Entrepreneur

Are immigrants welcome entrepreneurs or unwanted criminals?

“We’re denying you re­entry into the United States and deporting you back to Mexico tonight. You won’t be allowed back into the U.S.”

Those were the dreadful and unexpected words I received from two Customs and Border Protection officers as I returned to the U.S. through LAX airport.

My name is Aurora Chisté, proud Italian and founder of Hack for Big Choices, and this is how I was nearly deported and treated as a common criminal.

In April 2014, I had returned from Guadalajara, Mexico, after running a successful hackathon. I was looking forward to coming back to share what I had learned from the vibrant, entrepreneurial community I discovered in Mexico. I never suspected my entry back through LAX would become an exercise in frustration and near deportation.

I’ve lived in the U.S. legally for seven years, and I travel abroad quite often for business. I’ve become accustomed to the doldrums of international travel and the shuffle of immigration lines. You get to the passport officer, show your visa, get asked a few questions, and move on through. However, this time I was given the silent treatment and told to report to the immigration office without any explanation.

At the office, I was told to just sit and wait. The lack of the common courtesy of an explanation had me worried, and it was a long wait. No one would talk to me, and my requests to use the restroom were repeatedly ignored until a random officer walking by noticed and was kind enough to escort me. He asked me what I had done. I was upset and not feeling talkative, so I simply answered, “Nothing”. He replied, “You seem like a good girl. Explain what happened and everything will be fine.” I still wasn’t sure what I even had to explain!

After considerable time, I was finally escorted into an interrogation room and confronted by two intimidating CBP officers who held looks of scorn and condemnation on their faces. I felt pre­judged before I was even told what I was being held for. The officers proceeded to question why I held four separate visas and had been traveling back and forth from the U.S. for the past seven years. I explained to them that I had come to the U.S. to further my education and that my evolution from student to social entrepreneur mirrored my travels and the different visas I held. They seemed to see only an aberrant foreigner randomly traveling to and from the U.S., instead of a skilled person that American companies have tried to hire legally.

I further explained that my current work visa application had been complicated due to a filing mistake and that I had been waiting on a decision. This fell on deaf ears. They searched my backpack and found my hackathon badge, which drew incredible suspicion. They asked, “What’s a hackathon? Are you a hacker?” I slowly explained that I’m a social entrepreneur promoting global change through the concept of ‘hackathons,’ where attendees work together and find solutions to community issues within a tight time constraint. They were dismissive and didn’t seem to want to hear an explanation. We spoke two totally different languages. Mine, the language of reasoned hope and optimism. Theirs, the language of suspicious cynicism, fear, and ignorance.

After a litany of questions, I was finally given a reason why I was being held. The two officers viewed my travels as “gaming the system.” I denied this, citing that I run a legitimate non­profit organization based in the U.S., but they were adamant with their stance. My previous notion of being pre­judged and condemned was accurate.

This is when I heard those dreadful words, “We’re denying you re­entry into the United States and deporting you back to Mexico tonight.” I was handed a plane ticket, put into a small cage in the back of a police van, and transported to a secondary detention center. I was being treated like a common criminal without having committed any crime.

At our destination, four officers surrounded me. I was deeply embarrassed and ashamed walking against the traffic of happy travelers making their way back to everyday life. How was I being perceived? I soon found myself locked in a room with a pedophile, a woman smuggling $25,000 in cash, and unsavory others. The situation was getting out of hand for me, and I couldn’t keep back the tears anymore. I didn’t belong here. This wasn’t the America I thought I knew.

I was given a final chance to speak to a supervising officer and one other. I composed myself and retold my entire story to them. An eternity passed, but I was finally given semi­positive news. The tall, blonde woman supervisor told me that she didn’t want to ruin my life and was willing to let me back into the country on a tourist visa as long as I settled my affairs and left the country within a month. This meant I wouldn’t be allowed to return for at least a year. It was a small respite after what I had just experienced, and I accepted my fate grudgingly. For the first time during the whole ordeal, I felt like I was finally being treated like a human being instead of a statistic. However, before I was finally released, the other officer turned to me and said hatefully, “If it wasn’t for my supervisor here, I would have deported you immediately.” Why did he harbor such hate and anger towards foreigners?

I have now been forced to leave the U.S., and I have a better understanding as to why many immigrants manifest feelings of being persecuted while simply trying to make life better for themselves and others. We are viewed as outsiders needing to prove ourselves worthy of being in the U.S. At the same time, I know there are also those who understand the difficulties faced by immigrants and are working hard to solve these issues.

