Understanding immigration and politics through the lens of an English major

The amount of talk recently about immigration in the United States has had one recurring thought on my mind: What does it mean? If you are not familiar or confused with politics, then look no further. I, too, am confused with the political conversations, and with President Trump in office, there is more opinion and bias surrounding his intentions involving his policies than the issues itself. The best way to learn about politics is to research and read articles on the topic. Avoid social media sites! Social media can help or hurt your knowledge of politics, be sure to check where an article posted on social media is getting its source.

In order to understand more about this topic, I decided to interview a professor and alumna here at St. Kate’s, Jane Carroll, history professor, ’80. The areas of history that she teaches include U.S., Women’s, Civil liberties and Civil Rights, Irish, European, and British. Carroll has been working at St. Kate’s for 25 years with five of those years working only part-time. When I asked her about immigration, her response was that this is a very complicated area of the law, but it basically describes who can and cannot enter the country. Carroll talks about the idea of immigration-bashing or scapegoating. This means that when something isn’t quite right in America, we tend to blame it on certain groups of people (e.g. Muslims). This is not a new thing in the United States.

“There is too much fear and ignorance in American society that blames immigrants and refugees for terrorism.  In fact, the cause of terrorism is ideological and political; any person, regardless of national origins or immigration/refugee status, and including American citizens, might be persuaded by certain ideas to perform terrorist acts,” said Carroll. “Therefore, the ideology and the ability of terrorists to recruit people to act on that ideology should be addressed rather than banning whole groups of immigrants on the basis of nationality or religion or refugee status.  Banning whole groups based on religion violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  Banning groups on basis of nationality violate the 1965 Immigration Act as well.”

While there is still a lot of uncertainty in the world right now, St. Kate’s provides a safe environment where students are supported and accepted.

While talking to Carroll, she offered some great resources that can help explain the questions we all have about immigration. She suggests using sources such as The Washington Post, the New York Times, and politico.com. When I asked her about fake news, she responded by mentioning the fact that Trump will say a news outlet is “fake” because they criticized a comment he said. President Trump and many other public figures say things like this to make a statement. The key point to remember is to avoid assuming a news outlet is fake until you have done your own research.

If St. Kate’s can evolve and grow, why not our country?

After the interview, I looked into the Washington post and learned that there will be a revised issue of the order (Washington Post). The first order that President Trump signed is frozen until further notice on the new order. The new order will allow immigrants to stay only if they are visa holders, legal residents, or are U.S. residents in Iraq battling. The emphasis on Muslim individuals remains intact and will not be taken out of the new order. Carroll mentions how this counteracts the part of the first amendment that allows “separation of church and state.” I would have to disagree because the government isn’t forcing the Muslim faith on U.S. citizens. The Muslim community can practice their faith freely. The government is taking precautions to keep us safe in a solution they think is logical.

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