President Trump can’t re-write the rights of immigrants

President Trump can’t re-write the rights of immigrants

President Trump can’t re-write the rights of immigrants
November 14
23:35 2018

What does it mean to be “American?”

Something that started as an idea with the hope of endless possibilities became an exclusive, singular expectation developed out of fear.

Nationalism has lost its way, straying from the appreciation of diversity that distinguishes us from other nations. We once believed our varying ethnicities and values were to credit for the makeup of America’s DNA — it was what made us unique. We were special because of our sense of unity, defying the world’s expectations of cultural barriers preventing us to come together.

Now the term “xenophobia” has become all too familiar. President Donald Trump has recently made the commitment to (try to) end birthright citizenship through an executive order. This isn’t just a transparent ploy to gain publicity, especially during midterm election season and the height of his re-election campaign, but it’s hypocrisy in action. Not only is he spitting in the face of the Constitution he’s sworn to protect, but he’s also abusing the executive power the nation gifted him.

First of all, he can’t just wave a wand and erase a clause in the 14th Amendment that’s been in place for 150 years. An executive order doesn’t mean the president can do whatever he wants, contrary to what Trump’s “lawyers” are telling him. According to the Constitution, it gives the head of the executive branch the authority to instruct the government to work with their guidelines because, at the end of the day, Congress is the only power authorized to create law.

The president’s belief that the 14th Amendment was solely designed to give freed slaves rights is a tactic to persuade his audience to believe it should no longer apply to people who live in our country today. In fact, the 14th Amendment actually has mandated that no state can “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

If my father hadn’t been born here, I would be considered an “illegal alien,” according to our President’s agenda to end birthright citizenship. The leader of the free world is trying to tell me even though I was born on U.S. soil and lived my whole life learning, growing, working in and identifying with my country, I shouldn’t be called a citizen because of my parents. Even though I had no influence on my parent’s decisions, I would still be punished for them.

This isn’t the first time nationalism has been used as a weapon against minorities. The president approving to add “Are you a citizen?” to the U.S. census sends a clear message about his goals. In his perspective, he’s making his immigration stances look tough to conservative supporters.

But technically those who have green cards, visas and residency in the country still aren’t considered “citizens,” thus they would have to answer “no.” By singling them out, we’re reinforcing the idea that once you become an immigrant, you never forget you are one. They have no representation in Congress — it’s almost as if the government doesn’t want noncitizens to exist.

Trump’s plan for birthright citizenship is outrageous, extreme and desperate. With this, we’re telling immigrants they don’t belong here, which isn’t the America I used to know. A sculpture called “The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World” represents what this country once was to me: A symbol of freedom and ambition to the millions of immigrants seeking refuge and opportunity in America. That was the America I had faith in.

Featured Illustration: Austin Banzon

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Angelina Oliva

Angelina Oliva

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