“I am undocumented, and I am not ashamed!” Those were some of the words that you would have heard if you were on my campus two weeks ago. From 9:00 A.M. in the morning until 5:00 P.M. in the early evening, students, professors, and staff were all sharing their migration stories every 15 minutes. At times, maybe one or two students passing by would stop to hear somebody’s story, and at other times, when classes were released maybe a dozen people would stop to listen.
Not everyone who shared was an undocumented resident, and of course those who were, were not saying that they are unashamed for being “illegal.” They were unashamed in standing up against a broken immigration system that says that they are not entitled to civil rights, because they lack an eight or nine digit social security number. They were not ashamed in fighting for their own rights and the rights of their friends and families. And they were not afraid of the consequences of spreading awareness for the need for immigration reform to people like me.
You see, I am a senior at Grand Canyon University (GCU), studying finance and economics. I am 23 years old, and it wasn’t until a few years ago that I started to hear about the need for immigration reformation. However, two weeks ago on Friday February 28th, many students passing by were hearing these kind of stories for the first time. They were amazed that GCU had over four hundred students that were undocumented. These stories hit close to home to those who listened as they learned for the first time that their friend, neighbor in their dorm, or even classmate that they have been friends with all year was actually an “illegal” immigrant.
No longer could many students who listened in allow themselves to view immigration as a financial, economic or political issue, but it became a human rights issue for them, as it should be.
When the undocumented students spoke, they were not talking about the financial or economic strain they wanted to put on our economy as some people believe. When they shared, they did not have any political agenda. They spoke about how much they wanted to contribute. Contribute to the United States as being the next best physician, teacher, author, pastor or friend as a citizen of the United States.
The only thing keeping these students from their dreams is a recognition of their true identity. One student from Jordan said:
“I just wish, especially for the children that were brought here at a very young age, who didn’t have the choice to be here, would have more rights and more recognition as being American when in fact, they are.”
I know that our true identity is in our citizenship in heaven and that we are all of one family. Sharing the need for immigration reform is almost the same to me as sharing the Gospel of Christ Jesus.
Andrew Donahue is a senior at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona. He is originally from Portland, Oregon. He’s studying Finance and Economics with a hopeful career in community development, ministry, or politics. He’s 23 years old.
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