Immigrant Perspectives on the Violence in DC

BHS immigrants share their thoughts on the January 6 insurrection in Washington D.C. and what they believe should be done next.     

 It has been a few weeks since the violent protest in Washington D.C. At this moment, my classmates and I are feeling a big disappointment in the United States government, but we are also disappointed in the blind people that support Donald Trump. As we know, Trump lost the 2020 presidential election against Joe Biden. As a result, he made a public speech inciting his supporters to go and protest at the Capitol, but a president who incites his supporters to do such a thing doesn’t deserve to be the leader of a nation. The fact that he has been impeached twice in his service is enough reason for him to have a well-earned room in prison. He has broken many laws on more than one occasion. Most importantly, he broke the oath of protecting his country. Donald Trump has been demonstrating one thing: he wants to stay in power no matter what. The things he has been doing are only done by a dictator. 

           About the events on January 6, Sephora Brevil, a Berkeley High School (BHS) student from Haiti, said she feels “mad and confused, because that’s not what a president should do.” She also stated that bringing weapons to one of the most important government buildings is insane because they put their own and everybody else’s lives at risk. She felt like the United States doesn’t have anything under control like they should.  She added that, for African Americans like herself, “the US is a very racist country because they didn’t care about white people with weapons, as they did with Black Lives Matter,” pointing out the very noticeable differences in police responses to protests against police brutality last summer. 

Esteban Juarez, a BHS student from Nicaragua, argued that “the actions that the police department took against the rioters were really light and useless. They should have used lethal force to take them down because what the rioters did were crossing with the national security laws.”

Edwin Sol Aranda

For some students at BHS, this is not the first time they have seen this kind of event. As a student originally from Venezuela I recognize that this event was similar to what happened with Nicolás Maduro’s presidency. Even though the constitution, government structure, and rules are not the same in Venezuela and the US, some comparisons between the two countries can be made. Maduro caused more than 300 deaths of young people because he wanted to stay in power. Venezuelans, in contrast to the US, protested because Maduro wanted to stay where he is right now — in the presidency. Trump, on the other hand, actually encouraged his supporters to protest the free and fair election and engage in violence because they did not agree with the results. 

What I want to show with this comparison is that something forced never ends well, and innocent people always are going to die if we decide to keep someone in power for a long time. Maduro’s regime sent thugs to kill and abuse people who were against him and to destroy infrastructure such as roads, buildings, and monuments and blame the opposing political party. Maduro never learned the lesson. We cannot let that happen in the United States. Both Trump and Maduro have committed criminal acts during their regimes that should be punished by law. 

            Being an immigrant in this country is very hard because some people are aware that Trump is against immigrants, while some people, especially Trump’s supporters, don’t think that. He campaigned with the promise of building a wall along the border with Mexico to prevent Latinx people from entering US territory. He fails to see the importance that our Latinx community has, and he fails to recognize the labor we have been doing for this country. Many of the hard jobs are done by immigrants, by those who work in agriculture, construction, and big factories. Trump also affects America’s relationships with other countries through his foreign policy decisions. He has ordered military action in the Middle East, such as the 2017 missile strike in Syria, without strong reasons or plans for peace. Therefore, refusing to punish the president for his actions means danger, especially in a globally powerful country such as the US.             

Trump should have been immediately removed from office before his term ended. Impeaching him was not necessary to remove him because Joe Biden was due to be inaugurated on January 20. Instead, the impeachment should be used to punish him and prevent him from running for office again. Citizens should learn to choose their leader better for the country, otherwise this will happen again. No country should elect a president who breaks the oath he swore in front of the people that are now being harmed because of what he has done. That’s not what a president should do. A president should be the protector of the country.

-Camila Velasquez Hernandez

Edwin Sol Aranda

Camila Velasquez Hernandez

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