This Land Is Your Land…

Aside from gun control, immigration is the “hot” topic on Capitol Hill as both a bipartisan group of senators and President Barack Obama recently proposed immigration reforms—vast in their similarities, both plans seek to provide a path to citizenship for 11.6 million undocumented immigrants.

For generations, people have emigrated from their home lands for countless reasons and motivations—landing in America in search of freedom and opportunity. No matter who we are or how long our families have been here, as Americans, we all have immigration stories—that is, unless we are 100% Native American.

Our Space Tired PoorWhile I can personally trace my U.S. lineage back to the American Revolution on my father’s side, my mother’s side didn’t arrive in the States until after WWII. Is one side any more American than the other? Both sides have stories of trials and successes, tribulations and tranquility, afflictions and fortunes —and that’s what makes their stories “American.” The most telling part of any American story isn’t that they came, but why they came.

(Mostly) every person (unless he or she was brought here against his or her own volition) has come here for the opportunities. They’re here so they can experience the successes (even if it means overcoming trials), tranquility (despite any tribulations) and fortune (in the face of affliction)—because it’s the most they can hope for, because they want a chance at a certain quality of life.

Today, 11.6 million people living in America aspire to achieve the American Dream but live in fear that they’ll be stripped from this land they call home. They cling to the dream but cannot make it past the glass wall dividing them from their fellow Americans. These people buy into social security but can never reap the benefits, pass up salaries and benefits to avoid being discovered, work multiple jobs to send their children to college because scholarships or loans or grants are not an option. They smell, hear, taste, sense opportunity in every way—but have no way of achieving it.

Some of these undocumented immigrants have lived here almost their entire lives; they have learned here, worked here, grown here and known no other land but here. These people certainly cannot call any other place “home,” and some cannot even speak the language of their “native” country.

Our Space Life LibertySome question, why don’t they go back? Because this is also home for 11.6 million undocumented people.

Yes, we can secure our boarders now and continue to bring in the people who have been waiting in their native lands, but the 11.6 million are here regardless. A path to citizenship means fulfillment of the American Dream; which is to say fulfillment of opportunity—like every American, what they do with that opportunity is their responsibility. But, our responsibility, as Americans, is to not only offer our people, but recognize that all people are entitled life, liberty and pursuit of happiness—those are inalienable rights, after all. If we send them back, we just may be stripping them of their pursuits of happiness, their liberties and even their lives- how American is that?

Cassandra is a Content Manager and Developer at SJG. She earned her BA from Fontbonne University in 2011. Outside the office, she enjoys an active, healthy and well-rounded lifestyle including reading, writing, running, golfing, watching films, listening to music, taking photographs, and consuming media and social media.