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The Big 'I'

Silicon Valley Patch reports on immigration.

It’s a loaded word.

Immigration means different things to different people. For some, it’s an election issue. For others, it’s a security issue. It’s also a human rights issue. And for many immigrants, it’s what they do to live the lives they want.

People come to the United States for many reasons. I followed the man I loved. Why did he want to come here? At that time, I really didn’t get it. I had an immensely fulfilling job in one of the biggest television production companies in Asia. We had world-class studios. Producers from the BBC would come down to train us. I hobnobbed with Indian superstars. We got fan mail from as far away as the Middle East. I had terrific friends. I loved my life.

But more than a decade later, I’m still here. I’m an American citizen. I saw what my husband saw when he first came here to go to grad school. I saw an open, free and multicultural society. I went to school. Then I started working here, and I made friends from all over the world. I am officially an immigrant. 

So are many, many people in the cities we cover in Silicon Valley and Santa Cruz County. They range from the skilled scientists, researchers and managers who make up the upper echelons of some of the largest companies in the country to the day laborers who stand on the streets in Capitola waiting to find work.

There have been numerous studies, books and newspaper and magazine articles about immigrant entrepreneurs and their contribution to the national economy—and lately about their exodus. For the most part, the discussion about immigration looks at the big picture. Today, we’re bringing you immigration stories from your neighborhood.

When Mountain View editor Claudia Cruz said she wanted to report on how immigration reform could affect foreign employees who were here on work visas, it felt appropriate to ask every Patch editor in the region to look at immigration at the local level. That’s what Patch is all about.

We  produced this package of 12 stories through a collaboration of PatchU with Thomas Ulrich’s advanced reporting class at San Jose State University’s School of Journalism & Mass Communication. PatchU is a Patch Media initiative to build strong relationships with colleges and universities across the country. (For more information, email PatchU@patch.com or follow them on Facebook.)

Here’s what some of the students and editors came back with: Mountain View Patch and Palo Alto Patch take us into the world of H1-B workers, Santa Cruz Patch reports on how LGBT couples are affected by current immigration laws, Gilroy Patch writes about the complex issue of homelessness among immigrants, Milpitas Patch covers the Philippine Consulate on Wheels, and Los Gatos Patch has a story on the leaders of a church who are working to help legalize undocumented residents.

The immigration stories are linked here:

Campbell Patch: Learning English in Campbell's Schools

Capitola Patch: Day Laborer Center for Santa Cruz County is in Developmental Stages

Cupertino Patch: International Students Enrich De Anza

Gilroy Patch: Homeless Families are a Growing Concern, Especially For Immigrants

Los Altos Patch: Nannies and Housekeepers: A Common Part of Los Altos Life Rarely Addressed in Immigration Debate

Los Gatos Patch: St. Mary's Advocates Immigration Reform

Milpitas Patch: Philippine Consulate on Wheels Brings Services to Milpitas

Mountain View Patch: Silicon Valley Engineers Stuck in Immigration Reform Limbo

Palo Alto Patch: Coding to Stay in the U.S.

Santa Cruz Patch: LGBT Community is Most Troubled in Immigration Attempts

Scotts Valley Patch: Language Training Used for All Students, Not Just Immigrants

Watsonville Patch: Opting Out of Federal Immigration Checks May Be on the Horizon

Cathy P. July 20, 2011 at 09:23 PM
Excellent article Ms. Sharma-Sindhar, I love hearing successful true stories like yours. My maternal Grandfather came here from Russia in the late 1890's at the age of 16. The only reason the "Big I" is a loaded word is because of the 2 other loaded words, the "Big II," there is a difference and it is a problem.

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