After the networks called it, I clearly remember the confusion and fear on my mother’s face. It was late at night, my father still at work, and neither of us knew what to tell each other.
The first words from my mother were about how we were going to tell my seven-year-old brother and nine-year-old sister the next morning. As we stood silently in the middle of my living room watching Donald Trump claim victory, I felt a strong sense of anger and disappointment rush through me. More notably, however, for a second, I felt like a stranger in foreign territory.
We believed that America was a place to make a life for yourself.
At the age of five, I migrated with my parents to the United States in order to escape the rising violence and the limited opportunities provided by Mexico. We believed that America was a place to make a life for yourself.
Years later, my father opened his own small business and I received protection under the Dream Act to work and go to school legally in the United States. My family and I – along with millions across the nation – are lawful members of American society; we pay taxes, have never committed a crime, and aim to benefit from the wonderful opportunities the U.S. provides us with.
However, for the immigrant, the idea of the American dream is being threatened by President Trump’s administration; his anti-immigrant rhetoric has a high chance of becoming policy in the near future. Some already passed policies, including the increased hiring of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers and immigration raids, worry me.
Although Trump stated that he will deport only criminals, his definition of a criminal is unclear, but it feels racially motivated. Additionally, ICE raids in largely Latino neighborhoods, where many non-criminals reside, seems to codify the perception of criminality by the government as largely an immigrant, latino and poor issue.
Now, more than ever, I worry about the separation of my family. Furthermore, I can only imagine the pain and fear that families across the nation will go through if Trump makes deporting 11 million immigrants an even greater priority. It is disappointing that a country that has been my home for so long, believes breaking up families is the way to make America a safer place.
Now, more than ever, I worry about the seperation of my family.
Additionally, a deeply troubling concern is the future of the Dream Act, under the current administration. The impact that terminating the program would have on the millions of immigrants, including myself, across the country cannot be overstated. Although Trump’s opinion on the Dream Act has been lightly noted, much of his thinking is still unknown and the uncertainty is challenging to live with. Personally, the termination of the program would throw out the years of hard work I have put in, to earn good grades, for a future at a college.
The cancellation of the Dream Act would prove devastating to the youngest members of the immigrant community.
I worry about what goes through the mind of my seven-year-old brother when he listens to his president say that Mexicans are bringing drugs, criminals, and rapists.
I worry when my sister watches a video of Trump making degrading comments about women, or that many of my friends and neighbors will be targeted, and good families, like my own, will be ripped apart.
Finally, I worry that I’m not alone. That many other young Latinos are concerned and afraid for their future, or the futures of their loved ones.
It seems lately, many in America are afraid that their basic rights and liberties will be taken from them — and that should worry us all.