God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!”
Since the dawn of time, migration has been a part of humanity; we conquer, discover or quite simply survive. Regardless of where we’re from, we are products of migration – from across the world, an ocean or even the town over. Regardless of how long ago the journey happened, we are all products of migration.
However, many of us seem to have forgotten that, and of course the most famous of people who fall into this category is our current president. Indeed, President Trump has made a war on “illegal immigration” since he was running for office and has made this “issue” the center of most of his policy proposals, including the Muslim Ban.
Nevertheless, without going into Trump’s policies, there is a term that has invaded our country’s mouths, along with any other country who has experienced a rise in populism (particularly National Socialists). The term “illegal” to qualify an unwelcomed type of immigration has swept over America that obliviously blamed on immigrants all the evil in this world.
Granted, legally speaking, the term “illegal immigration,” in the context of a ban, is technically appropriate. Yet a loaded term is never just the definition the dictionary will be attributing to it. What is most important is the sense we give to this word, just like existentialist philosophy according to Sartre. I would be shocked if President Trump didn’t think of an ISIS flag or the stereotype of an ’80s Colombian mafia in Miami when uttering the words “illegal immigration.”
The truth is, no entire person is illegal. People are undocumented or have non-working visas, but no one deserves this strange umbrella term, as we are all deserving of life, peace and respect. America, for some reason, cannot remember that this land our current President serves is supposedly “the land of freedom and rights/the country for all.” America would be nothing without immigration.
More than being a pillar of innovation, resilience and strength, immigration is not just about that today – we are talking about vital human needs. Undocumented migrants are searching for peace, safety and refuge, not to steal your money.
If you think that you can’t relate to this situation, look into your history, and I challenge you to find when your ancestors came to the U.S., why they came, how they came – perhaps next time you look at the pictures of a sinking boat in the Mediterranean carrying five times the quantity of people it should normally have, you will see it differently. We are products of migration, and this doesn’t make us “illegal”.