Articles

The Try Guys Try Immigrating To America

September 13, 2019


– Torture convention? What’s a torture convention? Is that like Comic-Con but for assholes? (laughing) Immigration.
(upbeat music) – Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning
to breathe free, sometimes. – Today, we’re gonna find out what does it take to get into America. Am I allowed to lie on this test? – Okay. – Both my parents are immigrants. But I have no idea what the steps are. I don’t know if they had
to, like, submit head shots, or do like an audition reel. Hello, my name is Jay. I like freedom, rap music,
and I like cowboy boots. American now? – Well, I’m Hiroshi Motomura. I teach Law at the UCLA School of Law. – Is it easy to get into America? – Depends on who you are. So we let about a million
people in the country legally every year. I mean, a lot of people
think it should be more, a lot of people think it should be less. – So you can’t just come
because you want to. – You can’t come because you want to. I mean, it’s a long process, and it’s longer for
some people than others. Depends partly on the country you’re from and your skill level. – I hear a lot that the
immigration system is broken. – Well, yeah, it’s broken. That’s the one thing
that people agree about. – But how is it broken? – How is it broken, right? – Today, we’re gonna find
out just how hard it would be to actually immigrate
and then become a citizen in the United States of America. – You have to pass a test
of history and civics. It is often said that a lot of Americans wouldn’t be able to pass
the citizenship test. – We’re gonna find out today. – In Tennessee, they mostly only teach you Tennessee history, and
that is super useless. – [Hiroshi] What do we call
the first 10 amendments to the Constitution? – The first 10, oh boy. – The Bill of Rights.
(bell dinging) – The Bill of Rights.
(bell dinging) – The Magna Carta.
(buzzing) It’s been a long time since I did school. – [Hiroshi] Who is the
governor of your state? – Oh fuck. Who is the governor of our state? – Never heard of him. Who is he, what’s he look like? Old, white?
(bell dinging) – [Hiroshi] What is the last day you can send in federal income tax forms? – Oh my God. I think I actually know this ’cause I always miss this date. – No, April 20th is 4/20. That’s not the answer.
(buzzing) That’s not the answer. – [Hiroshi] What did Susan B. Anthony do? – Susan B. Anthony
designed the first US flag. (buzzing) Damn it. – She was a boss ass bitch,
wouldn’t you know, man. – [Hiroshi] You passed. – Yeah. – Well, that’s good news as
far as citizenship test goes. The more complicated part
of this is even getting in the group of people
that’s allowed to take it. Unless you’ve had a Green
Card for five years. – Wait, what? – Someone could be waiting 10 or 15 years if they’re waiting to get a Green Card. – Just for the Green Card.
– Just for the Green Card. (chattering) – Let me explain what we’re talking about is coming to this country
as a so-called immigrant. You’re not a citizen. This is about getting in and being allowed to stay indefinitely.
(bell dinging) Being a citizen is a
whole other set of hoops that you have to jump through.
– Hiroshi. – Who puts all these hoops in the air? Where are all these hoops
coming from, Hiroshi? Today we’re gonna meet some
people who are citizens, some people who aren’t citizens yet, but people who have come to America to live a better life. – My family is from Iran. They came to the United States right after the Iranian Revolution. My aunt was executed. My mom was the next one that
was supposed to be executed. She escaped with my other aunt. Both on horseback, going
through the mountains, just trying to find some place like home. – I moved to the US five
years ago to study college. Though I had to apply for a student visa, my hometown, Tampico,
Mexico, was undergoing lots of drug cartel violence at the time. I left both because of safety reasons, and also to give myself
more opportunities. – Now, we’re gonna simulate how to get in the country legally. And there are four different ways to get into this country. Who your relatives are, if
you have a job prospect, we also protect people
fleeing persecution, and there’s this lottery. I’ve written out a few
pretty typical stories. A couple of ’em are from Iran. A couple of ’em are from Mexico. – Zach and I are going
to be here with Maral to represent Iran. And then Maral will help contextualize the Iranian perspective. – She’s here to make sure
we don’t fuck it all up. – It’s crazy to say she’s
gonna get in the country. I mean, its easy if you have a PhD and you’ve won a Nobel Prize. Eugene’s this 23 year old woman, and your name is Avideh. And you’re a student at a university, studying physics and chemical engineering. – Fake Iranian me is so
much smarter than real me. (laughing) – [Hiroshi] You’ve recently spoken out against Islamic fundamentalism. – I think I have a
crush on Iranian Eugene. – Don’t have a crush on fake me. – [Hiroshi] You’ve received
some threatening phone calls, accusing you of subversive politics. But you don’t know who made the calls. You think it would be a good idea to think about leaving Iran. And you think about the United States. – People are calling and
threatening my beautiful Avideh. – I don’t know you. We’ve never met. – [Hiroshi] So Ned, here’s your story. Now, you’re a college grad, and you work as a bank officer at a
private bank in Mexico City. You often travel internationally, and recently met and fell in
love with a man from Peru. And he got his Green Card six years ago. The two of you want to marry. – Wow, my husband. – [Hiroshi] You want to bring with you, a six year old daughter
and a four year old son from a previous marriage. – And your first husband
turned into a cat. – [Hiroshi] And you have a mother who’s attached to her grandchildren, and would be heartbroken if
they went with you to LA. – Abuela, please. – Abuela. – [Hiroshi] You’re a 55 year old man. (laughing)
– [Maral] What’s his name? – [Hiroshi] That’s Firouz. – Oh.
