"Let Me Serve My Country"

January 17, 2002 12:00 am

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Statement of Jeimy Gebin, Airport Screener


LOS ANGELES–My name is Jeimy Gebin. I am 21 years old and I live in Hawthorne, California with my husband and two-year old son, both of whom are U.S. citizens. I have been employed as a screener for Globe Security at Los Angeles International Airport since September 2001. I am stationed in Terminal 4 at LAX, where I provide security for passengers of American Airlines.

I was born in El Salvador where I lived until I was five years old and my family moved to the United States to escape the civil war. I recently became eligible to apply for citizenship, and I am very excited to say that I have sent in my citizenship papers and my application is pending.

I grew up mostly in South Central L.A. After I graduated from Washington Prep High School, I enlisted in the Army and served three years – first in Ft. Jackson, South Carolina, then at Ft. Lee, Virginia, and finally at Ft. Stewart in Georgia, my permanent station. Last year I was honorably discharged as an E4 Specialist.

I joined the Army because I love this country and wanted to give something back for the opportunity the United States has provided to me. You can’t go fight for this country if you don’t love it. I may not be sworn in yet, but in my heart I am an American and no one can tell me anything different. I’m planning on enlisting in the Air Force National Guard so I can continue serving my country and also make money for school.

My job as a screener is my first since leaving the Army. Even though I haven’t been a screener for very long, I have already been promoted to supervisor, because I work hard, do a good job, and take pride in my work.

I was very upset when I heard that non-U.S. citizens would be fired from the job. It doesn’t make sense that I can serve my country in the Army but not work in an airport as a screener. If I get fired, I could enroll in the National Guard and be back in the airport two weeks later, standing behind the screeners holding a rifle. Doesn’t it make more sense for me to use the skills I’ve developed as a screener?

There are many other screeners like me who do a good job and are dedicated to helping protect air travelers. I believe the citizenship requirement in this law will be bad for passengers and safety, and will hurt a lot of good, hard-working people. I hope this law gets overturned so that people like me who work hard and love their country can continue keeping our airports safe.

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