by Leonela Serrano
President Donald Trump has decided to build that wall that he’s been talking about for ages. Not a surprise but it also came as a surprise to many. This infamous wall is not just a wall against Mexico but of all Latin America. Mexico is the first Latin American country and this wall shuts out Mexico and every other country below it. For my family, President Trump’s actions shut us out as well. This executive order makes me feel characterized, makes me feel even more shut in a box. As a first generation American, I feel like I don’t belong here in America nor in Puerto Rico nor in Venezuela. I am either too Latina or too American. President Trump’s actions only make me feel like I belong less.
The Wall is his way of telling me that I am part of a lesser group of people. The Wall tells me that everything that my grandparents sacrificed is worth nothing. The thousands of dollars that they spent, the sending of their children far away from them. It’s worth nothing because the dream that they spent ages trying to achieve is being ripped away from them.
My grandmother came to visit over Winter Break and she told my mom that she should get us our Uruguayan passports and then verify our citizenships because it’s better to have a backup plan. She also believes that the US isn’t what it was. My mother told me that if there’s another country that offers better opportunities, it doesn’t make sense for us to continue to live here. It doesn’t make sense for us to live in a country that shuns us.
As a kid, I had to live with the taunts from other students about them not being able to understand what I was saying because I “wasn’t speaking English” and I had to deal with being called a prostitute and a drug dealer (thanks, public school). The exact language that twelve-year-old boys used to drag me down is the same language and justifications that our president is using to tell the world why Hispanics no longer belong in the United States. This is the language that is making Hispanics wonder why they should stay in the United States.
The Wall only tells me that America has become a home to fear. My family came here because Americans didn’t let fear control their lives. Americans wouldn’t allow a man to come in and convince them that the world was a place to fear. Americans wouldn’t fall into the trap that so many other countries fell into. The Wall tells us that it has.
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