– Firouz, she loves it. – I love Firouz, it’s very poetic. – I’m poetic. – [Hiroshi] So you’ve
been working as a barber, living in a Tehran suburb. And I’m afraid you’ve
been recently widowed. – That means I’m single. – [Hiroshi] You have a sister, and the sister immigrated 15 years ago to Los Angeles, where
she owns a hair salon. – So I need to get my
sister to become a citizen. – And then you could
just marry your sister. – No. No, Maral, that’s not how that works. – [Hiroshi] Keith, you work as a carpenter and a landscaper in Mexico. The whole construction industry has been drying up in your town. – [Hiroshi] You think your prospects, who are your three children,
would be much better in the United States. – I’m a family man. I wanna set a good example. – [Hiroshi] One thing I didn’t tell you, that you dropped out of high school. – Fuck. Shouldn’t have done that. But times were different, I
was partying a lot back then. (dance music) – Or you couldn’t afford to
be in school, realistically. You just need to work. – There’s a lot of other reasons you might drop out from high
school other than partying. – I like to party.
(dance music) I’m not saying everybody likes to party. I’m just me, I’m me. Mariano, party man. (bright music)
– [Hiroshi] Okay, so, you’ve got a tough choice to make. – Wow, this is a lot to un-package. – Do I have any super powers? – What do we know about Avideh? – So I would say that she comes from a pretty well-off family. And also that she’s highly intelligent. – And like, naturally beautiful. – Just like, with no makeup whatsoever. – He works at a bank. – You have some funds. You have an income. – Rob the bank. – No, I’m not gonna rob the bank. – Rob the bank. – But if you don’t have family here, you don’t have a job,
you don’t have a claim for persecution, and you don’t
win the lottery, you’re out. – I’m going to go for a work visa because I have the most magical
fingers in all of Tehran. – [Hiroshi] If it’s possible,
your sister could sponsor you. But she’s gonna have to show that you are not taking a job
away from an American worker. – That’s the one I had to fill out. – You had to prove that you wouldn’t take anyone else’s jobs? – [Andrea] Yeah. – [Hiroshi] They have to
basically advertise the job. If everyone was rejected
for a legitimate reason, then you’re the only
one left standing there, we can hire you, but then that process can take several years. – Do we have scissors here? ‘Cause I can show you how good I am. I think like a nice fade on the side. – Stop making us not
want Firouz to immigrate. You’re already insufferable. – I have got some dependents. Am I allowed to go to LA
just to like, to visit? – Tourist visa’s a so-called
non-immigrant visa. That means that you have
to convince someone, let’s say at the US embassy, that if you come in to the
United States as a tourist, you will actually leave. – So, no ties in the US.
– I can overstay on my tourist visa. Oh, okay, so, I was gonna say, get the tourist visa, go get married. – So the US government
isn’t gonna give you a visa if they think you might overstay. – Love knows no laws. Love knows no laws.
