Much of the discussion about the role the recession has played on immigrants is centered on illegal immigrants and what roles they play in the job market.

For those immigrants who are documented workers, not enough has been said about how they are coping with job losses and how the laws of the land only worsen their plight.

Much of the discussion about the role the recession has played on immigrants is centered on illegal immigrants and what roles they play in the job market.

For those immigrants who are documented workers, not enough has been said about how they are coping with job losses and how the laws of the land only worsen their plight.

As a Nigerian immigrant and elderly worker, this reader writes from the perspective of two factions of the population largely ignored.

This is his story:

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“Not many people are aware of how certain government regulations are harsher on some than others.

Consider the situation I presently find myself in as a result of the recession and some aspects of the immigration laws that preclude those with immigrant visas from filing for unemployment benefits. Though the law empowers immigrants to work and encounter all of the mandatory deductions such as federal tax withholdings, Social Security, and Medicare taken out of their pay checks, if God forbid, they find themselves out of work for no fault of their own they cannot file for unemployment benefits.

I wish the authorities who administer these laws can take a second look at these policies particularly in times of recession and give it a human face.

Can anyone appreciate the hardship I am going through as a result of this recession? Ordinarily, I do not complain about the hardship that recession brings to the entire populace, but its effects on those of us on immigrant visas from filing for unemployment benefits is very unfair.

I am 67 years of age and the father of six kids -- many of them in my home country. I came over here in January 2008, and after serious efforts, I was able to secure a job as a crew in one of McDonalds franchise in Abilene. I worked happily in this establishment for about 5 1/2 months. Because my son who brought me to America secured a job in Dallas, the family had to relocate to Arlington in September 2008.

Since October 2008, I have been making serious efforts to secure any type of job in Arlington – all to no avail because of the recession. Had the immigration guidelines not prevented me from filing for unemployment benefits, I would not have been worse off.

I understand that until I qualify to become American citizen (after 5 years), it is only then I can legitimately file for unemployment benefits if and when I am out of work through no fault of my own. Again to qualify for social security benefits, I have to have 40 credits. So far, I have only accumulated just 18 credits. Mind you one cannot qualify for the maximum 4 credits a year unless one has worked and paid social security taxes on a gross income of at least $4,250 per annum.

From the tight corner I find myself, one can see why the recession is harder on some group of American workers. I would be glad to receive suggestions from readers on how I can go about trying to survive in this type of economy.

As a result of not wanting to be idle, I enrolled at one of the prestigious medical centers in Arlington as a Senior Volunteer.

I hate being idle. I am ready to take any job even when the pay is below the minimum pay.”

Michael

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Share your advice in the comments section and continue to email me at therecessiondiaries@gmail.com.

Michael Arceneaux hails from Houston, lives in Harlem and praises Beyoncé’s name wherever he goes. Follow him on Twitter.

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