I Wouldn't Be Here If My Parents Never Immigrated To The U.S.

I Wouldn't Be Here If My Parents Never Immigrated To The U.S.

I'm forever grateful for a single choice.

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Almost every person I've met during my life has some sort of immigration story in their family. Many are to escape the turmoil and violence in their native country, others are to obtain a better life for themselves and their families. But a lot of people misconstrued what these people have to go through to get here and why they come to America, a place that's motto is land of the free.

Here's why my family came to America.

My mom was twenty-three when she and my aunt, who was two years younger, traveled for the first time to the united states. They were the oldest of eight children and the first to be able to go to an American university. My grandpa worked for so many years to give his children the opportunity to have a better life outside of the Congo. The country was in the middle of a decade's long civil war with the government. The corruption within the law was escalating, the economy was depleting, and with the recent genocide in Rwanda, there was an influx of refugees, and some rebels, coming into the country. So my mom decided that this was the time for her and my aunt to leave.

She and my dad were engaged so they made a promise that as soon as he got his visa approved, he would join her. They traveled to Atlanta in 1994 and my dad followed a year later. Many people who immigrated to the east-south coast were housing newcomers as they got on their feet. They went to school while working part-time minimum wage jobs. They were able to get a nice apartment and just in time because I came along three years later.

Soon after I was born, my mom's younger siblings came to earn their degrees and start the life they hoped to have. They went to school, worked part-time at Wendy's, McDonald's, Sears, you name it.

All while they helped raise me and my two brothers and younger sister in our three bedroom condo apartment. Twenty years later, we have all achieved so much. My parents not only earned masters and bachelor's degrees but became entrepreneurs of their own businesses. My aunts and uncles were able to get a well-earned education and have careers they wouldn't be able to get back in Congo. My parents sacrificed so much for our family to come here and be more than what was unimaginable for so many.




If the story was different, our family would be the ones on the news. I would be a child taken from her parents. I would be someone who had to escape the violence in their country. I would be a DACA Dreamer worrying if I would be deported to a country I never knew about before I could graduate college. I would be a parent being sent away and be separated from my spouse and children.

People ask why people come to America, this is why. They ask why can't they go through the legal process of getting visas or green cards. The immigration process can take at least eight to ten years and cost thousands of dollars for lawyers, paperwork, and legal fees. Not every person can afford the means to go through the process of immigrating to the US legally. They have the option of staying in their country and die from starvation, illness, or murder. Or they can walk the two hundred mile trek to the border and seek asylum.

Now ask yourself this question, If this was you and your family, would you stay or would you go?

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10 Things America Could Pay For Instead Of Trump's Wall

Trump claims to be great at building walls, but is that really what America needs?
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Content warning: Reference to conversion therapy

As you may have heard, reality show host and aspiring politician Donald J. Trump has committed to building a wall that will separate Mexico from the United States, with the aim of halting illegal immigration. I get it— it makes for a nice campaign slogan. “We’re gonna build a wall, and Mexico is going to pay for it! We’re gonna build a wall and it’s gonna be yuuuuuge!”

Okay, Donald. Let’s put aside for a moment the horrifically racist and xenophobic sentiments on which this project is founded. Let’s ignore for just a second the logistical difficulties of constructing such a wall— like the fact that it would take about 339 million cubic feet of concrete, which equates to about three Hoover Dams. Let’s pretend that things like shovels don’t exist, or ladders. Let’s disregard the hundreds of miles of natural obstacles like rivers and privately owned lands.

Let’s talk instead about money. You’re supposed to be good at that, right Donald? You’re supposed to be a savvy businessman. This, unlike actual politics, is supposed to be your area of expertise.

Let’s talk about the fact that this wall you propose will cost an estimated 25 billion dollars. That’s how much your “beautiful,” “glorious,” 1,000-foot long wall would cost to construct. That doesn’t even include the manpower you would need to guard and maintain such a structure after it’s complete, but let’s stick to one issue at a time for now.

Oh, and just to be clear, Donald has asked Congress to fund this project, which means that this money will be coming out of the pockets of US citizens, either in the form of taxes or tariffs. Donald insists that the Mexican government will be reimbursing these costs, but Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has made his position abundantly clear: Mexico will be doing no such thing.

Someone once told me that once numbers reach a certain size, our minds can no longer make sense of them. There is a limit to how much we can quantify. A dozen eggs fit in a carton. In first grade, we counted out a hundred Cheerios and put them on a string. 1,000 grains of rice will fit in a big enough bowl. And if you had enough time and dedication, you could probably sit down and count to one million in your head.

But a billion is hard to conceptualize. In fact, if you were to count out loud one number at a time, it would take you about 31 years to get there. So counting to 25 billion? You would be dead before you got anywhere close.

So, in an effort to help you get some sense of how much this wall will really be costing you, I put together this handy list of alternatives that the United States could be spending your money on.

1. Approximately one million Tiny Houses

That’s enough to house literally every homeless person in the United States, including the nearly 50,000 homeless veterans and 380,000 homeless children.

2. A year’s worth of meals for almost 10 million people.

One in seven Americans lives on a salary that puts them at risk for hunger. This would feed about 20% of them. Alternatively, this money could be used to fund programs that could actually help elevate Americans living in poverty in the long term.