I hope that my story can help fuel positive immigration reform in a country that has given me so much to be thankful for. America is where I learned to become a strong, independent woman capable of leading an international organization. Even though I will be kept out of the U.S. for at least a year, I will continue my work with Hack For Big Choices within the international community. Hopefully, I can one day come back and create a better world with the country I still love.

[My thanks to Ehb Teng for his help co-authoring this post.]

Aurora Chisté, a perennial vagabond, moved from Italy to San Francisco seven years ago. Whilst there, she pursued her passion for entrepreneurship, education, and growth, devoting herself first to the Startup World as a core member, an advisor, and in her current capacity as CEO and co-founder of Hack for Big Choices. Hack for Big Choices is a worldwide movement empowering people to solve local problems related to healthcare, design & technology, and education. 


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93 comments
L ZZP
L ZZP

Please don't assume you(born as a legal residents) could know more than the first generation immigration or non-immigration residents like me.  This is for those who assume she was rejected because of invalid visa:  Have you ever heard about "Automatic Re-validation of Visa" policy (http://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/documents/auto_reva_3.pdf) ?   I bet you don't.  Because most of the CBP officers EVEN don't know about the policy.  The immigration laws are very complicated in this country.  It is very likely that the officers made a misjudgment to her case simply because they don't know how to do their job right and don't even bother to correct their mistake because they don't really care.  


I had a similar experience myself a few years ago: The first CBP officer put a reject stamp on my form and then I was sent to a separate room packed with people with different skin colors, of course mostly dark color. ( I can feel it again when reading Aurora's description about her being taken to a locked room) .  It was around midnight. I had to wait for more than an hour there before I could talk to someone.   Then I explained the officer the visa auto re-validation policy and showed her this policy page from my phone.  But she did not want to acknowledge her ignorance. She told me that she would allow me to enter because of my although expired visa with 2 entries, which I have only used one. She can let me in with the second entry.    I was not so happy with how they do their work(what if I got stuck the same kind situation next time? they need to know how to do their job right) and I kept talking about the policy. Then she told me "fine, if you want me to check up the policy and it may take at least another half hour, do you really want that? "  Knowing my friends waiting me outside, I decided to stop arguing with her.   My friends(they all have green card or citizenship) told me that, earlier they were worried about me and asked another CBP officer about my case. Guess what my friends were told:  "your friend will probably be deported".  

Lawrence Garvin
Lawrence Garvin

The story is missing a couple of salient facts. To the comments of others, the story fails to specify the type or validity of her U.S. visa, or whether she possessed a U.S. passport or not. Furthermore, there are about -50- different classes of U.S. visas, and if she's claiming status as an "entrepreneur", then there's a very specific visa class for entrepreneurs. But if she had a different type of visa (for employment or education), then she's doing none of those at all.


Ehb Teng -- yes, people have made assumptions; that is the fault of this story which you've been given credit for co-authoring. Hows about filling in the missing - and CRITICAL - pieces of the puzzle... like: What type of Visa was Aurora holding when she returned from Mexico to Los Angeles? and How long had she been out of the U.S. when she returned?


Second, for some of the commenters... it's quite common for persons to have *VISAS* from several countries; it's also not uncommon for some person to have TWO passports (one from their country of birth, the other the result of having become a naturalized U.S. citizen). I don't see anywhere in the article where a passport was mentioned, which means it's absolutely critical that the entrant's VISA matches the purpose for which they claim to be (re)entering the country.


Also.. many visas require the visa holder to get *permission* (known as "Advance Parole") to leave the country, and the duration of those leaves are regulated, as are the number of leaves. There's no mention in this story of this consideration -- which is directly relevant to the type of Visa held by Aurora (also, as I noted, not mentioned).


So, in fact, the story is incomplete, and incomplete stories make me suspicious. Why were salient facts left out of the story? Particularly one in which the author is trying to obtain my sympathy for [a] being denied reentry, and [b] allegedly being mistreated by CBP officers.

Gilby Rudolph
Gilby Rudolph

OK - Executive Summary:

- Aurora has been playing footloose and fancy free with US customs and immigration laws for many years.

- She's now been denied entry to the US when her paperwork was not in order.  

- She's trying to obtain sympathy by playing the "immigrants are all good for the US" card. 

- Her massive ego is only surpassed by the 52 lb. chip on her shoulder.

