Donald Trumps’ rise has made immigrants feel less safe in America. He has been called a Xenophobe, and a Bigot for his comments on Muslim Americans but nothing seems to ‘hurt trump’. Rather he has become the emerging voice of all the Republicans in America. As the US Elections near its end, it is still hard to call between Hilary or Trump for presidency but let’s get to know what Pakistani-Americans feel about it.
Laila Hussain, a Pakistani immigrant expresses her fear over the rise of Trump as a “potential candidate” for president. Here is what she had to say,
As a Pakistani-American Muslim woman, I am terrified for Tuesday. I am usually scared of nothing and no one, and maybe that’s not the best thing. But for the first time, I am not just scared, I am terrified.
Laila admits that she never thought that a person who was just a potential Republican Party nominee for president could actually be able to come this far and continue to stir nativism and islamophobia in the United States.
Just under a year ago, I was having breakfast with my father in Karachi, Pakistan when I first encountered the idea that the then-potential Republican Party Nominee for President, Donald Trump, wanted to issue identity cards for Muslims living in the United States. Sitting nearly 8,000 miles away, and in a self-proclaimed Islamic Republic, the idea seemed preposterous and a direct result of the American media shit-stirring from a lack of anything better to cover.
Nearly a year later, I could not have been more wrong. While the idea of identity cards has largely been done away with, the sentiment still stands. At face value, my specific ethnicity is and always has been ambiguous, as is that of my parents, but I am still unequivocally distinctly “brown.”
Laila also feels that the future she and her mother worked so much for could be in danger as she fears that her wings would be clipped.
I was raised single-handedly by my Pakistani mother in the US—a quasi-immigrant herself, who was naturalized in 2008 after having started the green card process 19 years prior. Her favorite story involves registering to vote as a Democrat “before the ink on [her] certificate had even dried.” She went to a state-department owned American school in Pakistan completed her higher education in the United States and is absolutely everything I aspire to be when (if?) I “grow up.” She is the reason I cast my vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton on October 30th, 2016. It seems poignant that the first time a woman is on the ballot is the first time I’ve voted in a presidential election.
My mother gave up her life in Pakistan, abundant with love and support from a family who also raised her to believe she could do and be anything she wanted, because she wanted her daughter to have a better life. She wanted her daughter to grow up in a country where she could sleep easy at night every night knowing that her wings would never be clipped.
Donald Trump would clip those wings. In a way, his campaign already has.
She believes that voting for Hilary makes her feel proud of her womanhood and also her hyphenated identity. But if Donald Trump gains power, her identity as a Pakistani-American will be in jeopardy.
In the many years of defending and reclaiming my Pakistani and Muslim identities, I’ve neglected my American identity, and truly taken it for granted. I never thought the day would come where I had to fight to be recognized as who and what I constitutionally am.
I am fortunate to have options. I can create an incredibly fruitful life for myself exclusively in Pakistan, but in doing so would completely negate the innumerable sacrifices made by mother for the last twenty years. She has instilled in me the most profound confidence in myself, my womanhood, and my ethnic identity. Women like her make me proud to be a Pakistani and a Muslim, and Hillary Clinton makes me proud to be a woman, and this country, while troubling at times, makes me so proud to be a part of it, because it is fundamentally a place where I know I can be anything, and I will not accept Donald Trump stripping that away.