To My Fellow Immigrants, I'm With You

To My Fellow Immigrants, I'm With You

Everyone deserves a chance.

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Throughout a recent course that I took in college, I have come to learn a lot about Latin America and all the struggles its people have gone through to be where they are now. The most important issue to me that we went over was Immigration between Central America and the United States. This is near and dear to me because I am a first generation Mexican American and fortunately the first in my family to attend college. I am very grateful for my parents and all the hardships that they have gone through to get me and our family to the point where we are now.

The main point throughout this unit in class that bothered me was how ignorant people can be towards the difficulties that others may be passing through. Many people often don't think about is what the people who are immigrating have to go through. They don't just decide to randomly get up and leave one day because they feel like it. So many things are factored into their decision, such as poverty, violence, safety, and family is why most people migrate to the United States or from one place to another. Most people are against illegal immigration because(at least this is what I believe) they don't understand the long and difficult process of migrating legally or the extreme necessity of having to escape your home country for another country in which so many opportunities are available. People don't leave their home countries because they want to, they do it because they need to.

The way that undocumented immigrants are treated is dehumanizing. They are shoved in warehouses with no clothing, little food, and into small spaces with large amounts of people. They are treated like animals, no one should be treated like that, especially after the arduous journey that they had to take. Everyone deserves the right to be able to look for a better life and to not be persecuted for it.

The border between Mexico and the United States is such a highly loaded term in illegal immigration. But I think that it is because the United States makes it out to be like that. I may be a citizen of the U.S., but I am also Mexican, and even myself when I go to Mexico am afraid of passing through the border. Legally nothing should be able to happen to me because I travel with a tourist visa but just knowing the types of things that can happen or that do happen to people at the border is terrifying.

It was very difficult to read and hear about the things that people like me went through and are still going through because our government is so unwelcoming. Minorities basically built the foundation of this country through hard manual labor and they are treated like trash. Even now in the present day, I don't understand how immigrants don't stand up for what they deserve, for the work they have done. We have strength in numbers and in dedication, and it makes me angry to think that I am here with an enormous amount of opportunities and aid, but America does nothing to help the other people, the undocumented immigrants, to share in this wealth that the country has. What is wealth if it can't be shared with those around you?

Throughout this course, I have learned a lot about Latin America and its numerous struggles it has gone through to become the entity it is now. Immigration is just a part of life and leads to globalization which honestly makes the world go around. Without these components, the world would be so bland, there would be so much uniformity and fewer advancements in our cultures, technology, economy, etc. I will always be a strong supporter of immigration because everyone deserves the right to be comfortable in their own home and be successful, or if not go looking for it.

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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The Disrespectful Nature Of My Generation Needs To Stop

Why choosing phone games over a Holocaust survivor was my breaking point.

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While many students that attended Holocaust survivor Hershel Greenblat's talk were rightfully attentive, I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, a few outlier students tapping away on their phones. They were minute movements, but inappropriate nonetheless.

Immediately I became infuriated. How, I thought, fuming, did my generation become so blithely unaware to the point where we could not proffer basic respect to a survivor of one of the most horrific events in human history?

Perhaps the students were just texting their parents, telling them that the event would run a bit long. 10 minutes later, my eyes diverted from Greenblat back to the students. They were still on their phones. This time, I could see the screens being held horizontally—indicating a game or a show was being played. I wanted to get up, smack the distractions out of their hands, and ask them why they thought what they were doing was more important than a Holocaust speaker.

I will not waste any more time writing about the disrespectful few. Because they could not give Greenblat the time of their day, I will not give them mine. Instead, I want to focus on a massive trend my generation has mistakenly indulged ourselves in.

The Greenblat incident is only an example of this phenomenon I find so confusing. From young, it was instilled in me, probably via Chinese tradition, that elders should be respected. It is a title only revoked when unacceptable behavior allows it to be, and is otherwise maintained. I understand that not everybody comes from a background where respect is automatically granted to people. And I see that side of the story.

Why does age automatically warrant respect? It is the fact that they have made it this far, and have interesting stories to tell. There are exceptions, perhaps more than there are inclusions.

But this fact can be determined by the simple act of offering an elderly person your seat on public transportation. Sure, it can be for their health, but within that simple act is a meaningful sacrifice for somebody who has experienced more than you.

Age aside, at Greenblat's talk, majority of the disrespect shown might not have been agist. Instead, it could have been the behavior students just there for the check-in check-out extra credit that multiple classes and clubs were offering. While my teachers who advertised the event stressed the importance of attendance not just for the academic boost, but for the experience, I knew that some of the more distracted students there must have been those selfish, ignorant, solely academic driven cockalorums.

I stay hopeful because majority of my classmates were attentive. We knew to put aside our Chromebooks, regardless of note-taking, and simply listen to what Greenblat had to offer.

It would be wrong to label my generation as entitled— that's a misnomer for the generation before. We are still wavering between the line of automatic respect and earned respect, but we need to set a line for people whom we know the stories of. Especially a Holocaust survivor.

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