The Freedom to Relocate

“The sad truth is that those who have little reason to leave their birth countries are among the few born with the freedom to relocate.” (Alexander ) The paradoxical nature of this truth encompass the role that privilege plays in the ability of anyone to migrate without restrictions. Like Dr. Alexander, who reflected on this in her piece “The freedom to move isn’t a basic human right. It depends on where you’re born.”, I myself have this privilege. I was born with the freedom to move and yet have no reason to take advantage of it. I think about this often because in my immediate family some have this privilege and others do not and the trajectory of our lives has differed drastically because of it.

Take my sister and I for example. One of the most significant differences between us is our place of birth. I was born in the United States but she was born in Sierra Leone. My sister’s ability to relocate from Sierra Leone was difficult and limited in way that it never would have been for me with my U.S citizenship. And the same can be said about her life after migrating.  I’ve watched my sister struggle with creating the best life for herself in this country knowing that I would never have to face the challenges she faces to do so. All the while I wish that I could give my privilege to her , a privilege that I have no need for. Applying for college is one instance in which I noticed this discrepancy. My sister and I both wanted to go to college after high school  but when my sister decided to go to college she had a lot of difficulty navigating the application process as an immigrant and non-citizen. Her place of birth restricted her in so many ways.  However, when I applied for college and graduated I faced no such problems. My sister and I are so similar, and would otherwise have gone through this process in similar ways had it not been for our differing places of birth. Her place of birth presents her with so many challenges, namely restrictions in her mobility.  I feel guilty that the privilege of just  being a U.S citizen means that my life has been so much easier than my sister’s and many other’s like her. It’s unfair that I have a privilege that I don’t need while there are people who benefit from it way more than me .