Tag Archives: immigration

Human Rights class introduces students to current problems and solutions

By Polina Runova

Staff Writer

The Expeditions course Human Rights is about “helping students become aware about the different human rights that we have,” instructor Angel Barragan said. He also said the course is “talking about the way that [human rights] are not being done or that they are being violated in some way.”

The course addresses many past and present problems concerning a variety of human rights. Students are introduced to current issues and what action they can take to advocate. “A lot of current epidemics in America are related to human rights,” Lilith Flowers, a sophomore at Tahoma, added. “There’s a lot there that I didn’t really know.”

Students in the class use documentaries, conversations and research to learn about the violation of basic human rights. The class is taught in a way that makes different issues become more relatable to the students. Immigration, homelessness and police brutality are all topics the class covers.

“It’s a very open class,” Miranda Sigala, a freshman at Tahoma, said. She mentioned how students are welcomed “with open arms.” Despite the tough material, students say they feel welcome in the class. “I felt very comfortable here,” Sigala said.

“What I really hope the students get out of this is just an immense amount of awareness,” Mr. Barragan said. “If students are able to just remember some of the lessons that we taught in this class, or make sure that they just can’t look away when injustice happens, that will make me very happy.”

See below for a video about the Human Rights course: 

Undocumented immigrants face struggle on a day-to-day basis

By Abel Rangel

Staff Writer

At the age of 13, Gloria fled her home because her father’s life was being threatened because of gang rivals.

“We also didn’t go outside of our town where we lived because we thought we could get deported back to Mexico, where my father would most likely be killed. We were scared,” she explained. 

The people interviewed for the purpose of this article, including Gloria, are relatives of mine. They asked to keep their name anonymous; therefore, their names have been changed. Her story reflects what some immigrants have gone through in their life; like her, many people have decided to flee their home and go live in new countries such as the United States.

Immigrants from all over the world are coming to the United States because of job opportunities and the chance to live better lives. However, there are some people that have no other option, so they come to the United States undocumented. If people figure out that this person is an immigrant, there could be mixed results. Some people could be supportive of them, but some people might call immigration to take them away.

Immigration is starting to become a bigger discussion today in our current political climate. Everything we see on the news might be showing us some politicians who believe that all undocumented immigrants are coming into the United States just to commit crimes, kill people, distribute drugs, etc. But a majority of the time, this is just false hysteria.

A majority of undocumented immigrants come here in order to have a better life than what they previously had, and they come here to find jobs. For example, the caravan coming to the United States is being shown by the media as people coming to the country to invade and kill us all. In reality, they’re coming here for a better life and for jobs. But sadly, when these people come to the border to seek asylum, the government reacts with excessive force, like tear gas.

The current president of the United States, Donald Trump, is very vocal about his opinion on undocumented immigrants, believing that a majority of undocumented immigrants are here to cause trouble. As a result of his presidency, Trump has attempted to make immigrating to the United States difficult; he attempts to make the lives of undocumented immigrants who live in the United States difficult; and he said that he will deport every single undocumented immigrant. That brings up a point: What struggles do undocumented immigrants face every day?

Pedro immigrated to the United States in 1993 because he was fed up with his life in Mexico. When Pedro was first thinking about immigrating, he saw that his brother was also going to the United States; so, Pedro decided to tag along with his brother.

But the thing was, Pedro and his brother were both from Mexico, so they had no family in America.  Since they had no family in the country, they couldn’t go to the United States legally. Seen as the only option for them, Pedro and his brother looked for an opportunity to cross the border when nobody was looking. They found their opportunity and made their way through the United States undetected.

Today, Pedro still lives in the United States undocumented, but he now has two children and a wife, his oldest child being 23 years old and his youngest child being 14 years old. Pedro managed to convince his girlfriend to come with him to the United States, but she also came into the country undocumented.

But seeing how they came in 25 years ago, Pedro and his wife are constantly trying to gain their residency in the United States. The immigration process in the United States is starting to become increasingly difficult and time-consuming. The average time it takes to get your residency can take years.

