OPINION: Short Story “Everywhere is Far from Here” puts the immigration process into painful perspective

Pictured is the Mexican flag. Photo from Flickr.

Ren Sikes | Opinions Editor

This semester, I have been taking a creative writing class. This isn’t about that. What this is about is the short story “Everywhere is Far from Here” by By Cristina Henríquez, featured in the New Yorker on July 17, 2017, a story we read in the class. 

In this short story, we follow an unnamed woman as she attempts to find refuge in the United States, along with her son whom we find out later is named Gabriel. 

The woman was separated from her son early on in the journey from her hometown to the immigration center in Texas. The story follows her attempting to find the whereabouts of her son, and discover the goings on of the location she is in. 

We watch as she deteriorates, desperately searching for her son, and having no luck. The short story ends on somewhat of a cliffhanger, with no way of knowing if she ever does— or ever will— reunite with her son. 

While this particular example is a work of fiction, it is a very real experience for so many people. Countless families risk everything to come to the United States in search for a better life. They want to raise their children in a safe environment, where they won’t be raped, killed or worse just because they are alone in te wrong place at the wrong time, just as the woman in the story was. 

Some come looking for better jobs, living situations, schools, etc. However, they don’t always find it. Some aren’t eligible. The test to gain citizenship in the United States is ridiculously unbalanced, and according to a report by The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation only one in three Americans can actually pass a test that consists of items from the U.S. Citizenship Test. 

That’s only 36%, and a passing score for the test is 60. The majority of what is on the test is American history. Americans: imagine being asked when Mexico was founded, or when they gained independence. 

I think the worst feeling for an opinion writer is not being sure if it is my place to speak for certain issues. People who have lived the reality are far more qualified, yet I can’t ignore the fact that I have a platform to speak out. 

There are so many issues that are being overlooked because of the fact that it is easier to pretend that the horrible reality is nothing more than a fantasy. That’s how so much of history is repeated because we choose not to acknowledge that it ever happened. 

Children are being separated from their parents, and people who are coming to the United States in a vulnerable state seeking protection are being taken advantage of. 

We have to do better. 

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