On Sunday, Trump tweeted that four congresswomen of color (Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY; Ilhan Omar, D-MN.); Ayanna Pressley (D-MA); and Rashida Tlaib, (D-MI)) should “go back” to where they came from.
For many immigrants, children of immigrants, refugees and children of refugees, Trump’s callous comments unearth our own personal journey and experiences as Americans. Many of us are all too familiar with the line “go back to your country,” a hateful and xenophobic catchphrase throughout American history.
I still painfully remember my own experiences with being told that I’m not American enough.
“You should speak English. This is America. If you want to speak your language, you should go back to your country.”
“Why don’t you change your name to something more American?”
“If you have so much to say and criticize about this country, maybe you should go back to your own country?”
I’m shocked, confused and saddened because the U.S. has been and always will be my home. Many have made sacrifices on our journey to the U.S. And here, we tirelessly fight to ensure our families and communities are afforded the best opportunities to succeed.
I believe that it’s possible to love this country and acknowledge that there is still work to do for it to become a place where everyone can succeed and thrive. I criticize my country because I love it and I believe that it can be better -- and the president’s comments are anything but American.
At the end of the day, we must call what Donald Trump’s comments and actions are: racist and un-American.
His administration continuously attacks the rights of immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees -- many of whom are LGBTQ and people of color.
LGBTQ people who are fleeing violence in their home countries have been denied entry or been made to wait in Mexico or U.S. detention facilities. Horrifically, children and adults are mistreated and dying -- including at least two transgender asylum seekers -- as a result of unlivable conditions in detention centers created by the Trump-Pence administration.
And now, Trump’s unconscionable comment of “go back to your country” aims to divide us further.
For decades, immigrants and refugees have been a part of the beautiful fabric of this country, and throughout history immigrants have enriched the foundation and culture of the U.S. with our resilient narratives, colorful traditions and innovative contributions.
Yet, Trump is blind to the reality that our nation’s diversity is what makes us stronger and more connected. Our country has always represented more than the person who sits in the Oval Office. It represents the sacrifices, the dreams, hopes and opportunities of those who were born here and those who were not.
This is my country. This is my home, and it is your home, too. We aren’t going anywhere, not now, not ever.