Immigration status is not indicative of intelligence or worth

Belen Sassone/Staff Writer

Immigrating to the United States is not an easy feat. No one wakes up one morning and decides to leave the life and people they knew and love behind to start a new life in an unknown part of the world.

When my family moved to Miami in 2002, we did so in hopes of having better opportunities. It was difficult to transition from having our entire family with us to being in a place where we knew no one.

Although I was able to learn English fairly quickly and made some friends, that was not the case for my entire family. It took my oldest sister an entire year before she stopped crying herself to sleep every night, and even now, the United States still doesn’t fully feel like home.

Despite this, we understand that the sacrifices we made were for a reason. Despite our struggles, we’ve all worked hard to be successful in the United States and are glad to be here.

When I heard the comments made by Chief of Staff John Kelly last week, I felt deeply hurt.

We’ve worked just as hard as the people who were born here, but what he said echoed a lot of people’s assumptions about immigrants.

He claimed that immigrants who enter the country illegally don’t integrate well because they are unskilled and are used to lower levels of education. When he made these bigoted remarks, I felt that he was attacking every immigrant, regardless of the way they entered the country.

In Argentina, my father got the equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree and is the person I go to for help with math and science. He has been able to maintain a family and thrive, despite being fired a year after moving here.

Other immigrants I know are not only highly intelligent, but have excellent work ethic which has been shaped by the obstacles they’ve faced on their journey.

We all get up every morning and work hard to prove people like Kelly wrong.  

All of the attacks on immigrants by the current administration are completely based on prejudice and lies.

When Donald Trump attacked Mexican immigrants during the campaign trail, I thought the people who supported him would stand up for innocent people who are just trying to make better lives for themselves.

However, the judgement has only gotten worse.

The chants to “build a wall” are louder than ever and more immigrants are being discriminated against for no reason.

In New York City, a video of a lawyer threatening workers with deportation for speaking Spanish went viral. He assumed that they were undocumented and should be kicked out of “his” country.

When I am out with my mom, we only speak Spanish. If someone treated us so poorly for speaking our first language, I don’t know how I’d react.

While I feel insulted, I also know that the community rallies together to support each other during times like these.

In the case of the lawyer in New York, his comments upset so many people that they stood outside his office singing in Spanish for hours, which is reassuring not just for me, but for many other immigrants.

As long as racist people keep feeling entitled to a country that was never theirs to begin with, immigrants will continue to make it clear that we deserve to be here as much as everyone else.



The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of Panther Press Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.


Photo by Nitish Meena on Unsplash.