The Heroism of Immigrant Students at Stoneman Douglas High School

In order to promote their nativist immigration agenda, Trump and his administration are constantly trying to tell us that immigrants pose a threat to native-born Americans. Their stories are meant to convince us that immigrants are criminals and potential terrorists. Of course, that is all based on distortions and lies.

There are several stories of heroism coming out of the shooting last week at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida—not the least of which is what the surviving students are doing to stop something like that from ever happening again. But in light of the lies we’re hearing from this administration, perhaps it is important to also point out that three immigrant students stood out as heroes that day.

Anthony Borges is a 15-year-old whose family immigrated from Venezuela. He was shot five times while saving the lives of at least 20 other students.

Martin Duque was the son of Mexican immigrants who worked in the agricultural industry near the edge of Parkland. The family came from a small town of barely 7,500 people in the Mexican state of Guerrero. He was a proud member of the U.S. Army Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps and is being presented with the Medal of Heroism by the United States Army, an honor awarded to a JROTC cadet “who performs an act of heroism.” Martin, only 14-years-old, was killed.

Fifteen-year-old Sam Wang was the son of Chinese immigrants. He, too, was a member of JROTC. Wang was shot and killed as he held a door for others to escape. For his heroism, the United States Military Academy at West Point announced that it would honor Wang’s dream of attending the academy by posthumously offering him a letter of acceptance to the school.

I’m sure that if you talked to students and families from Stoneman Douglas High School, they would tell you how grateful they are that this country welcomed the families of Borges, Duque and Wang. For some of them, they owe their very lives to that fact.

At a time like this, it is almost too painful to remember the president’s remarks about “shithole” countries because the contrast is too great. Nevertheless, it is a good reminder of just how offensive this administration has been when it comes to immigrants. The next time Trump tries to tell us a story about dangerous immigrants, I hope that these stories about Borges, Duque, and Wang are the first thing that pop into your mind.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.