John Potter
John Potter

Immigration rules are hard everywhere in the world, according to your story you have been trying to get into the country for 7 years, didn't make it...somehow started a company without a visa and decided to ignore this country's basic rule of immigration: don't leave the country if you are on a temporary visa.

And after you decided to make fool of immigration laws you blame it on the police officers courtesy?

I think this time the system worked pretty well...We don't need people that don't respect our country.

Pierangelo Ranieri
Pierangelo Ranieri

That's the point. She made a mistake, everybody (intelligent) agree. But she really deserved a treatment like that only for that reason? I repeat that they could not let her into the states, that's was enough. Or the people here that agree with the officers really think that they do well their job?

Kate Gallagher
Kate Gallagher

 Well this is dumb everyone knows don't leave the country without having that Visa certified. Also, even with immigration reform it wouldn't have helped in her case she'd still need the Visa papers to be correct and I'm not sure Immigration reform would make that process easier especially if she was on a work Visa. As well for those complaining about Immigration those guys are paid to act like dicks and most of the time do not check the system nor have the clearance to background check someone like her so leave that be I've been back and forth from country to country and have been treated like a terrorist threat more times than I can count and I clearly am American. It's ridiculous how power hunger immigration officers are. 

Kate Gallagher
Kate Gallagher

I'm sorry, but as someone with a lot of Mexican friends and dating a Mexican immigrant and has traveled abroad a lot she really must not know the system well. Hell even as a caucasian and American I don't even mess with immigration they got pissy when my friend had an orange on her one time and made her feel like a criminal. I'm not sure what she was expecting the US has a hard immigration policy and many of the rowdy Americans that say our boarders need to be tightened don't even know how hard it is. I also had one friend who has had a Visa here since he was 5 years old get a traffic ticket went to pay it and found out his Visa lapsed and now he's getting kicked out too. This is what happens when you don't keep your Visa up to date. Overall I don't feel bad for her. I'm for immigration reform, but her story is ridiculous since she had her Visa's before and just didn't keep them updated properly. Even with reform I'm sure immigrants will still need to keep their Visa paperwork up to date.

James Chanbonpin
James Chanbonpin

I mean, how far back do you want to go with that? Who was there before they took the land? How about in Europe? Asia? You're being idealistic, not realistic. Sounds good on a shallow level, but shallow never means anything of substance.

Cristian Garcia
Cristian Garcia

Dude, the US government can know more about your life than your own mother, if Aurora was in anyway harmful they'd know. This is just a bunch of idiots in immigration thinking the own the country, but an act like is not isolated, it has its roots in culture.

Maxim Tocarev
Maxim Tocarev

Are you saying that you never broke rules of the country you live in?

patrick mcmaster
patrick mcmaster

I simply cannot fathom how blind people are to the longterm financial benefits of immigration reform.  We need to provide a simple, safe way for people to come into our country legally.  We have the greatest country in the world because of our immigrants and our ideals.  Get rid of either and we will soon fail to be Great.  This story is about bad government.  I am all for better government.  Just explain how you are going to make it better by adding an authoritarian set of rules to our current government.  

Anirban Das
Anirban Das

I am all for getting rid of border. Accident of birth should not determine a person's ability to move by a big government putting a gun on the head. It is unlikely to happen, but what has the potential of happening is splitting big nation states into smaller one, so people can have more freedom.

Apurba Pradhan
Apurba Pradhan

All right mr global citizen, let's start issuing everyone a 'world' passport and see how that works. Our borders exist because of our history. It's not perfect but at least I can see a reason why things are the way they are.

Apurba Pradhan
Apurba Pradhan

I wouldn't count out INS and border patrol as being dumb. The intelligence system in this country has prevented many catastrophes before they had a chance to be carried out. Give other people the respect that you think you deserve.

Apurba Pradhan
Apurba Pradhan

Being sweet and bright is really besides the point. Have a common sense approach to obey the rules of the country she lives in.

Anirban Das
Anirban Das

And I am having a conversation with someone brainwashed by the status quo.

Apurba Pradhan
Apurba Pradhan

Now I know I'm having a conversation with an irrational person

Apurba Pradhan
Apurba Pradhan

Your comments are too idealistic. We live in a world with borders and people who wish to harm others who don't share the same values, religions, whatever. It's not a perfect world and governments make tough decisions to keep the people they elect safe. Don't be so cynical and ask yourself what you would do given the circumstances. And by the way these issues are handled much more harshly in other parts of the world.

