Last Time I Checked Asylum Is Not Illegal, Mr. President

Last Time I Checked Asylum Is Not Illegal, Mr. President

Turning away these people is fundamentally unAmerican, unjust, and utterly wrong.

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Trump states that we will not allow anyone into our country that is not here legally. That if they want to come and be a part of our "great" nation they need to do it the right way. He claims these people are an invasion. The caravan of Central American migrants who are coming to seek asylum is, in fact, doing it the right way according to our laws regarding asylum seeking. So why are they being tear gassed?

US officers fire teargas at migrant caravan www.youtube.com


What are the current laws? According to the AIC (American Immigration Council) the definition of a refugee is as follows, "a person who is unable or unwilling to return to his or her home country, and cannot obtain protection in that country, due to past persecution or a well-founded fear of being persecuted in the future on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion." Congress decided to incorporate this definition in the Refugee Act of 1980 and is now a part of US immigration law. According to the 1967 Protocol, and U.S. immigration law, the United States has legal obligations to provide protection to those who qualify as refugees.

Our laws indicate there are two paths to obtain refugee status. Either abroad as a resettled refugee or in the United States as what the caravan is attempting to do, as asylum seekers. As the AIC puts it this can be done by "the affirmative process and the defensive process. Asylum seekers who arrive at a U.S. port of entry or enter the United States without inspection generally must apply through the asylum process. Both processes require the asylum seeker to be physically present in the United States."

The difference between the two processes is the current status of removal proceedings. If you are not yet in removal proceeding you can apply via affirmative but "If the USCIS asylum officer does not grant the asylum application and the applicant does not have a lawful immigration status, he or she is referred to the immigration court for removal proceedings," where the asylum seeker can request for asylum through the defensive process. So basically once you are being threatened for removal you can go through the defensive process and if you apply through the affirmative process you are likely to also have to apply through the defensive process.

After filing for the process (which can and likely will take years) an asylum seeker must prove that he or she meets the definition of a refugee with or without counsel. Often providing substantial evidence throughout the processes demonstrating either past persecution or that they have a "well-founded fear" of future persecution in their home country, the individual's own testimony is critical to this determination. Certain factors can legally bar individuals from asylum. With limited exceptions, individuals who fail to apply for asylum within the one-year time limit of entering the United States and those who are found to pose a danger to the United States will be barred from receiving asylum.

The caravan person so far has yet to meet either reason for banning. So, therefore, these people who are in fact seeking asylum are attempting to follow our laws and areas such being violently and wrongfully treated by our own government for trying to follow a tricky confusing set of laws.

"Poor, miserable people, families, mothers, children, fleeing from terror and repression, for which we are responsible, and in reaction, they're sending thousands of troops to the border. The troops being sent to the border outnumber the children who are fleeing," says Noam Chomsky, a linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, historian, political scientist, and social critic. The reason is that they are fleeing from persecution, poverty, and violence in their home countries of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.

The as of 2015 in Honduras was 60 per 100,000 which decreased only by a little and then El Salvador nearby increased to 100 per 100,000 people. Making El Salvador the most deadly country outside of a war zone this is due to gang-related violence which in percentage the homicide rate was 103 per hundred thousand only falling by thirty percent since 2015.

Their countries, which form a region known as the Northern Triangle, or "Troika of tyranny" were rocked by civil wars in the 1980s, leaving legacies of violence, poverty, fragile institutions, military coups, etc. In a 2015 investigation founded by La Presena, a local newspaper reported that Salvadorans and Hondurans pay an estimated $390 million, $200 million, and $61 million in extortion fees to organized crime groups. Which many of the asylum seekers have claimed as a dominant reason for leaving along with the fear of their children grow up with the pressure to join or be killed.

As many fear, and rightfully so as the report claims many attacks are on people who do not pay contribute to the violence. Meaning that the choice is to continue feed into the violence and anarchy, stay and likely be murdered, see your children fall into these organizations, or take a chance and flee. Once you flee, you cannot go back.

In short, there is a legal obligation to hear asylum claims from migrants who have arrived in the United States if they say they fear violence in their home countries. If an asylum seeker enters the US illegally, they are still entitled to a hearing of their claims. These people have rights even though they are not from our country. They are human. Scared and fearful for their lives and the lives of their families they have come to us, seeking hope and safety, greeting by their hope tear gassing them and saying hello with military force. This is wrong. It is not American justice and rightfulness. Let's fix it now.

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I'm The Girl Who'd Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

You raise your protest picket signs and I’ll raise my white picket fence.
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Social Media feeds are constantly filled with quotes on women's rights, protests with mobs of women, and an array of cleverly worded picket signs.

Good for them, standing up for their beliefs and opinions. Will I be joining my tight-knit family of the same gender?

