by Caitlin Howery
Tensions are high right now as undocumented immigrants are being forced out of the country. Currently, people are either in support of the recent actions being taken, or they are completely petrified. Not just for themselves, but for their friends and loved ones as well. As students, it’s sometimes difficult to wrap our minds around the fact that we do have voices, and that we can use our voices to make a difference. Earlier this semester, Deborah Ortiz, the CEO of Opening Doors, an organization that supports immigrants both financially and emotionally, came onto Folsom Lake College’s main campus. Ortiz talked about immigration resettlement and the actions that students can take in order to make an impact.
Get informed. Do research. Ask questions and hunt down the answers you need. You can also sign up for alerts to receive emails and updates from Opening Doors and other organizations assisting undocumented immigrants.
Write letters to federal officials. Contact members of Congress and legislators. Express your opposition. Put pressure on the individuals who have the power to enforce change.
Ask questions. Question every statement that you perceive as hateful. Understand the reasoning behind the statement so you can then address the situation appropriately.
Inform others. At times, someone may use a term that could come out as hateful, without understanding how their words affect others of different ethnicities. Encourage them to use different terminology, so they can get their message across without coming off as ignorant or hateful.
Many are growing more concerned as the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) continues to remove undocumented immigrants from the country. While the intention is to only remove criminals that make their way into the country, innocent people are getting caught in the middle of the chaos. In an article published by The Washington Post, the authors, Maria Sacchetti and Ed O’Keefe, explained, “The two-month total represents a 32 percent increase in deportation arrests over the same period last year… 5,441 were not criminals, double the number of undocumented immigrants arrested for deportation a year earlier.” As much as we’d like to believe that only violent criminals are being removed from our country, that is not the case at all.
Luckily, we are not alone in this war. There are organizations, such as, Opening Doors, that assist undocumented immigrants. After they enter the country, culture shock kicks in and the drastic changes can become stressful and overwhelming. That’s where organizations like, Opening Doors, come in. Even on their website, Opening Doors explains, “We provide tools for immigrants, refugees, and low-income citizens to build or grow small businesses, and to gain greater control over their personal finances.” Because of organizations like Opening Doors, there are immigrants who are lucky enough to receive financial assistance and emotional support.
During the discussion earlier this semester, Ortiz said, “Your generation is the one that’s gonna make or break the change.” But Ortiz explains that if we are brave enough to ask questions, then we can form our own ideas. From there, we can use our voices to make an impact on the world we live in. Even small actions can blossom into monumental impacts. Don’t be afraid to question ideas and speak your mind. Your voice is a powerful force. Do what you feel is right.
Opening Doors (2011). Opening Doors. Retrieved from http://www.openingdoorsinc.org/index.php
Sacchetti, Maria, O’Keefe, Ed (2017, Apr 28). ICE data shows half of immigrants arrested in raids had traffic convictions or no record. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/ice-data-shows-half-of-immigrants-arrested-in-raids-had-traffic-convictions-or-no-record/2017/04/28/81ff7284-2c59-11e7-b605-33413c691853_story.html?utm_term=.fd7a6777e30a
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