I have written about my personal experience before on my blog. I have even shared it publicly in my school district to help raise awareness about the ELL experience. But lately, it has become so much more than my story.
Some of you may not know that my family came to America when I was a young child. We immigrated here legally from the former Yugoslavia. My dad did not have a job lined up here in the states, nor did we move here because the climate was better. My parents wholeheartedly wanted a better future for their two kids (my brother and me). We moved here because of the promise America offered and for the freedom it granted us.
I look around today at the friends and family that surround me and I think about their stories. Where did they come from? Where did their parents come from? Did their grandparents immigrate to America? Why did they come?
Our stories are all too similar. We are all trying to make a better life for ourselves and our loved ones. America is a great country because it offers many resources and the ability to make dreams come true. I look around and see some of the same people who immigrated here supporting new strict immigration laws. The same people who were granted citizenship after coming here illegally. The same people who have enjoyed the freedom of America. The same people who have learned about that freedom in public schools where their teachers loving cared for them. The same people whose wives immigrated here and then had children in America.
I can't understand how people can know the America I have known and yet want to become a country where division and separation are acceptable. A country where diversity is not welcome.
America is sending a message to the people of our the country. Each will hear it differently. What I hear from the messages being sent is that diversity is not welcomed. This message hurts my heart. It is ugly and affects our students and in effect will change the future of America.
The immigrants in America make America wonderful. They make it rich and beautiful. If we impose stricter immigration laws, we will have less of what makes America beautiful. The rich tapestry of our country is beginning to fade. Our cultural diversity brings new perspectives, different ideas, a varied outlook. If we don't have those assets, we will not be the amazing country the world knows us to be.