Immigration continues to be one of the most controversial political and social topics up for discussion. Personally, my awareness has been augmented as a result of social media and I think the way the concept has materialized online is incredibly interesting to examine. With my parents being immigrants from India, I can’t help but innately have a compassionate perspective towards immigrants in the United States. After all, would I even be a student at UC Berkeley had they not chosen to make a life for me in the United States?
With Trump’s outrageous remarks regarding immigration making headline after headline, it’s heartening to see the alternative comments take a more peaceful approach to adequately discussing the concept. I think that certain platforms are definitely better suited for immigrants to voice their opinions given the danger of publicly addressing their individual citizenship statuses. As an active member of Twitter at the time the Dreamers social media movement gained traction, I had a first-hand glance at the sense of pain and pride associated with the constant burden of not knowing whether you could be deported at the first sign of trouble. The unnerving truth is that some Americans feel their opportunities are taken away by immigrants entering the United States. Other notions are that immigrants are criminals and here to rebel. For a country that has endured so much with so many different kinds of people, I think this belief is truly outdated and inaccurate. In a society where opportunities are truly endless, shunning groups of people who may be trying to escape religious persecution or insufferable poverty, is one of the most disheartening things our country can do.
In the NY Times, Jose Antonio Vargas describes his life as an undocumented immigrant, fully detailing the consistent uncertainty he faces. I cannot imagine the degree of restlessness attached to this; it’s difficult to fully understand unless you’re experiencing it in every aspect of your life. I think social media plays an integral part in exposing this. I think that there are safe platforms for undocumented immigrants to voice their concerns and struggles that allows others to empathize with them. Its continuation is necessary and essential to positively expanding the legislation related to immigration.
Vargas, Jose Antonio. “My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant.” The New York Times, June 22, 2011.