This is a runner-up in our Teens Against Trump essay contest. Read more essays from the series here.
My parents came to America from Carpathian mountains larger than their greatest dreams, remote monasteries teeming with bliss and spirituality, and quaint, timeless villages where life was so difficult and yet so beautiful. At the intersection of Romania and America, I was born to values of helping one another, but also believing in the importance of individuality; working hard to make dreams a reality, but remaining humble and keeping in mind that I am supported by a deeply-rooted foundation of people who risked their lives so I could have freedom; and standing up for what I believe is right, but keeping an open mind to diverse ideas.
I am proud to be a child of immigrant parents. I am proud that my parents rose from homelessness, oppression, and poverty to achieve their American dream. When Trump said in a Time interview, "I happen to believe that various countries force their bad people into the United States because they say why should we take care of these monsters, let the United States take care of them," I was offended. No one in my beautifully diverse, burgeoning community of Romanian American immigrants is a monster. They are not the bad people Trump speaks of. They are nurses caring for patients' many needs, doctors saving lives, dentists creating jobs, lawyers advocating for people's rights, security guards protecting people, religious leaders gathering communities of people, singers sharing their culture through music, aerospace engineers designing military aircraft, and students studying at some of the best academic institutions in the country. They are people I have looked up to my whole life.
Trump does not understand that immigrants are valuable. It is not only the people in my Romanian American community that I speak of, but also the migrant farm workers I met who pick the food we eat, the friends I made on a trip to New York City who taught me phrases and sentences in their native languages, the Polish friend who invited me to her house to celebrate a Polish cultural event, and the Czech teacher who integrated the school curriculum with an opportunity to learn more about the world on a global scale. They enrich my life and open my eyes to so much more than my immediate surroundings. Beyond my personal experiences with immigrants, there are the famous figures of Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs (whose biological father was a Syrian immigrant), and Nikola Tesla, each driving American technology forward and innovating beyond anything our country had known before their time.
Undeniably, immigrants are an asset to America. They are not monsters and criminals. We do not need a wall to keep them out. We do not need to force them to assimilate completely and leave behind the differences of their cultures and languages. We do not need to treat them inhumanely because their nationality differs from our own. Instead, we need to drop our prejudices and embrace the diversity, talent, and hard work that immigrants bring to our country.