Immigration Through the Lens of an Immigrant

Throughout history, our nation has built its foundation on the idea of providing and standing for freedom. Freedom of speech, religion, and pursuit of happiness are some of America’s core values. History has also shown that around the world not everyone is granted this same freedom. Many strive for United States citizenship in order to obtain these freedoms. Donald Trump, in the result of the growing number of immigrants in our country, has placed a travel ban on all noncitizen: it was taken away shortly after its creation.

For the most part, the controversy around the number of immigrants in America has been viewed through the standpoint of an American rather than an immigrant. The government’s reaction was ethnocentric in the fact that it only sought out to benefit those who were already citizens. Americans were often told about the crimes and laziness of immigrants through government officials who were in favor of the ban in order to gain support, but the voices of the immigrants themselves were silenced. Civilians had to give voices to the powerless with a protest in airports to get the attention of the government.

Those protestors had to see the idea of freedom from the eyes of someone who was not born with it. The “overlapping stories” that Chimamanda Adiche tells her audience, is applicable to this because of  how the background of the immigrants and the freedoms instilled into Americans make for the current resistance of these laws. Many Americans have family who were immigrants to the United States so they have a connection. But for others, they would have to take it upon themselves to understand the other side.

The side of someone living in a country that offers them no opportunities to become successful or provide for a family. The side of someone living in a country that has no government to enforce laws to protect them. All the liberties we take for granted in America, many immigrants aspire to have. When people of power in our nation can educate themselves and put aside our Eurocentric view, then America will be able to stand by its fundamental values.

I strongly believe that by educating ourselves and the people around us we can make a difference. We all have different views; however, that doesn't mean we can criticize people and condemn them for their political views. It's really easy to say “you’re wrong” or “your opinion doesn't matter.” If we discuss and clearly communicate our thoughts without attacking, there would be less confusion and disagreements within our society. Some ways to educate yourself on immigrants in society and help them are listed below:

  1. Know your parental rights if you are arrested by ICE inside the United States.

  2. Be an ally to your immigrant friends and volunteer to help refugees.

  3. Reach out to offer support, not complain.

  4. Donate to legal services.