Help our neighbors from other countries

Colin Roberts, Copy Editor

There is a fierce debate raging within America. It is a struggle that we often have, one of identity. A struggle to define who should live in this country and who this country is for.

This nation has never been all that comfortable with immigration. There were the slaves we forcibly brought over from Africa and stripped of their identities. There were the Irish and Italian Catholics that prompted the creation of the concept “white” to differentiate between desirable and undesirable Europeans. And more recently, the influx of South and Central American immigrants, moving here both legally and illegally, searching for a better life.

All these different waves of immigration receive the same pushback from people who view the “American” way of life as under attack. It is the same struggle, the same discrimination repeated in cycles over the decades. It seems like each new group must prove their worth. They must justify their right to exist and pursue the same dream that so many others already have.

Others will try and justify their existence for them. “This one’s a doctor!” “This one invented a thing!” “Look here, this one isn’t like the others!”

How sad that people must fight to convince others to have empathy for those who do not look or sound like them. I do not care if the immigrants that are coming over are talented or educated or any other number of qualifiers that seem to be attached to human worth. I do not care if they are legal, as our immigration process is a broken and lethargic system to anyone who has analyzed it.

The reason I do not care is because it is a matter of human rights. I would deny no one the pursuit of a better life. I would deny no one the attempt to save their family and their culture by bringing them both to a more stable land. Their countries are in turmoil through no fault of their own. Their lives are imperiled because of factors as simple and random and geographical placement. And yet still their fight does not end if they make it here. It has only begun.

The United States of America will soon have to make a choice. It is a choice of the heart, and it is an important one. So many evils are subtle, there are so few decisions one can look at and understand instantly that it is one of the soul. But the issue of helping our neighbors is one of them.

Immigration, both legal and illegal, will only grow in these coming decades. Our ecosystems are collapsing. You do not have to believe in man-made climate change, but you do have to believe in climate change of some kind or another. As the droughts grow longer and the weather more volatile, millions of people all across the globe will gather their families and set out for places that hold clean water and ground still good for growing. Will you build walls America? Or will you build a future we can all be proud of? The answer will determine our identity as a country forever.      

Colin Roberts is a senior English major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].