New World, Old Rules

It is no secret that immigration policy in the united states has changed drastically in recent years, with the main cause for change being the 9/11 tragedy, immigration has been significantly restricted, whereas laws and views were much more open minded before.

Recently, America has experienced a massive rise in the number of illegal immigrant minors from Central America.  Many of these minors have been either caught by, or surrendered to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. The vast majority of the children are from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. El salvador has essentially been taken over by street gangs, while the poverty and crime rates of Guatemala and Honduras are very high.1 Honduras, to this day remains the deadliest country in the world, with 90.4 murders per 100,000 people, and in Guatemala, the people commonly say that life is not even worth living due to the crime rates. It is no secret that these children have all been sent to the United States in order to get the chance to better themselves. The majority of the time, the parents of these children pay both large and small scale smugglers to sneak their children into the United States. Currently, approximately 52,000 children have been caught residing illegally in the US. Most would agree that these poverty- and crime-ridden areas of the world could be compared to war zones, which allows for the title of these children to be changed from “immigrants” to “refugees” in the eyes of some people. These children are not seeking refuge from attacks on their nation by other nations, their parents are trying to provide better lives from them by getting them out of their own countries which have essentially been left in ruins.  With the current influx of illegal immigrant minors from central america, a question of morality arises, and that question tackles the issue of whether or not to deport those illegal immigrants

It s evident that the image Americans have of immigrants has been obscured. Many people think of immigrants as people who simply come to America for one reason or another, and end up taking jobs and relying on the government for aid. Immigrants have created, molded, and continue to change and influence America in a multitude of ways, thus, it would be disastrous for our view to be so warped by prejudices we may have.

In 1999, thousands upon thousands of immigrants came to the United States from Kosovo, a small, war-torn region of Eastern Europe.2 Nearly half of the population of Kosovo was displaced due to attacks by the Serbians, who are Eastern European people that once were a part of The Republic of Yugoslavia, which was separated into many states in the early 1990’s due to unrest and upheaval. The US, along with countless other nations came together to try to provide safe havens for these immigrants. These immigrants were able to come to the united states a variety of different ways; they could enter as refugees, or they could be sponsored by close family members, distant family members, or really anyone who knew an Albanian immigrant. My family was lucky enough to be sponsored by one of my fathers old college colleagues. We came to the US in 1999, with nothing but the clothes on our backs, and each other. My parents worked long, laborious hours for minimum wage, trying to provide for my brother, sister, and I. Through this hard work, my parents met new people, and eventually were able to get better jobs, stopped using food stamps after just a few months, moved out of our friends apartment, and decided to stay in america, effectively becoming tax-paying citizens, and creating better lives for themselves, and my siblings and I. Our story is one of thousands upon thousands of Immigrant success stories, proving that America is the land of opportunity. Thus, the question arises as to what actions the US should take to handle the huge numbers of child immigrants.

There is no doubt that Americans have a narrow view of immigrants. The first step is for people to look at their view of immigrants, and potentially try to question their view, because the reality is that the majority of immigrants do not intend to take american jobs, and spend taxpayer money. Immigrants, for the most part, come to america to try to better themselves, and create better lives for themselves and their families. There seems to be a prejudice towards Central and Southern American immigrants, however, the truth is that those immigrants have the same intentions as other immigrants throughout history. In order to make the best decisions in crises like this, Americans need to first take a look at their personal view of immigrants, and try to be more open minded.

  1. http://www.ticotimes.net/2014/04/14/honduras-central-america-still-lead-the-world-in-murder-rates []
  2. https://migration.ucdavis.edu/mn/more.php?id=1801_0_4_0 []

Veton is a 16 year old high school senior attending PDHS. His family immigrated to America in 1999 in order to escape war in Kosovo. He grew up in Palm Desert with his older brother and sister, and plans to attend a university immediately after graduating high school.