Pedro explained, “I faced a lot of struggles; learning English for me was a difficult thing for me to do, but I had no option because if I wanted to become a U.S. citizen, I should at least learn the language here. My children also have to suffer because of my mistakes as well. They tell me they want to go to places like Disneyland or Universal Studios, but I have to tell them no because we might reach a checkpoint where people will ask us for our papers, then we would get deported.”

He added on, “I also miss my family. Sometimes they visit the U.S. and I go and see them, but my parents haven’t come to the U.S. in eight years because they’re getting really old at this point. I just hope to be able to see them one more time before the inevitable. I call them once a month just to check in on them. From what they’ve told me, they’re still healthy and I should be able to see them within one or two years.”

The final question he answered was, “Has anyone ever threatened to call immigration on you?” His response was, “Sadly, it has happened before. I remember when I lived in Arizona, I was being threatened by one of my old bosses saying that if I quit, they would call immigration on me. I had to flee Arizona and move somewhere far away from them for my own safety.”

Pedro isn’t the only one who has experienced those struggles. Juan and Gloria are siblings who immigrated to the United States undocumented. They were forced to leave because of gang violence, and their father was being threatened by gangs. They used all of the money they had saved to spend on a coyotaje. A coyotaje is when people in Mexico give their money to a “coyote” or a boss in order to smuggle them into the United States.

Juan and Gloria came to the United States in their early teens, which was hard for them since they understood no English. They said, “We wanted to go to so many places since we were in the U.S. now, but we couldn’t because we only spoke Spanish. Thankfully, we had some family in the town we moved into. They gave us a home for a year and we were very thankful for them. “

On top of that, their family was scared to go outside, fearing something could happen to them. “But, we also didn’t go outside of our town where we lived because we thought we could get deported back to Mexico, where my father would most likely be killed. We were scared. We didn’t know if we were going to get deported, or if the gang that threatened my father found us and killed him.”

Since their family was too scared to go outside, thinking something could happen to them, they stayed indoors for a lot of the day. “Instead of going outside, we stayed inside watching American T.V. to try and learn English from shows. While this wasn’t the best thing to do, we learned the common words spoken in English.”

Another problem for them and the family that let them live with them was that they were running out of food quickly because there were nearly 10 people that house, so they needed another way to get food. Gloria said, “My mother found a job that paid minimum wage, but my father didn’t work for the first year we lived in America because we feared for his life. The family members that let us live with them gave us some of their food as well, but it wasn’t enough for everyone living in the house. So, my mother had to find a minimum wage job to support us.”

The fear of being killed or deported stuck with them for a long time; but, after knowing they were safe in the United States, they started to calm down and be more involved with society. “Although we were starting to settle down, we were still scared, but not as much. Thankfully, we have grown out of that fear, and we are now seeking to get our U.S. citizenship. While our English still isn’t the best, it’s much better than what it used to be like.”

The process to become a U.S. citizen or permanent resident takes an incredibly long time to go through. It can take years, but even after waiting for all of those years, there’s no guarantee that you’re going to get your citizenship or residency.

For people who go to the United States undocumented and who want to get their residency, one of the options is to wait until one of their children born in the country is 21 years old and unmarried. Why should it take that long? There are many things that can happen in the timespan of 21 years. The person waiting those 21 years to get their residency could die while in the United States, or they can get deported.

If those immigrants have never gotten in trouble with the law, and they’ve never been in trouble with the law back where they originally came from, why should they have to go through that much struggle?

DACA affects our community

By Jacob Kahn-Samuelson

Staff Writer

Donald Trump announced on Sept. 5 that he will not be renewing DACA and instead will let it expire; that decision created an ongoing legal battle that affects hundreds of thousands of immigrants across the United States, including many in San Jose.

DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals; those who qualify for DACA are allowed to get work permits and are placed at the bottom of the Department of Homeland Security priority list, protecting them from deportation for a period of two years. (You can read more about the program on the USCIS website.)

DACA was a major part of the budget debate, and the federal government shut down for three days (ending on Jan. 22) because the two sides could not reach an agreement. The government was later reopened after a deal between the Republicans and Democrats that bought the two sides three more weeks to negotiate.

