Monday, August 29, 2005

i learned something about myself today while i was waiting for the bus home from school this afteroon. xenophobia, especially in the context of immigration into this country, bothers me a lot, and i actually think less of a person for being xenophobic. i see it as a form of ignorance.

i've always been very pro-immigrant, but i haven't had any conversations about the issue lately. then, today, i was talking to another guy who was waiting for the shuttle. i have all my classes with him, i chat with him on and off, and i see him on the bus sometimes. he mentioned that he noticed that he was always the only white person on the bus, and that it's always full of asians. i never notice i'm the only white person on the bus (and, there are always a gaggle of other people i have class with on the bus every morning anyway; they all happen to be white). most of the people who board the bus at my stop are asians, though, and that's probably who he sees.

anyway, he segues from that observation to mentioning to me about something he thinks is "sketchy" about Wash U's LLM program. he rants that people get into the LLM program with lower test scores than in the JD program, and then siphon into the JD program after a year. i don't know what the test scores are, but i can't say i care either way. if you've shown in the LLM program that you're up to snuff taking WU law school classes, why can't you decide to get a JD? if the school lets you, and you can do the work, it sounds fair to me. i don't care what the test scores are. it's not sketchy at all. it's an opportunity for people who have proven that they're up to it.

he then proceeds to tell me that his real problem with it is the fact that many of the LLM's--and the ones that are swapping to pursuing JD's-- are foreign students who intend to get american law degrees and practice law in this country. he argued that that's a problem...he doesn't mind that they study here, but he's bothered by what he perceives as sneaking into the JD program and then deciding to stay, thus making it harder for americans to get law jobs in their own country.

i don't buy his argument at all--especially since he mentioned that it was okay if they were studying science. why should it matter? a person has a right to immigrate into this country from another country and pursue the field that they would like to, or the field that they are expert in...just like a natural citizen has the right to pursue the field of his choice or of his expertise. i don't care if it's law, science, or anything else under the sun. he argued that it makes it harder for americans to get jobs, and that it's not the same for a foreigner to come into the country and become one more competitor for a job, as opposed to one more natural born citizen deciding to be a lawyer instead of anything else and competing for the same job. i understand that the government can at least try to keep the foreigner out of the country, make policies that keep the foreigner from coming in (we'll save this rant against xenophobic government policies for another day), but can't keep the natural citizen from pursuing the field. but, either's one more person competing for the job. it shouldn't matter who it is, or where they're from.

this guy's ostensibly getting his JD from Wash U in three years...and he, like any other law student, needs to do the best he can, apply for jobs after school, and prove he's the best man for the job. he, like me or any of the other students in law school, has the advantage of being in a top law school, no matter what country our citizenship is in. if we want to work as lawyers here in america, we're all getting the tools we need to be successful. we need to spend less time and energy getting pissed off about who our competition is or what country they're from. we just need to know that no matter what, there's going to be competition for legal jobs. it's reality. we deal, and we adapt, and we make ourselves competitive. that goes for this guy, that goes for me, and that goes for anyone else pursuing a JD.

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