Rethink what it means to be an immigrant

Last Tuesday in the Republican debate, Donald Trump explained his plan to address the illegal immigration problem, which greatly resembled President Dwight Eisenhower’s 1954 deportation plan.

In the 1950s, hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants from Mexico were sent back across the U.S.-Mexico border in over-capacity buses and trucks. Deportees were sent to obscure locations in Mexico so that they wouldn’t be able to return. They were left without resources to survive in the intense weather conditions.

This dark moment in our nation’s history was referred to as “Operation Wetback.”

In an interview with CNN, Trump was asked how his plan would be different.

He responded that it would be “very humanely done,” and good management would assure that. Even after the reporter asked how he would manage 11 million illegal immigrants, he continued to respond “humanely.”

I can admit that illegal immigration is a problem, but I could never justify that removing families from their homes is humane.

When I was almost 2 years old, my parents made the decision of packing up their lives and saying goodbye to their families, jobs and home. They wanted for my brothers and I to have a good chance at a great life.

Years later, here I am. I am now an American citizen, I graduated at the top of my class in high school and I am doing pretty well for myself at the one of the greatest universities. The reason I even have these great achievements is because my family immigrated to the United States.

English is my second language, but it’s also the language that gave me these opportunities. I have learned to value the language in a such a unique way than most people. I know what it’s like to not be able to communicate in a country where you are expected to make a living. When I was younger, I had to translate for my parents in stores, doctor’s appointments or teacher’s conferences.

In college, I decided to make English the focus of my career. I enjoy studying all forms of writing and literature because my background allows me to experience the importance of knowing English.

My father, now 49, has had an incredible journey here in the states. For as long as we have lived here, he has struggled with a language barrier and a dead end job. He has always been able to provide my brothers and me with a good life, but that also meant having to put us first. In September, he was finally able to become an American citizen. All summer, he studied American history and how to speak, write and read English.

People like Trump do not understand what it means to leave your home in order to feed your family and provide them with a good education. We come here because this is our chance to find opportunities for a good life not because we intend to steal jobs, sell drugs or commit crimes.

Rolando Rodriguez Soto is a junior professional writing major from Waco. He is a reporter for the Lariat.