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Immigrants are more than their stereotypes

January 14, 2016

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best...They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists, and some, I assume, are good people,” said Donald Trump at his campaign launch for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

Many misconceptions are made when it comes to the topic of immigration and illegal aliens. Despite the views of popular voices such as Donald Trump, a lot of diversity is seen throughout the immigrants living in America today.

Racial and cultural issues emerge in the subject of immigration. Some groups supporting anti-immigration such as American Immigration Control Foundation and the California Coalition for Immigration Reform claim that they only focus on only concurrent and economical issues when in fact they bring up stereotypes to argue against immigration.

 

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Sarah Tocatlian

Immigrants are often seen as an inconvenience to society and many believe that they are hurting America’s economy, school systems, communities and the country as a whole.

“During travel, in airport security checks and immigration checkpoints and during in-flight services, I do observe discriminatory treatment in comparison to others. It could be just more questioning, additional checks, or sometimes getting ignored,” said Indian immigrant Sattish Kuttan.

Many resort to using stereotypes about crime, fertility rates, and wasteful consumption to support their opposition toward immigration.

“Discrimination is usually done by the government, and stereotypes are perpetuated by misinformed people,” said Luis Perez, a Sequoia High School Alumni.

A large number people come to the U.S. for the “American Dream,” they come to work and build towards a better life.

“America was built by people who came here, they worked their hearts out for a better life and that’s what many immigrants are doing today, their dream is to become American citizens,” said Hillary Clinton on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

Some American citizens tend to generalize illegal aliens as people who don’t pay taxes or contribute to the economy, when in fact illegal immigrants actually have to pay taxes out of paychecks, gas taxes, and sale taxes. There is a cost to live in the United States even if you are not a legal citizen, in addition to the taxes, illegal immigrants have to pay for necessities such as clothes and food in the same way that citizens do.

“The truth is that, even if we do not have social security numbers, we still have to report our wages and pay taxes on them,” said Perez.

A group of marchers moves from the US Capitol towards the Lincoln Memorial grounds for the One Nation Working Together rally in Washington, DC.

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A group of marchers moves from the US Capitol towards the Lincoln Memorial grounds for the One Nation Working Together rally in Washington, DC.

While some assume that illegal immigrants get many benefits in spite of the cost of living, newly arrived migrant workers are not usually eligible for most welfare benefits. U.S. President Barack Obama announced immigration reform in a speech in 2014 where millions of undocumented immigrants would be affected by having the chance to apply to be accepted to be temporarily sheltered from deportation and will become eligible to work.

“As immigrants, we may not apply for credit cards, federal loans, nor pass background checks, and due to the lack of a social security number, our options are very limited...in the working aspect, where we have to work ‘illegally,’ for wages below the federal guidelines,” said Perez.

Even with immigration stereotypes prominent in the U.S., there is no bias in the way immigration policies are enforced; however, some setbacks can be present.

“There is a limit to the number of people who can immigrate from each country which can lead to delays,” said immigration lawyer Norman Plotkins. “For family based cases, for example, Mexicans have to wait longer than others. For employment based cases, it takes longer to immigrate if you were born in India or China.”

With plans for new immigration reforms being implemented in America, citizens can follow in these footsteps and move toward a more educated country without racial and immigrant related stereotypes.

During a campaign stop, Clinton said, “We are a country built by immigrants and our diversity makes us stronger as a nation-it’s something to be proud of, celebrate, and defend.”

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