Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card
by Sara Saedi, Alfred A. Knopf, 2018.
This memoir is a real eye-opener for anyone who is unfamiliar with the workings of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Sara Saedi was two years old when her parents fled Iran. She didn’t know of her illegal status until years later, when her older sister applied for an after-school job. Samira, Sara’s sister, couldn’t work because she didn’t have a Social Security number.
The Saedi parents spent years trying to get their green cards. They even got a secret divorce in order for Sara’s mother to expedite her green card application.
Although the Saedis’ experiences with USCIS were terribly trying and difficult, and although Sara suffered with the constant fear of deportation, this family’s living situation was not nearly as dire as many of those facing ICE today. The girls were not separated from their parents. Money was tight, but they were not desperately poor.
For me, the most relevant part of this book was the “Undocumented Immigrant Refresher Course” at the end of the memoir. From visitor’s visa to applying for political asylum, the author takes us through the process of naturalization in the U.S.