Restoring basic humanity to immigrants   

Opinion by NoraCorrigan

Sr. Valeria Lewandoski protests outside of Marian in February 2022. The Servants of Mary protest each month on the corner of Military Avenue and Aurora Drive. Photo by CeciUrbanski.

According to the Pew Research Center, more than 40 million Americans are immigrants. As the country with the most immigrants in the world, why are we so hostile towards those seeking refuge from political turmoil and humanitarian crises? 

In recent years, immigration has become less of a humanitarian concern and more of a political crisis. With numbers being thrown left and right about the amount of “illegal aliens” entering the U.S., immigrants have been labeled as foreign creatures rather than humans seeking refuge. 

While there are undeniable facts about the number of undocumented immigrants who enter through the southern U.S. border, we have to remember what they’re fleeing and what they’re searching for. 

Immigrants from Honduras are escaping economic strife, political upheaval, environmental disasters, corruption and influence of gang members in their area. Haitians flee intense gang violence and hurricane damage that only gets worse as the earth warms. Syrians seek refuge from a decades-long civil war. 

These immigrants are not coming to the U.S. to “steal our jobs” or cause political disruption; they are coming to America to rebuild their lives. 

From the very beginning, America has been a place where one can have access to a world of opportunities despite their past and a place where, at the very least, everyone gets a chance to succeed. 

So it’s understandable that those fleeing despair are optimistic about coming to America. 

Yet, instead of acceptance and aid, immigrants are met with extreme xenophobia and chants of “go back to where you came from.” 

While I can’t speak for all immigrants, I think it’s clear that most only want the best for their children and families. They don’t want to raise children in a war-torn country or poverty-ridden economy. They want a chance at stability, at a future, at happiness. 

As Marian girls, as humans, we are called to protect immigrants from the all too apparent xenophobia in society. 

One of the Servites’ core social justice commitments is a dedication to protecting immigrants. 

They are active in protesting human rights abuses against immigrants. 

While our founders hold a special responsibility to protect immigrants and therefore we do too, we are called to care for one another on a humanitarian level. 

Though we may come from separate countries, speak different languages or have different socioeconomic backgrounds, immigrants and citizens alike are all human. 

We share the same desire to protect the ones we love and to pursue a brighter future for ourselves. We share compassion and empathy for those around us. We share frustration at injustice. 

We don’t need to be at odds with immigrants. We need to welcome them. Immigration not only provides an opportunity for a successful future, but it also creates cultural osmosis. 

We are opened to different
perspectives, historical backgrounds and cultures. We are stripped of our geographic boundaries and have a chance to be united as human beings on a fundamental level. 

One thought on “Restoring basic humanity to immigrants   

  1. Yes! Well said, Nora. This reminds me of the scene in Willa Cather’s novel My Antonia, when Grandfather Burden realizes he respects the immigrant Mr. Shimerda, even though they speak different languages and practice different religions: “The prayers of all good people are good.”


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