“According to the new rule, the United States wants immigrants who can support themselves, not those who ‘depend on public resources to meet their needs.'”
The New York Times

Dear Applicant:

Thank you for your application for admission to the United States of America’s Citizenship Class of 2019. This year, we were looking for candidates who can “stand on their own two feet” and “support themselves,” and unfortunately, you have not been accepted. Please find a few pieces of helpful feedback from our admissions board below.

In reviewing your education, the board felt that you simply didn’t have the caliber of grades or advanced degrees that we’re looking for. While we did note that you planned to further your education here in America because of a lack of opportunity afforded to you in your home country, we felt that this wasn’t really an acceptable excuse. We’re looking to provide opportunity to people who already have plenty. Make sense?

We also noted your low income due to your home country’s overwhelming poverty and the general struggle that comes with uprooting your entire life and starting over in an unfamiliar place in search of safety and freedom. We do sympathize with your situation, but unfortunately, we are not offering any forms of financial aid at this time. Might we suggest finding a summer job in your country of origin after your deportation, once you’re nice and settled? We hear Dairy Queen pays pretty well, and you get a free ice cream cone every shift! You guys have Dairy Queen over there, right?

Your story of escaping ruthless dictators, gang violence and the impending danger that will be waiting for you should you be forced to return, while compelling, was lacking in detail and felt underwritten. The board would have enjoyed a little more moral ambiguity on both sides in order to create the kind of complex narrative we’re looking for. We would suggest giving the dictator character a few more redeeming qualities. For example: Does he love dogs? Is he close with his mother?

You also referenced a desire to give your children a better life than you were afforded. Unfortunately, the board felt this was a bit unoriginal. In fact, many of our applicants said the same thing, and as you know, we’re really trying to build a diverse, but also rich, population here. In the future, we would suggest focusing on the qualities that help you stand out from the crowd. Perhaps you play a fun instrument, like the oboe? That would sure catch our eye. Maybe you could take up lessons? Susan, the head of the board, thinks this is a great idea!

Lastly, the board noticed that you are actually already a legal immigrant to our institution—oops, we mean country!—and are currently receiving public aid. You may have been under the impression that you’ve done everything right, followed all proper procedures toward citizenship and simply needed a little help, but the board actually reserves the right to revoke your admission at any time, for any reason. This time, the reason is that we would like to take the money we were giving you to help feed and clothe your children and use it instead to open a new Dairy Queen franchise location. All that talk about ice cream really got our juices going! As the saying goes: I scream, you scream… actually, it’s just you screaming.

If we could summarize our feedback in one simple phrase, it would be: Pull yourself up by your bootstraps! But not the boots you’re currently wearing. The board reserves the right to revoke those, too. Susan really loves a classic, sturdy boot.

We know this may come as bad news, but please don’t be discouraged! Take it from us, a room full of white people whose ancestors were immigrants, so we completely relate: With some small improvements to your finances, your home country’s political situation, the color of your skin and various other factors outside of your control, you could make a great candidate in the future! We do hope you live long enough to reapply next year. And don’t forget about that oboe!

Kind regards,
The Admissions Board at the United States of America