Melting the Pot by T.P.

Sitting in the living room watching on election night watching the votes tally up, my mother walks in. Trump had been announced the winner. Her first comment was “I don’t feel comfortable in this country”.

My mother is a Japanese immigrant. She has been here as a permanent resident for around twenty years. Long enough for her to be able to apply for citizenship, but she choses to keep her green card though. She herself has talked about moving back to Japan before and was subtly referencing her desire to leave the United States.

Hatsue Nagasawa’s, my mother, friends mostly consist of other Japanese people, she watches Japanese TV shows. She has become friendly with some American people but those friendships would rarely last. Why is it that a country of immigrants does so poorly making my mother feel comfortable here.

“I know that the way I do things and how other people do things is different. I think that people and I always feel uncomfortable around each other,” says my mother. People surround themselves with people with similar interests, culture, beliefs. It is what makes us feel comfortable.

My mother though seemed totally unfazed the following days after the election. The next morning over breakfast I was expecting my mother to comment on the election somehow, I had heard plenty from my father already. Over and awkward silence I start with a long “soooooooo”, and my mother fills in the gap with, “so have you been working on your college apps?” Just the complete normality of her demeanor had me ask later why she was so unaffected.

Her answer was surprising to me. She claims to have seen it coming and had stated that she expected not much to change, perhaps people being more open about their attitude towards herself…no more.

Lots of high schools have reported an increase in racism in schools. Many school administrations have had to write apology letters to parents of all students addressing the problem. She was right.

What does this mean moving forward. As president Obama has said the sun rose this morning and will rise tomorrow. Life will go on, I think a lot of americans have made a statement with the candidate they decided to putin office.

Until November 2020 we have our new president. At that point the clear winner is Kanye West in 2020 so do not fear American’s we can make america Yeesus again.

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White Versus Mexican Immigrants by E.M.

I’m white. I’ve never been made fun of for my color of skin. Even though I am an immigrant, people don’t know until I tell them. Because of the color of my skin.

A lot of the people I work with are Mexican-Americans. They were either born in the United States or they came here legally. One of my co-workers Edgar explains what it’s like being Mexican-American in the United States.“Yeah, sometimes the police still ask me for my papers because of the way I look. I’m legal but people don’t believe me because I’m Mexican.” If you live in America and you are originally from a different country or if you were born here and your skin is a different color you could have disadvantages.

If you look different than the general population then you will have problems.

People with different colored skin are discriminated against. Especially since Donald Trump is president, people are using that as an excuse to say racially charged things. Edgar also said “Since Donald Trump is in office it makes it a lot less safe for people like me to walk the streets without being questioned or people yelling hateful things.” People who look racially different are afraid to walk the streets because they fear that hate crimes will be committed against them.

I never had to deal with that. I could never know what that is like because I would never be made fun of for being white in America.

50% of hispanic adults were born in the United States according to Gallup.

According to CBS, white Americans are asking Mexican Americans if they are “ready to go back to where they came from”. The most hurtful things are said to Mexican Americans  for example “Can you even speak speak English?” and “Nobody cares for your kind, you’re hardly human just an animal.” If you are white you don’t get this kind of discrimination. Even if you are an immigrant you don’t get nearly as much if any discrimination. Solely based off of the color of your skin.

I would never hear someone discriminate against my race because they assume I was born in America. “People ask me all the time if I’m legal, especially since the election” says my co worker Julio. He has a very heavy spanish accent and his first language is spanish but he is a citizen of America. He’s just not white.

Even though racial inequality has lessened a lot in the past 100 years, there is still a lot that goes on. Personally I know that being an immigrant and also being white makes everything a lot easier.

I have lived here for 10 years and have never been discriminated against or told to go back to where I came from.

People just assume that we were born in America because we are white.

It was very easy for us to get a green card and citizenship. It was easy for my parents to find work, it was easy to get my sister and I into school, it was easy for us to get a house in a nice neighborhood. Just because we are white.

If you happened to immigrate from somewhere like Mexico imagine what you would face everyday. You would would face a lot of difficulties in all aspects of life. You would have issue finding jobs, you would get discrimination and hateful words from people who don’t even know you.  Even if you were an illegal immigrant, as long as you are white you would have a pretty easy life.

If you were a citizen but Mexican you would be more likely suspected of being illegal. People would make rude remarks about you having to go back across the border or now “back over the wall”. It would probably be more difficult to get a job and it would be a lot more difficult to get a green card.

In reality, this problem is probably never going to go away. With the president that we have and some of the remarks he makes about mexican immigrants gets other people to feel the same way publicly. It can be a dangerous place for hispanic people here. Only because they can’t change the way they look. They were born that way just like I was born white and in Canada.

Luckily I will never face that problem but I want you to think about how this might affect someone. I want to get the word out so that people think before they say.