Cristian Garcia
Cristian Garcia

What does it take for somebody to belong anywhere? She had a home, friends, worked to make the world a better place. Or is it just a piece of paper with some letters? Immigration systems FAILS, in fact the whole country did.

Cristian Garcia
Cristian Garcia

Many of those who commented here seem to have just as much prejudice as those officers. America is not made of just British colonizers and enslaved Africans descendants any more, if it doesn't come to terms with that it will just continue hurting itself. Curiously the oldest population living on that land, the Indians, don't seem to have a word on this, and this is true for all the continent.

Iniyavan Karthik
Iniyavan Karthik

If you have a valid visa they won't treat you like this, if they do have the balls or otherwise to show then the middle finger and do your thing in your country? Don't blame them. For me I don't care if America doesn't give me a visa if they need my stuff they rather come here to take it.

Pasquale Sarcina
Pasquale Sarcina

Sembrerebbe l'occasione perfetta per tornare in Italia...

Gerardo Gean
Gerardo Gean

Agreed.. when you are a guest with a "visa status" you need to be obey all the rules of that visa. If the visa holder works and receives income then you brake the law. To me seems she found a way to be self employed in US while her multiple visas trigger a red flag. Home Land Security did their job. In USA no one is above the law. No matter how smart you think you are.

Brandon Hutchinson
Brandon Hutchinson

Long story short, some dumb border cops thought hackathon means you are trying to blow up the government, and a less than mediocre pseudo founder of yet another moronic serial hackathon gets denied entry for having a bad visa. There is no one to root for in this story.

Ehb Teng
Ehb Teng

@Lawrence Garvin Just ran across this comment. To address your question about facts being left out. We were constrained to a certain word count for the submission of this article and decided certain specifics weren't pertinent to the story. The focus on what sort of visa Aurora held is an irrelevant aside as the focus of this article was about the prejudiced and hateful treatment she received during her ordeal. The purpose of the article was to shed light on how immigrants are treated and viewed in general by the CPB, as recent other articles have shown. 


The fact that most commenters have decided to focus on the technical aspects of her visa aspect is in and of itself off putting and even a bit disturbing. It has turned into a talking point mechanism for people to ignore her actual treatment and find some way to demonize someone they hardly know. 


Aurora took a risk by publicly sharing her story and opening up her life to scrutiny. What she went through and what countless other immigrants go through on a daily basis is appalling and we should be focused on introspectively looking at the attitudes and conduct of ourselves towards other human beings instead of granularly looking for small technicalities to argue over. 

Garikai Dzoma
Garikai Dzoma

@John Potter What I have never understood about Americans is that most of them came as immigrants, took over a country, and now they deny entry to other immigrants because they came a couple of decades/centuries later. I find it hard that this has nothing to do with race. The group of 5 has an easier immigration path when compared to the rest of the world when it comes to getting into the U.S.

Ehb Teng
Ehb Teng

@John Potter You make a very large assumption of what happened without knowing the entire 7 year history of her time spent in the US. I can tell you from personal knowledge you are 100% wrong about your assumption. 

Gilby Rudolph
Gilby Rudolph

@Kate Gallagher - Agree.  Aurora made huge mistakes in her travels, and I'm guessing there is more to the story than she is telling, based on my 30 years of international travel and life experiences.  She left the country with paperwork in question - another mistake.  Also - four visas?  What was she thinking???  This smacks of a scam of some sort.  The CBP officers did a great job!!

Finally, I detect a MASSIVE chip on her shoulder.  With an attitude like that, you can cool your jets for a year and try to accumulate a little humility.

Quyen Nguyen
Quyen Nguyen

I pity you. I read two of your comments. You sound almost like a slave calling another slave stupid for trying to fight his master. You don't feel bad for the slave. You have been slave to the system for so long, for those who wants to change it, you see only stupidity in them.They should know better not to mess with the system, not to screw up.


Kate, think bigger. Should a person with such skills be treated that way? Should a system so complex that an ordinary person can't make sense of it? Should the consequences of simple mistakes be that severe?


Anyway, on a practical note, it would have been nice that if someone is approved for an H1B work visa, one should also be stamped. The current system has it that even if you have been approved for H1B to remain in the US by immigration USCIS, you are NOT guarantee to have a stamped visa by the State Department. The State department can deny your entry into the US (without reasons) even if your status has been clear by homeland security.

