Immigration and deportation policies have been under mass debate and scrutiny in the past election cycle. Hours upon hours have been spent debating the best and most efficient way to rid the country of illegal immigrants while also protecting civilian safety. The problem with the modern American discussion on immigration and deportation is the blatant abstraction in which we address the topic in the first place.
When discussing a topic surrounding illegal immigration and deportation, it is extremely hard to truly place yourself in the shoes of an illegal immigrant in the United States today. Many US citizens will spend hours discussing and deciding about a topic that will never affect them or their families, which is why this discussion has led to such a disconnect between the politicians preaching mass deportation, and the illegal immigrants living a modern nightmare.
When placed in the shoes of some illegal immigrants being cast out of their home country, the abstraction suddenly shatters. Many of the immigrants affected by Trump's deportation policies are not criminals who jumped the border to cause chaos in the United States. These immigrants are people who have lived in the states for over 30 years, and who came to this country to work hard and see it progress. These immigrants, when deported, are sent to a strange and foreign country they haven't seen in decades. It is a truly traumatizing and disorienting feeling to be deported from the only country you could truly call home.
Take Mexican immigrant Mayra, for example. Mayra came to the United States over thirty years ago, and was wrongfully imprisoned for stabbing a man in self defense after he had raped her. During her sentence, officers turned Mayra over to ICE for an expired green card, and she was forced to be deported from a country she had known since she was 12. Mayra arrived in Mexico with a single plastic bag carrying all of her belongings. She was homeless and unemployed in a country she didn't even recognize, still traumatized by the violence and brutality she witnessed.
The deportation policies in the United States, especially under the Trump administration, are extremely problematic. Before, the majority of deportees were criminals repeatedly convicted of crimes. Now, a simple routine traffic stop could be the cause of your deportation. This conflict is not easily resolvable. Many have the illusion that applying to be a US Citizen is a simple three step job. Applying for US Citizenship, or even a green card, is virtually impossible without having a long list of prerequisites and standards. How could fleeing your country to look for better opportunities possibly be a crime when less than one hundred years ago people around the world were seeking the same thing. We must shatter the abstraction that has become of the topic of immigration. No person can be illegal, and our country should always have its doors open to those willing to work hard to create a better life. If you are opposed that, you are opposed progress.