The quote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness,” was written into the Declaration of Independence in 1776. For our Founding Fathers to say that “all men are created equal” is just completely incorrect in today’s world. Over the years, specific rights have been violated. For example, voting rights, race and gender rights, property rights, marriage rights, and disability rights have all been looked over by the people who we call the elites. For this occasion, I would like to narrow my focus on how immigration and citizenship rights have been transgressed over the past years. America has not lived up to these ideals told by the Declaration of Independence due to the fact that we have a government denying legal rights and access to our country to vulnerable groups of people. Since our country is denying people basic human rights, everyone’s rights are at risk.
Immigrant families are being separated. These poor families are being split by children being taken away from their mothers and fathers. Our current administration has a “zero-tolerance” policy on immigrants coming to the United States illegally. This has caused a outroar all over the nation. “Several facilities have opened to hold more migrant adults and children this summer, and there are proposals that would nearly double the total number of beds at authorized centers. For family detention and child-only shelters, the capacity would nearly triple” (McCullough, Jolie, & Chris Essig). To put people into detention centers, which basically look like Concentration Camps, is violating basic human rights and their immigration rights. President Trump is twisting words and creating an image that puts a bad outlook on these immigrants. Immigrants come to this country in all different ways and they all have different backgrounds. It doesn’t matter what they have done to get here, Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy is violating their immigration rights and their right to be equal to other humans. This is one example of how people are being denied their immigration rights, and Trump is fueling the fire.
In class, we talked about the immigration of German natives. These specific group of people came to the United States of America around 1820 to about the end of World War I. They fled their country for safety, opportunity, stability, and political freedom. They were forced to leave due to their unemployment rate, poverty level, deadly diseases spreading, and natural disasters. These people who came to our country legally were being called “gambling-house keepers, hotel-porters, barbers, ‘bullies’, runaway conscripts, bath-attendants, street musicians, criminals, bakers, socialists, cheap clerks, etc” (Anti-German Sentiment). These immigrants were being told not apply for jobs. With immigrant rights, you are available for a green card which enables you to get a job. These immigrants are just as capable to hold a job as much as an American would be able to do. Since “men were created equally,” it is not socially acceptable to call these immigrants these certain terms. Americans don’t have any right to call these people these names because they are looking for new opportunities and they are running away from prosecution. Today, we have a German-American day. This German-American day commemorates the 13 German families from Krefeld. These families landed in Philadelphia. On October 6th, 1683, these families established Germantown, Pennsylvania, the first distinctly German-American settlement (Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Genealogy Project). Stereotypes change over time, but people forget that we are all equal no matter what background.
Lastly, America has not lived up to these ideals due to the record numbers of deportation of people from the United States of America. “U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have detained and deported record numbers of people from the United States. Many of ICE’s removal tactics take away even the right to a fair hearing in court, as the government rushes to judgment and tries to ram people through a rubber-stamp system that ignores individual circumstances” (ICE and Border Patrol Abuses). People have protection from being randomly searched and seized. People are supposed to be guaranteed equal protection and freedom from discrimination based on race and ethnicity, but in today’s world, we have seen it happen multiple times. These people are being stripped of their citizenship rights. If we aren’t careful, people’s immigration rights might be totally altered. With these people being deported, we have a job to help stop these actions taken by our government. This isn’t just a problem in the US, it is a global problem as well. People live here for life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, but all of that is taken away when they are being relocated from their home.
Over the past years, the United States of America have been losing their focus on the importance of people’s individual rights, whether that be their immigration and citizenship rights, or just basic human rights. Personally, as I reflect on the class over the past semester, it has open my eyes to the important idea of people’s equality. People may say that everyone is equal, but someone’s actions are more important than their own word. everyone’s rights are at risk if we don’t take action. America has not been living up to these ideals told by the Declaration of Independence due to the fact that we have a government denying legal rights and access to our country to these certain groups of people.
- “Anti-German Sentiment.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 18 Nov. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-German_sentiment.
- “Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Genealogy Project.” Geni, www.geni.com/projects/Germantown-Philadelphia-Pennsylvania/8151.
- “ICE and Border Patrol Abuses.” American Civil Liberties Union, Aclu, www.aclu.org/issues/immigrants-rights/ice-and-border-patrol-abuses.
- McCullough, Jolie, and Chris Essig. “The Trump Administration Is Making Plans to Detain More Immigrants in Texas. Here’s Where They Would Be Held.” The Texas Tribune, Texas Tribune, 2 Aug. 2018, www.texastribune.org/2018/08/02/trump-administration-texas-migrant-detention-facilities-map/.