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How Immigration Changed A Generation

It's prominent impact on our lives.

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How Immigration Changed A Generation

This political climate is toxic, manipulative, and overall complicated. It feels as if there is a new, insane claim or order coming out of the white house but then that claim is forgotten and we move on to the next one. For instance, the President managed to drop an executive order for a Muslim ban. Once it received an instant backlash, he then moved on to an extreme health care policy (ACHA, or ACA-lite) within days, rather than focusing on the other immigration alternatives. Whatever place you stand on the political spectrum, we can all agree that things have been crazy and unexpected. In the midst of this insanity, the topic of immigration has resonated with me. It seems as if there is this characterization about immigration, painting it as dangerous and unwelcomed. What some fail to recognize, however, is that a majority of immigrants come to the United States for one sole purpose: opportunity. This is a country that gave opportunity to immigrants in the likes of Albert Einstein, Audrey Hepburn, Joseph Pulitzer, and Leoh Ming Pei. The United States is essentially a home to those daring to dream and wanting to build a great future for generations.

In the late 70s, my aunt and uncle decided they needed to start a better life for everyone in our family. At the time, they were residing in Iraq and they sought after giving liberty for not only themselves but for the generations in our family that have yet to exist. Once they both took the initiative to move to the United States, my dad dropped out of school at the age of 14 to join them. When they moved into the USA, more of the family later followed. Around this time, Jimmy Carter was president and he has issued a Iranian ban due to the Iranian Hostage Crisis. Things were probably extremely difficult for my family, even though they had been coming from Iraq not Iran. They were Arab and that's the only motivation some people need. Eventually, they found a peaceful place that they could essentially re-invigerate their lives. They had moved all around from Virginia to Michigan to California and finally by the time our family moved to Arizona, our family had grown. In total, I currently have 6 aunts/uncles and 25 cousins living here. Each of us with our own aspirations/ goals and finally having the contingency to achieve those goals.

Out of my cousins, we have an aspiring musician, doctor, physical therapist, an interior designer, a dental hygienist, an owner of a mechanic shop, a businessman, and an athlete. Imagining what it is like for other families who eventually want to the chance to make a difference in their lives is very difficult, because we are at a time in our country that was worse than the Carter era. It is not necessarily President Trump who has been painting this daunting image, it's the people in which he surrounds himself with; those who have implemented ideas such as an immigration ban. When discussing immigration policy, a year ago, President Trump went on the radio show of now chief strategist, Steve Bannon. In the interview, Trump tells a story about a man who moved here from India, went to Harvard, but got deported and eventually started his own business. To Bannon, Trump asks, "“He wanted to do that here. We have to be careful of that, Steve. We have to keep our talented people in this country. I think you agree with that. Do you agree with that, Steve?” Bannon disagreed and dismayed his bigoted rhetoric. The actions and impression this administration has given is a harmful one that has lead to nothing but racist and insensitive harassment.

If this administration were in power when my family moved, they would have had to stay put in a place that has been bombarded with Islamic extremism. What opportunities would we have in that environment? Would we set out to achieve our potential and fulfill our goals or would we settle for something that would enable us to simply put food on the table? Because of the United States immigration, my grandparents have had long and peaceful lives, my parents have been able to support our family, and my brothers and I have the opportunity to achieve an education or pursue a goal. The preconception that immigration is used for people to get an easy pass or to cause trouble is believed by those who have been privileged enough not to fight for a good life. I believe that God gave each us one life on Earth to fulfill. Who has the right to deny someone the prospect of living a great life?

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