This Is What It’s Like to Come to the United States as a Refugee by JULIA IOFFE (The Atlantic)
Thousands of miles away, people haggle over policy details, about whether you are a risk and a burden, or an asset full of potential, a victim, or a potential tool of foreign policy, but really they are talking about you, and the days of your life and how you will live them.
They don’t know you. They don’t know the days of your life that you have already lived, and the stuff of your mind and the strength in your hands. To them, you are an abstraction, colored by their fear and their hate, or by their heartrending idealism.
They do not see your parents, waiting in line for hours at the American embassy in Moscow, stamping their feet in the cold, holding their documents, practicing for their interview. They do not know that your mother never wanted to leave this city, because she was born here and bore children here, and has friends and family here, and has removed the tonsils of hundreds of children. She has performed delicate surgeries that have made the deaf hear again, and she knows she could have restored Beethoven’s hearing in half an hour, a thought that brings her the kind of satisfaction that can only come to someone who knows what symphonies and concertos her children heard when they swam in her belly as she sat swimming in the sound spilling from the walls of the grand old hall of the Moscow Conservatory.