Who Are We? We Are You.

Have you ever wanted something so desperately that you would endure a dangerous and grueling hike on foot? Pay a stranger a big sum of money, your life savings, just for them to try to help you get to your destination with no guarantee? Send your children there on their own for the possibility that they will have a better life, even if it’s without you? My parents did, and for that I am very fortunate. Before I was born, my parents immigrated to the United States from Mexico. It was just recently that I found out my mother was pregnant with my older sister when she crossed the Rio Grande with my father. I have always known how desperate people were to make it to the United States, but there are still people who don’t know or don’t care. In this political climate, immigrants are made to look like lazy lawbreakers who are here to steal the jobs of others, but that’s not the case. They simply want what literature and cinema has shown them: the American Dream. The opportunity to leave everything they know behind to find a better life for themselves and their families. A life in which they can work hard to get what they want and need. Isn’t that what everyone wants? 

People can easily brush everything off and say “They can come here legally—the right way,” but what they don’t know is that it takes an insane amount of money and time to get into the states legally. My mom has since gotten her citizenship, but my dad has been in Mexico since I was a kid and has been trying to come back to the United States for more than ten years. More than ten years. He doesn’t have enough money for a lawyer to help him through the process and no matter how optimistic I try to make him, he simply feels like he’s running out of time. Every year during Thanksgiving and Christmas, my grandmother cries whenever she mentions my father during the prayer. My father is the most hard-working man I know. He puts family first and makes sure to tell me every time we talk that I am strong, I am smart, that I can be whatever and whoever I want to be. So to the people who are against immigration, who are you to decide who is or isn’t deserving of creating a better life for themselves? If you want him or anyone to come into this country “the right way,” create a way to make citizenship less of an empty promise with an almost impossible process and more of an attainable dream. At the end of the day, we want the same things. We want a better life for ourselves and our families. Because who are we? We are you. 

By Blanca Reyes

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