When our university and school community heard that President Trump planned to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), we sought reactions from those directly affected: Dreamers and their families.
Many are disappointed and feel a sense of victimization. They are willing to fight back and ready to protest publicly. If they don’t fight back, they feel that they will never be okay again.
A lot of the Dreamers and their families are expressing the hope and belief that a DACA fix might be possible by Congress. Meanwhile, others are nervous about the information they turned over to the federal government when they applied for DACA about their legal status and those of their parents. There is an overwhelming fear of being deported and sent back to a country that they have never known as home.
An interesting reaction from the Dreamers and their families feel that they cannot go back to their original country.
Here is why. The Dreamers view America as their country. They believe that their civil rights are being violated. They see themselves as full-fledged Americans who want inclusion. Also, they want their rights to be respected. Furthermore, they see themselves as the “other America” — an America who has been forgotten by the Trump Administration.
These Dreamers are the underground undocumented people who have been living in this country all their lives, attending our schools, shopping in our stores, paying taxes, contributing to Social Security, and working in some of the worst, lowest-paying jobs that America has to offer. Yet they love the only America they know and are willing to die for it.
Moreover, these Dreamers are resilient and smart. They want the same dreams as native born Americans. They want their families to be together. They want justice. They want to be citizens of this country. DACA provides them with that opportunity.
Consider the massive support that Dreamers have received from all Americans — the rich, middle class and poor. It sends a clear message to the Trump Administration and Congress that they need to do the right thing.
I’m reminded of Germany and the Nazi movement against Jews. Many people created an underground movement to protect the Jewish community. Well today, the rest of us Americans feel that we need to do the same to protect the Dreamers.
Who would have thought that the United States — a Country of immigrants, the most powerfully rich nation in the world — would be doing something so horrific to its own immigrant children, who have nowhere to go and are trapped in this country without legal citizenship?
Legalizing DACA is the only way that Congress can send the right message to this Administration that we as a country stand for the rights of children and that we never turn our backs to our communities of color, who have fought for and defended this country.
The conservative right wingers who are voicing an anti-immigrant sentiment are concerned with the fact that Latinos and other immigrants are not acculturating fast enough into American society. Well the Dreamers, interestingly enough, have been models of acculturation.
They don’t speak the language of their countries. They speak English, the only language, they know. The only society they know is the United States of America. They are the friends of the rest of American children. They are our neighbors who work, socialize and contribute to society. They are part of the fabric of what the American dream is; a true American.
Those opposed to the Dreamers like to believe differently. Nevertheless, the Dreamers movement has presented itself as American as you can get.
Despite their legal status, Dreamers have done everything that has been asked of them to fit in. They are being admitted into Ivy League schools as our valedictorians, Bill Gates Scholars and more. They are enrolled in early college classes -- taking calculus, physics and excelling more than other students. They are the best America has to offer, the model minority Latino students who universities fight for.
It is unfortunate that the DACA immigrant rights movement is under President Trump’s immigration terrorism. This is the new Civil Rights movement of this era.
What we are seeing in this country is a different movement than the European immigration of the past.
We are beginning to see a new racialization movement, one that is defined by racial ethnic identify and in opposition of white privilege and racial discrimination. We are a pluralistic nation who values justice and democracy. We have a Congress that cannot forget how it gets elected: By the people and for the people. All people.
What President Trump’s anti-immigrant movement overlooks is the sentiment from the rest of America society, which stands in unity with undocumented citizens of this country.