It can be difficult discussing a topic as sensitive as this. It can put you in a vulnerable position, especially when sharing something that is very political in nature. On top of that, to do an AMA on reddit, is really exposing yourself.
Many Americans that I had told my story to didn’t even know this process occurred. Even my most educated friends had no clue. With such lack of information on the topic, I decided to write out my story for others, as well as do an AMA.I was prepared. I looked at the side panel of the IAmA subreddit to ensure I gathered everything required to make a post. A proper title, description, proof, articles, documents, etc. Then I posted the IAmA. Waited. All good. Many thoughtful questions on the process started pouring in and I tried to give feedback based on any information I had and obviously answering based on my experiences.
Then a few comments came in saying that the title was deceptive. That “IamA Pakistani American that was interrogated/jailed by the US government along with 85K+ other Muslims due to the Patriot ACT, post 9/11. AMA!” doesn’t say that I, along with other muslims were also illegal immigrants. That it makes it seem like citizens were persecuted. Which is totally understandable. I didn’t want anyone to have the wrong assumptions.
The problem is, reddit doesn’t allow you to change titles of your posts. All you can do is update your description to let users know. I updated the description, as well as tried to respond to some of the comments to let them know that the articles, proof and my own blog I posted stated that this was done to illegal immigrants. I wasn’t purposely omitting that information. Due to the title not being changed though, the AMA went from discussing racial profiling and persecution in America, to illegal immigrants should be deported and that I’m full of shit. The entire post became a pool of irony when people started commenting, or as one redditor put it, “I love AMA’s where the host gets shredded in the comments.”
“he was an illegal immigrant that got caught being an illegal immigrant.” “Single night in jail. Allowed to become a citizen just a year later. Nice spin, buddy.” “As for whether it was fair to single out a single race, post 9/11 it was clear that extremist Islam was a serious and viable threat to the USA and her people.” “he’s a piece of shit” “He’s a delusional POS actually.” “Considering that you were in fact an illegal, living within the U.S, I find it astounding that you even blame America for this at all…..what the fuck did you expect?” “good, investigating muslims with questionable immigration status is exactly what i’d want my government to do after some shitheads took down the twin towers in the name of your lord” “How ironic to come from an oppressive third world country to a place with incredible freedoms and whine about how hard it is on you. OP is just an attention seeker and we are all giving it to him. Oh by the way check out my stand up everybody!” “Why should I care about an illegal immigrant, who’s country and people have sponsored terrorism against my people both in our home and the United States.” “Then you should go back to Pakistan if you hate America so much.”
There are 12 million undocumented immigrants in this country and about 38 million total immigrants. To say that targeting only 100,000 illegal immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries was anything but racial profiling is disingenuous. After going through this process, waiting 3 years for a green card and then another 5 years for a citizenship, I’m already an American and don’t really “need” to talk about what happened 10 years ago as it doesn’t actually affect me anymore. I did this as my duty to inform other Americans so that we can make better choices in the future. So that we don’t do this to Muslims or any other group of people, because, um, morals.
It was mind boggling reading people’s hateful comments littering the entire thread. Many were accusing me of deceit, mainly because they felt misinformed by the title…..which I CAN’T EDIT! Some made it sound as if I deliberately did this. As if I created several titles, went out to focus groups and selected the campaign that would be the best at fooling everyone on reddit while making them feel sorry for me. Yup, that was my intention.
I did the best reddit allowed me to do and added updates to my descriptions, but in the end these comments weren’t posted because the title was imperfect. They were posted due to views of many redditors that believe that immigrants should be deported, especially those terrorists, which is great for America.
What some of these users failed to see is that this country is all about immigration. Many immigrated here, including our forefathers. It’s rooted in the foundation of our republic. Since the inception of this nation some took their citizenship by force, some overstayed their visas, some jumped borders, and very few obtained their stay “legally”. Of course, you could’ve been born here, but again, your lineage stems from an immigrant.
Shit, I’m in New York, and all you have to do is go to Queens to see the face of immigration in this country. Of the 2.3 million people living there, 48% are foreign born.
Go to the Statue of Liberty and there is even a plaque at the base, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” The Statue of Liberty, our most recognized monument, represents immigration.
Luckily, some users tried to come to my aide, which helped, because for a minute I thought I was crazy or something:
“Have some empathy, what they did is ultimately really fucked up whether he had a citizenship or not. To all the people who disagree: How do you think oppression and genocide start?” “Xenophobic garbage.” “Human beings have rights under the universal deceleration of human rights. http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/”
I would post more comments of users defending me, but they were pretty limited. I stopped replying to the AMA in general, because it didn’t matter any more, the post was now broken. I couldn’t change anyone’s mind about immigration and that’s not why I was there in the first place. I posted to educate people about a stipulation in the Patriot ACT, which I accomplished. What other’s take from it, will be up to them. God bless America.