It’s Never Too Late

The topic of “migration” and “immigration” has been seen as a “problem” throughout history, especially in the past few decades, in the United States and Europe. I’ve always questioned why we look at those who are undocumented as the “problem” rather than the laws that make them termed “illegal” as the problem. Do people not question why these migrants choose to come to the United States “illegally” rather than go through the process to receive documentation? Do they not question what could be wrong with this system or how determined these migrants are to pursuing a life in the US that would lead them to risk their lives to go on this dangerous treck? De Genova brings up an excellent point on raising the question of why after all these years, we don’t push towards amending these laws that put these immigrants in their “illegal” status to allow for more ease and ability to gain documentation to seek the “American Dream” and “freedom” and “land of the free” that the US claims to offer and of the principles it originally had been built on.

All my life, I have despised the term “illegal.” I was raised by immigrants. I grew up surrounded by Mexican and other Latin American immigrants, many of whom, or even most of whom, were undocumented. They are, until this day, the most hard-working, caring, loving, determined, and intelligent people I have ever met. They don’t let this system prevent them from fulfilling what they came here for – to make a living to sustain their lives and their families – using that “uniquely restless creative capacity and productive power” to achieve these goals and overcome the many obstacles that aim to prevent that. Our society uses terms such as “illegal” and “alien” and their status to ostracize them from our society and communities, but they take this and counter it by forming their own communities where they can uphold their values and beliefs, and best of all, where they can celebrate and practice their culture with those who are living a similar life, with those of similar culture, with those that share the same fears yet same aspirations. They are not people who should fear deportation every time they walk out of their homes. They are not people who have to worry about being separated from their children, or their children worry about growing up without their parents. They are not “illegal” people. It baffles me how we can use the term “illegal” or “alien” to describe another human being. We take this adjective that usually describes an act of criminality and use it to describe a person – a living, breathing human being just like every other person on this planet. There has always been something wrong with the idea that a piece of paper- documentation- is seen as a defining feature or proof of someone’s humanity or human nature.

In a sense, I disagree with Heath Cabot about it being “a little late” to make changes or improve the current migrant issues and crises throughout the world. It’s never too late to make an impact. It doesn’t mean that our actions will resolve these issues overnight or even in months. These are issues that have accumulated over many years so they will take many years to resolve, if ever. But, it’s not helpful to do nothing at all to try and change the policies, experiences, and causes of the migrant issues today. Just because a migrant crisis isn’t the news headline doesn’t mean it’s not happening still. We shouldn’t wait until it’s popular media to care about it or work towards alleviating it, and we shouldn’t stand on the sidelines and watch it unravel and grow just because we believe it’s “too late” to help or make a difference.