Illegal Alien. Alien. Illegal. These the words the US Government use to describe the immigrants that don't have immigration papers. That's how we are refered to in the Immigration and Naturalization Act and the regulations that pertain to the Immigration and Citizenship Service as well as ICE, the enforcement agency that detains and deports immigrants.
The sad things is that we are 'illegal aliens' not only to the government but to the vast majority of Americans who would rather build a huge fence at the border and deport all 11 millions of us who do not have papers.
We have a set of laws and we need to respect them. But another thing is to brand us with these derogatory names, like 'illegal' or 'alien', the word that was included in the millions of Green Cards until a few years ago.
Worst of all is the fact that the media uses these derogatory names when it refers to the undocumented population. Furthermore, there are some Hispanic media that falls on the trap and commits the same mistake.
Truth of the matter is, we are not 'illegal' nor 'alien'. Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Peace Prize winner a few years ago, said once: 'No human being is illegal.' And that is the plain truth.
We have no immigration papers? Thus we are 'undocummented.' Were we born in another country? We are 'immigrants.'
We are about 51 millions in this country. Yes, you read correctly. 51 millions. Hispanics are the biggest minority in the United States, surpassing the Afroamericans.
About 17 million of us are registered to vote. And about 10 million voted in 2008. Many more could do so this year.
We pay taxes everytime we buy something, whether we have papers or not. Thousands harvest the fruit and veggies we consume on a daily basis. Many more attend the tables when we eat at restaurants. Thousands tend to our gardens and build houses.
We attend colleges, with or without papers. And many hold offices in Congress, though not as many as it should.
We represent a big part of this country. We even go to war to defend it. And we are here to stay, even though many want us to leave.
No. We are not illegal aliens. We are human beings.
Source: Eduardo Orbea