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Viewpoint:
From the daughter of an immigrant, immigration reform isn't racist

By Kena Dijiba, Guest Commentator


Is calling for immigration reform racist?

I say, "No".

First things first. My perspective is not that of your average Trump supporter, so Liberals hold your horses at bay and put down the ammo. In fact, I’m quite the middle of the road kind of woman when it comes to 60 percent of the issues the United States is currently facing. But, admittedly we all have personal bias that pushes us towards one end of a grey spectrum. So as the daughter of an African immigrant here is my take:

Growing up on two polar opposite sides of this country has offered me a rainbow bucket of insight that most people might not be able to comprehend. From a baby until I was eight-years-old, I spent my life in "The Land of Enchantment". Good ole Albuquerque, New Mexico, where Native, along with Mexican culture enveloped me like a warm blanket.

When starting school there, it was customary to do the pledge of allegiance completely in Spanish, and all my closest friends were mostly of Mexican descent. Then abruptly due to familial issues, we left and moved to where my mother was raised in Kentucky.

Now, let's just say that was the culture shock of a lifetime. From the country twang to confederate flags, life had really changed. But, as I grew up and found my way back to New Mexico to attend college, I realized that both places held beauty in a myriad of ways.

Skip to me working at my new job as a busser on the campus of the University of New Mexico, which was one of the greatest experiences of my life.

While working there I was able to speak Spanish comfortably with my coworkers and cultivate strong friendships. Unapologetically as the conversationalist I am, it was customary discussing hot button issues of the day, and immigration came up.

While talking to my friend Alejandra, who was working harder than anyone to make a decent amount of money before graduating we went nose deep into battle. With her being from Mexico I expected, like an ignorant pundit, that her perspective on immigration wouldn't shy away from the status quo.

Well, Alejandra went off. She was quite concise with her stance.

She didn't agree with people coming to America illegally because she herself had spent years tirelessly following all the rules.

She expressed, that she all out didn't think it was justified, and that right there in 2018 was what shifted my view.

For a project around that same time I was tasked to interview someone in my dorm. I chose an Indian woman by the name of Taz to speak about her perspective on immigration, which rung similar to Alejandra.

She herself had put so much into her education and urged others to fight to come to the United States in a responsible manner. It was interesting with all the vitriol the left spills on how it's such a "racist", along with a xenophobic, stance to have, when simply most immigrants, including children of immigrants, feel this way.

While in school I met countless people who had the same story. From Nepal to China, there were immigrants at University busting their way through, and doing it legally. This was the story of my father from Africa who got his Ph.D. and lawfully became a U.S. citizen.

So, what I’m trying to communicate thoroughly and without judgement is the need for compassionate reform on immigration.

I do not believe in this ridiculous phantom dream of a magical wall, and I forthrightly don't believe in sending people back to where they "came from". In my opinion that style of rhetoric is dangerous. What should be focused on is securing valid paths to citizenship, and the denormalization of the "act" of crossing over.

If we can do this, then hopefully people will stop blindly compounding their energy into what they don't understand and begin the process of trying to.

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Kena Dijiba is the 21 year-old author of "Millennial Vegan" featured last year in the Winchester Sun. She is also worked as an entertainment writer whose work has published in over 700 articles.
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