To Whom It May Concern:
It’s “undocumented” immigrant, not “illegal.” As a classmate of mine justly said recently, people can’t be illegal. So I would greatly appreciate it if from now on, we used the term undocumented immigrant when discussing immigration.
I understand that you are frustrated that undocumented immigrants are “taking your jobs,” but the reality is that they are doing the jobs that you will not. I take personal offense to your ignorant and generalizing comments when you say things like this. Although most of my family was able to come to the United States many years ago with visas, today immigration policies make it much more difficult to do so. I have some family members who are undocumented and have already lifted more fingers than you probably ever will. As the ACLU purports, the fact is that immigrants actually have a positive effect on the American economy.
And you think that immigrants should not even bother to be here if they are not making the effort to learn English? First of all, language has nothing to do with the amount that these individuals give back to this country. In actuality, immigrants do believe they need to learn English so that they can make it in the United States, yet sometimes it is not that simple. Latino immigrants specifically assert that they know they need to learn English, and even realize that they may be discriminated against if they don’t. Also, even though many immigrants do want to learn English, as a friend of mine logically pointed out, sometimes these resources are not necessarily available, such as workshops and classes funded by say the government. Let’s not forget one of the many positive attributes of speaking a different language in this diverse country, because were it not for my own Latin heritage, I would have never learned Spanish and been able to assist in bridging the gap between different communities in the U.S.
Weren’t your ancestors immigrants themselves once? And did they not come over with a primary language of their own? Did their simple motivation of having a better life threaten to take jobs away from others? Perhaps, but it seems to me that you are not acknowledging the similarities between immigrants today and immigrants from just a century prior.
It’s not that I’m blind to the validity of some of your points, however far-fetched they may be, but in order to embark on this discussion over immigration, you need to stop making sweeping generalizations. In addition, you need to start looking at outside forces that come into play, such as why these immigrants are coming into the U.S. in the first place. As to what is true versus misconceptions surrounding immigration, the list goes on and on. I urge you to peruse this link in which the ACLU discusses Immigration Myths and Facts.
Melissa Beatriz Skolnick is currently a graduate student attaining her Master’s in Social Work in Philadelphia. She strives to merge social work and journalism together in order to bring more awareness to various underrepresented communities, as well as to bring light to societal inconsistencies. In addition, she hopes to one day impact society through endeavors such as policy-making, writing through a widespread medium, and speaking to those who are willing to listen.