Student Protests For/Against Immigration, Specifically In The Southwest.

1455 words - 6 pages

Rise UpAny elementary school civics student knows that America has long been considered a "melting pot." The idea is that people from across the globe can come to this country and make a living and pave the pathway to a better life. "The streets are paved with gold," in America, the saying goes, and this is because the power lies with the individual. No matter what economic or social background a person may have, in America, at least ideally, everybody is equal before the eyes of God and the law. This is because of the basic rights that are guaranteed all Americans in the, Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution. The First Amendment, in fact, guarantees that all Americans should have the right to free religion, speech, and assembly. The fact that the right of assembly is included with religion and speech speaks volumes about the importance the Founding Fathers placed on the power of protest. As the firestorm over immigration laws grows, Mexican students have exercised their right to protest. Students across the country should feel free to walk out or protest the proposed House immigration bill in any way they see fit, because doing so not only re-affirms their ethnic identity, but it re-affirms their identity as Americans and demonstrates the power that all Americans possess.By protesting the immigration bill, these students are demonstrating a pride in their heritage that is not often seen in American students. This pride is important, not only from a self-esteem standpoint, but also in a very real social context. For as much as Americans like to think that we have come a long way from the days of intolerance and bigotry, those days were really not that long ago. Moctesuma Esparza, producer of the film Walkout, puts this social struggle in a different light. Growing up in the 50s, she recalls that "when someone said you were 'Mexican' it was almost like a slap in the face." While it speaks volumes about American societal progress that that is no longer the case, it is understandable nonetheless for Mexicans everywhere to be proud of the attitude that has taken hold of these students. Instead of having a negative connotation, these students are proudly flaunting the fact that they are Mexican, and that ethnic pride is important not only for the students but for America as well. As much as people like to forget it, pretty much everybody in the United States today, with the exception of Native Americans, are the descendants of immigrants or immigrants themselves. Frankly, the only ethnic group that has a legitimate gripe about immigration laws are the Native Americans, as they had their land ripped from them without their consent. But that is another issue entirely. As far as the students are concerned, taking pride in one's heritage is one of the most patriotic things any American can do. America is a nation of immigrants, and it would be vastly different if it were not for the eclectic and wide-ranging contributions made by...

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