2. Nearly nine million individual insurance plans

That’s almost enough to cover the annual premiums of the approximately 15 million people who will be losing their insurance if the repeal of the Affordable Care Act is successful. After all, Congress currently seems really big on the whole “repeal” part of their plan, but not so into the “replace” part.

3. Solar panels for one million homes or businesses

I know that this is the era of alternative facts and we’re skeptical about this whole climate change thing, but since the scientific community has an overwhelming consensus favoring the reality that climate change is real and caused by humans, it might be a good idea to start weaning off the coal.

4. About 42 million season passes to Disneyland

Just thought you should know.

5. Approximately 555 space shuttles

With the direction the earth is taking, we might need them sooner rather than later.

6. College degrees for about 253,000 college students

This is especially important, as 83% of Americans now say they cannot afford the cost of a college education and student loans leave some 44 million crippled by debt. With the proper structural changes, this amount of money could actually fund far more students through part or all of their education.

7. Chemotherapy sessions for almost 170,000 leukemia patients

Non-profit organizations like St. Jude’s Medical Center are always seeking donations to help families circumvent the often insurmountable costs of medical treatment.

8. Adoption fees for around a half a billion homeless cats or dogs

Again, just saying.

9. New pipes in Flint, Michigan... 312 times over

Remember the water crisis in Flint that began more than three years ago? Those people still do not have clean water. But apparently the estimated 80 million dollars that it would cost to replace about 10,000 pipes is too expensive. What can you do?

10. Approximately 12 and a half billion protest signs

Go to a dollar store near you. Purchase a piece of posterboard and a package of markers. Choose what you’re most pissed about.

The fact that reproductive rights are being threatened.

The fact that legal American citizens and green card holders from predominantly Muslim nations are being denied their right to come home.

The fact that oil pipelines are going to be pushed through sacred Native American lands after all.

The fact that our Vice President advocates electrocuting the brains of LGBT+ youth to make them “normal.”

The fact that our government is not only actively denying scientific fact, but also denying scientists the right to say anything contrary to their own erroneous beliefs.

The fact that we are spending billions of dollars on a pointless wall that will serve as little more than tribute to our President’s enormous ego, and the fact that, in spite of this, we apparently can’t find the money to help our fellow citizens live.

There’s plenty to choose from. Make a sign, and use your voice to say “enough is enough.”

Cover Image Credit: CNN

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5 Things We Could Fund Instead Of Funding The Wall

In case you missed it Mr. President and others who are pro-wall, you don't have to have tanned skin to be an illegal immigrant.

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In case you've been living under a rock, a Florida man created a go-fund-me to help raise one billion dollars for the building of the wall on the United States and Mexico border. In regards to the border wall, there are plenty of arguments that go into the possible pros of the wall such as the wall will help decrease illegal immigration, help protect private property, and possibly save lives.

However, there are plenty of counter-arguments as to why the border wall is the worst idea in the world. One, there are plenty of other things that need fixing and funding before worrying about a dumb wall. If illegal immigration is such a concern, shouldn't we be fixing the system of becoming a citizen of the United States? Maybe we should be looking into reform rather than wasting tax-payer money on a wall that is only going to possibly help decrease illegal immigration from one country. In case you missed it Mr. President and others who are pro-wall, you don't have to have tanned skin to be an illegal immigrant.

In fact, there are plenty of other more pressing matters in the United States that could be fixed or on the road to being fixed if the government used the one billion dollars towards other causes. Here is a list of a few things we could fund instead and though this list is short, just let it be a way to spark ideas as to how your money can actually be used to benefit society instead of tearing it apart.

1. Flint Michigan's water.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pd2qxi2mF_4

The border wall go-fund-me is wanting to fund one billion dollars towards the wall. Estimated costs to fix Flint, Michigan's lead pipes an estimated $55 million. With the one billion dollars, we could fund Flint's pipes eight-teen times. To read more on Flint's water situation click here.

2. Planting 2,000,000 trees.

https://flic.kr/p/aTFcYn

It costs roughly $500 to plant one tree, with one billion dollars we could plant 2,000,000 trees. Mmmm oxygen. Let's make America green again...literally.

3. Eradicate polio for good.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Polio_vaccination_in_Sweden_1957.jpg

Since 1998 polio has decreased by 99% and can be eradicated by a $1.3 billion dollar investment. Which the go-fund-me can easily make a big dent in helping meet that goal to help eradicate a curable disease. For more information click here..

4. Give public school teachers a $320 bonus check.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/cemillerphotography/40833964695

This past fall of 2018, there was an estimated 3.2 million public school teachers in the United States. Evenly divided up the one billion dollars could give each public school teacher a $320 bonus check for all of their hard work they do every single day.

5. 12,500 taco trucks.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Taco_Truck_St_Louis_MO.jpg

Forbes magazine estimates that it takes around $80,000 to start up a taco food truck...which means with one billion dollars we could start up 12,500 taco trucks. With there being 50 states this means we could supply 250 taco trucks per state. We the people in order to form a more perfect taco...

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