This photo of a young graduate, posted by Humans of New York, has recently gone viral.
What makes it so special?
The young woman, as the caption states, is an illegal immigrant.
In America today, the debate over illegal immigration is raging, with detractors arguing that immigrants without documentation take opportunities and resources away from “legitimate” inhabitants. But said mentality reeks of xenophobia, and demonstrates very little compassion for the individual human beings behind the “illegal immigrant” label: their needs, their hopes. Sure, America is not legally obligated to help the undocumented but does that take away the moral responsibility?
The widespread response to this single photo serves to restore some faith in the community, in all our lofty notions of the American Dream, in equal access to all who strive.
Some congratulated her:
Others defended her from would-be attackers:
Others praised her like they would a friend, largely ignoring the "illegal immigrant" label....because it deserves to be ignored.
or they explained, in full, why the label did not matter to them.
And best of all, perhaps, some were encouraged to share their own stories of immigration, creating a wider openness:
The photo and its exposure continues a growing trend in the media: positive coverage of young immigrants who are achieving spectacular things: from Harold Ekeh and Fernando Rojas, two children of immigrant parents who achieved acceptance to all eight Ivy League schools this year, to Victor Agbafe, Munira Khalif, Kwasi Enin, immigrants themselves who achieved the same.