We sons and daughters of Refugees and Immigrants fear for our Life, Friends, and Children!
On Wednesday, February 8, 2017, The CBC reported a tragic story that a “Canadian woman denied entry to U.S. after Muslim prayers found on her phone.” This is a devastating encounter. No one should be treated in this manner. Folks, please take the time to read the article highlighted above. After reading the story, I had to think critically about some possible implications and consequences about this unfortunate and unacceptable incident, which I share below.
First of all, under this present administration, it seems to me if you’re not a natural-born citizen of the United States, somewhat you are forced to live in constant fear under the possible threat of revocation of your (naturalized) citizenship, deportation, forced exile, etc.
Secondly, the entire situation (see article above) implies that you don’t have to have a previous criminal record/ history or did anything unlawful to be considered a potential problem to this administration. Your race, religion, language, and culture can get you in trouble.
Thirdly, under this current administration, it seems to me non–European descent naturalized American citizens and people of color are not safe in this country–not that this land has always been a haven for us. America has failed in many accounts to extend justice, equality, dignity, and human rights to all and for all. For example, the history of black people and people of color in America is a painful human narrative, which includes death (i.e. social, existential, physical), alienation, and dissociation.
Fourthly, for those of us who are sons and daughters of refugees, immigrants, and people of color, America continues to be a land of many contradictions and paradoxes to us.
*On a personal note, I spend more time living in America than in my birth country. I am 39 yrs old (will be in March 6); I immigrated to the United States of America when I was 15 yrs old. Hence, I have lived here for 24 yrs of my life (It’s not that I’m afraid of returning to my homeland, as Langston Hughes has said, “America was never America to me.” Yet, America also has contributed enormously to my successes, life-achievements, and multifaceted identity: I’m a husband to a wonderful wife and father of four beautiful children; I own a beautiful home; I have a PhD from a top university in the nation; I have a good job; I am a professor at an amazing institution, which provides me the resources and opportunities to invest in people’s lives and educate and mentor young and older people; and countless opportunities I have to serve my community and participate in progressive causes.) In spite of all these things as a privileged middle class son of an immigrant, as a naturalized-American black citizen, I must confess that I live in a state of fear and know my boundaries in the American society. The possible inhuman threats of this current administration is aggressive, immediate, and heartless. I have never felt like that before in my 24 yrs of living in this country.)
We sons and daughters of refugees and immigrants, and people of color are deeply concerned about the practice of democracy, human dignity, hospitality, and respect for human life in America.
We sons and daughters of refugees and immigrants, and people of color had/continue to struggle to claim our humanity and personhood, defend our dignity and rights to exist as “the other people,” and live constantly under the oppression of America’s structural racism, social inequality, and the fear of whiteness.We love this country, and like any other group of people, we support and will defend America’s democratic ideals and cosmopolitan virtues.
In the Trump moment, America has become “safer for white Americans,” and unfortunately, some of them do enjoy that level of white security and white comfort inevitably associated with white supremacy and America’s radical hegemony in the world. All we want as sons and daughters of refugees and immigrants, and people of color is to be treated with respect, dignity, and as humans in America. We do not want anyone to validate our humanity; we already know that we are beautiful made in the image of God–even though sometimes, we are treated lesser than that. We do not want to live in a state of (existential) fear–the fear for our life, our friends, and our children!