legal issues

Immigration: A mile in their shoes


A great illustration by Alex Eben Meyer

Anyone who’s watched a news channel, newscast or read a newspaper in the last few years knows that immigration is a controversial topic.

There’s a million different perspectives and opinions on this matter; this post isn’t intended to start a debate. But I have a confession to make: Although I may have been concerned and aware in a very general sense, I just never really thought about immigration in a deeper sense – or understood what it means to the people who are in the midst of doing so.

For most of us, having to even perceive this country as a place that isn’t ours – a place where your legal right to be there is in question – is almost unfathomable. And I’m definitely a product of Middle America. I grew up in a housing plan that was, as the song says, little boxes made of ticky-tack that all look the same. It was a very insulated little bubble to grow up in.

As an adult, my worldview has become far more diverse (it’s impossible not to have a sense of other cultures and other ideas in a city like Chicago). In my circle of friends, I know several people who have emigrated from other countries. My best friends grew up in Canada and have been living in the United States for the last decade or so.

Still, I rarely pondered the actual process of immigration, or the challenges that people who come to this country face. But that all changed for me recently.