I am the Child of an Immigrant

The issue of immigration isn't where you're from; it's the color of your skin.

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I am the Child of an Immigrant

Molly Duke, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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I am the child of an immigrant. My father came to America over twenty years ago. He came legally using a work visa. He has lived in America for over 25 years; and he has never experienced what these immigrants do.

I am the child of an immigrant. But I have never had to feel my fingers being pried away from my mothers in a crowd. I’ve never had to choose between my parents like three-year-old Sofi from Honduras, when immigration officers made her choose which of her parents to deport back to her home country. I’ve never had to watch the officers cart away my father and leave my family broken. In the end a doctor had to plead mental health to put Sofi’s family back together. Many other children don’t get that chance.

I am the child of an immigrant. But I have never been placed in custody on false accord. I’ve never had to say goodbye to my family as I’m placed behind bars. I’ve never had to say to ICE officers that I’m a U.S citizen, only to be ignored. Again and again, ignored. I have never been held in deportable immigrant custody for over three and a half years like 23 year old Davino Watson, only to be denied compensation by the appeals court. 

I am the child of an immigrant. But I’ve never been shoved into a cage with hundreds of other people. I have not been forced to take a baby into my arms because their mother has been taken away. These women, whether they are actual mothers of children or teens, are forced to take care of children. They have staining on their shirts and haven’t bathed in days. I am the child of an immigrant, but I have never been told I am unworthy of soap. These women and children are told this is not a cage, they are just in there for their own safety. 

I am the child of an immigrant. But I’ve never had to sit in a hot car while ICE officers stand outside, ready to arrest my family. I’ve never had to have my neighbors form a human chain to my house to get my children inside, like the unnamed man in Tennessee. He had to hold his son in his arms and say his goodbyes incase they took him away. This experience is not unfamiliar among immigrant families.

I am the child of an immigrant. But I’ve never been dragged away while I walk my child home. I’ve never had to try and prove my residency of thirty years to the men who will not listen. My 14 year old son has never had to write a letter to plead for my freedom, like Syed Ahmed Jamal’s son. Syed, a chemistry professor at the University of Kansas, was ripped away from his family. I am the child of an immigrant. But I never had my father hauled to jail over 150 miles away after he had lived in America for the majority of his life. Jamal’s kids were lucky to see him again. Others aren’t so lucky.

I am the child of an immigrant. But I’ve never been walking through a shop trying to get groceries for my family only to be verbally assaulted by someone in the next isle. She demands someone to speak English. She yells until her face turns red, the hatred in her eyes clear. This is America.

I am the child of an immigrant. But I have never been falsely arrested by ICE. I have not been told I am an illegal immigrant. I have not been told my rights no longer matter. Since 2012, over 1,500 Americans have been falsely arrested and released by ICE. This number is merely a fraction of those who are arrested. Many do not make it back home. 

I am the child of an immigrant. My father came to America over twenty years ago. He came legally using a work visa. He has lived in America for over 25 years; and he has never experienced what these immigrants do. I do not experience what these immigrants do.

Because my skin is white.