Carolina Puga Mendoza Headshot

I can do every- thing right in this country, but it will still not be enough for people.

As President Joe Biden changes policies to ease the entrance of immigrants to the U.S., the constant judgment and hatefulness that immigrants face continues.

Those who say that they’re not racist but would prefer people enter the country “legally” are the same people who text while driving, watch movies from illegal websites, drink underage, are publicly intoxicated, and much more.

I cannot speak for all immigrants, but as someone who migrated from Mexico, I’ve noticed many immigrants who come to the U.S. in any way they can are doing so to escape poverty, violence, and corruption in their home countries.

U.S. visas are quite the handful because of all the hoops and legal pathways that are presented. There are 185 types of visas for the U.S. and each of them has specific rules and requirements.

Agents at the U.S. embassy take a couple of minutes to look at your application and if you miss paperwork or don’t answer a question right, oftentimes you’re not allowed to appeal your case. Instead, your visa is denied right there.

To apply for a visa, the costs range from $160-$265 per person, and for a working family at minimum wage, that’s a month’s worth of living.

It infuriates me when people judge some- one’s decisions, especially when that decision was in their family’s best interest. Some parents decide to risk their children and babies to travel thousands of miles into an unknown future, just because it’s better than trying to survive in their home countries. Parents leave everything behind because they believe their children have a chance in a different country.

I’m one of the lucky ones, because my parents have the resources necessary to go to Mexico when we need to get our paperwork fixed. I’m lucky because I can travel in the comfort of a plane rather than walking across borders to get to my destination.

But I know those who weren’t so lucky including people who haven’t seen their families in more than 20 years because they can’t leave the country without being permanently kicked out. I know those who are afraid every day to speed or pass a red light because of the simple fear of being pulled over by a cop and never being able to see their families again. But, I’m the lucky one.

Having a visa does not guarantee your safety, it only lets you enter the country. Even with a visa, immigrants struggle every day to do normal activities, such as driving, getting an apartment and starting a job. Immigrants are forced to take extra steps to verify documents, even if it takes months to do so.

At the same time, people argue immigrants are somehow stealing jobs and opportunities. In reality, immigrants often take the jobs Americans don’t want, whether it’s picking vegetables in a field or cleaning offices. The jobs that are seen as inferior are often left to us.

Rather than focusing on getting people out of the country, learn from them—you can become cultured and grow as a person. Then, you can see the beauty of working together to improve the country for the better.

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