Why am I so angry? Angry doesn’t even cover a fraction of what I feel. How would you feel if your community lived in constant fear of getting ripped apart from the people you loved most? Or how would you feel if you knew that getting pulled over might cost you your very life? For a lot of people in the Hispanic/Latino community, these aren’t just theoreticals– they’re real life.
In 2018, 396,448 people were detained by ICE. Close to 50% of those individuals named Mexico their country of origin. A lot of these people coming to America illegally aren’t crossing the border to commit a crime–they are looking for a better life, a better job, opportunities for their children–the list goes on. You see, most of the countries in Latin America (including Mexico) are third-world countries. By definition, a third-world country has populations with low/middle incomes, less developed industrial bases, and a low Human Development Index (or low statistics for life expectancy, education, & income). This is relevant because this is why people seek to escape their country and come to America. In Mexico and in Latin America, residents make enough to get by and that’s it. The houses are in poor conditions, with no hot running water, and no heaters. Most likely the people living in these houses have children. What is so wrong with parents wanting a better life for their children? What is so wrong with parents wanting more for their children? Often undocumented people are referred to as criminals, but a criminal wouldn’t want to risk their lives to better the lives of others, a criminal isn’t willing to pay the repercussions just for a chance for a better living for someone else. In reality, it’s simple, they aren’t criminals, they are human beings and should be treated as such. In these ICE detentions, people are left to sleep on the cold cement, there is overcrowding, little to no medical care, and other extreme conditions. If these reasons aren’t enough to make you angry or even at least disappointed, then you might want to feel again.
Latino people are susceptible to wrongful convictions since it all circles back to immigration status. Even though a person might be found innocent, Latinos might still face deportation or other issues concerning immigration. In the past 6 years, about 2,600 Latinos were killed under the custody of police or by the cops themselves.
Why should you be angry? You should be angry because all the people in these statistics have families, and have people waiting at home for them; you should be angry because this is blatant racism, you should be angry because the legal system you fight so hard to defend is only in favor of white people, but most importantly, you should be angry because these are human beings that are being treated with less compassion than animals.
What can we do? We can spread awareness through social media, sign petitions or create petitions, protest, donate anything we can, volunteer.. or we can start by removing the label “criminal” from Latino.
Alondra Galvan, Lindblom Math & Science Academy
Cubs RBI Scholars Class of 2024