Walking in the shoes of immigrants | Our Corner

I am one of the lucky few who became a citizen, and I can honestly say I am the American dream.

Covington/Maple Valley reporter Ana Karen Perez-Guzman.

Editors note: This editorial will be published after Election Day due to the newspaper’s deadline. I decided to publish the column because it presents Ana Karen Perez Guzman’s personal perspective of the immigration issue. This column reflects the opinion of the columnist and does not represent a political position or endorsement taken by The Reporter or Sound Publishing.

I am an immigrant.

I am one of the lucky few who became a citizen, and I can honestly say I am the American dream. My parents moved me and my brother to the United States for a better life. They knew we would have better opportunities in the U.S. as opposed to Mexico. And so far, we have.

America is an absolutely amazing country to live in. We have every opportunity available to us. My brother and I both went to college, thanks to our hardworking parents who paid for our college. We both graduated and both have careers. We are living the American dream.

Now I’m just going to say this: the presidential election has been a joke. I was telling my coworker that when I’m dying at the age of 150, knowing Donald Trump was a presidential candidate will still blow my mind.

Trump is a bully. While I get offended with 99.9 percent of everything that comes out of his mouth, the one thing that really hits home for me is his stance and lies on immigration. This is the main reason why I’m not a Trump supporter.

If Donald J. Trump gets elected as president, the opportunity to become a legal resident of this country may become impossible for so many immigrants – like me.

Here’s what I have learned. People don’t come from Mexico, or any other country, to the U.S. just for fun. They don’t randomly pick this country. They don’t risk their lives while crossing the border for fun. They don’t live in fear of being kicked out, just for fun. They don’t risk having their families torn apart just for the thrill off it. People come to the United States for one reason – and one reason only – it really is a great country.

I’ve come across a few people who talk to me about being Trump supporters. When I bring up the fact that I’m an immigrant and that if I wasn’t legally in this country, I could be kicked out of the country after being here for more than 20 years. I talk about how disturbing it is to hear the things Trump says about immigrants.

And the response I usually get? “He’s not talking about you, you’re different.” Different how? Because they know me? Because I’m one of the “good” immigrants? Trump and his minions don’t know me. They don’t know my story. If I didn’t have a green card or wasn’t a citizen, it doesn’t matter if I’m college educated or that I have a clean record. All that would matter is that I don’t have some piece of paper.

Trump lumps every undocumented immigrant into one group. All that he sees is the undocumented part of an immigrant and that’s all he focuses on. He sees undocumented and automatically thinks bad. Undocumented and bad are not synonyms. Undocumented people are not bad people. Of course I can’t say that every undocumented immigrant has good intentions. But consider how many good immigrants there are as opposed to the bad ones. Nobody cares to look into that statistic.

I know immigration isn’t something that affects most Trump supporters. So why should they care? They want the immigrants gone because they are undocumented and illegal, and remember, undocumented and illegal mean bad.

This is why you should care. Put yourself in an immigrant’s shoes. What if you had to leave your family when all you were doing was working hard to give them a better life?

Here’s my next point. Another argument people have is that immigrants are taking jobs away from Americans. And to that I say, actually, all I can really do is laugh. These jobs that immigrants are supposedly taking are jobs that nobody else wanted. These jobs are available for anyone.

It’s not like American citizens born in this country are doing these jobs and then immigrants swoop in and take them. What a joke. I don’t exactly see Americans lining up to work long hours for little pay on farms. I don’t see people lining up to clean toilets or wash dishes. Repeat after me: these jobs are available for anyone.

I’ve worked in the restaurant industry since I was 15. I have seen plenty of undocumented workers get deported while working with them.

I worked with a man who would come from Mexico and work for a few months out of the year then take the money back to his family in Mexico. He told me he and his wife had great jobs in Mexico. The sad part was that he made twice as much money being a dishwasher in one month in the U.S. than he and his wife would make in a month, combined. They barely made ends meet with what they were making in Mexico. With the extra money he made in the U.S. they were able to save money for their children’s college education. Unfortunately, this man was deported and is no longer allowed to come back to the U.S.

My other point is that if it was easy to become a legal resident or a citizen, everyone would do it. Why would someone want to live in fear every day of their lives, not knowing if they would see their kids again? Undocumented immigrants live in the U.S. for a reason. If Trump is elected, millions of immigrants who are here trying to find a better life, could get deported.

I want everyone to really think before they vote for Trump. He will potentially tear apart so many families, he will take away the opportunity to go to college from students who want to do something with their lives. And that’s just one of many reasons why he shouldn’t be president.

How can someone try and make America great again when millions of people will be hurt? And I’m not just talking about immigrants.

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