On a day like any other day, a group of men and women wait outside early in the morning for a van to come pick them up for work. As they chatter, discussing about how things are back home, the van appears, and the driver honks his horn. The group enters the vehicle and drive for nearly two hours on the highway. Heading to a warehouse outside of the city, then laboring in an indoor environment where temperatures soar to over 90 degrees, and getting paid $7.25 an hour to press the linen you would find in hotels, they have no foresight of the fate that awaits them at the end of the day
After work as they travel back to the city, a state trooper flashes his sirens, and pulls the van over. Per standard procedure, the trooper asks for the driver’s license and registration; he checks out. However, as the officer looks towards the back seats, he sees the group of men and women with tired faces, and also requests for their identifications. They remain silent. As the officer asks again, this time in a much more intimidating manner, yet again the patrons remain quiet. The officer grows impatient. He observes the vehicle’s passengers and interrogatively inquires the driver: “Do they have statuses in this country?” The man stutters for a moment and the words the men and women in the back dreaded to hear had come out: “No.” The officer radios his station and requests a very special unit: Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.). This would be the very last moment these individuals will ever feel as part of America.
In the United States today, there lives a very vibrant and discriminatory creature. It is not a creature where one would expect to find in the woods or in the dark places in their home. No, this creature is the birth mother of all disease spreading vectors. This parasite is something known as fear. As Americans live and strive to outwork each other by chance to acquire the “American Dream,” there lives this fear that their opportunities in obtaining this ultimatum may be taken away from them by foreigners. Ironically enough, these people’s grandmothers and grandfathers, great-grandmothers and great-grandfathers, and so on were once known to be the very same outcasts. As this contagion finds itself spreading from American to American, cases of things like “Islamaphobia,” hatred for those of a different color skin, and dislike for “foreign-ness” also spreads across the nation.
With fear also brings about a relationship between the majority and minority that does not fit into the details of a host welcoming a guest with open-arms but instead with a loaded gun. Although America often refers itself to be a country “built by immigrants” and “offers” comfort and protection for those in need, it is not often the case as shown through its strict immigration policy that ceases to intensify the gravity for immigrants to obtain legal status in the country. However as the “Clintons” and “Obamas” fight to loosen such restrictions, there remains an opposing governing body voted upon by the people, for the people to constrict it, and it is all due in part to one thing: fear. The members of such a body are afraid of losing their jobs, they are afraid of losing their livelihoods, they are afraid of losing their liberty, and most importantly they are afraid of losing their country. Despite seemingly valid reasons to fear such immigrants, in a few words describes such Conservatives’ hamartia: they poorly mistaken such individuals to be the very manifestation of fear. For what they think is the problem that is to be dreaded, of what they are becoming is the one true danger.
For all the Trump and Cruz-minded individuals that lament at the fact that their country is “being taken over,” these people are to instead brace against what the world will perceive them as: isolationists. The ideas of mass deportations, invading distant countries and waging foolish wars against “terrorist” religions, and riling up the very people they are seemingly safeguarding from such fear will translate to a much adhering multitude: solitude. Antipathy from foreign nations will bring upon crumbling treaties, pacts, relationships, and most effectively the very thing that may grant America’s citizens the “American Dream”: the economy. However, not only will foreign nations grow such a displeasure, but like-minded Progressives in the country will do the same and there will rise a familiar foe called “civil war.” What will be left of the nation then? A socialist state? An isolationist state? As Americans proudly talk of progression, of equality, and of the “American Dream,” who exactly are they for: foreigners and citizens alike or just citizens? For questions yet to be answered by all “Americans,” immigration reform is a viable key to standard equality in favor of accepting individuals from around the world, especially those that look to find solace in the country, and integrating them as a part of its society.
Working in clearly unsafe conditions such as the men and women in the van because they lack the legal status to apply for a work visa or Employment Registration Card is simply elementary and dehumanizing. Immigration reform such as barring the useless “Granted Withholding of Removal” status is needed. By at the very least, as standard, granting undocumented immigrants in the country “Asylum” status, it is not only the most reasonable conclusion for a people with reasonable minds to accept this fear , but also to advance to solid not faux issues such as creating a balanced budget. Markedly, these “immigrants” will have the opportunity to assimilate to the United States, apply for permanent residency, and solidify their right to be treated as if an “American.” As the great Abraham Lincoln once said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” and for America to remain strong it must unite not dissimulate, especially on the topic of immigration. Carpe diem.