Today, I learned the meaning of a low-spirited word. Xenophobia: An intense and irrational dislike and fear of people from other countries. A dislike and a fear of people from a different place!
This word made me think about a recent radio interview where I was asked; “how do you feel about immigration?”
An immigrant is a person who comes to live in a country other than their own. A person who enters another country in order to improve their quality of life.
Being an immigrant myself, I believe that any immigrant, no matter their background, rich, poor, educated, illiterate, white, black, blue… is a person that has plenty of courage and determination.
When a person decides to move to another country, they pack up not ONLY all their possessions, but life as they know it. They abandon their comfort zone, their family, their friends, and their culture.
In reality, the only thing that migrants carry with them is HOPE. Hope for a better life!!!
After leaving everything, an immigrant arrives to his new home… scared and full of dreams ONLY to confront xenophobia.
Legal or illegal, an immigrant has few opportunities. Mostly, in order to survive they work in jobs that you could never imagine.
Often their rights are violated and always, they walk the streets in fear of being stopped or expelled.
As an immigrant, you never close the circle; you never stop dreaming of the day that you will be able to re-unite with your family. Always, trying to maintain your culture, your principles while adapting to a new environment.
Being an immigrant is a difficult experience, but it is also an exciting experience.
As an immigrant you arrive excited to your new environment. Your vision is not clouded and you will find opportunities where the locals can't see them anymore. The tastes, the colors, the sounds are new to you; you are like a kid, everything is a new experience.
In your mind, you have decided that you came to succeed and constantly seeking for opportunities and ways to improve yourself. You are willing to do the pitiful jobs because you know, that every job is only a step closer to accomplishing your dreams.
I lived this tale in my own flesh, so I know!
Today, I truly believe that a migrant is the best asset for any country.
Most immigrants do not come for social benefits, they come to find work and to improve their lives and those of their families.
Indeed, employment is the single most important determinant of migrants’.
So when I was asked: “how do you feel about immigrants?”
I say, I feel great; I have a deep admiration and respect for them.
In fact, we should create a system where we assist the right people to cross the border legally. And everybody should make a conscious effort to better integrate immigrants within the society.
Most importantly we should view immigrants as an investment rather than a cost.
An immigrant is a great asset, a blessing for any country!!!
Who I am today as a person is largely due to my failures!