2016 Presidential Candidates: Ignoring Immigrants Is Bad For Politics
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Politics and Activism

2016 Presidential Candidates: Ignoring Immigrants Is Bad For Politics

Creating a campaign that disregards those who continue to make up mass populations in America is the wrong way to get elected.

2016 Presidential Candidates: Ignoring Immigrants Is Bad For Politics
Huffington Post

It’s hard enough to get to America and it’s even harder fitting in once you’re here. It’s easy to mistake immigrants as weak, uneducated, or unimportant. But the percentage of immigrants, especially those from Asia and South America, in the United States continues to grow steadily. And, contrary to popular belief, immigrants have a huge stake in how politics in America run.

My family inspired me to study politics. I remember my mother’s excitement to be naturalized--when I was still too young to understand the value of my own American citizenship status. I recall not even knowing who George Bush and John Kerry were in the 2004 election, but watching the map change colors and hearing that there was a new president. I remember the excitement and my father’s intense concentration in the Romney-Obama debates. I remember the tears that welled up in my eyes when President Obama was inaugurated. Why wouldn’t anyone want a chance to be a part of this?

Much older now, and approaching the first presidential election I will be able to partake in, I am appalled to see the derogatory way candidates (you know exactly who I’m talking about) portray immigrants.

Even more so, I'm surprised when individuals ignore the importance of the immigrant experience. The first child of two immigrant parents, I was taught the importance of having an opinion, and voicing it. Immigrants came to America because of dissatisfaction: whether that be persecution, corruption, or poverty. Many came alone or with little family, knowing no one here, clutching to memories of their homelands tightly, hoping to secure a brighter future for their children. And in a country where everyone is a stranger, the best way to do this, is to put the right people in office.

Data shows that immigrants comprise of

13% of the nation's population. And here's the thing: their circle of influence extends to their children, and even grandchildren. It extends to their friends, to their teachers, to their mentors and mentees, and their spouses. Immigrants, and the children of those immigrants, are finding their ways to the highest positions, private and public sector. They intern for the government, rise the ranks as CEOs, serve in the military, and hold high positions through appointment and election. Despite national origin, immigrants have proven to be hard-working and resilient. The children of the immigrants who struggled to survive, use the qualities that have been ingrained in them, to forge a new path of hope. My parents cast their votes, and I will cast mine, because those who know what it was like to not have a voice, will do anything to make theirs heard.
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