As of Jan. 24, Politico reported that Senate Democrats have agreed to not insist on having a DACA bill as part of the budget agreement, with the minority whip in the Senate stating, “We’re viewing [immigration and spending] on separate terms because they are on separate paths.” DACA, however, might still be addressed. As reported in the Washington Times, David Perdue, a Senate Republican from Georgia, talked about the possibilities for DACA: “I give the president high marks for bringing a focus to this issue, not trying to solve every problem relative to the immigration problem, but to focus this on the legal immigration system, and I think we’ve got an opportunity to do that.”

The significance of this decision is shown by Representative Tom Cole, a Republican from Oklahoma, who said in the Politico report: “The phrase used to me [is], ‘We’re six inches away from a spending deal.’ It’s just simply the DACA issue and the immigration question.” Before the announcement from Senate Democrats, it was thought that DACA was the major disagreement holding up the spending bill. Now debate continues on when Majority Leader Mitch McConnell might keep his promise to bring the issue up for debate.

Meanwhile, confusion about immigration law reigns. “Getting a green card is as easy as getting a driver’s license,” said Erika Rivera, an immigration attorney in the Bay Area, when asked about the most common misconception about immigration law.

Erika Rivera Headshot

Immigration Attorney Erika Rivera

She explained the requirements to qualify for DACA: “There are seven: Be in school or graduated from high school, college, have a GED or be honorably discharged from the military. You must come to the U.S. before you turn 16. You must be physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012. You must be physically present in the U.S. from June 15, 2007 until present day. You must be under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012. You cannot have been convicted of a felony, be convicted of a significant misdemeanor or be convicted for three or more misdemeanors. You cannot be considered a threat to U.S. national security or public safety. Lastly, you cannot have legal status in the U.S. as of June 15, 2012.” 

Ms. Rivera said DACA “has given 800,000 people work authorization, bringing more people into the workforce. I have clients who are engineers and clients who are working at Google. It has brought attention to the issue. It has changed people’s perception of immigrants.”

She said the economic impact of ending DACA will be “significant. On top of that, there is already a lot of fear from immigrants, and it has caused more fear from the immigrant community. If the government won’t be nice to the immigrant Dreamers, who will it be nice to?” 

Ms. Rivera said DACA changed her job: “When it happened, it made work a little crazier because people wanted to get in quickly. Now that it has been taken away, you have to be more creative and look for other statuses that your client qualifies for.”

She recommended that those who are facing the expiration of their DACA status take the following steps: “They should speak with an employment rights attorney so they can find new ways to work. They should also consult with an immigration attorney before the DACA expires. Basically ask questions and get help. Finally make an effort to put pressure on the elected officials.” 

Ms. Rivera said Donald Trump has made her job “way more stressful and adds a new element. I have spent more time calming people down.” When asked about the cause of the large undocumented immigrant population in the United States right now, she said, “I think it has changed over time but predominantly is economic. But more recently there has been increased violence.”

She was not optimistic about Donald Trump’s immigration policy legacy, saying, “I think it will be worse. He cancelled DACA and TPS (the policy helping the Salvadorans fleeing the earthquake). I think he will continue to find things he can act unilaterally on without Congress. I am scared we will see a large increase in immigration raids. I hope the Democrats win back the House and Senate and they can stave off some of his rigid immigration policies.”

On Trump’s justification for getting rid of DACA, Ms. Rivera said, “Trump’s justification for getting rid of DACA was claiming that DACA was never constitutional. Trump claims that Obama’s executive orders were unconstitutional about DACA.”

Ms. Rivera hypothesized about what will happen next with DACA:  “I don’t think a lot will happen. If they do something it will likely come at the expense of other groups. (Border Wall, Chain Migration, etc.) What’s particularly scary is Trump has been attacking the legal immigration policies. This makes me question who would be able to come. I understand immigration needs change, but it shouldn’t be blown up by Trump.”

Ms. Rivera added, “Immigrants in general bring a different culture and bring different experiences. They bring a good work ethic and believe in the American Dream.”