How somebody looks shouldn’t affect how they are treated in society.

The president shouldn’t enforce racism.

“They love this country and they want this country to be great again. They are passionate.” Trump said after some of his supporters attacked a homeless Latino man. Just because he was Latino. According to the Huffington Post, Donald Trump supports hate crimes against hispanic Americans.

Why do we as a general population hate people because of the way they look? Why do we assume that just because someone is Mexican that they are illegal? We are supposed to be a country of freedom and acceptance. I suppose in the constitution they meant that all men are created equal…only if they’re white.

Immigration by J.E

I am drawn to big problems and trying to find solutions to those problems. When seeking solutions, I try to focus on the cause rather than on the symptoms of the problem.  During my service trip to Nicaragua this past summer, I had an opportunity to live with locals where I helped build a preschool.  Being there, I came to understand more about the circumstances that actually lead to the decision to migrate to the U.S. and why people choose to leave their homes and families. This is also a problem for all of us. According to the US Homeland Security there are over 11 million immigrants in the US from central and South America. I realized that the proposed solutions we often hear from our politicians, on either side, do not address the cause behind the need for migration.  This makes me want to speak up and get involved.

This country was founded out of the need of many people seeking a better life, usually in face of severe circumstances.  The phenomenon of migration can be seen across nearly all forms of life where species have to relocate simply in order to survive. The majority of us come from an immigration background in one way or another with family fleeing lives that, may not seem sustainable. So then, why  now, as new immigrants are trying to come to the US from Latin America seeking the same opportunities that our families once sought,  are we not focused on the threats that are fueling their need to relocate?    Many gangs rule the streets and terrorize the locals into giving them money or forcing their kids into the gangs. According to the interview I had with Maria Lepure “The Mexican government is controlled by the Cartels.” According to an article by Jason Breslow between 2007 and 2014 more than 164,000 people were victims of homicide.  According to that same article this period of time was a period that accounts for some of the bloodiest years of the nation’s war against the drug cartels. Even when not in direct danger, those in poverty face a threat of a different kind.  I lived in a rural village in Nicaragua in a home with a dirt floor, no running water and just barely enough to meet daily needs.  My host family was able to get by, but others were not.  And when they don’t have enough, they often make the very difficult decision to leave. This was also shown in the book Enrique’s Journey By Sonia Nazario. In the book she says that Enrique would get beat up by the gangs because he didn’t want to join and because he would wear stuff from the US. This means sacrificing their close ties with family and friends, risking their lives and gambling with the little bit of money they do have to try to make a successful trip to the US where hopefully they will be able to start helping their family meet their needs.   The reality of life for many people in Latin America is one of just barely surviving.  Those who migrate north can see that if they were to stay, their survival is in question. People who are leaving these situations are truly desperate And when you are desperate you are willing to take risks and make sacrifices, some of which our own families made long ago but which, it seems, have been forgotten.

The question is, if the number of immigrants entering the US from Latin America is a problem, as many argue that it is, then what can be done to fix this?  Some propose closing the borders, creating greater barriers to illegal immigration or even building a wall to prevent them from entering.  How will  such barriers lessen the need for them to relocate? A wall will not make them less hungry or safer?  Others, often those on the other side of the political spectrum, propose to give those who have already entered illegally a “path to citizenship.”  How would that, however, affect the need for people to continue to leave?  Central America Is like a building on fire and people are jumping for their lives, taking great risk and making huge sacrifices to save themselves and their families. . The US government unfortunately isn’t trying to put the fire out.  In fact, putting out the “fire” doesn’t even seem to be a part of the conversation about illegal immigration,  no matter which side is discussing it. Why is that?  Is it because   the US benefits from cheap labor from Central Americans and we actually need some of these illegal immigrants?  Or, is it perhaps that it simply is not possible for the US to boost the economies of the countries from where the immigrants are coming? I don’t know the answer to those questions.  What I do know is that if there is going to be an answer that truly slows illegal immigration, we must find a way to eliminate what is driving people to leave, whether it be crime, violence or poverty.  It is a big problem that must be addressed in a variety of ways.

 

Bibliography

Breslow, Jason M. “FRONTLINE.” PBS. PBS, 27 July 2015. Web. 11 Dec. 2015.

Krogstad, Jens Manuel, and Jeffrey S. Passel. “5 Facts about Illegal Immigration in the U.S.” Pew qwerasdfzResearch Center RSS. PewResearch Center, 19 Nov. 2015. Web. 28 Dec. 2015.

Lepure, Maria. “Immigration Story.” Personal interview. 23 Nov. 2-15.

Nazario, Sonia. Enrique’s Journey. New York: Random House, 2006. Print.

United States. Department of Homeland Security. Yearbook of Immigration Statistics: 2013. qwerasdfzWashington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Immigration Statistics, qwerasdfz2014.