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Personal Civil Rights
What Are My Personal Civil Rights?
I live in the U.S. now. Although the U.S. is not my home country, I can stay in the U.S. long-term legally. The reason why I can stay in the U.S. is that I have an I-20 student visa. The ability to stay in the U.S. is a right given to me by the U.S. government. I have this right so I can stay and study in the U.S. legally. This is my personal civil right in the U.S.
Why did the U.S. give me this right? I promised to the U.S. to follow certain rules and be responsible. If I did not do this, the U.S. would never have given me a visa and my right to study. However, my personal civil right has many restrictions. I must go to school even if I have problems. Also, I must not work in the U.S. These restrictions are very serious issues for me. For example, tuition is not cheap, and international students have to pay higher tuition than local students. Sometimes I think, “I wish I could have the same rights as local students”. If I could work in the U.S., I could manage my finances better if I have money problems.
I had many rights when I lived in my home country. For instance, I had the right to vote, the right to get an education, and the right to receive welfare. In addition, I had many responsibilities. The main responsibility was the payment of taxes. I could get many rights in my home country because I paid taxes. On the other hand, I do not pay taxes except sales tax in the U.S., so it is natural that I cannot have many rights. Moreover, I have to pay higher tuition as compared to local students because I do not pay taxes. Local students or their parents pay taxes to the U.S. government, and the U.S. government provides schools with financial aid. That is to say, local students pay money to go to school.
I can stay and study in the U.S. legally. These are the rights given to me by the U.S. because I agreed to fulfill my obligation to obey the rules in the U.S. My civil rights in the U.S. are not many because I am not charged with many obligations, such as paying taxes. Rights and duties should be equal. My civil rights in the U.S. have limitations, but my duties also have limitations. This is fair treatment to me. I think to be treated fairly by the U.S. is my personal civil right in the U.S.
© KCC - ESOL 197-0 Students, Summer 2005