Ruby Ramirez, the program director for the organization Amigos de Guadalupe, said the large undocumented immigrant population in the United States has various causes: “The word is ‘need.’ Something that is interesting for me is that my background is my parents came from Mexico and were undocumented. My father was born on a ranch in Mexico. My husband was born in Mexico and was born in a city. For me, it has been very interesting to see how when I visit my father’s family they talk about needing to come to the United States. In my husband’s family are not interested in coming to the U.S. They are interested in vacationing in the U.S. but only for a few weeks. The difference I have noticed between the two is the need for jobs, education and health services. When I meet families who have left their country of origin, 90 percent of the families want to provide more for their kids.”

Ms. Ramirez said DACA has directly affected her job: “We have DACA interns that work here. So part of it is the ability to be able to work with those students. The difference between the work I can do with a student who is a DACA recipient and a student who is ineligible for DACA is the DACA recipient can do internships anywhere, and they can go to any college. There’s a lot of opportunity for the DACA recipients. For a Dreamer who will not be able to qualify for DACA, they will not be able to do the internships at large companies, and they cannot get opportunities outside of California. And students who will not qualify for DACA will have a mental health impact on them. There is a level of fear and depression that we have to address with the students. I believe that it is completely wrong that we are unable to look at a young person and not be able to tell them sky’s the limit.” 

Ruby Ramirez Headshot

Ruby Ramirez, program director for Amigos de Guadalupe

Ms. Ramirez offered advice to someone whose DACA is expiring: “Fight. The students that we work with, we are teaching them to have on their radar what is happening each day with DACA; they then report the information to me.  We talk about solutions, i.e. what will happen if DACA does and does not pass, to protect themselves and fight for what is right. And we are teaching them how to mobilize and bring their fellow classmates and neighbors and how to get together with other Dreamers around the United States. In order to build a movement, to pass legislation that will protect all undocumented immigrants.”

Ms. Ramirez then talked about immigrants’ effects on the community: “Immigrants affect the community like everyone else. We pay taxes and work. The U.S. culture exists because of generations of immigrants that have come into this country.”

Ms. Ramirez then talked about what she thought Donald Trump’s immigration legacy will be: “I believe that Trump will pass some form of immigration reform. I don’t know what will be inside of it but I think that we will see something. That in itself, the fact that he has a legacy on immigration (more detentions happening, removing temporary protective status for some countries, his whole talk about the wall), we will see the word ‘wall’ for the rest of our lives. But I think the wall symbolizes a president who wants the U.S. to be isolated from the rest of the world. And that idea will be his legacy.”

Amigos De Guadalupe Website Screenshot

The Amigos de Guadalupe’s website shows their programs.

Ms. Ramirez talked about the impact of DACA on the country as a whole: “Like was said earlier, it has allowed the youth to be part of the building of this country. Ending it, I think, will take us steps back. Trump will go, and we will continue to fight for legislation to protect the undocumented youth and family.”

When asked what will happen next with DACA, Ms. Ramirez said: “That is a really good question. I think it will get stuck in court. For some reason I don’t think Trump will get rid of DACA. I think on March 5th he won’t be able to get anything passed, and he will give an extension to DACA.”

On the biggest misconceptions about immigrants, Ms. Ramirez said: “That we are here to take something from Americans. That immigrants don’t contribute anything to our society.”

protectourcommunity English

This sign asks members of the community to report ICE activity.

Summit Tahoma Executive Director Jonathan Stewart explained the support systems for children at the school who are undocumented or whose families are undocumented: “We offer direct support for students when they are doing college and financial aid applications. That is the clearest example of how we directly support them.”

When asked about keeping track of families’ immigration status, Mr. Stewart said, “We don’t keep track of their legal status. I am not sure if by law we are allowed to keep track of their legal status. And us not keeping track allows us to stay out of tricky legal situations. Ultimately, we want to focus on to help the students learn and grow – the school’s goal is not to become involved with legal issues.”

