The Laws of Immigration

About a month ago, my dad and I got in the only yelling fight I ever remember. I knew there was no reason for us to argue – we fundamentally disagreed on a very important issue – that of immigration law. And I told him that we shouldn’t talk about it. He started to raise his voice and said, “It’s the law, Sharece! How do you decide which laws to follow and which not to follow?”

I got upset and started to cry, thus ending the debate. Mainly, I didn’t want to continue arguing because I knew that no matter how long the two of us would talk about it, we weren’t going to agree on the issue in the end.

My father and I disagree on immigration law much like I disagree with many Americans on immigration laws and policies. As a descendant of European immigrants, I appreciate how America has generally stood for a land of freedom and idealism for people to seek new lives in this gigantic land mass. In reality, America has been more of a haven for the white folk as we’ve continued to create a country and society that benefits from white supremacy and racist practices and laws.

Our immigration laws in the US are rooted in racism and white supremacy. If you look even to the most basic level of our northern and southern borders, white folks up north have less-restricted access to the U.S. than do the people of color living in the south. It’s shameful, in my opinion. My friend Caitlin and I have done a bit of research on the topic of social justice and immigration, and both of us have become stronger advocates for change through that process. I, for one, applaud steps forward which allow for more generous immigration policies. I am a fan of the Dream Act and I believe that we should create more policies that recognize the value immigrants bring to our nation. In the White House’s Brief on the Dream Act, there is a quote from Colin Powell, former Secretary of State,

“[The Republican Party] needs to take a hard look at some of the positions they’ve been taking. We can’t be anti-immigration, for example. Immigrants are fueling this country. Without immigrants America would be like Europe or Japan with an aging population and no young people to come in and take care of it. We have to educate our immigrants. The DREAM Act is one way we can do this.”

I’m not a huge Colin Powell fan or anything, but I definitely appreciate what he’s talking about. The rhetoric from the 2016 election regarding immigration was appalling. Our president elect has shown himself to be xenophobic and racist on more than one occasion and to be honest, we can’t have that.

If the president elect and the right-wing conservatives in Congress decide to create unjust policies that discriminate against people of color trying to immigrate to the United States, I think it will be time to challenge those laws by breaking them.

A great man once wrote in his work “Letter from Birmingham Jail,”

You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court’s decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, it is rather strange and paradoxical to find us consciously breaking laws. One may well ask, “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer is found in the fact that there are two types of laws: there are just laws, and there are unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “An unjust law is no law at all.” (MLK)

In 2017, I, for one, plan to fight for a better world – a world with more kindness demonstrated through diversity and inclusion rather than a world with stricter borders between nations.

Tata for now.



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