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Immigration continues to be a problem today in the United States. Our president wants to put a stop to illegal immigration by deporting more people and tightening U.S. border controls. This has exuberated the fear and uncertainty felt by many immigrants and their families (Reardon) We have many immigrants that reside in this country and those that leave for work or to visit their families that lack proper documentation, risk not being able to come back.
In the United Kingdom their new government has toughened the stance on curbing immigration. The government has considered the U.K. should leave the European Union and politicians made it clear that they want to eliminate the free movement of E.U. citizens into the U.K. once the country splits from the E.U. They feel after this happens they will have control of immigration once again. The government has also pledged to cut the number of jobs given to foreign doctors in favor of U.K. citizens (Cressey). This idea comes from people’s opinions on immigrants as weakening the economy and giving jobs to those that could otherwise go to those born in the country.
In Canada the main goal for immigrants is that they feel welcome and can adapt to the new culture in their new country. Also, immigrants are given assistance by the government and are allowed to exercise their citizenship through voting and participate through elected offices (Padilla). Canada’s policy toward societal multiculturism appears central to the comfort that newcomers experience and to their willingness to move toward citizenship and participate fully with all the rights and privileges that Canadian citizens enjoy (Padilla).
I chose this topic because my mom is an immigrant and I’ve seen how hard she has worked to learn the language and she is the most hard-working person I know. I know her chances of ever being deported are slim to none because of how long she has lived in the United States but it’s mainly because she was married to my dad who is a retired veteran of 20+ years. For some reason when people associate someone with being a spouse to a military man they turn the other cheek. I remember being at the airport coming back from Africa and because my mom had some absurd hairdo we were taken aside and placed in an investigation room. It didn’t take more than a couple minutes before my mom presented her military I.D and then we were allowed to leave. They had assumed she was a terrorist. I’ve seen so many people work hard in this country for the government to try to take that away. We have generations of Americans that continue to depend on the government yet when we see people that aren’t native to the country we feel as if they are less deserving.
Fear of deportation can harm children’s well-being even before birth. One day a little girl named Alondra Garcia had U.S. immigration officers tear her family’s house apart in Ann Arbor, Michigan (Reardon). Her step-father was an illegal immigrant that didn’t have proper documentation. She was less than 13 years of age. One of the intruders dangled his handcuffs in front in front of her face, saying, “If I feel like it, I can handcuff your mom right now and you’ll stay by yourself” (Reardon). Garcia and her mother also lacked proper documentation and were scared for their lives. Garcia’s stepfather was detained and deported. For months, Garcia lived in fear. Now, 7 years later, she worries about the future for her younger brother if the government were to deport her mom. Can you imagine being that young to hear someone of authority tell you what this officer told Garcia? To live every day terrorized in fear that you might lose your family. Many immigrants in this country face that fear and feel vulnerable to the government. This is supposed to be a country that gives its newcomers the opportunity to be free and make them feel welcome as a new citizen in the United States.
Researchers are only beginning to understand the long-term mental and physical damage wrought by such stress – especially for children (Reardon). Prolonged exposure to serious stress – known as toxic stress – can harm the developing brain and negatively impact short- and long-term health,” the American Academy of Pediatrics warned in January. (Reardon) Trump wants to deport those in the U.S that don’t have proper documentation but at the same time needs to consider the negative impacts families will have to endure. When Nicole Novak, an epidemiologist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and her colleagues examined the birth certificates of more than 52,000 Iowa children, they found that Latina mothers across the state were 24% more likely to give birth to undersized babies in the year after the raid than in the year before (Reardon). These children will be the working men/women of our future generations and if they were born too early this could lead to health problems in the future for them and their children. Low birth weight is associated with developmental delays, behavioral problems and an increased risk of chronic disease (Reardon). If a woman is pregnant and she has received a long period of high altitudes of stress this can allow a child’s DNA to be altered in ways that change gene expression. This must change. We can’t allow our government to harm those that are seeking new prospects in hope of a better life just to cause high levels of stress and increase health problems for those yet to come.