Kate Gallagher
Kate Gallagher

You must not travel a lot the immigration officers can act like power hungry dicks a lot as well they usually don't have the clearance or the patience to back ground check her they aren't the CIA. As well she left the country without her Visa being finalized that's on her. It's like one of my BF's friends who is getting deported right now because he didn't renew his Visa when the time came. That's just common sense. She should have checked if she was okay to fly with the paper work she had before she left. I would have never entered Japan without my Visa paperwork finalized when I traveled overseas so not sure why people think it should be any different. 

Daniel Beck
Daniel Beck

@patrick mcmaster  Immigration reform?  How about we enforce ALL the immigration laws we have and maybe even make some that other countries use.  Mexico, U.K, Switzerland, hell even Russia, have stricter immigration laws than the USA. Socialists want to crush this country with their people and we have college graduates that have to compete in the employment market with H1B visas held by people with less education but willing to take less pay.   Our college graduates have debt for their education they cannot pay until they are gainfully employed but we are to feel sympathy for an H1B visa that is denied entry?  Why?

Daniel Beck
Daniel Beck

When Mexico, Canada and ALL other countries across the globe adopt your dissolution of borders will I even consider it as in intelligent idea.  Socialists and foreigners are always critical of our immigration policies yet we have one of the easiest immigration systems in the world.

It is always the foreigners that have problems with immigration that are the most critical.

Kate Gallagher
Kate Gallagher

Dude I'm sitting next to a Mexican right now even he knows getting rid of the border would be a bad idea right now. 

Garikai Dzoma
Garikai Dzoma

Not everyone wants to go to America mate, a number of scared Mexicans and the drug cartels perhaps but the rest of us couldn't careless.

Kate Gallagher
Kate Gallagher

That's a fact and customs is the worst anyway I doubt they even have the clearance to check her...oh and the ones at LAX are such asses I hate flying international through there. 

Quyen Nguyen
Quyen Nguyen

I don't think the point was that "obey the rules she'll be fine". The point was that the rules don't currently make sense (dig through it, you'll see). and the consequences of mistakes are too severe. It almost feel like a maze with deathly traps, and then you go "well, just don't step on the wrong spot, you'll be fine. Duh!"

Ehb Teng
Ehb Teng

If we all lived by the rules, progress would never happen. 


The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man. - George Bernard Shaw

Ehb Teng
Ehb Teng

I agree that the system is built to protect the US. However, it's far from perfect. The situation was that the bureaucratic incompetence dragged her visa situation out which put a stranglehold on her conducting business. In the end, she made a very hard choice to either stay hogtied or go to Mexico to help budding entrepreneurs who had sought her for help. Her mission was more important to her. Yes, she technically shouldn't have left before resolving her visa issue, but she also shouldn't have been treated like the lowest criminal with hate and prejudice. Her entire ordeal gave her a first hand look into the dark underbelly of immigration and CBP treatment. 

Ehb Teng
Ehb Teng

You seem to make some broad assumptions about people you don't personally know. I am a personal friend of Aurora and I know first hand the positive change she is helping create by helping budding entrepreneurs focus on community improving endeavors instead of facetious apps like Snapchat or Secret

Daniel Beck
Daniel Beck

@Garikai Dzoma @John Potter 

And for your information, I am an American that has one ancestor that came from Britain on the Mayflower, and others that immigrated in the 1850s.  Both of my grandmothers were from the U.K. and came here by 1865 when the only immigration law was being free from disease.  None were racist of any form and the settlement of the western states was done by families such as my own. Your words are meaningless to me because I have never known a "racist" that was from the western states and the only racists I have ever encountered were from east of the great divide and also Democrat Union members.

Daniel Beck
Daniel Beck

@Garikai Dzoma @John Potter  As always the criticism of our immigration policies come from outside the country.  NO OTHER COUNTRY HAS A MORE ACCESSIBLE IMMIGRATION POLICY THAN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.  The settlement of this country was done by the British, Spanish and French.  The AMERICANS took over from them and it was only in the late 19th and early 20th century that the immigration laws went on the books.  It was considered reasonable that an immigrant would be able to communicate in the language, American English, and that it would be necessary to learn about civics and government as well as U.S. history and be able to, within 7 years, be able to pass a test that most grammar school children in this country could pass. Unreasonable?  That an immigrant could not have a criminal record in his home country nor have a communicable disease. Unreasonable?  That he would hold a productive place in his community.  Unreasonable?  No but people in foreign nations are willing to say we are all immigrants?  Not much validity in that when considering that the damage to the native culture was done by the British, French and Spanish but we AMERICANS took the government over because those countries were plundering this land for their gain.  Jealousy is all I can see in your remarks.

