I Have a Dream…

I cannot imagine having my life uprooted. My family, friends, home, school, life, taken away from me in the blink of an eye. Especially because of something I have almost been immunized to after hearing it for so long in the media — contested immigration status.

Touchy immigration subjects were always at a distance from me. Arizona’s anti-immigration measures, migrant workers, and the stereotypical immigrant jokes (just to name a few) were simply things that I heard about. I would always try to avoid having an opinion about undocumented immigrants because I knew many people were far more passionate and firm in their views.

So then, why do I have an opinion about this now?

Photo from Politico

Macaulay Now reported that Aygul Charles, a Macaulay alum, is the lawyer representing Nadia Habib’s (a fellow high school alum) deportation case. The many news articles, video clips and links floating on the web painted a picture of someone who had lived in the U.S. all her life and was about to be deported to a country she no longer called home because of a mistake by an immigration judge. It was the first time that my alma maters directly clashed, which inevitably led to my increasingly firm and emerging voice, particularly on deportations. Especially for young undocumented persons who had no say in coming to the country illegally, I think they should be allowed to stay, granted they show they can positively give back to American society.

Proposed DREAM act legislation would grant a conditional six year residency to undocumented aliens who possess good moral character that have entered the country while as minors and graduated from American high schools. Of course, the act should not be used as a loophole and encouragement by undocumented individuals who don’t fit the bill, using it as their venue to permanent residency in the country. The law is a grey area that wrestles with the concept of transitioning individuals into legal residents.

However, we simply and purposely cannot fragment a person’s life and family because of their legal status, especially when they had no control over beginning the only life they know. If we begin a legal and political tradition of such deportations, we may enter a dark and never ending spiral that may not honor the family structure and a person’s basic legal rights.

Our nation was built on immigrants. Let’s continue that tradition.

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