GOLD HILLS, CALIFORNIA — An undocumented Tawinese woman in California told readers of her blog this week that she was putting herself through a “crash course” in learning to speak Spanish, in case she is deported by the Trump administration.
Thirty years ago, when Měilíng Lin was just three years old, her mother and father came to the United States on work visas, and simply overstayed them. Lin said her story was very common among those who conservatives call “illegal immigrants,” and that the notion that most undocumented people come from Mexico is “silly” to her. In her blog posting for this week, Měilíng said she was “alarmed and confused” when she read that the Trump administration plans to deport all undocumented people through Mexico, regardless of their nationality, and she decided it was time to brush up on her Spanish, which she took two years of in high school.
“I’m not dumb,” Měilíng wrote, “I live in southern California. Learning to speak Spanish here just makes sense. But I haven’t used it every day. Guess I’ll need to if Trump deports me, though.”
In her posting, Lin says she’s always felt like a “person without a home” in some regards because she knows that she had no choice in coming here “illegally” as a child, but she’s always felt some Americans would view her as a criminal if they found out her situation. Měilíng wrote that she considers herself an American though, and that she is very happy and proud to have been able to live and work here, trying to make the country a better place and “truly fulfill its promise to all people living here.”
“This country is so cool,” Měilíng writes, “because it allows for historical wrongs to be righted. It acknowledges, at least it did for many years, that none of us own this great land we live on; we’re just passengers and stewards…caretakers if you will. We are nation of immigrants, because we’re a species of immigrants, and have always traveled to where there’s at least a glimmer, a shot, a hope of a better life.”
Ms. Lin writes that “of course” she feels bad for other families that have tried emigrating to the U.S. the “legal and right way” that she and her family were able to “jump the line.” However, she also wrote that her story is a “strong indication of just how broken the system is.”
“Shouldn’t we instead be asking ourselves why it takes so long to let people in,” Lin wrote, “in this day and age of high technology, vetting someone shouldn’t take that long. There are of course security reasons, valid ones, for wanting to check people’s credentials, but when we start treating human beings as trash, as inconvenient detritus, we have given up on so much of what makes this country great.”
Ultimately, Lin hopes Americans reacquaint themselves with the poem that rests on the plaque on the Statue of Liberty.
“We can bring in huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” Lin wrote, “and we can be a safe and secure nation. We can walk and chew gum, and I believe we can fix this immigration system that’s hurting so many people right now. But I guess until then, all I have to say is, ‘Buenos suertes, todos immigrantes.'”
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