Gilby Rudolph
Gilby Rudolph

@Garikai Dzoma @John Potter - Well, you're ignorant about Americans and are making a huge mistake assuming we are all racists.  The racist is the one who brings it up first.  Most Americans DIDN'T come as immigrants.  We are now trying to defend our country against the hordes of illegal immigrants who offer nothing.  Legal immigrants are always welcome. That's why we have immigration laws.

Daniel Beck
Daniel Beck

@Ehb Teng @John Potter Wrong or not, her visa expired and paperwork mishap or no she was using multiple visa's.  How many other countries allow this?  Mexico for instance?  Illegals flood over our borders yet we are supposed to believe and understand when a Progressive is held and deported?  Balderdash.  Too many other people with too many even better stories are treated even more harshly, a co-workers wife is repeatedly harassed by ICE because she is eastern-European and has almost been deported many times and they have been married for over 20 years, yet she has been denied citizenship most recently this year because of what?  The system may have some bad parts but it is in place to attempt to protect our culture.  This administration is more than willing to allow people with diseases and less than adequate education to remain in the country illegally and now when one of the "creative" people is kicked out we are to be sympathetic?  I think not, that may be heartless but it is the result of the lack of enforcement of Immigration LAW.

Daniel Beck
Daniel Beck

@Quyen Nguyen   And that is tougher than other countries how?  If you don't have a current visa with the required certifications you shouldn't leave the country or even make arrangements for meetings in foreign countries.  I don't EVER leave the country without having the proper documents from the U.S. and all the countries I will be visiting  BEFORE I even make my plans, let alone buy a ticket on a plane.  I don't feel sorry for anyone that runs afoul of the law because of their own mistakes or lack of preparation.  I have been hassled in Mexico and even Canada for less reason than this lady seems to have had yet I have always had the proper documentation and have never been deported or not allowed entry.  Sorry no sympathy here.

Daniel Beck
Daniel Beck

@Garikai Dzoma  Then why are you posting?  If you couldn't care less then you would be reading something else.

Daniel Beck
Daniel Beck

@Quyen Nguyen  So if I were to make the same mistakes and this lady has made in a foreign nation, say China or Venezuela, do you think I would be simply deported?  Possibly held as a CIA operative because of the four visa's?  Or if I didn't obey the immigration laws in say Mexico or Germany would I be allowed to stay?  Criticism of the US is a popular thing among people that neither understand nor desire to follow our customs or laws.  I would never even think of not obeying the laws of a foreign country, whether it was Canada, Mexico, Japan or China.

Ehb Teng
Ehb Teng

@Daniel Beck @Ehb Teng @John Potter Is the degree of how 'better' a person's story is commensurate to how a person should be treated? Was Aurora more deserving of her prejudiced and hateful treatment than someone else who's story you may deem more sympathetic?


Treating people with compassion and respect is not something that moves up and down on a sliding scale. 


Aurora was not only one of our 'creative' people, as you put it. She is someone who puts herself on the line under public scrutiny to try and make the world a better place through her actions and her work. Regardless, of that, you're right, she doesn't deserve any special treatment and she never assumed she should, but what she does deserve and what all people deserve is the right to common respect and decency.


I've been reading through many of the comments since the article was published and it is striking to me how people have latched onto the technical aspects of the story (her visa issue) instead of the the focus of how she was treated...I should correct, how most immigrants are treated. This article wasn't about the bureaucracy that prevented her from being free to conduct business and move around the US. It was about the prejudice and hate we harbor for one another. Especially, our general dismissive attitudes towards immigrants.


The reason many technical details were left out is because we had a specific word count we couldn't surpass for the article to be published so we left out things that we felt were either irrelevant or simply no one else's business. The truth is that she knew she was taking a risk leaving the US without having settled her visa affairs, but it was important for her to follow through on her mission of helping global entrepreneurs through the work of her organization. It was a sacrifice she made in order to help others grow and prosper. We can sit here and argue until we turn blue the technicalities of how she should have gone about conducting her business, but at the end of the day she showed more courage in putting her mission and needs of others first before her own. How many of us do this on a daily basis?


For her efforts, she was demonized, treated with utter disrespect and like a base criminal. Yet, she still struggles on even now trying to spread entrepreneurial education around the globe. This is why I'm proud to call her friend.