When asked about the monitoring of ICE activity in the area and how the school would protect a student or family who ICE is looking for, Mr. Stewart said, “We don’t have protocol for monitoring that. We keep in touch informally with families. If anything does happen with families at the school, we are notified. I have been in  a group with other principals that involves the police. We meet monthly to discuss school safety and discuss any law enforcement that is relevant to the schools. No one has ever brought up ICE raids in the group.” 

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Mr. Stewart, Principle at Summit Tahoma

When asked about whether or not Trump’s immigration policies have affected the kids or families at school, Mr. Stewart said, “Yeah, it has. There was a lot of concern among students and faculty about how it would impact people at the school. And his actions have concerned them further. In one case, a student’s mother is being mistreated by her employer but does not have much recourse because she is undocumented. Another person at school has a family member who is under threat to be deported, and it is difficult to do your best when you or your family member is at risk to be deported.”

Mr. Stewart added, “It has given some of our students that benefited from the program a boost when applying for college, because it gives them hope about the American Dream, and they can get the same support as their citizen peers. DACA just gives young people the space to imagine and work towards their future in the U.S. DACA ending might diminish the hope, but it will not take away from the hope. We are a hopeful school, and it will not take away the hope from the students.”  

Over email, Summit Rainier Spanish teacher Angel Barragan talked about how DACA has personally affected him: “DACA has affected me greatly, both in negative and positive ways. I am a DACA recipient and therefore I am able to teach, drive, pay taxes and more due to the privileges it brought me. Unfortunately I also have felt what it’s like to lose those privileges, back in 2015 my work permit was not renewed on time and I ended up having to leave the classroom for about a month. It was a devastating time not just for me but also for the members of the community I work for.”

Mr. Barragan Headshot

Angel Barragan, Spanish teacher at Summit Rainier

Mr. Barragan said DACA ending would impact him: “If DACA were to end, I would be unable to sustain myself or help out my family. I know there are students their families that are able to thrive because of DACA, so if it were to end we would all take a huge hit to what we are able to accomplish.”

“I think the biggest way that Donald Trump has affected me (besides DACA) is the perspective he has brought on undocumented migration. Even from before his presidency he was spreading some form of hate that pushes one group of people against another,” Mr. Barragan stated.

Mr. Barragan then stated what he thought Donald Trump’s immigration legacy would be: “There has a been a huge amount of hate that has spread since and it makes living under my label hard. I’m not sure what Trump’s legacy will be, I hope the country can look back in shame to an extent at how some of the racist point of views have gotten so far. I do hope love stems out of this, people coming together against bigotry.”

Immigrant DACA recipient speaks on current issues regarding immigration

By Giovanni Ochoa

Staff Writer

Angel Barragan is a Spanish teacher at Summit Public School: Rainier in San Jose. He moved to the United States from Mexico when he was 10 years old. He has been protected under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, otherwise known as DACA, for the past couple of years, and it being removed has affected him directly.

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Rainier Spanish teacher Angel Barragan

1. Do you think the life of immigrants has changed drastically in the past couple  months?

“I think since the election of our new president, the lives of immigrants have gotten significantly worse. Or maybe not significantly, but more difficult because of the stigma that immigrants have right now. Whereas, with our previous president, it was a very safe place for us to be just around, but there’s a lot of negativity and a lot of hate that has sprung since.” Mr. Barragan went on to add that since Deferred Action was taken away, a lot of immigrants no longer have protection from deportation, making their lives more hectic. 

2. Do you believe that all the talk currently revolving around immigrants has scared them from speaking out on the issue?

“Yes and no – I think it’s fifty-fifty. Pretty much there is a large group of immigrants that are becoming really empowered, and they’re becoming more outspoken to try to resist against what’s happening. That, and the voice of a lot of people that are allies to the immigrants, but there is another part of the same group that’s scared of something happening to them, so they’ve instead silenced themselves to try to keep themselves safe.”

3. How will the life of immigrants be affected in the future and their future kids? 

“I think things are gonna get harder before they get any better. There needs to be some serious changes [and] some serious reform in order to help protect those immigrants that are being affected. I think if things continue the way they’re going with the hate and the misinformation, more people are going to be feeling isolated and be hurt before we’re able to get to a place of peace.”

