Dear Future President:
We need immigration reform. We don’t need a wall, we don’t need more immigration officers, we need to stop criminalizing people who are only searching for a way to better their own and their families’ lives. Xenophobic perspectives are stalling our legislative process and this should not be happening anymore.
One of the biggest issues this country has faced since the day it was founded is the scapegoating of every and any group that is different than the “ideal American identity.” During WWII Japanese Americans were forced into internment camps that were basically the same concept as Nazi concentration camps. Propaganda told people that it was the right thing to do but failed to highlight the hypocrisy in our actions. Then, after the tragic incidents of 9/11 we turned against our Muslim brothers and sisters with hate and rejection. It occurred 15 years ago, but the repercussions of the most notorious terrorist attack in U.S. history still reverberate. As a result, islamophobia has been a constant cloud over our heads everyday since.
Today, we blame Latin America. Oh wait, I meant Mexico. Because apparently all people of Hispanic or Latino Heritage are Mexicans. And as we all know, “When Mexico sends their people, they're not sending their best...They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists”. As ridiculous and offensive as this infamous quote is, it unfortunately does reflect the feelings many Americans have towards immigrants. This needs to end.
In a paper by the Immigration Policy Center it exposed that “for every ethnic group without exception, incarceration rates among young men are lowest for immigrants... This holds true especially for the Mexicans, Salvadorans, and Guatemalans who make up the bulk of the undocumented population.” This is proof that immigrants are not the cause of the crime in the United States. Therefore we need to stop committing the mistakes of the past by turning those who seek aid into our scapegoats.
Elizabeth N. Gomez