I Need You To Stop Calling My Parents Aliens

I Need You To Stop Calling Immigrants "Illegal"

An introductory piece to my retelling of immigrant stories highlighting why these people specifically chose to come into the U.S. "illegally"

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Since I was a kid, I've been surrounded by talks of illegal immigration. I remember being scared watching the news covering illegal immigration. I remember being overly cautious whenever near law officials and most of all, I remember peers and adults calling illegal immigrants aliens, rapists, murderers, drug dealers, and terrorists. What they didn't realize is that these illegal immigrants that they are describing are people I know.

Or maybe they did realize because as ugly as it is to say, the United States is a xenophobic place.

Everyone blames these immigrants for being illegal. Yes, they crossed the border or overstayed their visas but what no one is blaming are events that led them to do that. The majority of immigrants don't want to leave their home country but are forced to, due to violence, poverty and the lack of jobs in their communities. Immigrants come to the U.S. not just for themselves but for a better life, since when has this pursuit of happiness been illegal? Is it only legal for the white community?

No one blames the U.S and the Mexican government, who have in no way formed a solution for this problem, instead choosing to encourage xenophobic and white supremacist views. No one is blaming President Trump who continues to spread lies about immigrants, who continues to spread false facts, especially exemplified in his recent address. No one is prosecuting ICE officials who are responsible for having 22 immigrants die in their detention centers in the past 2 years. And since this whole government shutdown began over wall funding, not one story has overtly focused on the immigrant story.

There are immigrants who have been in the U.S for 18+ years and they are just as American as I am and every other U.S. citizen. They are just as hardworking and contributive to society. The only thing that separates them from the U.S. populace is a decision that they made when they were young adults and had no other option. A decision they made before 9/11-- before serious security checks were increased, especially targeted at individuals from other countries.

The reason that 12 million+ illegal immigrants are "illegal" is to blame on xenophobic views in the U.S. The so-called wall that will supposedly keep out gangs, drugs and violent immigrants from the U.S-- is it any coincidence that it is only separating Mexico and Central America from the U.S.? Why not build a wall separating Canada from the U.S.? Because the simple fact of the matter is that the United States does not care whether white people come into this country.

So many people in the U.S. are not able to comprehend the reason why so many immigrant families come to the U.S. They don't understand their stories and the several centuries of events that led to this. The only way that White Americans would be open to this idea of freely crossing borders would be if these immigrants were white-- mimicking exactly what happened in America when Europeans colonized.

Throughout these next few months, I hope to be able to retell immigrant stories-- the reasons why they migrated to the U.S., and especially how they are currently living the American Dream. These immigrants are so often wrongly represented by xenophobic views labeling them as the villain to the U.S. citizens' story that it is time that these "illegal" immigrants get to have their stories truthfully told, especially to stop the fear-mongering that surround these individuals and their lives. These stories that will be published are also not meant to paint the whole immigrant experience in a happy, innocent tone. Immigrant stories are filled with harsh realities that many individuals in the U.S. have had the privilege of not experiencing, but should otherwise still be knowledgable about.

As U.S. citizens, living in privilege is something that we take for granted, to the point that we don't even notice the adversities occurring in other countries-- ignorant to the reason why many of these individuals look to the American Dream as an emblem of hope.

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To The Dad Who Didn't Want Me, It's Mutual Now

Thank you for leaving me because I am happy.
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Thank you, for leaving me.

Thank you, for leaving me when I was little.

Thank you, for not putting me through the pain of watching you leave.

Thank you, for leaving me with the best mother a daughter could ask for.

I no longer resent you. I no longer feel anger towards you. I wondered for so long who I was. I thought that because I didn't know half of my blood that I was somehow missing something. I thought that who you were defined me. I was wrong. I am my own person. I am strong and capable and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

In my most vulnerable of times, I struggled with the fact that you didn't want me. You could have watched me grow into the person that I have become, but you didn't. You had a choice to be in my life. I thought that the fact that my own father didn't want me spoke to my own worth. I was wrong. I am so worthy. I am deserving, and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

You have missed so much. From my first dance to my first day of college, and you'll continue to miss everything. You won't see me graduate, you won't walk me down the aisle, and you won't get to see me follow my dreams. You'll never get that back, but I don't care anymore. What I have been through, and the struggles that I have faced have brought me to where I am today, and I can't complain. I go to a beautiful school, I have the best of friends, I have an amazing family, and that's all I really need.

Whoever you are, I hope you read this. I hope you understand that you have missed out on one of the best opportunities in your life. I could've been your daughter. I could have been your little girl. Now I am neither, nor will I ever be.

So thank you for leaving me because I am happy. I understand my self-worth, and I understand that you don't define me. You have made me stronger. You have helped make me who I am without even knowing it.

So, thank you for leaving me.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Why I Appreciate My Parents So Much

This is for my two biggest supporters.

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One thing I've noticed, the older I've gotten, is how much I appreciate my parents.

We've become so close, it's almost funny to think at one point I looked at them so much differently. When I was younger, my parents were much more strict than they are now. They disciplined differently and didn't let me do certain things. The older I've gotten, the more freedom I've gotten, which is one big sigh of relief.

My parents are such great people. Throughout my whole life, I've always had friends of parents or people who know my parents tell me how great they both are. I'm so blessed to have been raised by them and to have gotten their characteristics.

My mom is so loving and generous, and she thinks of literally everyone else in her life before herself. She's smart and funny, and she is always there when I need someone to talk to. She's taught me how to be courteous, kind, funny (with her sense of humor), and most importantly, accepting towards others.

The older I get, the more I realize how similar I am to her. She's my favorite woman in the whole world. We understand each other.

My dad is a thoughtful, hilarious, wise, and helpful guy who has taught me so many lessons throughout the years. He always makes sure my finances are in order, even more than I do. He keeps me laughing with his funny stories and made-up songs that he sings. He always asks me how my day was every time I walk through the door. He is so adorable and thoughtful, and I'm so happy I got his wit and humor.

His smile lights up a room and I'm so happy I've been hearing his laugh and will continue to for the rest of my life.

Another great thing about my parents is that they've taught me what love looks like. They're so loving, kind, and patient towards each other. I've rarely ever seen them fight in my life. They still treat one another how they did when they first started dating. I have friends and know people whose parents aren't together, and I'm so lucky to say I can't imagine what that's like.

My parents complete each other; they are soulmates. I'm so lucky and appreciative that I get to have the honor of watching their love play out throughout their lives.

I'm so happy and thankful that these are the parents I ended up with. They're the best. I hope to be half of my parents when I become a parent myself.

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