4. Do you believe it is fair that immigrants were treated this way?

“No, I think it’s very unfair that anybody is being treated this way. I think it really speaks out especially when you think about the way that immigrants are being categorized right now. There are two ways to call somebody that comes from another country to the U.S. without proper documentation. One of them [is that] they’re usually called illegal aliens, illegal immigrants or they’re called undocumented (usually by a different group of people). I think using the term ‘illegal’ to call a group of immigrants sets the precedent for how they’re being treated badly. In the media, when you talk [about] incidents that are happening to people who are migrating here without proper documentation… something horrible happens and they just call them ‘illegals’. It kind of takes away the humanity to make it look like it’s OK [to say] a bunch of illegals died in the border. Right, it doesn’t even sound that bad because you don’t even think about them as people, but if you say a bunch of people died crossing the border, then you think about it differently. Like, ‘Oh snap, this is a big deal. People are being affected.’ Just starting with the way people are being called sets a precedent for the unfairness and the inhumanity of how they are being treated.”

5. How do you think the issues surrounding immigrants can be resolved? How can the community help?

“I think shining a light on the issues and clearing misinformation are two of the most important things that we can do right now. I would like to say that there should be a path to citizenship that should start tomorrow, but that is very unlikely. Things that we could do right now is clear the misinformation that is happening because there is a lot of information out there that is not true,” Mr. Barragan said. “[For example,] about the support that undocumented immigrants get … people are saying that we get a free pass to college, that we get food stamps and that we get this and that, which is just not true. We don’t get anything more. In fact, we actually get less than people who are actually born here, but people don’t know that. People are passing around these things like the idea that we are criminals or the idea that we’re here taking somebody else’s jobs or that we even have a home to go back to. This is the information that’s being passed through. Talking about my own experiences, if I were to leave the United States where would I go? I can’t go back to Mexico. I don’t know Mexico. I haven’t been there. My entire life has been here in the U.S., but people say, ‘Just go back to your country’ [or] ‘Just go back to your home,’ but this is my home. The other part is shining a light [on] people [who] are being affected in a way that is hard to comprehend. If that’s outside of your regular life understanding, that somebody may lose their job and may not be able to survive, or that they don’t have a path to even fix their status, [those are] things that people don’t understand, and we need to shine a light on them.”

6. Do you believe immigrants are informed? How can we inform them?

“I don’t think a lot of immigrants are informed. I think there’s a stigma [on] talking about things. Back in 2008 or [200]9, there was a movement called Stepping Out From The Shadows. It [about] was standing out as undocumented, and this is a time when a lot of people who are Dreamers came out of the shadows per se and said out loud in public spaces that they were undocumented. I think movements like that help people or immigrants become educated, but new immigrants that have come recently, older immigrants or people who haven’t been in the educational system shy away [from] it because they don’t want people to know. It’s scary, and it’s dangerous for people to know your status, especially if they want something bad to happen to you .”

7. Do you believe the current decisions being made by our government should elicit an emotional response?

“I think anything that [what] the government does should elicit a response in general. Not just immigration, but anything that happens needs to have a response from the people, and the government needs to respond. The government is working for us to try to keep us safe or try to be better for the American society, and if they’re doing something that is not for the American society then they need to respond in some way.”

8. What are your thoughts on sanctuary cities? Should the federal government be able to cut funding due to the current debate surrounding sanctuary cities?

“I don’t think that it should be up to the federal government to make those decisions. It’s hard to say because a lot of the sanctuary cities are actually self-providing. Talking about San Francisco [specifically], San Francisco gives more money to the federal government than it actually gets back from them.” Mr. Barragan went on to question the meaning of cutting funds from a self-providing sanctuary city and the actual methods that would have to be implemented in order to execute that. “But I think that sanctuary cities are good. They are a place of safety where people with like-minded mindsets can actually [live].”

