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Undocumented Immigrants: Why They Can’t Just “Get In Line”

Ever since the beginning of his campaign, Donald Trump has aimed to build a wall along the United States-Mexico border to “keep out the rapists and drug dealers” from infiltrating his “great nation.” Trump is currently on the way to building his wall when he proposed a bill to abolish government programs and agencies such as museums, libraries, and public broadcasting to instead transfer the funding from those programs to fund his wall.  

Deportation amongst Mexican undocumented immigrants has also been dramatically increasing under Trump. In most cases, the ICE raids were mostly of random targeting and sweeps. Unlike Trump, Obama only deported immigrants who have committed heinous crimes that have been targeted in advance. ICE was instructed to only detain people under collateral arrests.

But why do undocumented Mexican immigrants risk to immigrate illegally? Why can’t they just immigrate on legal terms?

With tough immigration policies, it’s fairly difficult to get in America, let alone be eligible to. People who don’t have have a college degree and have no close relatives who are U.S. citizens. Having strict immigration policies filter out the rapists, murderers, and drug-traffickers, but it also makes it difficult for people with a credible background, but come from a poor family, to get into an established nation for asylum.

On average, unmarried children of U.S citizens must wait more than five years to come in, and siblings of citizens must wait more than 10 years. Depending on what country you’re from, it could be a lot worse. Married children of citizens from Mexico must wait more than 20 years, and Filipino siblings wait about 25 years. 


If you asked an average person why there exist many unauthorized migrants in America, they would most likely give an answer revolving around the topic of economic problems. They would reason that people are looking for better jobs, and a better financial standing for themselves and their families, but most people miss out on the non-economic problems that they have in their country.

The country’s poverty is the main push factor for most Mexicans. With Mexico being the 10th most impoverished country in the world, and 6% of its population having no access to clean drinking water, America would sound enticing for Mexicans who experience the poverty the most in the country.

Mexico houses climate hazards such as extreme heat where water shortages are very common and crops being dried out. It also suffers from natural disasters such as erupting volcanoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, and tsunamis. These factors leave no choice for people who have been a victim of their homes being destroyed but to migrate headed north. The people who seek refuge from the repetitive natural disasters need homes urgently and have no time to wait for 3+ years to earn a Greencard, yet they are being shunned and grouped together with “rapists, murderers, and drug traffickers.”

Employment is also a huge pull factor for most immigrants. The jobs that Americans aren’t willing to do because of their low pay could be considered a luxury for people coming in from poverty who earn less than a dollar a day. Trump claims that Mexicans are stealing jobs from American people, but why would they steal something that the Americans didn’t even want in the first place?

“Unauthorized immigrants who want to regularize their status in this country cannot just ‘get in line.’ There are lines, but a large number of aspiring immigrants are not eligible to be in any of them.” – American Immigration Council

Understanding why undocumented immigrants can’t just “wait in line like everybody else does” is difficult as it has a lot of depth and dimensions. Any immigrant would never want to come in illegally, but sometimes they just don’t have the resources to. Unfortunately, the government only wants rich immigrants to help boost the economy and make the rich, richer and the poor, poorer. The government fails to understand the other dimension of undocumented immigrants, who wish to live a safe life and pursue better education or employment.

The phrase “first come, first serve” only applies to retail, and it seems as if many Americans who bash undocumented immigrants have forgotten that. If they do support that way of thinking, then I guess they’ve probably forgotten about the Native Americans, who inhabited their country first but their “founding fathers” have massacred and raped them to occupy their land. They didn’t just cut in line, they went all the way to the front and shut the door on the people who were in line behind them. Sometimes people forget things when the tables have turned. 

Source: Justin Valas


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