After immigrating to the U.S. from El Salvador at 10 years old, Aminta Menjivar is using her personal history as inspiration to fight for change. She asserts America's immigration policies are "disgusting" and must be reformed. In an effort to kickstart this change, the 24-year-old is volunteering at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas, a detention center where Menjivar says migrant women and children are treated "like dogs."
During a conversation with HuffPost Live on Tuesday, Menjivar told host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani that as someone who overcame adversity herself, she hopes the detainees in this current situation can do the same.
"Whenever I look at the kids in Dilley, I wonder first about the kind of potential that lies within each child in that detention center, and I also see myself in them," Menjivar said. "I see the same desire to live in a place where you don’t have to worry about shootouts on your street, where your parents aren’t always paranoid that someone is going to break into their home or the gangs are going to come to your door asking for money."
She affirms "we are all human" and that the treatment of the individuals within these detention centers is unacceptable.
"I look at myself and I don’t see a criminal. I’m a graduate of the University of Denver and I want to continue with my career, and that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing here in Dilley, because it’s just very, very unjust and disgusting what’s going on and what’s being done to these families,” she said.
Watch Menjivar share her personal story and ideas for change above, and click here for the full HuffPost Live conversation.
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