to pass through a separate gate much faster than usual.

Maybe some time I'll be able to afford a home in the US, but until then I'll have my first home to go back to.

The proposed changes to immigration policy probably won't affect me, since the changes mostly affect undocumented immigrants, but it is a promising fact that they'll finally be recognised for their contributions to the US economy and it'll help bring them into the mainstream like they deserve.

If a smoother process for citizenship applicants who are already permanent residents comes as a result of these changes later, then that might benefit me.

Your comments:

I think we should welcome those who wish to migrate to a land of better opportunities. This nation was founded on those principals. When the white man came here, they didn't ask him for a green card, so why should they ask you.
Louise, Hoboken, USA

Mexicans like you must fight for your rights and objectives, but, to become a US citizen, you have to be patient
André Neves, Belem

Mexicans like you must fight for your rights and objectives, but, to become a US citizen, you have to be patient, because their bureaucracy against immigrants is too stressful. If you need some help, you could talk to the manager of your company (if you work) or the director of your college (if you just study). Thus, you will probably be a US citizen and live in Tijuana at the same time. Good luck. I hope you will get your special permit early.
André Neves, Belem, Brazil

Western countries need to accept that one of the reasons people are migrating is because of the inequalities that exist in the world. Once the US and others start to tackle the problems in the rest of the world, rather than use it for further greedy economic gain, there will be fewer problems with migration.
Chris Williams, Oxford, UK

Hopefully you will become a citizen of our country, but it should be fully up to Americans to decide who becomes a citizen and who does not. Because someone worked here, contributed to our government and has not been on welfare does not mean that they have any right to become an American. I am 16 and pro-immigration. We do have limited resources and we are not the permanent solution for Mexico's economic problems.
Sean, Tennessee, USA

Most people think that all Mexicans in the US are illegal. In reality it's no more than 5% of all immigrants in most cases. I am glad you have acknowledged the most common type of Mexican immigrant and not the exception. My mother came here in 1964, when her green card took only three months, after applying, to arrive in the mail in Mexico. Ever since she has been shunning people who believe everybody from Mexico come here illegally.
E Limon, San Diego, CA


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