In 1996 after 13 years of waiting, my parents, two brothers and I were finally issued green cards. Becoming a lawful permanent resident in the United States is a long and arduous process and perhaps justifiably so. Allowing foreigners entry into the United States is not a process that should be taken lightly. Yet Trump’s executive order on immigration which banned citizens from 7 muslim countries, initially interpreted to include those who are legal permanent residents of the United States, shows that Trump has zero understanding of the laws of our country and the lengthy vetting process that goes into allowing immigrants into the United States. Although my family did not come from one of these countries, there is nothing stopping Trump from issuing bans from any of our central and southern american neighbors in the future on the pretense of national security.
While we were permanent residents I was always anxious about international travel because I knew that once we returned to customs we would be subjected to racism, heavily scrutinized and often times belittled by the officers before being allowed back into the United States. Several years ago we became U.S. citizens and were allowed to be part of the special line--the one for citizens only where people are treated with greater respect. The difference in treatment was like day and night, but a piece of paper should not determine how we treat others. I was the same person when I was a permanent resident as when I was a U.S. citizen. I was a human being. Yet for some reason my legal status is what determined the amount of dignity with which I was treated.
You are not fooling anyone. This ban is more about your irrational fear of foreigners, other religions and other races than about national security. Fortunately, I am reminded everyday by those that surround me, those I grew up with and the millions of protesters that I see on the news every night that you and your narrow minded followers are in the minority.
The majority of us denounce your immigration ban because we are not threatened by people with different religious views. Belonging to a certain religious group does not automatically make you a threat to our country.
The majority of us are not threatened by people who speak other languages. Thousands of languages are spoken worldwide. Why did your administration take down the Spanish language White House website?
The majority of us are not threatened by facts. We know that climate change is real. Why are you withdrawing from the Paris Agreement on climate change? Why have you appointed people that are going to make billions at the expense of our natural resources?
The majority of us are not threatened by women. We believe that women have the right to make decisions over their own bodies and the right to affordable reproductive services.
And for the record #AlternativeFacts is something that only exists in your alternative reality where rich privileged white males rule the land. This is not our reality. This is not our America.
Why do you fear diversity? Why do you fear the truth?
With your unconstitutional executive action you have not targeted “radical islamic terrorists” and you have not made America safer. Instead you have torn families apart, detained an Iraqi refugee that has worked on behalf of the US government, prevented researchers and scientists from taking part in international collaborations, and hurt students and universities that partner with institutions abroad. Listen to the voicemails of the people impacted by the ban. It is heart wrenching.
All I can say is that I could not be more proud of the work being carried out by people in higher education and the statements that have been released by colleges and universities in support of immigrants and refugees. In classrooms across our nation, people like me will work hard every day to dissuade fears about other languages and cultures and to teach students that opinions should be based on facts. We are the majority. We will fight for our students, our families, our friends and our colleagues. We will fight for all of those you seek to isolate on the basis of religion, race, or sexual orientation. We will fight for our nation.