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Immigrants are people, seeking better lives

 Demonstrators hold signs during a rally for undocumented students in Chicago.
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Date published: 4/27/2014

This is in response to Doyle McManus' April 15 op-ed titled "GOP needs immigration reform consensus."

It is refreshing to see prominent Republican politicians shifting the rhetoric around unauthorized immigrants. Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's comment about immigration as an act of love gives Americans a different way to view many economic refugees crossing the border to make a better life, mostly to be able to support their families.

Too many times we hear conservative voices decrying unauthorized immigrants as criminals, when in reality they have to leave their homeland because their chance of making any reasonable income in their country has been squashed by globalization.

America has always been heralded as the land of opportunity. We should be proud not only of our vast opportunities to advance, but that others recognize that and want to contribute and prosper in turn.

What is most unfortunate about mislabeling an entire population as criminals is that it overshadows the youth who were brought here by their families and have grown up knowing the U.S. as home. These "dreamers" brought here very young are desperately trying to receive a college education. Many cannot afford the out-of-state tuition, which is three times in-state tuition ($29,000 vs. $9,000).

As a college student myself, I am grateful I can earn a college degree for a reasonable price. Others are not as fortunate, even if they have lived in the U.S. their entire life.

While the changing rhetoric around undocumented immigrants may just be a political ploy to win votes, it is a necessary shift.

Recognizing these immigrants as people simply trying to better their lives will open up the gates to passing meaningful reform to help students trying to further their education and their job opportunities.

Rebecca Turner