Lionel D. Washington

Second Class Citizens?

The immigrant population deserves to live a quality of life that is equal to ours. Meaning they should have the same opportunities we have in the United States, once they arrive. We should help them thrive in society not hold them back. I believe in doing so we would create a productive member for American society. Overall, I think immigrants who run away from their home to seek a new life in the US. Should be welcomed by the country not alienated.

 Dear Future President,

The US currently has a population of 11.7 million immigrants from Mexico alone. This means that each and everyone of those people chose to risk it all for a shot at starting a new life. Coming into the US isn’t some impulsive decision anyone makes, these people know what it means if they make it into the US It means their kids get a better education, job and future. It means they are given the opportunity to better themselves compared to the life their parents lived. So you could imagine why so many people choose to cross. Many kids cross with or without their parents. Growing up practically an American their whole life, until they're reminded of their status. When applying to college checking the undocumented box.If all they’re doing is trying to become a productive member of a American society,how are we not going to entitle them to the rights everyone else has in this country. I believe that those undocumented students that have made it this far deserve a pathway to citizenship and equality in seeking higher education.

To begin with, I myself come from immigrant parents who crossed “La Frontera” to give me and my siblings a shot at a life they never had. My parents both from Mexico describe the journey as strenuous. They knew the risk of crossing by land, still they chose to cross. This is the case for countless other families and people. But not all of them make it to the US as they hoped, approximately “5,513 migrants have been found dead along the 1,954-mile border with Mexico”(ABC News). This may just be a number to you. But this number represents more than death to the Latino community. We know that number means lost dreams, broken families, and or parentless children vice versa. See this is one of the many reasons the Latino community has people who value everything a bit more than everyone else. They know that what they have in America has cost them a great deal of sacrifices.

However, they make due with what they have been handed seeking a higher education. The students who were either brought here as children and crossed at a young age. Only know the US as home, but are treated as outsiders. Undocumented students deserve an equal chance to get a college education. Meaning they should be entitled to the financial and government help that citizens get. We need someone to protect this right and expand on bills like the Dream Act, in order to let these undocumented students thrive. There are “1.5 million undocumented children in the United States, and each year tens of thousands graduate from primary or secondary school, often at the top of their classes”(American Immigration Council). This shows that undocumented students work tirelessly to be successful in the US. A place they know as home, yet their access to education is being limited. Undocumented students are not eligible for financial aid in the majority of the states in our country. How are they suppose to contribute to the same society that limits them? There needs to be equality when valuing their education. Immigrants are valuable members of our communities, economy, and nation. Many of them are educated and start their own businesses creating jobs for US citizens within their communities.So they should be treated as equals to us not some second class citizen.

Also, the kids trying to enter the US but get caught are all sent back with their dreams broken. This is a fate many children who cross face, leaving them with little hope of a bright future. There has been “over 68,000 children attempting to cross over into America”(Brown Review). The mere number shows how desperate the kids are in trying to get a better life. Yes it is a crime to cross the border illegally, but these kids don’t have time to waste. They know that if they reach US soil they have a chance of achieving their dreams. But there are so many obstacles for them to get here and many more after they arrive. Crossing alone is dangerous and the help of a “coyote” can cost thousands. This is somethings that are taken into consideration by the people before they cross into the US. Then once the people arrive they have to learn a new way of living assimilating into the culture in the US. Trying to learn English and remain at grade level with their peers, so their sacrifices amount to something.The US doesn’t do enough to help these students to reach their full potential .

See as the son of two immigrants these statics are all very real to me and the people in my daily life. I know how hard it can be to leave everything and everyone you know behind to start a new life. Embarking on this journey to the US. is not only a huge toll physically, but mentally. Walking in the dry hot barren desert is just as hard as trying to thrive in a new country that doesn’t want you. My parents both crossed into the US by foot once they arrived it was complete culture shock. They had to adapt and assimilate into American culture with little to no guidance. Giving up their lives so that I could have a life that they would have never been able to give me back in Mexico. This is how I know undocumented students and children of immigrants work twice as hard to be successful. We value everything most everyone takes for granted, like a public education a bit more. Working hard to meet the expectations that we have set ourselves and the ones our parents have for us. All we hope to do break barriers for our communities and future generations. To avoid becoming a statistic that Americans use to stereotype the Latino community. We know that we will be more than just a mere number on a chart of dropouts, inmates, and “illegal aliens’. Instead we will become doctors, lawyers, activist, and represent our culture in a positive light.

Now, knowing all that you do. We need you to take action in helping the Latino Community along with the rest of immigrant population.To fix this problem we need a way to ensure citizenship and higher education for them. The majority of these people have spent their whole lives here, yet don’t have a pathway to citizenship. After being apart of the American way of living for countless years they should be granted benefits that any citizen has. The undocumented students don’t get the government aid that their peers do. Give them an equal chance to achieve their dreams and they’ll show you they are worth every penny. This government help to the students lets the sacrifices of their parents amount to something. In getting this education they become someone productive in whatever they study. Hence, giving us access to being citizens and equal opportunities can only help everyone.