Adonis came from Guanajuato, Mexico to Detroit at the age of nine and has lived here ever since. He graduated from Hope of Detroit Academy middle school, and from Consortium College Preparatory high school, as the class valedictorian. By the time he graduated from high school he already had 24 college credits. Adonis is a student at Wayne State University, majoring in environmental engineering.
You might wonder why an engineering student is so involved in civil rights. As an immigrant from Mexico, I have experienced firsthand the systematic oppression of immigrants from Mexico and Central America. I have noticed that the American economy’s demand for labor goes up and down and attracts immigrants during economic booms but not so much during economic recessions, such as the one we are in now. However, the immigration system disregards this need to allow the free flow of workers according to the demand, causing a jam in the system. I keep hearing so many immigrants that wish to go back home during these hard economic times, but they are afraid of leaving because they have no hope of legalizing their status and they know that crossing the border illegally is becoming more and more dangerous every year. I believe that in a global market where goods and services flow freely, it is necessary for workers to have more freedom following the demand for labor, otherwise pockets of high unemployment will form on one side of the border and growth will slow down or halt in the other side of the border due to the need for workers.
I first felt the lack of opportunities for immigrants like myself, when I started to apply to colleges and universities. I was more qualified than many of my friends to receive scholarships and other forms of financial aid, but due to my status as an undocumented immigrant, I was not eligible for any of these opportunities. Later on, after the approval of the Michigan Civil Rights initiative, I lost the little financial assistance that I was receiving. Then, more recently, policies that directly attacked and oppressed people like myself were adopted throughout several states, like Arizona.
This sequence of events helped me realize that these policies are hurting our communities and preventing hard working individuals like myself from uplifting our neighborhoods and ourselves. They block development and growth for not just immigrants, but America as a whole, by attacking well established communities within America itself. I believe that social disparities that promote oppression will only worsen if these polices are not changed. This is why I became involved in this civil rights cause. Someone has to speak up against this injustices, and if we don’t do it, who will?