Jackie Chavez - Define American

Jackie Chavez

Clifton, NJ

Until a few years ago I’d never met an “illegal immigrant” . [Or so I thought] In fact the words never conjured any emotion. Although I am hispanic, I’d never given immigration laws a second thought. A couple years ago I started dating a guy. We were quite in love and I starting attending his parents church on occasion. While there, I met some of the most colorful characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. A group of warm, amazing, inspiring, hardworking people who never let where they came from define where they are going. Some spoke of hiding in a car trunk for days to get to the U.S. Some spoke of leaving their entire families in search of a life they could never have back home. It was in meeting this strong group of people that I realized how blessed I truly was. I wish not to undermind the fact that in the U.S. resources are scarce and space is limited. I simply need to ask … if the guy that spent two days hiding in the trunk of a car doesn’t deserve to be an American…than who does deserve to be an American?

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It's time for a new conversation about immigration in America, and it starts with us.

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