I am an immigrant. I am against illegal immigration. That may be racist, fascist, privileged, or all of the above, but it’s true. I will never forget the day I was called a racist because I was holding a sign that read “Immigration is not a right.” No one bothered to take the time and ask me for my side of the story. All they did was yell at me because they assumed that my eyes have been too blinded by my racism and bigotry to understand.
They labeled me a racist. To play the left’s game of identity politics for a moment: I am female, I am brown, and I am an immigrant. How can an “oppressed” triple-minority engage in racism against her own identity groups?
While I do feel a great deal of sympathy for people who are facing deportation, I cannot ignore my personal experiences. Before you call me names and point fingers, you must hear my reasons. Again, this is my side of the story.
I legally moved to the US when I was 13 years old. I was living in the Middle East as a Christian female, a doubly-persecuted minority. When I was 7, children ran after me and maliciously called me names because I was known as the one non-Muslim kid on the block. When I was 12, I couldn’t walk the streets alone because my uncovered hair was too provocative. My parents struggled more than most, and my sister was denied higher education simply for her religion.
It is frankly impossible for me to fit on one page every instance of persecution I faced in my home country of Egypt.
To say I understand what it is like to be persecuted would be an understatement. I know what it is like to live in a country and feel constantly unsafe. Terrorism was a daily concern. It was not pretty. I understand what it’s like to live in a country where your only dream is to flee, but I waited 13 years for my papers to make my dream a reality. Thirteen years during which I could have been killed for no reason. It is not wrong to demand that everyone wishing to enter this marvelous country do so legally and go through the same process.
When immigrants legally enter the United States, they go through countless background checks. Thirteen years of my life was spent waiting on background checks and other forms of vetting, but illegal immigrants get to skip those checks. I’ll put it this way: before bed, everyone locks the door to their house. We do so because we love the ones inside our home, and because it is impossible to know the intentions of those outside. The same logic applies to our country. If we are to live in safety, we must know the identity and history of every person who wishes to come to this country, and the only way that is possible is through thorough background checks and other vetting.
My sister, the one who was denied higher education because of her Christian faith, still lives in Egypt. Every Christmas and Easter, she calls me to send her final goodbyes. Why? Because every Christian church in the Middle East exists with the possibility of falling victim to a terrorist attack. She is still waiting for her papers. It’s been 17 years, but at no time has illegal immigration entered her mind. We respect and love this country too much to break its laws.
We can not hasten to accept millions of illegal immigrants while ignoring the other millions of people who follow the process and wait to legally immigrate to the US. It is only right.
Written By: Jolene Morcos