– Then rob the bank. – Well I might have well
founded persecution, right? – [Hiroshi] You’re gonna have to show that this amounts to some kind of pattern where you’re really under
some kind of threat. – You don’t think that his threatening phone calls are credible enough? – [Hiroshi] You’ve only
gotten a few calls. – [Zach] Hiroshi, you say a few as if this is a normal thing. – [Hiroshi] You don’t exactly
wanna put yourself out there until you get more threats, right? – There are so many countries in the world that you say one thing, and it’s a life and death situation, and you’re done. – I’d much rather have a student visa than put myself in more danger to prove that I’m in danger. – [Hiroshi] Turns out you have a cousin who’s living, but without
papers, in Los Angeles, and he offers to do what he can to help you move to LA. – [Ned] And is that a quick,
quick application process? – [Hiroshi] There is a
temporary worker program. – Like a five year visa? – I think in terms
practically speaking, a year. – A year? – [Hiroshi] You might be thinking, I wanna get a Green Card. The problem is it’s really hard to do that if you don’t have a college degree. – Could I finish high school now, and apply to a college? – That’s an option. – [Keith] But I need to make money. I don’t need to pay money. – [Andrea] You have a family. – Do I have any friends with
strong Photoshop skills, and I could get a diploma? But it’s a fake diploma? – So you’re relying on family connection. – I think that’s all I got. – [Hiroshi] Your sister
could become a citizen, if she isn’t already,
and she can sponsor you, but the problem with that is then you get into a line
that’s many years long. – Is that not the fastest line? – Could be 15 or 20 years. – 15 to 20 years? – [Hiroshi] Depends partly
on the country you’re from. – [Keith] That’s a long line. – [Hiroshi] For some people,
it’s a retirement program. – God, I need to, I’m
gonna be here forever. – Every month, the state
department puts out this list of who we’re letting in today. So if you’re from a big country, in terms of population,
you gotta wait longer than if you’re from a smaller country. But if you marry someone
who is a US citizen, then technically, there’s no line. – Where should we get married, and what type of dressed should
I have the bridesmaids wear? – [Andrea] That’s the
important question here. – [Hiroshi] One thing that
does count in your favor is that you can bring
your children with you – [Both] What about abuelita? – The problem is you
can bring your children, but not your parents. – She gets left behind. – But think about this. It’s gonna take like 10 years. How old is abuelita? I was being honest. You know, it might not be a problem. You know, people come and go. – And I don’t want a Winter wedding. – Just let me just mention a couple complications
with Avideh’s scenario. – You don’t have to. – [Hiroshi] One is that
you’ve gotta be able to prove financial
support for this period. ‘Cause you won’t be allowed to work. – Oh my gosh, and then
you have to find a job within your field of study. So it’s not like you can be a waitress for like to pay rent, or something. You have 90 days to find a job within your field of study. – I am not dating you. You do not have any money. We know what he was going to say. – I’m currently on an H1B work visa, a visa that the current administration has promised to get rid of. – If you got a permanent job where the employer could sponsor you. This is complicated, though. – My path to citizenship
would be through my employer, so I would need to stay
with my organization for a long time for them to sponsor me through the whole Green Card process. – This is the plight of all of my international student friends. – I have a couple of friends
who are international students with me, and they
weren’t able to find jobs, so now they have to go home. Fortunately, that was not the case for me. – Does this mean we’re getting married? – Hell no.
