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Opinion: Immigration can make America great again

The United States needs to return to its days of being a sanctuary for those in need.

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Opinion: Immigration can make America great again

Illustration by Dan Bartholomew

Illustration by Dan Bartholomew

Illustration by Dan Bartholomew

Illustration by Dan Bartholomew

Sophie Siegel, Staff Writer

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This story is one of two opposing pieces on immigration. You can read the other one here

During the Holocaust, my family escaped to the United States for a better life.

They saw America as a refuge. And back then, it was. It represented hope and offered a second chance to those looking to escape persecution.

Today, I hate to think there are families escaping to America only to be separated from their loved ones and left alone with no recourse.

The United States needs to stop treating those coming to us for aid as immediate threats and improve its treatment of immigrants trying to make a better life for themselves.

A dangerous stereotype

The biggest conversation I heard growing up in conservative Vero Beach, Florida revolved around the dangerous idea that immigrants are more likely to commit crimes. However, according to current FBI crime statistics, white men commit about 69.6 percent of the violent crime in the United States.  

The concept that most refugees coming into this country are terrorists is false when the real threat is already living in America.

And most “radical Islamic terrorists” are usually natural-born American citizens, not immigrants or refugees, according to Vox.

Who could forget when Donald Trump Jr. compared immigrants to skittles?

“If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you. Would you take a handful? That’s our Syrian refugee problem,” he said.

This is yet another example of the racism the presidential family represents. Many people were outraged, myself included, by the comparison of candy to human beings escaping Syria during a time of civil war.

Abolish ICE

In the debate surrounding immigration, “abolish ICE” is one of the most important causes to support.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement federal agency was created in 2003 following 9/11, and since then it’s served as a way to racially profile and separate families, especially under the current administration.

Essentially, Trump’s immigration policies have expanded who is considered a priority to arrest.

Under Obama, ICE would remove undocumented people who had committed “serious crimes,” while under Trump, the agency looks to remove all illegal immigrants, ignoring the fact that they’re separating families, according to the New York Times.

Immigration should be spending its time arresting those with violent, criminal backgrounds, not wasting its manpower on immigrants who are just trying to provide for their families.

In August earlier this year, a man was detained by ICE while taking his pregnant wife to the hospital. They arrested him because he did not have a driver’s license. The agency’s members also claimed he had a warrant for homicide charges, which later turned out to be non-existent.

Many Democrats, including myself, believe ICE is immoral, especially in the current state of politics as many undocumented families who come to the United States for opportunity are met with immoral standards instead of real democracy.

Immigrants aren’t ‘taking our jobs’

For many of us, it’s difficult to feel pride in our country when America has become a hotbed for racism and white nationalism. At this point, they’re about as American as apple pie.

The common dialogue I hear surrounding why we shouldn’t let immigrants into this country perpetuates the idea that they’re “stealing” jobs from American workers. Unfortunately, that idea is perpetuated by the man leading our country.

In reality, they help create new jobs for Americans.

For every new immigrant, 1.2 new jobs for local workers are created, according to the Washington Post.

There is little correlation between those who come to our country and American unemployment rates.

‘We weren’t here first’

America was founded on stolen land, and it’s hypocritical to ignore that. We act as if our history is noble and one that we should be proud of, but it’s really built on suffering and the exploitation of millions.

Today, we still have a national holiday celebrating a tyrant whose legacy was paved with blood. Christopher Columbus, who is cited with discovering America, was responsible for the deaths of thousands of Native Americans in the pursuit of gold and natural resources.

As the Guardian said, “If the United States policy is now, instead, to protect a ‘homeland,’ that would mean restoring the rights of Native Americans to the entirety of the United States.”

For hundreds of years, Native Americans in this country have been tear gassed, murdered, raped, and tortured when defending their right to ancestral land. And that’s all too reminiscent of how we treat those who aren’t white in this country.

And those who argue that Americans have more of a right to live here than immigrants should really pick up a history book. We weren’t here first.

In the end, anyone who isn’t Native American is here thanks to immigration.

Yet we choose to ignore this and instead support white nationalistic tendencies that push the viewpoint that all immigrants are dangerous.

Immigrants are human too

America should be land of the free, not the land of separation anxiety and hate.

Instead of keeping migrant children safe, we put them in cages and ripped them away from their families, who hadn’t committed any real crimes.

We think we’re protecting citizens, but at what cost?

A good friend of mine who serves as the president of the Florida College Democrats, Toni Rodriguez, is a constant fighter for expanding immigration in the United States.

The other day, he said something that really stuck with me: “We need a complete shift in how we view immigrants, both documented and undocumented, in order for us to revert back to the country we once were. A country that sees immigrants as people, not criminals.”  

Immigration policies need to be centered around the ethical treatment of human beings.

This shouldn’t be a political debate. Human rights are common sense.

Sophie Siegel is a staff writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected].


2 Responses to “Opinion: Immigration can make America great again”

  1. Gryfen Brinson on October 19th, 2018 12:13 am

    I am a student at FAU and my 11th great grandmother was the first woman to step foot off of the Mayflower (Mary Chilton), into the land we call today as the United States of America. Her mother and father both died on the ship, while she was only 12 or 13 years old. She was adopted by a responsible man on the ship. The facts are that it was never easy to migrate to America and it still is not easy to do it today.

