Bethesda, MD – As the debate over the enforcement of immigration policy continues, sparking wars of words regarding the funding of walls and the prioritization of benefits, the fate of 11.7 million undocumented residents are pondered by some – while others remain fixated on their intentions. And while one might think that natural-born citizens remain the most intense critics of illegal immigrants, you might be mistaken. Some of the most intense criticism comes from our community of naturalized immigrants, those who arrived in the U.S. under legal pretense and took (or are in the process of taking) the steps to gain citizenship. And it’s a recent application for a Maryland business license (for a Buy Here Pay Here Dealership) which helped those of us at The Lemon to truly appreciate the difference.
Meet Fahad Ibrahim, a Pakistani-born entrepreneur who claims to be “grateful to call Bethesda his home since 1976, and even more grateful to be an American Citizen since 1982”. With nearly four-decades of American citizenship under his belt, Mr. Ibrahim seems to find great joy in describing his very personal American experience. In fact, we had the unique pleasure of being regaled by his all-too capable storytelling abilities for the better part of an afternoon earlier this month. But amidst the anecdotes of multiple part-time jobs, night classes, everyday prejudice and the majesty of being sworn in as an American citizen, there also some unique insights on why illegal immigration is a slap in the face for so many. And, according to Fahad Ibrahim, those insights are best summarized by his desire to build an automotive empire.
“I came to America forty-two years ago,” he explains. “Little money. Little direction. I sought out employment and, thanks to my cousin who had already arrived, was fortunate enough to receive an opportunity stocking shelves. His only advice? ‘Purchase only what you can afford to pay in cash. And if you must be indebted, be it to an individual and not to an institute of financial lending’. His reason for giving that advice was to first emphasize that one should only spend what they can afford, owning only the equivalent of what they have already earned. Secondly, was to emphasize that a personal loan between two individuals would always be based in honor, while a financial institution would always position it as the one to receive the greater benefit.”
And now, more than four decades later, Fahad Ibrahim’s willingness to work multiple jobs without overextending himself financially has allowed him to realize his dream of opening a Buy Here Pay Here dealership. His goal: to help those buy what they can afford, or offer them person-to-person financing if needed.
Now meet Jeff Fleming, the twenty-year old son of Canadian industrialist Jeffrey Cartwright-Fleming III. Eager to escape being drafted into the Canadian military to fight the country’s secret war against Iceland, Fleming snuck across the Canadian border using a forged U.S. passport claiming that he was from Brattleboro, VT. Having already transferred the majority of his substantial trust fund to American banks, the well-funded Fleming intends to secure the financing to open a family of BMW dealerships in upstate New York.
The surprisingly impolite Canadian (with an equally surprising lack of appreciation for the music of Bryan Adams) is quick to mock the United States government for their lack of protected borders, and for President Trump “mistaking Mexico as the real threat, while Canada gains full control of the nation’s operations with Ryan Reynolds named People’s Sexiest Man Alive”. While we can neither confirm nor deny the validity of Fleming’s statements, it was clear that he was under the influence of the same weapons-grade hashish that he had snuck across the border in bricks.
But it’s hard to argue the fact that, five years from now, the well-financed Fleming might be able to present himself as the superior example of immigrant success, while Ibrahim might seem less reputable by comparison.
Which brings us to the morale of the story:
Ryan Reynolds is a sleeper agent for the Canadian military. He will sleep with you in order to gain access to American secrets. Also, this is wicked strong hash.