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September 27, 2021

It’s Time we Humanize “the Illegals.”

“Are those the illegals?” she asks.

I stare at her, dead in the eyes, and pause for a moment.
I am feeling the intensity of my heart and the heat rise to my head.
I am trying not to lose my sh*t.

Haitian people,” I say, “Haitian people.”

Maybe she doesn’t understand that


That “the illegals” makes it sound as if their humanness is somehow illegal.
That the violence and racism they experienced,
the hurricane that hit their homes, their businesses, their land,
the pregnant women who traveled on foot for months through the Amazon…
wasn’t a good enough reason to come here,
wasn’t a strong enough argument,
and was somehow their fault,
something they did wrong,
something they did to themselves.

“Illegal: contrary to or forbidden by law.”

Contrary to,
as in conflicting with,
as in conflict with,

Conflict with…

We are so focused on keeping people out that we have no idea how to let them in.
We’re so far away from their eyes.
If we could just get a little closer
if we could just use our eyes to see their eyes,
but we are using ropes
and fences
and walls
to keep people out.

“Immigrant: a person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country.”

A person.
A husband.
A daughter.
A child.
A mother.

“Migrant: a person who moves from one place to another, especially in order to find work or better living conditions.”

A person.
A husband.
A daughter.
A child.
A mother.

Key words: to find.
Key word: better.
Words not found: “the illegals.”


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Christine Kramer  |  Contribution: 2,970

author: Christine Kramer

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Editor: Nicole Cameron