    I don’t know if you have a political agenda with this article, but it sure does not seem like you have a factual agenda. Past, Present, Future…… nobody had an easy migration to America, it’s a risk/reward thing. That’s why not everyone does it. In the beginning, people promised their time as free labor, its a term known as “indentured servitude,” look it up if they omitted that from your history class. It has always been a sacrifice to chance your life in America, everyone who has made the transit here, accepted that reality before they made the transit. So your case for giving sympathy and benefits to these UNamerican citizens with American tax dollars is unprecedented, as well as absurd!

    But with so many middle class Americans currently dealing with declining standards of living, for example: Americans life expectancy has been on decline for multiple years now, there has been stagnant wages for the American worker since the 1970’s, but the cost of living for average standards has increased dramatically, our economic system has gone completely off the gold standard, which means our economic system is pretty much worthless once the people in power decide it to be so… is people of my opinion that have not changed, we are the same, WE ARE AMERICA!

    It is people of your opinion that are trying to bring in new standards and say that immigrants not only deserve a place here (which both sides agree on, immigration will always be a thing in this country, as it should be, as long as its “legal immigration”) they deserve benefits to have a fighting chance once they get here? WTF????? Do you think there were benefits for immigrants when we were fighting for our independence against the british? To answer the question, no there were not, your benefit was you could have a chance to live in a country where people didn’t tell you what to do or what to believe in. And that was enough for the early generation Americans.
    I don’t care where you immigrate from, or who you are, in America, you earn your keep. You don’t get to walk across our border and demand entitlements, like welfare, food stamps and anything else of the sort. Is the United States Tax system for the taxpayers of the United States, or is it for all people of the globe?
    Please for the love of all things good….DEFINE your version of ethical treatment and human rights that you presume all citizens of the globe deserve from United States citizens. Does China’s detainment of people with open Muslim faith fit into your definition of ethical treatment or respecting human rights?

    America is not perfect, but she is doing the best she can, and instead of being grateful that we saved your lineage (specifically your lineage, as you mentioned in the opening of your opinion piece… as in y0u wouldn’t even be alive to write this article if it weren’t for brave American men and women (as well as other ally soldiers. Your lineage and family members should be given credit too, they obviously were very tough to survive the harsh environment they went through) who sacrificed their lives to save the world from the crazy Nazi’s…. and you’re writing them all off as white supremacists. shame on you, and shame on FAU UPress for publishing this piece.

    Honestly, where in the world would you live your life, if you weren’t living in America? This article makes you sound like a politically-motivated, half-honest hack of an author, and I really hope you try harder the next time you try to write off all white people, and all of America’s history as racist with pure speculation.

    You are saying that Christopher Columbus, a man who came to a land and saw an uneducated society, where many of the Indians attacked the other Indians (tribe on tribe war was a thing all of the time in Native American society, they weren’t one collective group as your article portrays that were completely demolished) was a tyrant because he took charge of a war that was already happening between the Indians, but he won the war, so in your eyes he is a bad guy…..

    how bad are the people today then, that are trying to destroy our society that we have built for 200+ years who are questioning the undeniable faith we have had in law and order for those 200+ years….? If somebody who isn’t even a citizen of our country does not have to follow the law, why in the world would I have to follow the law? what is the law for, if it is not for being enforced?

    saying that an illegal immigrant has a right to walk into this country and receive benefits because they’re in a lesser situation than us is like saying that a poor person should be able to rob a bank because they are less fortunate than us. I read both opinion pieces for this topic, and I will concede that the “extremes,” on both sides are wrong….. but you decided to post this opinion in my university press, so you signed up for my opinion back.

    And I really hope you think about this, come up with an authentic response to me personally, or the UPress. If you brave enough to read my opinion all of the way through, congratulations, because you take criticism better than most people now-a-days (which is a skill believe it or not). Maybe since there has been some time in between the moment when you felt these emotions and when you wrote the article, so now you can review it with a level head….you might decide that you did actually engage in racism by blaming a group of people (based off of their skin color) for specific problems. If grouping a certain sort of people based off of their skin color, is not considered racism, please let me know….although I will still not participate in those generalizations because I believe them to be morally wrong. Just as it was morally wrong for the Nazis to decide that all Jews were bad.

  2. Gryfen Brinson on October 20th, 2018 9:02 pm

    I’m sorry for my last email being so radical. I can’t find a copy of it on my computer, since I sent it through this system. So I can’t apologize for everything individually, but it has been tearing me up since I woke up the next day.
    I am ashamed I sent an email so radical in response to your article, I hope nothing I said is taken personally. My actions were in accordance with Hillary Clinton’s incivility call, and I completely regret it.
    I believe in civility, and I’d like to maintain it, and Want the last email I sent was not in accordance with maintaining civility.
    To be honest, I did have a few drinks last night, and I hate to use that as an excuse, and I’m not, because I’m taking accountability for what I said, which is why I had to send you this apology email, because I couldn’t stop thinking about how ugly of a person I acted like. So I am sorry again, I will be a better example in the future, and I promise I’m not as bad of a person as I portrayed myself to be in the radical email. Sometimes I just watch too much news. I’m trying to work on that, it’s a homework procrastination technique I need to stop.
    One more time, which isn’t enough, but I’m sorry. I couldn’t leave what I said earlier as it was. If you read my apology all the way through, thank you.


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