Immigrants and Trump
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Immigrants and Trump
CBS Sacramento

These days, when I hear the word "immigration," I automatically revert to the Trump-sprinkled statements of what the word entails: illegal; Mexicans are rapists; they're sending the worst people; complete and total shutdown of Muslims entering America; etc.

Let me tell you a story--something that many people forget to remember when they discuss immigration. Immigration is a compilation of individual stories where those immigrants initially thought that moving to America was a good thing because it supposedly stood behind its land of opportunity trademark.


I have known this little kid since we were kids. He was filled with thoughts that kids usually have: not much. He was an avid athlete of stretching rubber bands, tag, hide and seek, patintero, and bike riding, as he played with his siblings and cousins in the verandas of their home. He was good at math, but he didn't know what to do with that talent--he simply just thought, I am really good at math. Life didn't seem difficult for this kid, but he was not aware of the social conflict that had been occurring within his mother's side of the family for a long time. His mother's family consisted of dishonest and self-advantageous crooks—something that she did not want for her children to be exposed to.

This little kid once told me about the time that his mom took him and some of his siblings to this building where they had to wait for hours in what seemed like a line to see someone or something, he wasn't sure of all the details. He was eight-years-old. He remembers sweating in the large air-conditionless room among an ocean of people, beside his mother and his siblings. Though it was hot and they were all sweating, his mother had sweats of nervousness and anticipation. It seemed like the thing they were waiting in line so long for was important. Maybe as important as ice cream was important to this little kid. When the time came for his mother, his siblings, and him to reach the end of the line, they entered a booth with a glass casing that separated his mom and this other woman on the other side. The kid was short but he saw that there was this circular metal thing in the middle of the glass casing that his mom and the other woman were speaking into to talk to each other. The woman didn't look like she was from there—she had very pale skin, light yellow hair, and spoke what seemed like very liquid English. His mom pulled out some papers and these tiny brown notebooks. When the kid told me about this, he remembered how much he wanted to grab one of those notebooks from his mom because he wanted one, but he knew it wasn't the right time to disturb his mom. He didn't know his mom could speak almost as liquid-y English as the other lady. She and the other woman were talking for what seemed almost as long as waiting in line, but then when the lady on the other side of the glass casing said, "approved," the little kid's mom didn't look nervous anymore. In fact, he described her expression to look like, all the air from a pressurized balloon was released through its hole. After that long day, the little kid was ready to go home. Little did he know that he was going to have a different home after that day, because what their entire family just got approved for were tourist visas to enter the United States of America.

Flash forward ten years and that young kid now lives in California. He still vividly remembers that day, but holds it closer to his heart than when it actually happened. Being a normal first-generation eighteen-year-old in America, life stacks on responsibilities of college and career searching; hopes of living and providing a better for the family; dreams of making an impact on the world in a way no one else can. Though he's older, wiser, and much more responsible, that kid will always be a knuckle-head who causes me trouble. Earlier in life, he was good at math, now he's studying engineering, but still doesn't know what to do with it nor is he sure if he wants to continue that path. He is still optimistic, however, that he will find the right path for him just like every other determined student is. He is living his American dream.


Now here are my questions to you: how does this kid sound? normal? nothing out of the ordinary? maybe you've met someone like this at school, in college, or a coffee shop? He sounds pretty normal, let's just mind our own business. Wait, no...wait, look:

1. He is an undocumented student whose story is filled with much more intricacies than you can understand—than I can understand. He came to the United States on a tourist visa, which lasts for 6 months of stay in the U.S., but as you can see, he is eighteen-years-old now. He came as an eight-year-old. His family had overstayed their welcome because there is no clear and humane path for people like them to enter the United States without facing the unreasonably long wait.

2. He cannot apply to most jobs that require a Social Security Number.

3. He cannot get Federal Financial Aid.

4. He cannot go back to his homeland.

5. He cannot travel.

6. He cannot, cannot, can, cannot, can...etc. Click these links if you would like to educate yourself.

Having known a kid with a situation like this who was born in another country, then migrates with his family to a "better" country to escape socioeconomic tensions in his homeland, breaks my conscience because what him and his family thought was a better country is a country with a broken immigration system that will not guarantee them the haven they need.

I have to ask: what qualifies someone to be more entitled to specific rights in the United States just because their birth certificate says that they were born in the United States? I feel so guilty. A public figure that I rely on to be one of the most active participants in this immigration debate is Jose Antonio Vargas. He challenges questions that some people have for undocumented Americans such as himself and my little kid friend: "Why don't you make yourself legal?" or "Why don't you get in [the line that processes you to become a naturalized citizen in a legal manner]?" This infographic he made, answers these questions.


At the beginning of this article, I mentioned Donald Trump. I did not repeat his name at any point throughout the rest of the article until now because Mr. Trump has no place in involving himself in the sacrificial stories of these immigrants. Recently, Mr. Trump was interviewed by ABC's George Stephanopoulos, and he was was questioned in regards to Khizr Khan's compelling speech at the DNC, where Khan denounced Mr. Trump's attempt at presidency. Mr. Khan's statement saying that Mr. Trump "has sacrificed nothing" elicited this response from Mr. Trump:

“I think I’ve made a lot of sacrifices. I work very, very hard. I’ve created thousands and thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs, built great structures. I’ve done― I’ve had― I’ve had tremendous success. I think I’ve done a lot."

If Mr. Trump calls these responsibilities for the success of his empire "sacrifices," then he most definitely has no place in saying that Mexicans are bad people or to declare a ban on Muslims since he cannot differentiate "sacrifices" from "successes."

Immigration is not something that should make me or you think about Donald Trump. It should evoke you to think about being a compassionate listener to those who have a story to tell.

Whomever you may be, a discussion regarding this topic is always welcome to me. If you have any concerns, you can contact me at martha.rosario1997@gmail.com, my Odyssey profile or through Facebook.

Go in peace.


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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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