Immigrants make Annandale great

Lina Al Taii, International Editor

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Immigrants, whether they are or are not documented, bring a well rounded and unique perspective into other countries and cultures. However, the recent presidential election used fear and hostility as the foundation of a campaign. President Donald Trump used the idea of building a wall to keep refugees and immigrants out of the U.S.
In the weeks following the election of President Trump, the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) has expanded and began holding raids throughout the country, especially in diversely populated areas such as D.C. and Northern VA.
ICE officers now go to Metro Stations and stop civilians who look like they could be undocumented immigrants, asking for ID. The harsh attitude towards undocumented immigrants is spreading throughout the country.
However, Annandale’s diverse community shows the importance of understanding and empathizing with others, no matter where they come from.
Immigrants and their different cultures bring new aspects to the average life and cause every person to challenge their own views. Even in an aspect such as education and school, learning how other countries and people do things is important to improving our own educational system.
“I think the diverse community at AHS is a wonderful thing because we learn to live how other cultures live,” Robotics teacher Phil Harris said. “When I talk to kids that are from other countries I learn about their educational systems and how it is set up. Such as in India, how their students take higher math classes at younger ages than our kids do. When we get kids from places like that, that’s why they rank so much higher than our kids. This helps us see what we can do differently in the classroom to give students similar opportunities.”
This diverse community of immigrants and minorities creates unique opportunities for students to learn about the world from their peers. Learning with other students as equals is important to every student’s education and their opportunities for the future.
“”The immigrants that I’m seeing have no difference from others. There’s no difference between immigrant students and any other students in AHS,” Harris said. “As a teacher, I hold them accountable to the same amount of work, they read the same books and take the same tests, so there is no difference to me. I hold them as much accountable as other students and I hope that they get into the same colleges as anyone else, therefore they get the same salary as anyone else.”
With the recent attention brought to immigration and the harsh immigration laws being pushed by the new administration, it’s important to take a look at how immigrants have created the society we love and appreciate today.
“”When everyone is from different places and different cultures it creates an environment where you learn a lot of valuable things from one another and about each other,” sophomore Ruth Seyeoum said.
Any student can tell you that this diverse environment is better for them to learn about different people, cultures, and beliefs. Even though everyone learns about different religions and cultures in their history classes, experiencing it and actually interacting with different people is important to create a broad understanding of others.
“The diverse community in Annandale exposes me to a lot of different cultures, and so I learn a lot about different places around the world,” junior Ian Marburger said.
Even though America was built on the ideas of immigration and freedom from persecution, recent changes have caused fear amongst undocumented immigrants and even students. The rise in ICE raids led to three unnamed AHS students feeling the need to exit school completely, in order to keep their family safe.
“”In the past administration I thought we were headed in the right direction. I feel that immigrants had the same opportunities as anybody else and they could get the same education as anyone else,” Harris said. “Recently it’s been brought to my attention that a kid at AHS could get approached by ICE. I like kids being kids and I don’t like anything messing with their educational process. I want students in my class to feel safe, ready to learn, and I think having ICE or anything else coming in, it’s asking a lot of that student.”
Though the line between school and government may seem blurred, there is a strong boundary that prevents any government agency from coming into a school just to arrest undocumented immigrants.
According to an FCPS Spokesman, “”FCPS policy is to provide equitable treatment and opportunities for all. FCPS is not permitted to request a student’s proof of citizenship and does not enforce immigration laws.” This means that all students are granted the right of safety while they are at school.
The hostility towards immigrants has grown, but it’is important to remember that all immigrants are people, who deserve the same respect and rights that you do.
“I think immigrants bring a new perspective and help us have a better, well-rounded understanding of the world,” senior Abubakar Hashi said. “Everyone deserves the same opportunities no matter if they are immigrants or not, and every person should feel safe in their home with their family.”