Aimee McAdams: Letters on immigration from incarcerated youth
Lookout Mountain Youth Services Center, Golden
Having lived in Summit County for 10 years, I am an avid reader of your newspaper. These days I am teaching English at Lookout Mountain Youth Services Center in Golden. Lookout is a youth corrections facility for adjudicated youth from 15-21 years old. Recently we have been studying the Holocaust, and last week we were looking at the Nuremberg laws. This led to a discussion of the Jim Crow laws of the U.S, and eventually digressed to a lively conversation about the recent Arizona immigration laws. I have never seen my students so passionate about a subject. Many of them are immigrants or children of immigrants. Some have not attended school regularly since elementary school. They were so engaged in the debate about SB1070 and HB 2162 that I developed a writing assignment in which they would create a “letter to the editor” voicing their feelings. I have been approached by several students who wondered if their work could get into a newspaper. They cannot send letters out on their own, as it is against the rules of the facility. It would make such a difference in the lives of these students who are attempting to overcome many challenges.
My name is Eduardo and I am an illegal immigrant who has lived here in the U.S. for 14 years. I have family members who have been convicted of violations of state or local laws for entering the country illegally. I do not agree with Arizona’s SB 1070. Why? Because we are not here to hurt anyone, take anyone’s jobs, or commit crimes. We are here to live the so-called “American Dream,” something we cannot do across that river or behind that fence. My family came here a couple of generations back and none of them were considered ‘illegal.’ I pose this question: Why? Why are “we the people” not getting equal treatment?
Have we been brainwashed? Think about it: Arizona’s bill is a new form of racism. Immigrants love America. We come to America because it is the land of opportunities. A lot of people, including my parents, came here to give me a better education. I would like to ask people to pay attention to what is really going on and think about how many families could be affected by this. People have worked hard for what they have here, and stand to lose everything if forced to leave this country.
America is becoming more and more a country concerned with power and enforcement, making new laws prohibiting freedoms instead of giving them. This is contradictory to why we originally created this great country. When our forefathers signed the Declaration of Independence, they were making a country in which we would not be bound by excessive laws and statutes.
However, we have slowly been binding ourselves with the many laws that we sought to be free from. We are now restricting free passage into our country. My question to you is this: Do we really have the right to decide who goes where? Arizona has recently passed a law that officers must make a “reasonable attempt to determine the immigration status of a person” if they suspect the person is in the country illegally. None of this should matter. We were all born on this world as equals, and no one person is different from another. All people have the right to live where they want, and I feel that cutting that off is not only discrimination, but a hate crime. Why not let people come and go as they please, as long as they are not harming anyone?
As a Mexican-American, I completely disagree with the immigration law that was recently passed in Arizona. I feel that the state is targeting the Mexican culture, because I think they will only go after Mexican immigrants, not those from any other country. Mexican immigrants are only looking for a better lifestyle. They are no different than any of the previous immigrants, such as Japanese, African, or Russian, who have come here to find a better life.
I disagree with the law and believe that police will find any reason to harass someone who is Mexican, no matter what the cause is. Arizona was once a part of Mexico, and our people just want to live on the land that was originally theirs. This is why I disagree with the new immigration laws in Arizona.
Meto Manuel M.
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