I became undocumented at 8 years-old without even knowing it or without wanting to. At the time I was thinking about toys. Not about laws.
Here are 5 of the most wrongful assumptions I keep seeing. I hope you can open up your mind along with your hear and see things in a different perspective.
1. We're not all Mexican
Stop telling us to go back to Mexico. Mexicans are actually no longer in the top when it comes to undocumented migration. Everything that has to do with immigration somehow is connected to Mexico but hello, there are undocumented immigrants from all over the world.
2. MS 13 is a threat to both U.S. citizens AND undocumented immigrants
Trump is not 100% correct about the damage the MS 1 3 is causing. It’s not only American citizens who suffer because of them. Undocumented immigrants are a huge target to this gang especially because of our immigration status. This malicious gang knows undocumented immigrants are afraid of asking for help to authorities. That is how they extort them and recruit more members-- by causing fear.
3. We contribute to the country just like you!
Undocumented immigrants aren't ALL criminals. We are hard workers and we have to stay out of trouble so we don't call attention to ourselves. Most significantly, a lot of us contribute to the country like any other citizen and pay taxes. According to Vox, filing taxes create proof to show when they entered the country and for how long they have been contributing. Many do it in hopes of one day becoming legal. I know you might be thinking, but how if they don’t have a social security number? In 1996 a system was created by the IRS, for people who aren’t allowed to work in the United States. The Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is the way many undocumented immigrants file their taxes. However, they are still not eligible for Social Security or Medicare benefits.
4. The immigration system makes it impossible to "do it the right way"
Understand the legal system. No, it’s not easy to “just get in line.” It’s not easy to “do it the right way.” It’s not easy to “just get a green card.” If it was that easy, why would we be in this situation? If you’re a U.S. citizen the immigration process is unfamiliar to you because you’re not required to go through it. Stop with your assumptions and opinions. Understand the system because it’s not easy as you make it seem to be. It takes years, lots and lots of years, as well as a great amount of money.
5. We are human and we make mistakes
We are humans beings and we are not perfect. The undocumented man who killed the NFL player for the Colts, Edwin Jackson, does not represent all undocumented immigrants. The same way I don’t believe Dylann Roof, who shot and killed nine people in a church in Charleston, South Carolina, Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook shooter or Nikolas Cruz, the Florida shooter represent all Americans. I do agree he was wrong and he is a criminal but criminals exist in every country, regardless of race. Stop using one person’s mistake to justify a racist political agenda.
We may be undocumented but it's just a status. It doesn't define who we are and most importantly, it doesn't make us less human beings than a U.S. citizen. Stop with your assumptions and instead, get to know us a little!