– Damn. – Okay, so I feel like my plan now, since I don’t wanna leave abuelita, I’m gonna get Eduardo to
apply for his citizenship, get married, maybe we’ll live
in Mexico City for a while, tend to abuela, and then after she passes, we can move to LA. – Ouch. – She’s going to die at some point. I don’t know. I don’t know what to do. – I’m gonna build a boat. – [Hiroshi] That sounds very biblical. – [Keith] And I’m gonna sell the boat. Now I got some money. I’m gonna build another boat. Put the family on that boat. We’re gonna go up the coast. We’re in America. – I don’t know if that’s how it works. – Why can’t it work? Has anyone ever tried
the double boat method? – He’s getting creative, here. – I’ve gotta do something
to save my family. I got three kinds depending on me. There’s no path for me. – A lot of this has to do with a mis-match between what our economy seems to want, and the
people we actually let in. Millions of employers in this country who think they need immigrant workers. We have a congress that’s not willing to create lines to stand in if you don’t have a college degree. – People wanna hire me. – There are jobs. – I can build boats, boats,
boats, boats for days. – So a lot of people say, why don’t you stand in line? Well, there’s no line to stand in. But also, immigrants do a lot of the work that keeps businesses in this country, and they create jobs
for all kinds of people. Including a lot of Americans. – [Keith] What is this paperwork? – [Hiroshi] Well, the
form you’re looking at is for someone who wants
to get a Green Card. – I think you gave me
multiple, by accident. – It’s giving me anxiety just to see them because I’ve had to fill out
so many of these forms before. – There’s a separate form
for temporary workers. – And then this is to become a citizen? – Five years later, you
could apply for citizenship. – I’m gonna be dead by then. – Maybe I should just go to Mexico City. Seems like there’s a lot of banks there. – I bet our kids would be friends. – You know, the fees could run you in the hundreds to a few
thousands of dollars. Lawyers fees might run
you thousands of dollars, if there are complicated
issues in the case. – I don’t think I have enough money to fill out these forms, and eat. – But there’s one other
complication I wanna mention, and that is a travel ban in effect. – Oh yeah, that thing. – [Hiroshi] The basic idea
is to suspend immigration from first seven, now
six different countries. I mean, the one that’s most
affected is Iran, naturally. I mean, about half the people affected. And there’s also a separate reduction number of refugees that
are allowed to come in. So it’s been defended as a
national security measure, but it’s being challenged by saying that it’s a pretext, is
also challenged by saying, hey, this is really targeting Muslims. It’s following one of the
campaign promise of a Muslim ban. – I remember distinctively
the day that my mom texted me about the travel ban. And she was like, call me. Like, I could hear the tears in her voice. It was very much of her just talking about how many families don’t have a future. – [Hiroshi] Becoming a US citizen was only available to free white persons. It’s only in 1952. – 1952. – 1952 was the first time congress says we’re gonna let you become a citizen regardless of country you’re from. What we think it was normal America used to be seen as really exotic. But it was a time in the 1800s where the real concern was Catholics. Because they owed allegiance to the Pope, and they couldn’t possibly
be good Americans. History doesn’t repeat
itself, but it often rhymes. (slow music) – I chose to go a more
student based route. – Yeah, you might, and a lot of people do leave themselves open
to getting job offers when they graduate. That is going to allow
you to get a Green Card. But there are a lot of
pitfalls along the way, and a lot of people don’t make it through. I mean, a lot of people don’t
ever find that employer. You don’t know how long it’s gonna take. You don’t know if something will go wrong. Having your mom come visit you later, that might be tough,
because there’s a suspicion maybe she’ll stay. And you gotta make some
choices about your family life. – It’s like I can ultimately
make it to America, but it would come at
great personal sacrifice. – Even though that’s the
quickest path, supposedly. – Wow, wow. – And it’s gotten so much
harder over the years. She can try to sponsor you, but that’s a really long line. It’s really measured in decades now. – [Zach] Decades. – I mean, I suppose there
are people who think that’s the way the system ought to be. But no matter where you
come out on that, I mean, the fact is it’s really hard
to get into this country. – How many people would you say are wanting to come to America, but there’s just no path? – The answer’s gotta be in the millions, because, you know, we
have 11 million people in this country who
don’t have legal status, and people sometimes say, why
don’t you just stand in line. Well, I’m not sure there’s much of a line for you to stand in. – I’m gonna come here without papers and just send money back to
my family until they find me. – Well, a lot of people are doing that. – That’s what I would do. And I totally understand
why you’d do that. – I’m ashamed at how
much I was unaware of. So much of whether or not
you can get to America is out of your control. It’s where were you born, how much money were you born into, did you have the privilege
and the opportunity to get an education? Because guess what, you
could also work really hard, and still not get it. – Many times, we talk about immigrants with this blanket terminology. When in fact, it’s a very nuanced, highly personal, diverse,
perspective-driven process that changes from
individual to individual, and generally, it favors people who have higher educations
and a little bit more money. And so I think that’s
the sad thing is that the most un-American thing
is trying to block people out who are doing the most American thing, working hard to have a better life. – For anyone to have a perspective of those people shouldn’t
be here, America first, it’s garbage. People are dying in other countries. That’s why they wanna come here. They wanna have lives. – The fact that we’re here just speaks to what America can be,
and what it should be. – And that we all are just
a human race, you know. (bright music)

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