Immigration From The Perspective Of A First Generation American
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Politics

Immigration From The Perspective Of A First Generation American

Everyone in this country has a story of how they got here, don't cut other people's short before they even start.

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Immigration From The Perspective Of A First Generation American
Emily Marques

The topic of immigration in our country has been on my mind a lot recently, as I’m sure it has been for many people. With our new President placing an emphasis on immigration, it is to no surprise that our country has taken the debate and ran with it. With seemingly strong sides and a line down the middle of the country, everyone is shouting their opinions at each other on whether they support or disapprove the tightening of immigration/refugee laws. At first, I decided to keep my opinions pretty quiet about the topic, refraining from debates and arguments. Until I had a realization. My family didn’t fight to come to this country for me to stay quiet on something that hits so close to home.

I am a first generation American. It was never something that I had felt I had to defend or even acknowledge, until the recent tone of our country. As I saw people start becoming openly anti-immigration, I started to reflect on what my life would have been like if this were happening to my parents and grandparents. My parents both came to the United States when they were young. Their parents left behind everything they had ever known to come work, and build a better life in this country. My mom grew up with her parents on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean so that they can work and bring her over here. Her mother had to face the reality that when she finally got approved to come, her own daughter barely knew who she was. My parents faced getting looks from strangers when they translated the dinner menu to their parents who couldn’t speak a word of English or when they talked in half Portuguese and half English. It isn’t easy to come to this country and adjust to an entirely new way of life surrounded by people who don’t want you here, when they in fact have no right to determine if you belong or not. If my parents didn’t come here, I wouldn’t even exist. My entire family wouldn’t exist. We wouldn’t have been given the shot at life that we have been, and to deprive another family of that is just wrong.

Much of my frustration has surfaced from Trump’s recent Muslim immigration ban that he attempted to enforce. To take the right of entry into the United States from someone solely on the country they are coming from and how they choose to pray is the complete opposite of what the free world is supposed to represent. I am not naïve, I understand that much of these restrictions are rooted in fear of the violent people that could be entering our country. With terrorism being a real concern and problem, I am aware that some may think “Well, keep them all out” is a good way to go about it. But, it’s not. Obviously there must be a consistent and regimented immigration process, but to completely ban an entire group of people from even going through the process is ridiculous. Not every Muslim is a terrorist, just like not every German is a Nazi, or every white person is a KKK member. To categorize someone you don’t even know based on where they come from, what they look like, and who they are is one of the worst things you can do, especially on a political level.

Maybe it seems a bit simple minded, but I truly just cannot comprehend anybody saying that people from certain countries shouldn’t be allowed in our country because they aren’t “American.” Being “American” means being from somewhere else. Don’t most people here respond, “German, Italian, Polish, etc” when asked, “Oh, what are you?”. It’s a strange concept to me to know that people are so quick to keep others out to “preserve our American culture,” yet our entire culture is a mixture of other ones. Most of us wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for our ancestors having the courage to uproot their lives and come to this country to write a better story for their families. So before you harshly judge that Muslim immigrant trying to find a better life, remember that people felt the same way about your Italian great grandfather or your Polish grandmother. Don’t let history repeat itself. Don’t lose grip on what being an “American” really means in these times of uncertainty and fear.

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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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