Column: Immigrants deserve fair treatment from U.S.


AP Photo/Journal Times/Gregory Shaver

Twelve women hold hands in a circle Friday, Nov. 8, blocking Sixth Street during an immigration reform protest outside Congressman Paul Ryan’s office in Racine, Wis. The new immigration reform Loyola University Community Action Program project at Loyola aims to advocate for the human dignity of U.S. immigrants.


The current immigration system in the United States is and has been broken for some time now, and it seems that the political climate in Washington, D.C. is finally on the brink of doing something about it.

The question is, when you are looking back at this point of our history, will you be proud of where you stood and what you did? Or will you be embarrassed by your indifference when faced with the challenge of giving voice to the voiceless?

Many Americans seem to have oversimplified views on immigration or are simply misinformed, but there are some inescapable facts that make the current system unacceptable.

Morally, it can be difficult to live with the Pew Research Center fact that an estimated 11 million undocumented Americans live in the shadows of our society and face unimaginable difficulties.

These hard-working members of our community live under constant fear of deportation and are often subject to workplace exploitation.

Often, undocumented workers are uncompensated for their overtime work or – worse yet – are completely denied their wages. These incidents often go unreported to local authorities for fear of retribution.

Some employers are immoral enough to hold the threat of deportation over the heads of their undocumented employees.

This is a form of employer retaliation that you and I pay for with our taxes. It is also responsible for breaking up families across the nation.

Pew Research Center reports that the U.S. government deports roughly 1,100 undocumented Americans everyday.

Although some might see this as a fit response, the consequences of such draconian actions are simply unjust.

For each one of these deportations, there is an innocent family separated from its loved ones, and this is a price we should not be willing to pay.

These deportees are human beings just like the rest of us and have parents, siblings and children that they are stripped away from without notice.

In Louisiana, we have three detention centers where we keep undocumented members of our community captive. According to Human Rights First, these people are often without proper legal representation. Is this really how we want to treat our neighbors and friends?

After Hurricane Katrina, immigrants were a huge help in rebuilding the city that we are so proud to call home.

A study by Tulane University and University of California, Berkley, estimates that one-fourth of construction workers in New Orleans are undocumented. As thanks for this tiring yet very necessary work that they did to restore our community, we are treating them as alien invaders and not as equals.

Our parents and professors often tell us that our generation is apathetic and thus inept to face the social ills of our time but this, I am certain, is untrue.

I know that students do care about these social issues, because they can sympathize with the oppressed and the marginalized and have proven to do so in the past.

We are all blessed to be at an institution as fine as Loyola but we could certainly be better custodians of this privilege. Let’s take our faith and strong moral convictions and turn them into action for the good of all, especially the marginalized.

Samuel Rottman is a criminal justice senior and may be reached at [email protected] 

Cecilia Anguiano, right, speaks about her family’s struggles with immigration as she blocks Sixth Street with her mother, Sofi Anguiano, center, and her grandmother, Luz Maria Hernandez. Anguiano, like several other immigrants, has reached out to members of Congress to reform U.S. immigration policy. (AP Photo/Journal Times/Gregory Shaver)