Powerful reframing of the immigration issue by Agustina Vegara Cid:
“…the U.S. immigration system is designed to keep productive would-be immigrants like Ana out. Ana would have had to try to get a loan to pay thousands of dollars in fees and other visa requirements, wait out the process in her cartel-infested country and wander for years through a multilevel bureaucratic maze. And then she’d be a citizen, right? No, that’s just to gain authorization to study and work in the U.S. temporarily. And that’s only if she manages to qualify for one of a narrow list of visas in the first place. When I tell Americans about my own legal immigration story and what I had to go through, their jaws drop. The process is not feasible for a vast majority of productive people who want to live and work here, so it’s unsurprising that ambitious individuals like Ana end up immigrating illegally.
“A lot of peaceful, courageous people are eager to immigrate to the U.S. in order to work to make their lives better, but the immigration system locks them out. Those who dare to come anyway are made to live their life in the shadows and in fear, because their actions are illegal.
We should abandon the euphemisms like “undocumented immigrants” and “unauthorized workers.” Those euphemisms imply that people like Ana have in fact done something wrong and only help mask the real problem: that these individuals are being criminalized by unjust laws for a moral decision that they made.
“Illegal immigrant” works as a smear because what it actually means is rarely put out in the open — that the presence of peaceful, hard-working people is illegal in America.