English Composition 121

Persisting Struggle; Immigration and Citizenship

An essay that I recall is a reflection when I attended the Activism in Academia Symposium titled “Aspiring Americans ‘Thrown Out in the Cold’: The race infused politics of naturalization.” This essay surfaced after Nermeen Arastu’s, Clinical Law Professor at CUNY, delivered her passionate presentation emphasizing that the United States has perpetually discriminated against immigrants. I strongly agreed with Arastu’s argument and more so because the United States has incessantly enacted discriminatory policies to prevent immigrants from becoming naturalized citizens. The topic about immigration and citizenship denial was very dear and personal to myself because I am an immigrant and one of my family member was denied because was falsely accused of committing fraud. When I first started writing, my mind was bombarded with the amount of information that I wanted to include in the essay. In the writing process, I was writing in my comfort zone therefore I did not have to follow a guideline, for instance, the five-paragraph methodology. This was the first college essay that I diverged from the hard-core procedural curriculum that Academia has deeply instilled in my persona. I understood the fact that I was writing an essay about a presentation of a distinct person, nonetheless, I recognized that it was a topic I was fervently about. My essay was revised several times and at the end it did follow a methodology because I had to incorporate in the introduction the other individuals that participated in the symposium.

After writing that essay I came upon the realization that writing about topics and subjects that I am intrigued takes my writing to a different level. During the process of writing that essay, I felt like I could have written ten pages and I could have still continued. I never thought that I could have written such a passionate and convincing essay in an English class, I rather prefer to write Philosophy or Political Science, disciplines that comes naturally to myself. My ideas on writing since this essay changed completely because I comprehended that writing is a platform that can be used to spread awareness about essential controversial topics that individuals do not have exact information, it is not solely about grammar. I understood that writing is not a precise and concise skill that someone can master but rather is exploratory and informative. I am fonder of reading than writing but after this essay I became more confident and interested in such skill.

My ideals on the subject matter of immigration and citizenship denial has not changed because I still believe that the requirements for permanent resident card and citizenship eligibility are discriminatory. Early United States history have demonstrated that this nation has always been anti-immigrant and they have restricted immigration by establishing language as a barrier. Also, a required clause stated is that the people applying should have a good moral character. If the person applying either changed the address or was married and is not mentioned there is a high probability that their application would be rejected. The justifications that the United States provides is that the applicant is a liar. For example, my aunt was denied a permanent resident card because she was deemed as a liar and a suspect, directly accused of committing fraud. The justification declared was that she did not have a good moral character because according to them she divorced her husband to come to the United States thus accused of fraud. The particularity of immigration laws is that they were designed and embedded to debar immigrants from the complete process. In contemporary society, the objective of Trump’s administration is to terminate immigration. In the topic of immigration and citizenship my ideals have not changed but I have become a more informative and knowledgeable individual.

In that essay, there was not a specific set of questions that I had to answer. I had to formulate my own ideas and reflect on one of the presentations that day. But, before starting the essay I created my own questions. The first question that I made was what was the specific number of immigrants denied from permanent resident card and naturalization and the nation that had the highest statistic. I did not include the statistic in the essay but I was impressed with the information that I obtained which was that people that came from Muslims nations are the most rejected. I did not ignore any question because there was not any question that I had to answer to. I created my own question to guide myself so that I was able to include the most impactful information on immigration and citizenship.



One thought on “Persisting Struggle; Immigration and Citizenship

  1. Dhipinder Walia

    Thank you Ivy. I hope you’ll pursue this topic for your autoethnography, but I want this for my own reasons– I’m so interested to see what will come of investigating your own feelings about immigration, your aunt’s life, your aunt’s immigration history, etc. You should of course consider a topic that is of special interest to you, but like you say here, writing can be so powerful when it’s not about grammar but about changing the world, ourselves, etc. It’s also interesting that you cite philosophy and political science as your comfort zone– the immigration topic has a natural intersection with both fields. I think of Renan’s essay “What is a nation.” He’s a philosopher and talks about the violence of nationalism and nationhood, and there’s so many another folks who consider the idea of citizenship from a philosophical lens.

    I’m looking forward to seeing where you’ll go next!

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