Nope, no thank you.

Don't get me wrong, I am not going to be oblivious to my history and the advancements that women have fought to achieve. I am aware that the strides made by many women before me have provided us with voting rights, a voice, equality, and equal pay in the workforce.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Who Would Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

For that, I am deeply thankful. But at this day in age, I know more female managers in the workforce than male. I know more women in business than men. I know more female students in STEM programs than male students. So what’s with all the hype? We are girl bosses, we can run the world, we don’t need to fight the system anymore.

Please stop.

Because it is insulting to the rest of us girls who are okay with being homemakers, wives, or stay-at-home moms. It's dividing our sisterhood, and it needs to stop.

All these protests and strong statements make us feel like now we HAVE to obtain a power position in our career. It's our rightful duty to our sisters. And if we do not, we are a disappointment to the gender and it makes us look weak.

Weak to the point where I feel ashamed to say to a friend “I want to be a stay at home mom someday.” Then have them look at me like I must have been brain-washed by a man because that can be the only explanation. I'm tired of feeling belittled for being a traditionalist.

Why?

Because why should I feel bad for wanting to create a comfortable home for my future family, cooking for my husband, being a soccer mom, keeping my house tidy? Because honestly, I cannot wait.

I will have no problem taking my future husband’s last name, and following his lead.

The Bible appoints men to be the head of a family, and for wives to submit to their husbands. (This can be interpreted in so many ways, so don't get your panties in a bunch at the word “submit”). God specifically made women to be gentle and caring, and we should not be afraid to embrace that. God created men to be leaders with the strength to carry the weight of a family.

However, in no way does this mean that the roles cannot be flipped. If you want to take on the responsibility, by all means, you go girl. But for me personally? I'm sensitive, I cry during horror movies, I'm afraid of basements and dark rooms. I, in no way, am strong enough to take on the tasks that men have been appointed to. And I'm okay with that.

So please, let me look forward to baking cookies for bake sales and driving a mom car.

And I'll support you in your endeavors and climb to the top of the corporate ladder. It doesn't matter what side you are on as long as we support each other, because we all need some girl power.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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Cross-Country Running Turned Me Into Superwoman

Running pulled me out of my everyday funk.

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Before I found the key to my personal success, waking up each morning was a drag. I did not know how to change my negativity. Early every morning my alarm clock would scream at its highest pitch and loudest volume to scold me for existing.

Breakfast (the most important meal of the day) was bland, lifeless, or even just skipped completely. There seemed no point in fueling a broken, run-down engine.

Packing up my heavy, oversized backpack was an everyday annoyance. I would swing my worthless school textbooks over my shoulder, beginning another exhausting day.

I destroyed this negative mindset when I found cross-country running. Introduced to me by a close friend, I had no idea that the sport would soon ameliorate my life.

Today, I wake up before my alarm clock even needs to tell me that it is time to start a new and exciting day of learning and improvement.

Breakfast is of utmost importance. A vigorous, motivated running machine needs nutrients for fuel. I look at myself in the mirror as I tie my hair back; I feel beautiful and capable. Most importantly, I know I can take on anything.

With my running shoes tied tight and my muscles thoroughly stretched and warmed up, I burst out of the door. I hold my head up high and roll my shoulders back, assuming the posture of a powerful superhero. With each stride I beat down upon the ground, leaving clouds of dust behind. My heartbeat is jolted as my legs push forward with power; straining my body. Cramps crawl up my sides, begging me to slow down or stop. They tighten their grip when I refuse to abandon my mission. I feel my overexerted heartbeat burst through my clenching ribcage while my laboring lungs wheeze.

When I put all my energy into keeping the steady rhythm of my feet launching off from the ground, when my breath flows deeply and steadily, then and only then am I able to become greater than any issue or shortcoming. I no longer need to rely on anyone; I just need my running shoes, my body, and my motivation.

This endorphin and adrenaline releasing exercise put me in a positive mindset, motivating me to make other self-improvements. I know I can focus all my energy into running dexterously; holding my pace for over an hour with great confidence. Therefore, I know I must have the ability to sit down for an hour and focus on understanding my calculus homework, on discovering the meaning of life, on writing a book powerful enough to change the world, on finding the answer to world peace or writing my first article for Odyssey.

I hold the same mantra: just keep going, focus your energy, you can and will achieve.

Running has taught me how to focus the entirety of my energy into one task - to not worry how long it takes to accomplish, but rather how well the task is being done. Being proficient in this skill helps me absorb more knowledge from everyday classes.

This life-enhancing sport has truly changed my overall mood and feeling towards the world around me. I look forward to finding myself completely immersed in challenging college courses, discovering fields that captivate me, and continuing to write for Odyssey. Running has taught me that this goal will be achievable.

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