9. What do you think should be done to help immigrants get citizenship?

“I think there needs to be a path because right now there isn’t anything, which is the biggest misconception that I’ve heard a lot of times. Even [I have had questions asked] to myself, [like] ‘You have been under Deferred Action for five years, why haven’t you done anything to fix your situation?’ [but] outside of marrying a citizen, there isn’t really anything that I could possibly do to fix that. So I think there needs to be some way to showcase that we’re good citizens. I don’t have a criminal record. I’ve given back to society. I’m a teacher. What else do you want to know? I think there needs to be something. I wouldn’t be able to say what. I don’t know if amnesty is the right call, but at least for the people who are Dreamers who grew up here, who don’t have a life in another country, there needs to be something we can do to help them out.”

10. Do you believe there is a group of immigrants that is attacked the most and in what way?

“I think all immigrants are being attacked the most right now. I think that Middle Eastern immigrants are being attacked the most right now because things that are happening in the Middle East, you know with Syria and Muslim people. Unfortunately, I think on par with that is a lot of Latino immigrants in the U.S. – specifically, they’re being stereotyped. Even people who are not Latino immigrants, [people who are] just Latino or they look Latino, a lot of the times they’re being affected by these different stereotypes and injustices [by] getting pulled over [or] getting followed around. There was a story that I read recently where someone who was born in the U.S. was jailed and put into an immigration camp for months before [it was discovered] that he was actually a citizen of the U.S. I wanna say that those are the two groups being affected the most right now, because immigrants that are coming [who] have some type of white privilege are able to pass through a lot of things. There are immigrants from Canada who’re here without documentation. Although they may be suffering from some of these injustices, they’re not being targeted as heavily as the Latino population is.”

Related:

A Dreamer speaks out

President Trump’s travel ban affects Bay Area high school students

By Jon Garvin

Staff Writer

Xenophobia and anti-immigrant rhetoric were themes in Donald Trump’s campaign, and they continue to be topics of discussion as his administration progresses. Early in his term, President Trump and his administration put in place a temporary travel ban. According to the White House, President Trump released a ban on Jan. 27 to block citizens from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen in order to combat terrorism. On March 6, according to the New York Times, Trump exempted Iraq from the ban in part due to large protests at airports.

Many high school students in the Bay Area community were affected by the ban, and they have very strong opinions and emotions regarding the ban. The debate continues, as courts have blocked the bans, and they continue to inspire legal debate.

Here’s what members of the Bay Area community said when asked how the ban has affected them:

 

Anna Becker, a junior at Summit Preparatory Charter High School, shares her personal experience with refugees.

 

Left: Dina Bakour, a freshman at Carlmont High School, said, “Trump’s travel ban has affected me because people can’t enter the USA because of where they are from and their skin color. This makes me sad that not everyone in the world is equal.”

Right: Nicolette Bolich, a freshman at Notre Dame High School, said, “The travel ban has affected me because it makes me feel bad for the families who want to come to the U.S. to live a better life.”

 

Left: Bridget Britton, a freshman at Notre Dame, said, “The travel ban has affected me because it is racist and mean that he isn’t helping refugees, and he is being harsher on citizens from countries like Iran and Syria.”

Right: Dangelo Diaz, a freshman at Sequoia High School, said, “It hasn’t really affected me besides knowing that there will be less chance of terrorism in the U.S.”

 

Left: Angela Padilla, a senior at Summit Preparatory Charter High School, said, “It promotes a culture of intolerance against Islamic communities. As a person of color, that’s not something I support or want to see in our society.”

Right: Max Kolotinsky, a freshman at Kehillah Jewish High School, said, “It’s affected me by making me sad about how bad we can’t trust each other because of race and religion.”

 

Left: Jayden Hanan, a sophomore at Carlmont, said, “The travel ban has affected me because I think more people use this as an opportunity to be racist towards each other, which is wrong.”

Middle: Danielle Ellman, a freshman at St. Ignatius College Prep, said,  “The travel ban has affected me because I don’t agree with it, and it has opened my eyes to things I’m not aware of, like the inequality and unfair treatment of other countries.”

Right: Dara Cardona, a freshman at Summit Prep, said, “The travel ban has affected me because I know people who have come to the U.S. to live a better life, and I don’t think it’s fair for these countries to be restricted and not get a better life.”