I was exposed to immigration at a pretty young age because I had a Honduran nanny. Her name is Miriam, and she would help take care of my sister, my grandfather, and me as well as help cleaning around the house. Her family was from Honduras, and I remember my mother explaining how some of her brothers and her husband were not US citizens. She explained how there was a border separating America from Mexico and how Miriam and her family had illegally crossed it. Honestly, I did not become aware or come to understand immigration and the causes for it until high school. Particularly through history class, I began to learn about the movements of larger groups of people from one place to another. I never realized how extreme the prejudice against Mexican-Americans has been. I never realized how influential they have been for our country, particularly in places like California. Mexican-Americans really have not gotten a break. However, they are not the only immigrants that flock to our country.
I have also become more aware of things around me, whether it being the refugee crisis in Syria, or the issues arising with US-Mexican border. Even more locally, I’ve learned more about Baltimore. I never really realized how diverse Baltimore is until a year ago. I really only thought there was whites and blacks with small groups of Mexicans and Chinese throughout Baltimore. But, our city is so much more than that. There are immigrants from the Middle East, all around Asia, central Africa, Europe, central America. I had learned that the area around Patterson Park is particularly ethnically diverse. After reading the articles in the Sun, I felt like I was given a sort of inside scoop on the atmosphere around there. I had known that the Patterson high school was a sort of mixing pot within itself, but I had never thought about what that must be like. I had never given much thought to what life must be like for immigrants who attended an American high school. I have not gotten a chance to read the other two articles from the Sun, but I read Monique’s story. Her story was incredible. Her time in America did not start off well, especially after she got incredibly lost on the bus system one day. However, she did not stop trying to learn and assimilate to her new country despite how slowly she developed in the classroom. After reading that article and watching I Learn America, I have an incredible sense of respect for those kids. Like I said in class, it really puts so much in perspective for me. If there are families from around the world, some being literally chased from their homes, that come to America and have so much determination to thrive here, how can I not be driven to do the same? I have grown up here and have been given incredible, and honestly unfair advantages. I sometimes worry that I don’t deserve the chances that I am given, and when hearing stories such as Monique’s I tell myself that that should give me so many more reasons to work hard. I just truly respect those kids so much. They have so much drive, heart, and strength.
Thinking about the threats that Trump’s presidency brings to these kids lives frightens me. This country is supposed to be accepting of everyone, support everyone, and be a free country. That would mean that immigrants should have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else, particularly if they work harder than anyone else to thrive. I truly worry about their safety in the near future. I like to think that if Trump and people who support him because of his immigration policies learned about what these children go through in their journeys to America, they would be more considerate. These children have to flee from governments that kill their own people, they try to escape groups like ISIS and other extreme violence, and they try to escape poverty. They search for a better life in America, and it should be seen as a complete complement that so many people see our country as a safe haven. We should accept them to our country to matter what, and at least out of the goodness of our hearts.
I understand that the increase in migration brings stresses to the economy and politics. I may sometimes forget about that because I get so concerned on the lives of immigrants. So far I have taken into account that there are costs that burden countries that accept immigrants. While I personally believe that there should be no hesitation to admit immigrants and refugees into this country, I do understand why some people would be wary of accepting them due to the implications it has. Hopefully as we continue this unit, I will understand people’s different perspectives more through statistics we see, articles we read, and the discussions we have.