What We Forget About The Immigration Debate

What We Forget About The Immigration Debate

"Immigrants, we get the job done."
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Contrary to popular belief, the politics of illegal versus legal immigration have been debated and controversial for decades, especially in the United States. But within the most recent administration, the promises Donald Trump made during his campaign regarding immigration regulation have intensified. Since the short-lived "Muslim ban" in January to the most recent statement from the president revealing that he wishes to terminate DACA--Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the debate only continues.

To answer the question of immigration, a frequent argument is that "America is founded on immigrants". This statement can be true in only some ways. In fact, America, or rather the continent of North America, was founded on the Native American tribes who settled here thousands of years before Columbus landed on its shores. From the Europeans not only came the brutal treatment of Native Americans but also the assimilation of European culture, values, and religion to the native soil. So, if you say, "America was built off of immigrants", you are truly saying, "America, generalized as the one founded by Columbus, was influenced solely by the immigration of European colonists."

Another argument for the immigration debate is, "We do not want to let terrorists into our country." I have never heard someone ever say they did want to let terrorists into any country. This argument is not only weak but also fails to understand that both sides of the argument actually agree with this statement. In rebuttal, we must also acknowledge that we, as a country, have experienced a multitude of acts of terror from within our borders. We know this too well when we remember the atrocities experienced in San Bernardino, Sandy Hook, and most recently in Charlottesville, Virginia. Extremism and radicalism are ideologies that are not affiliated with one specific nation or group of nations, religion, or culture. They can divert anyone at any given time.

A common misconception of this controversy is the difference between legal and illegal immigration. To support legal immigration is to support the total freedom of an individual or a group of people to enter into a country after legally obtaining permission and passing any background checks necessary to do so. On the other hand, illegal immigration is the admission into a country that bypasses the rules and regulations that a country requires for access. The misconception lies in the generalization that "If you are anti-illegal immigration, then you are anti-immigrant". This is simply not true. To be anti-illegal immigration means that you simply want the methods of entering a country to be fair to any person or group of people attempting to do so. On the other hand, to be "anti-immigrant" is the xenophobic ideology that immigrants are inferior to those who are native-born members of this country. And as I mentioned before, unless you are of Native American dissent, to be "anti-immigrant" is self-contradictory because you originate from ancestors who were immigrants.

I think that people who argue in the debate of immigration, namely politicians, fail to recognize the inherent agreements between both parties. First, we can agree that the current system for legal immigration does not work. It is too long, too strenuous, and it influences good people who wish to enter the United States rightfully to do it without a hassle and hop the borders. I think that all in all, a more effective system should be put into effect. With this new system, we can quickly review and evaluate those who wish to enter the United States with more technology that will research people's backgrounds and personal information. This will not only affect those who wish to enter this country but also those who have already infiltrated the country illegally. A mass deportation is not the answer. I want to help families who have been here for decades, who have trouble with obtaining a "green card" to be on the road to citizenship, to extending America's loving embrace to them.

After a more effective system is put in place, the borders should be regulated more. This is not to build walls, to shut out people who are suffering or enduring hardship in their other countries. But rather, this is to ensure the safety and security of our nation, a nation that is constantly attacked and subjugated to prejudice and hate from the outside world.

From this, we can create a country that welcomes, not shuns, immigrants, that serves to ensure legal citizenship to those here and who wish to come with an overall improvement of the current immigration system, and a new consensus that aims to protect the stability of our country.

Cover Image Credit: AM NY

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'As A Woman,' I Don't Need To Fit Your Preconceived Political Assumptions About Women

I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

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It is quite possible to say that the United States has never seen such a time of divisiveness, partisanship, and extreme animosity of those on different sides of the political spectrum. Social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are saturated with posts of political opinions and are matched with comments that express not only disagreement but too often, words of hatred. Many who cannot understand others' political beliefs rarely even respect them.

As a female, Republican, college student, I feel I receive the most confusion from others regarding my political opinions. Whenever I post or write something supporting a conservative or expressing my right-leaning beliefs and I see a comment has been left, I almost always know what words their comment will begin with. Or in conversation, if I make my beliefs known and someone begins to respond, I can practically hear the words before they leave their mouth.

"As a woman…"

This initial phrase is often followed by a question, generally surrounding how I could publicly support a Republican candidate or maintain conservative beliefs. "As a woman, how can you support Donald Trump?" or "As a woman, how can you support pro-life policies?" and, my personal favorite, "As a woman, how did you not want Hillary for president?"

Although I understand their sentiment, I cannot respect it. Yes, being a woman is a part of who I am, but it in no way determines who I am. My sex has not and will not adjudicate my goals, my passions, or my work. It will not influence the way in which I think or the way in which I express those thoughts. Further, your mention of my sex as the primary logic for condemning such expressions will not change my adherence to defending what I share. Nor should it.

To conduct your questioning of my politics by inferring that my sex should influence my ideology is not only offensive, it's sexist.

It disregards my other qualifications and renders them worthless. It disregards my work as a student of political science. It disregards my hours of research dedicated to writing about politics. It disregards my creativity as an author and my knowledge of the subjects I choose to discuss. It disregards the fundamental human right I possess to form my own opinion and my Constitutional right to express that opinion freely with others. And most notably, it disregards that I am an individual. An individual capable of forming my own opinions and being brave enough to share those with the world at the risk of receiving backlash and criticism. All I ask is for respect of that bravery and respect for my qualifications.

Words are powerful. They can be used to inspire, unite, and revolutionize. Yet, they can be abused, and too comfortably are. Opening a dialogue of political debate by confining me to my gender restricts the productivity of that debate from the start. Those simple but potent words overlook my identity and label me as a stereotype destined to fit into a mold. They indicate that in our debate, you cannot look past my sex. That you will not be receptive to what I have to say if it doesn't fit into what I should be saying, "as a woman."

That is the issue with politics today. The media and our politicians, those who are meant to encourage and protect democracy, divide us into these stereotypes. We are too often told that because we are female, because we are young adults, because we are a minority, because we are middle-aged males without college degrees, that we are meant to vote and to feel one way, and any other way is misguided. Before a conversation has begun, we are divided against our will. Too many of us fail to inform ourselves of the issues and construct opinions that are entirely our own, unencumbered by what the mainstream tells us we are meant to believe.

We, as a people, have become limited to these classifications. Are we not more than a demographic?

As a student of political science, seeking to enter a workforce dominated by men, yes, I am a woman, but foremost I am a scholar, I am a leader, and I am autonomous. I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

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