Dear Illegal Immigrant Parents of American Children:
I am one of you. I know the fears and worries that this election brought. It seems like we’ve been through enough, and now this. At some point in all of our lives, we have been disrespected because of where we are from. We’ve been made fun of because of our accents and been misjudged, cheated, or worse. We work hard in jobs that mostly make us feel less than we are truly worth. We also pay our fair share of taxes with no possibility for a tax return. Most of us are unable to get health insurance because of our status.
Everything is way harder when you have no social security number. For us, even trying to rent a simple apartment can be a complicated mess. We all have our own story of how we came into this country, and no matter how it happened, we are here. We are all surviving, knowing that our children will have a better life because they are Americans.
I know this election made us feel defeated; casualties of a battle that we couldn’t even take place fighting in. But I need to tell you, dear parent, that you are not helpless. You are not a casualty, and you can make a difference.
We need to educate our children. We need to make them understand how important school is – how crucial their education is for their future and for the future our diverse nation. Even if your children’s public school doesn’t have a 10/10 rating, and lacks the funding that benefits the wealthier communities, it still has people who care. It is still a place for your children to learn and grow, to discover their strengths and build their confidence.
As a parent, if you notice that your child is behind, do everything to help. If you can’t do it yourself, ask a teacher or a neighbor or a friend. If he or she says, “I want to be a doctor”, don’t laugh. Don’t think, “We won’t have money for college.” Instead, cherish this dream and make it a goal. Help them believe in themselves. Yes, they can! They can win; they need to win for themselves and for you.
Simply thinking that they will be fine because they have a legal status is not good anymore. As we can see, they are not automatically safe just because of their social security number. It’s not enough.
Good change doesn’t come suddenly, so let’s do what we do best and work for it. Let’s talk to our children, no matter how young they are, about the importance of their education, their perseverance, and their indomitable spirit. Let’s do this, because in the near future they will be our voices. They will be the votes tomorrow that we cannot cast today.
Let’s show those who called us rapists and murderers that we are not who they think we are. We are parents who raised the future’s intelligent voters, the future’s better government, and the future’s great presidents.
An Illegal Immigrant of An American Child