Latina student turns fear over immigration policies into power

The Channels Opinion Pages | STAFF COLUMN

Kelsey Lopez, Channels Staff

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Families all over the country, including my own, are at higher risk of being torn apart and broken.

Americans who support Donald Trump’s new immigration policies argue that most of these immigrants are criminals or bad people. Yet, they fail to realize that they are humans.

I am a Latina proudly born in the U.S., with roots running deep through Mexico and Guatemala. Every day I feel privileged because of my citizenship, but every day I am reminded that many people close to me are not so lucky.

Growing up my family didn’t always have it easy, but my mother who had very little, did what she could to give us everything we needed. She was our rock and proved to be the most hardworking person she could be.

One of my biggest fears is having my mother taken away from me. She has filled the role as both my mother and father for most of my life. Having her taken away would leave my sister and I completely alone.

After she became a U.S citizen that fear went away.

But now under the Trump administration, my fear has returned, despite the fact that my mother is here legally as a U.S citizen.

Families everywhere were already terrified and living in fear, but now even the people who are presumably safe— aren’t.

People may have different or negative opinions about immigrants—whether they are here legally or illegally—but I urge everyone to think about children being left behind and what it might feel like for families to experience something so horrific.

Imagine being that child who just experienced their life being flipped upside down. Their biggest fear just became reality when their parents were taken away against their will from the place they called home.

This has taken a harmful toll on the children who have experienced this and their mental health can become unstable. No child’s daily life should be filled with the constant fear of losing everything at any moment.

I have witnessed the deportation of someone close to me and it was one of the hardest things I had ever seen happen to the people involved. The circumstances were absolutely horrible as this person was forced to leave just days before their young child’s open heart surgery.

Seeing that and knowing how many families and children are experiencing such pain and trauma, drove a force in me to speak up and talk about it.

I hope to bring awareness and remind anyone living in fear that they are not alone. By sharing our stories and coming together, I believe people can help each other as a community. It is truly possible to bring reform at the hands of a broken system.

Let us not be afraid and turn our fears into power— the power to educate one another and our children.

I know firsthand that this fear might never go away completely. The pain of seeing our people suffer may not get easier.

However, the power of love and unity can and will only get stronger. Sí se puede.

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