While there are many people who have negative views of immigration, there are many others who tirelessly advocate for immigrants and their right to be here in the United States. Undocumented Student Action Week, which lasts from Oct. 14-18, contributes to this advocacy and activism. Undocu Week is a campaign that aims to advocate for and provide resources to all undocumented students. The week was started by the Community College League of California (CCLC) because California wanted their students to know that they’re supported regardless of their immigration status. The CCLC supports other colleges in planning their own action week, which is what the Monarchs On The Hilltop debuted at St. Edward’s last week.
Since the 2016 presidential election, hate crimes towards immigrant minority groups have been on the rise. The Trump administration has continuously made immigration a pressing issue. Early on in his presidency, Trump attempted to put a travel ban on six different countries he deemed dangerous and threatening. Since then, he’s made consistent xenophobic remarks about people from Central America, Africa and the Middle East.
This week serves as a response to the bigotry of our current president who has gone out of his way to make life difficult for those who wish to come into the United States to seek a better life. The week takes a stand against those, such as white nationalists, who claim immigrants are going to take our jobs, abuse state welfare and increase crime rates, all of which are statements President Trump preached during his 2016 campaign.
The damage of President Trump’s policies is irreversible for many immigrants whose families have been separated for months on end. This is the first time in the modern era that the U.S. has had a President who’s so open about what a cruel person he is. As young people, it’s our responsibility to respond to the good of our fellow neighbors. We’re all immigrants and the level of discrimination and carelessness shown by this administration is outrageous.
Immigrants don’t take Americans’ jobs. The jobs they attain –construction work, maintenance, production work, and food-service jobs– are jobs that Americans don’t want to do and/or don’t have the skill level for. Additionally, immigrants actually increase supply and demand, which increases employment opportunities. While there is an increase, these opportunities are low-paid and workers are often exploited. But a white, native-born American wants and deserves this job over someone who immigrated here, right? Does the American really want/need this job, or do they just want to take it away? Who’s the real bad guy here?
Regarding the abuse of state welfare, native-born Americans are actually more likely to abuse state benefits than their counterparts, proving this claim is based on one thing and one thing only: racism. And to speak to the idea that immigrants increase crime rates, studies show that immigrants actually lower crime rates and are less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans. Immigrants throughout time have been the scapegoat of America’s problems and nothing has changed. It’s our duty as students to show we care and stand in solidarity with our undocumented classmates.