Kaveh Daneshvar was thrilled when he was invited to speak at a molecular-biology meeting between the 5th-9th of February in Banff, Canada. Daneshvar, a molecular geneticist, is finishing a postdoc at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and is preparing to go on the job market (Morello and Reardon). This conference talk was supposed to be the highpoint in his career he had longed for to acquire the attention of leaders in his field. Now this is impossible because if an Iranian citizen leaves the United States his odds of being able to return are slim to none. This is a very educated man that has plenty of potential that is now in fear because of the executive order signed by Trump on January 27. This blocked refugees from entering the United States for 120 days and stops Syrian refugees indefinitely. It also bans citizens of seven majority- Muslim countries “compromised by terrorism’ – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and Iraq (Morello and Reardon). What are people supposed to do when they have jobs out of the country? Are they supposed to be afraid or face reality and get deported? We have highly intelligent citizens that are doing nothing more than boosting our economy, yet our president has put a stop to this. Ali Shourideh, an economist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania stated “I’ve always been under the assumption this is a free country, that once you immigrated they won’t try to kick you out or make life hard for you (Morello and Reardon).” This man is also an Iranian citizen, who has a mother with cancer, that he is always traveling to visit in Iran and now fears that if he continues to leave the country that he will no longer be able to return. He is now faced with the choice to visit his mom and risk being deported or stay in the country and keep his job. This is no easy decision for a man that could possibly lose his mother and puts stress upon a person that could otherwise be content. Also, this executive order will deter high-skilled-type-professionals and ensure citizens of these seven countries will no longer want to be a part of the United States. Imagine being foreign to a country and being so smart that you can attend a college like Harvard or Carnegie. Samimi, a glaciologist, was detained by Iranian police for the first time when she was nine, because she wore a T-shirt advertising U.S. rock band Bon Jovi (Morello and Reardon). Later, she was harassed by police for having a different hair color and wearing nail polish. Akbari an ethnic Azeri and Sunni Islam faced discrimination in Iran. He alleged “Why am I considered a threat? What have I done to you? “I have been treated as a second-class citizen in my own country and now you are here treating me like garbage” (Morello and Reardon). These stories explain how some are treated in their own countries for seeking freedom and how some have grieved oppression. This is even more reason for why we should assist those who want more for themselves. Many immigrants have come to the U.S. and accomplished great things like Daneshvar and Shourideh. This allows us to know people can flourish when given a chance.
Health toll of immigration policies begins to emerge. The story about Alondra Garcia illustrates a young girl that gets terrorized by an immigration officer at an early age. For any man with any respect towards an innocent child to threaten to take their mother away is an evil man. This informed me about people taking advantage of immigrants. People are quick to stereotype having an accent towards being “naïve” or dressing according to a different culture as being “weird”. It’s difficult for someone new to a country to adjust to something, that to them, seems foreign. I never knew until I had done this research that studies suggest that extreme stress can alter a child’s DNA in ways that change gene expression and can be passed down to future generations (Reardon).
Scientist spooked by U.K. anti-immigration stance. This article displayed that the United Kingdom had similar views to those of the United States towards outsiders of their country. Their new government had ideas that included restricting the flow of foreign students and workers. Doesn’t this sound like Donald Trump and the 120-day ban? Oops, I’ll explain further later. But more importantly how colleges across the United States have been suffering the same fate with having tuition so expensive it’s preventing foreigners from wanting to attend college here in the United States. June’s Brexit referendum that has only increased since his conference which gave the perception that non-U.K. citizens are not welcome. Johnathan Portes, an economist at the U.K National Institute of Economic and Social Research in London said “The priority is simply reducing the people who come here, and if that damages the economy, so be it. “This man doesn’t care about the economy at all just his personal views towards foreigners.
Becoming a citizen. This illustrates that the ultimate goal of any country that receives immigrants and refugees is that the newcomers become participating citizens of their new country (Padilla). This is what every good president should want for his/her country. Ensuring that people are accustomed to their new home will make them more willing to learn the language, get involved in the community, go to school, work, and play a role in the economy.
Trump Administration considers family separation option as border arrests soar (Hesson). One-third of family members were arrested at the southwest border in September compared with the previous month. Border patrol arrested approximately 16,500 family members – the highest monthly total since such record keeping began in 2012 (Hesson). Also, thousands of children were taken away from their parents over a small period of time. This made me consider how much these numbers are growing and how something needs to be done about it.
Scientist struggle with Trump immigration ban- Order barring citizens of seven countries from entering the United States has shocked many (Morello and Reardon). In this article you can see someone holding a sign that declares, “I AM MUSLIM, “Proud Mexican Immigrant”, and “NO ONE IS FREE WHEN OTHERS ARE OPPRESSED”. This visual is very powerful so we can see what immigrants go through and hear how they feel. The United States has always been a prejudice country and it’s time for us to be more open minded and allow those a new beginning.
- Padilla, A. M. (2007). Immigration: Brief Reviews of Recent Books. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 29(1), 116–125. https://doi.org/10.1177/0739986306297232
- Reardon, S. (2017). Health toll of immigration policies begins to emerge. Nature, 544(7649), 148-149.3.
- Cressey, D. (2016). Scientists spooked by UK anti-immigration stance. Nature, 538(7624), 147-148.
- 4.Morello, L., & Reardon, S. (2017). Scientists struggle with Trump immigration ban. Nature, 542(7639), 13-14.
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