Immigration has been a tough topic in America for a long time. Accusations such as unemployment, crime and poverty have been made attributing these issues to immigrants both documented and undocumented in the past. However, some of this generation’s youth appear to be in favor of immigration and even immigration reform.
“This country was build on the work and dedication from immigrants around the world so kind of hypocritical for the US to make laws taking away their rights and stuff” Says Lehman High school student Ashley Cruz.
In this day and age when legislation such as the Dream Act -a law that would allow temporary citizenship to those who qualify- it is no surprise that many youths would be progressive in their views on immigration and immigration reform. Those of the younger teenage generation in the Pelham area weigh in with their proposing opinions on immigration both document and undocumented.
“Undocumented immigrants come to the United States illegally for a better life, whether that means living in a safer environment, finding a job, or for cleaner living conditions.” says Catalina McQuade, a Lehman High school student
“Without immigration, America wouldn’t even exist because it was the European immigrants who came here and decided to start a new country.” Added Ms. McQuade.
Those who stand by immigrants even discoursed popular anti-immigrant statements.
Statements such as; immigrants are the cause of unemployment and are taking all the jobs.
“I don’t think that it is a problem because the jobs that most immigrants take are the jobs that most Americans won’t like working on farms or cleaning” said Ms. McQuade.
“If they are a working person supporting a family or a student wanting to further their education then they should have their citizenship cuz they are helping our economy either way” argued Ms. Cruz
These high school students believe that immigration reform should be put in place, and that immigration is not only beneficial for America, but that reform could be a “window of hope for those who are undocumented and have been loyal to this country.” said Francisco Aquino a seventeen year old Mexican American student.
Francisco Aquino also shares his views on current immigration reform such as the Bill on immigration reform that was recently brought to senate. The bill allows for opportunities and paths for immigrants to be come legal citizens under certain specified qualifications, it also calls for increased border patrolling.
“This reform is a positive move forward for all, but has flaws. Making people wait too long for their legalization for example.”
“There is also the differed action law that allows students and undocumented that arrived to the country from a certain time to be removed from the deportation law or prevent them from getting in it. It also grants working permits and allows, in some states, drivers license” Mr. Aquino added.
In addition to commenting on the reform and their opinions on the matter Student Ms. Cruz also adds her personal experience with her friends who are immigrants.
“I do actually know undocumented people,” said Ms. Cruz
“Like a family friend I knew, the older brother was born in Mexico and his younger brother here.” She goes on to describe that her friend was a “Straight A student” but could not go to college due to his lack of citizenship and “ he was forced to find a job to support his family.”
Yet in comparison with his younger brother who is a legal citizen according to Ms. Cruz “is a border line drop out who doesn’t care about school.” and continues to assert her opinion that while other people take their citizenship “For granted” she believes that the documented brother is “wasting the opportunity” that the undocumented brother could have used for college.
Many believe that undocumented immigrants should be given a chance and there’s no reason otherwise. Unless, according to Alyssa Rios, they have a criminal record or participate in illegal activities.
“If someone comes into the country, I don’t think we should try to kick them out without reason. If they are causing harm and breaking laws and being a mess, then yeah. You need to go.
But if someone comes and tries to work, I don’t think we should try and stop them.”