No human is illegal

September 2, 2021 3:03 PM

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Photo of barbed wire. Photo courtesy of NEOSiAM on Pexels.

Photo of barbed wire. Photo courtesy of NEOSiAM on Pexels.

Imagine traveling for miles under the blistering sun. Food is scarce, and water scarcer. In the distance you see a huge fence stretching for miles. Hope kindles in your heart, and you hold your daughter tighter. For days you walk. Your blood soaks the soles of your shoes. Finally, after your long trek toward a better life, you’re stopped. Men in uniforms point guns at you and speak with sharp words like sticks snapping. You don’t know the language. They separate you from your daughter. You fight them. There’s no use. You yell at your daughter to be strong, but can you be strong? You pray for you and your daughter to not be sent back. 

The Oxford Dictionary claims that immigration is the action of coming to live permanently in a foreign country. What this definition fails to talk about is the why. Why do immigrants leave their countries? They’re usually fleeing violence, seeking asylum, and wanting to live The American Dream. Every immigrant you talk to has a reason for leaving their country. In America, undocumented immigrants — especially those from Mexico — are met with force. The kids are separated from their parents and treated like criminals for just wanting to have a better life. Considering that this country was built by immigrants, how can Americans today reject immigrants? The way that Americans disregard undocumented immigrants and separate children from their parents is unethical. 

America has the right to deny entry to any person coming to America, so why is it that undocumented immigrants can serve in the U.S. Military, but can still be deported or denied citizenship? According to The Conversation, Veterans are deported after years of service. This should be a crime. These men and women literally put their lives on the line, and in return, America kicked them out of the very country they were serving. Ivan Ocon was born in Mexico and came to America to live with his mother permanently. He joined the U.S Military thinking his service would finally make him a citizen. He was wrong. After deploying to Iraq as a non-citizen, Ocon was immediately jailed for nine years when he came back from the War. Can you imagine that? Being jailed for serving your country? As of 2018, “The United States had 94,000 noncitizen military veterans. Ocon is one of at least 92 to be deported between 2013 and 2018…” and “The majority — 78%, according to federal data — were removed because of criminal convictions.” You can’t blame a soldier for having mental health problems after coming back home from any war. These men and women put their lives and minds on the line and are rewarded with deportation.

Apparently, undocumented immigrants make up about 13% of the U.S. population, but can not vote in elections. Essentially, they pay taxes but are not heard or represented in government. According to the article, There is No Good Reason You Should Have To Be a Citizen To Vote, “Washingtonians love to complain about taxation without representation. But for me and my fellow noncitizens, it is a fact of political life that we submit to unquestioningly year after year, primary after primary, presidential election after presidential election.” This basically means that non-citizens have to give up money to taxes, just to be left out of voting and elections. “It wasn’t until 1996 that Congress doubled down with the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, which made voting in federal elections...a criminal, and deportable, offense.” These basic rights were limited because they didn’t suit the people in power. By limiting the minority, they could capitalize on the majority.

The most common thing the opposition says is immigrants (south of the border) bring drugs and violence. This hate really caught wind in 2016, when Donald Trump said he’d build a wall. In all honesty with Trump in the running, it allowed racist people to really come out and voice their opinions. However, this is not true. Many immigrants literally put their life at risk when traveling to the U.S. Many don’t survive the journey due to harsh traveling conditions, the heat, lack of food, etc. On top of the trip already being physically dangerous, why would immigrants also endanger their chances of being allowed in the country by bringing illegal substances? Even after being detained, they are submitted to cruel conditions provided by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency. Read this In The Freezer article about the conditions women and children go through while we enjoy the comforts of our own rooms.

No human is illegal on stolen land. How can you hate immigrants when this country was colonized by immigrants? I know that most people don’t know what is going on at the border, but hopefully, more people will start to care and start learning and understanding the reasons why immigrants travel. I hope that one day America as a country cares more and tries to help immigrants. The hate that’s directed toward undocumented immigrants continues to grow larger. It doesn’t matter if you're a citizen of the country or not. The common insult is “go back to your country.” Ignorance is deplorable, and we all need to better educate ourselves.

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