I arrived in the United States as a refugee in May 1985. I was 19. I came with only a backpack and little English. Making matters worse, I had come of age during the Iranian revolution of 1979 and its aftermath; in school, we had chanted “Death to America” every morning before the start of class. I had no love for the regime in Tehran, but I was also plenty uneasy about America.
I wonder what the Trump administration would have made of me. The president last year proposed a “merit based” immigration system, and on Monday the administration announced that in the fiscal year starting next month it would slash the number of refugees allowed into the country, from 45,000 to 30,000.
In the first weeks after my arrival, I received all manner of public assistance. For having to depend on the help of others and so much else, I was full of despair and self-loathing. When people spoke English to me, all I heard were long strings of uninterrupted speech. I found a job in a dental prosthetics office — answering the phones. I was quickly fired.
The Washington Post, September 19, 2018