Staples High school and Its view on immigration by kevin ludy

There is a pressing issue in society today that tears apart families and divides many citizens of the United States; Immigration. With the president elect Donald Trump coming into office, who wants to change the policies of immigration, people are very concerned on the topic and what will happen.

This graph by the Washington Post shows how all voters were evenly split on Trump's Immigration proposals

In my town of Westport Connecticut, the concern of immigration is very prevalent, although for different reasons. Members of the Democratic and Republican parties each have contrasting views on immigration and this election season, students at Staples High School have been very vocal on their opinion.

"I don’t really like immigration. If it’s illegal I don't like it and it’s ridiculous that they can come in. if it’s legal and they go through the process then it makes sense, but they need to go through it,” Morgan Leonard ’19 said.

“I think our president elect Donald Trump does not have very good ideas on immigration as he is categorizing all immigrants as dangerous in our society and it’s ridiculous because he wants to deport all of these people and separate their families. It is immoral what he wants to do, and I think all immigrants should be welcomed, illegal or legal,” A person who asked their name remained anonymous said.

These views were very different from each other and many people in school shared the same thoughts. Some students though, didn't know enough about the topic to create an factual opinion.

Many students don’t realize how hard it is to become a citizen, and the steps to it. According to an article on USA Today, the person filing for citizenship has to submit a naturalization application that costs $680. They can only do this if they have a green card which they also have to pay for. After the application, it can take up to five years for an interview which decides if they can be sworn in as a citizen.

The video below shows more of the things immigrants need to do to become a citizen.

This process is long and grueling, especially for immigrants who do not have the necessary budget.

The method in place has many issues. People apply to become citizens and it can take years before anything happens. There is especially an issue with illegal immigrants already in the US becoming citizens, as people are less accepting of them.

At Staples High School there is a club called Building Bridges in which students directly talk to people from the middle east over skype or in person about life there. The meeting on Dec. 1, 2016 was very special as they had three people from Iran there to talk to the class about coming to America.

One woman, Guita, had a message that she spoke out to the class. “Many people who immigrate don’t come over because they want to, but because they have to. They are leaving a life behind that they loved and starting a completely new one, and that’s scary. If there is anything that I want you to know, is that the people coming over aren't terrorists but real humans and we should welcome them with open arms.”

Guita herself came over to the United States when she was sixteen to study in school. She was only supposed to stay for two years, but at the end of her studies a revolution in Iran broke out and her father told her she had to stay and make a life for herself. She was heartbroken that she had to leave the life she loved behind and start again.

She went into detail on how life before the revolution was just like ours. Her family would take summer vacations to the Caspian sea and rent a beach house for the season. She also said how they were allowed to wear anything they wanted and it was a very relaxed place to live.

Once the revolution happened though, everything changed. The freedom that they used to have was non-existent, and staying in the United States was the best option at the time.

Guita shows who the majority of the immigrants actually are. Real people with real feelings and real issues. They are displaced from their lives and forced to conform to their new surroundings.

The misconceptions surrounding immigrants are the most harmful to their image. This video by WIRED shows you actual facts about immigrants in America.

The situation that she experienced is like what we are facing today with the Syrian Civil War. Millions of people are displaced and need a country to seek refuge in. The United States has not been taking in as many refugees as we can, mostly because of our divided views, as seen in places like Staples High School.

Children in Syria dancing to take their mind off the war.

Immigration needs to be discussed and worked on to create an easier pathway to come in. When you look at it objectively, a person is a person and if someone needs help we need to be upstanders. Staples High School’s views represent how the country sees immigration, and people need to become more educated on the topic so we can create a brighter future for everyone.

Credits:

Created with images by Cluster Munition Coalition - "Working with children in Domiz refugee camp for Syrian regees- © Sean Sutton/CMC/MAG" • DFID - UK Department for International Development - "Dancing and singing to forget the pain of Syria's conflict"

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