Instead of extending an effort to save innocent lives from corruption, poverty, violence and myriad dangerous living conditions of their home countries, we’ve chosen to shut our doors, hiding behind a “no tolerance” policy...and God.

The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respectable Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations And Religions; whom we shall wellcome to a participation of all our rights and previleges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment.
— George Washington

Krista Cucarese

Photo Credit

I was saving this cover photo for months with hopes of using it as the focal point of an article that might inspire readers to change their perspectives on the opportunities this great country has to offer. Similar to “55 Water Street”, I was so ready to testify about my desire to work in corporate America, taking you back to where I came from and explaining to you why I’m here. I intended on praising the freedoms I am now allowed, commenting on what makes this country so great, and telling you about the initiative taken by my family to leave behind all that they knew so I could enjoy these things. But, you see, recently I’ve been struggling to connect with that positive outlook because seemingly everyday, I’m reminded that the aspects of my identity (particularly me being an immigrant: an Outsider) can, and will, be used to diminish who I am.

This past Thursday was the deadline for the US to reunite children, under the age of 5, with their parents, whom they were separated from while attempting to illegally cross the Mexican Border into the States. The decision to do so came after weeks of pressure from the public and even a lawsuit threatened against a government - ironically forged from the fabric of the immigrant perspective -  that rejected human decency, rather than attempting to channel the very essence of what validates its rightful place on the moral pedestal.

Because they’re Outsiders.

The rhetoric is disgusting. But it is the ugly truth. This has happened. And it was our government’s doing. And now you have to ask yourself, how did this seem like the right thing to do? But you know the answer, now don’t you? It’s not like they were coming from Norway.

When I was a boy, I dreamed of the day I would enjoy the New York City skyline in person. It’s why I often stop to admire certain views of the city whenever I have the chance. I think of the immigrants whose hands built these structures, the years of history each has seen, and the millions of lives around me in the hustle and bustle of the concrete jungle. I am grateful for the opportunity to be here. Though I have not yet reached the goals set for myself, I understand that I am blessed and I hope many more like me may have this chance.

But I look at these buildings and now, for the first time, I don’t feel hope. I see opportunity, yes. Yet, for the first time I think to myself, "is this for me?"