I never imagined I would say this, but I am a proud immigrant living in the United States. I have lived here for almost eight years. I have paid taxes every one of those years, I have paid tuition to US schools and bills for US services, I am happy to obey and respect the laws of this country. I'm a legal permanent resident of the US, even though I'm not allowed to vote or collect benefits of any kind, I'm not eligible for the ACA or any other federal or state care. I have all of the responsibilities, very few of the benefits and no complaints whatsoever. I am, in fact, quite grateful to live here. As cheesy as it sounds, I love this country. So many of the things I love, things that have helped make me who I am, have come from this country: Billy Wilder and Hitchcock films, for one (both immigrants); but also Walt Disney and Jerry Seinfeld and Bruce Springsteen and Selena (all certified Americans, born and raised on US soil, even Trump would agree, I believe).
I have given so much to this country, and I will continue to give it my hard work, whatever talent I have, my sincere admiration and affection because it has become my home away from home. I want nothing in return but the happiness of living here and perhaps one other thing: I would like to not be constantly called a criminal and a threat by a presidential candidate. I would love for that to simply not be okay by anyone's standards. I would love for everyone to assume the statistical truth that as a law abiding, grateful, proud immigrant in this country, I am the rule, not the exception.
The US is an incredible country, I believe it might actually be the greatest country in the world. It is messed up for sure, but every country is messed up. I also believe my native Mexico is pretty fucking fabulous in practically every way, except in those where it's also quite messed up. I have two homes and they're both complicated, full of unresolvable issues, also full of wonderful, inspiring, fantastic things. I refuse to accept people who chastise me for saying these things in one breath because they believe being a proud Mexican and a proud immigrant have to be mutually exclusive. We are neighbors. Our fates are tied in ways no law or commerce treaty will ever fully govern. Our cultures are bound together, more and more each day, in ways no amount of racist bullying or wall building will change; even the most liberal of immigration reforms won't be able to do full justice to the depth of our ties. Mexico has a moronic leader; Trump is a sociopath beyond comprehension; people who follow my feed are probably tired of hearing that I think Hillary is a shinning hope in our political horizon, but whether or not I'm right, whether or not you agree with me, it doesn't matter that much. The unity of our people might be helped by our political leaders but it won't be built by them and we should not let it be undone by them either. It is built by us and it's our responsibility to make it a good one. Our people are linked. And they depend on one another whether they like it or not, whether they see it or not. And what a fantastic thing that is because as much as we hear differently, I am positive that generous, kind, smart people are the norm on both sides of the border. So let's make that majority heard. Let's make that the starting point of this, most important, conversation.