Many people don’t know that I was an illegal immigrant until I was about 12 or 13. I am from Yuma, AZ. Yuma, is 5 minutes from California, and 5 minutes from the Mexican border. Many of the people who I grew up with were not citizens. Heck I wasn’t even one. Back then it wasn’t a big deal. You never questioned a person’s citizenship, asked where their papers were, never assumed because they didn’t speak English well enough, or at all, that they weren’t here legally. It was known that many kids came across the border to go to to school. NO ONE CARED. No one cared if you weren’t a citizen. But now we are in the time of “Making America Great Again” a time when your citizenship defines who you are as a person. That regardless of what you gave to the US, you are completely defined by your papers, or lack of them.
When I finally got my green card it wasn’t a big deal. I didn’t even realize how important it was when I went for it. There wasn’t a party and excitement in the air, I didn’t show them off to all my friends to let them know that I was now a legal resident and worthy of their friendship, nope I did none of that. I just went out and played. No one cared. In reality, at this time I have no reason to be scared. I became a citizen in 2005. I have my certification of naturalization- with its terrible picture. I carry a US passport. I am a full citizen. But my mom isn’t. My mom still has a green card to this day and it has been 35+ years.
The thing people don’t realize about bans like this is that they are little tests. They are tests to see where America is right now in regards to their feelings on immigration, deportation, and bans. They are small tests. If they can get the country to agree on banning one group of people, why can’t they get the country to ban others. Why can’t they then start to ban people from India or Africa, or the Latin Countries, or Canada… What makes Trump stop banning people when he has the steam and power of a nation behind him. If we allow him to have the power to do this. If we do not fight him on this, it will start the down hill slide.
People who have immigrated aren’t just doing menial jobs, they aren’t just here surviving. They are actually doing the opposite. They are thriving, they are building, they are researching, they are curing, and they are adding value. Immigrants have developed ideas here that make us richer, that create jobs, that create money, heck they even create words (google).
Vala Afsar tweeted that the following companies would exist if they weren’t founded by 1st/2nd generation immigrants:
- Tesla Redit
We are a country that was formed by immigrants fleeing religious persecution, yet instead of accepting immigrants or refugees we not only are banning them, but are also banning people who have US green cards, are legal residents, and have lived hear for years. We are literally banning our own people. We are banning people that have gone through the vetting process. Why? Why should legal residents be afraid that at any time they can be detained and taken off a plane.
We are banning people who are coming into this country to do amazing things, and keep us on the map in certain areas. We are banning people who worked for the US government and helped protect our country, and we are banning people who finally have a chance at a life that isn’t affected by bombing every day.
I was born in Canada and have Canadian citizenship. My mom is still a full Canadian citizen with a green card. People say that it won’t happen to Canadians. But why won’t it eventually get to that? If he can get away with banning people who have lived here for years, who have legal green cards, then why can’t he ban Canadians. They funny thing is people will think I am crazy for even thinking it. But in this time, what is crazy that we are even fighting against bans in the first place.
The time is now to do something, you cannot sit back and be silent. As Shawn King said, “If you ever wondered what you would do if you were alive in the Civil Rights Movement, NOW IS THE TIME to find out. NOW. RIGHT NOW. ” That statement is completely the truth. We are slowly moving towards a time of dismantling democracy and we can’t have that.
You need to do something. Here are 3 things to help you get started.
- Call your senators. Call any senator. Here are their numbers. https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/
- You hear about a rally, go to it. Go feel the positive energy that is coming out.
- Have a conversation with someone about this topic. Have a conversation about what people are upset and protesting. Why this cannot happen. Hopefully from the conversation you will want to get out and start protesting as well.
“First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out– because I was not a communist; Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out– because I was not a socialist; Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out– because I was not a trade unionist; Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out– because I was not a Jew; Then they came for me– and there was no one left to speak out for me.” (Wikipedia: “… one of many variations of a poem attributed to Pastor Martin Niemoller (1892–1984) about inactivity of German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power” . )
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