The people behind a polarized debate

Cross-posted on

As an excited member of the American University class of 2014, I was ecstatic that the President of the United States had chosen MY future alma mater to discuss an issue that is both highly personal and politically polarizing: immigration.  Since I have a talent for stating the obvious, I will say that I simply would not be here without my parents’ fateful decision to leave their pyaare watan. I feel you, Mr. President – we’re both the children of immigrants. Indeed, the act of migration is an experience that bonds us.


Watching Dana Bash make googly eyes at the CNN cameras and tell the world how “angry” the Latino community is about the lack of comprehensive reform makes ME angry. Last time I checked, Latinos weren’t the only immigrants affected in this increasingly contentious debate . Why limit the discussion to just the impact on the Latino community? I’m from Houston where we have a substantial number of immigrants, legal and otherwise, Latino and non-Latino. The immigration debate hits close to home for me, not only as a Texan and a young second-generation American, but as someone who has seen her own friends and family members put through the ringer trying to find work, live an honest life, and stay out of trouble to achieve their version of the American Dream.
My parents, my sister, the Bhutanese Nepali refugees I met through my summer internship, the friendly Latinos who come up to my father at Fiesta and start speaking Spanish: all immigrants. They all represent sides of the immigration issue that I have experienced but that the American media has failed to show. Though each immigrant community has distinct challenges, they also have similar desires: independence, freedom, & security. I thought it was difficult for my family members, skilled & English speaking, to deal with the INS and wait to become citizens. I realized that they had it easy compared to many. What if you’re like one of the Bhutanese boys I met, 17 and translating between Nepali and English for your parents, relying on charities and social workers to help you fill out your green card application?
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