I am beginning to hate this country. When I finally said that out loud this morning I felt something snap inside.
It’s OK, I hear you all saying “well why don’t you just leave then?” If it were just me, I would. Setting up a new life in a new country has never fazed me before. It’s a little different when you have a family; there is quite a bit more work involved.
All day today phrases like "fingers crossed it won't happen" or "I hope it will get better" are standing out like giant beacons, my fingers racing to crush them with words, but holding back because what good is that going to do? The thing is we don't have TIME to sit here crossing our fingers and hoping for change. At every little turn there is something hiding behind a bush, waiting to ambush us. We look forwards, backwards, left, right, and centre and still get caught off-guard. And then we say to ourselves “well what were we thinking? All the signs were there from Day One.” All the signs were there, and now they are sirens, closing in on us.
DACA… So what is DACA? DACA is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, implemented in 2012, giving undocumented immigrants who came to the US as minors the chance to gain two year work permits, and therefore prevent them from being deported during that time, with a long-term aim of becoming citizens. You may also hear people talk about “Dreamers”. Dreamers is the term coined for kids that grew up in the US, went to school here, work here, pay taxes, but who remain undocumented as they were brought over by their parents as kids, often as infants. These people have no other home than the US, and deporting them due to their legal status would basically mean sending them to a country that they don’t know, sometimes even to a country whose language they may not speak. Many Dreamers don’t even find out that they are undocumented until they try to get their first job. DACA was created by President Obama’s administration as a way to help these people legitimize their status in the US. There are currently around 800,000 people enrolled in DACA.
President Trump has hummed and hawed about DACA for a while, amidst other immigration policies, threatening to dismantle it. This is a far cry from his “we will chuck out all the bad hombres” rhetoric seeing as these Dreamers are the opposite of criminals: they are law-abiding individuals intent on becoming law-abiding American citizens. The only thing that differs them from say, my children, is the fact that they were born in a different country. Ha, most of the Dreamers have the same nationality as my kids do (they have three, one for each parent and one for their country of birth). So why go after these people? Is it because he feels like he needs to dismantle everything Obama created? Or is it more sinister than that? Does he want to appease the disgusting racist agenda that he has surrounded himself with? Does he think that if he can get away with this then he can get away with anything?! If he can go after kids and innocent adults who have basically lived their entire lives here, then there really is no hope for the rest of us. But right now I fear for those people who put their trust in this country and who may now face deportation or going back underground again. I will be fighting to make sure that Congress doesn’t ruin these peoples’ lives. These people put their trust in the system, and now it’s turning its back on them. We have to resist this, just like we have to resist every other bed of thorns they throw our way.
(Even today in Sacramento there was a protest, small but loud, echoing through the streets downtown to the Capitol… We ALL will be heard).
I know you probably feel for people getting deported, but so many of you shrug your shoulders and move along, not really wondering what happens to the children and the other family members of those deported. It doesn't really affect you, there are more important issues to fight for, and deep down you think "well they had a chance to make it right and never did, didn't they?” It's OK to admit that you don’t really understand how the system works and that you never thought about it before. But please try to educate yourself on the ins and outs of immigration policies in this country and why so many people remain right there in front of you in the shadows. I wrote an article a few months ago detailing some of the most common myths I saw being recycled here there and everywhere, setting the record straight, and I realize now that I was just preaching to the choir. Those who believe Trump and his cronies are doing the right thing won’t listen to the truth, they just want to sit and wallow in a sea of crap because it suits their disgusting racist white America agenda. So instead of trying to set the record straight we now fight.
In the meantime, while I write and call and protest, and write some more, I also sit here and devise escape plans and customize emergency strategies in case we need them. Phone numbers, lawyers, friends we can trust. Passports, birth certificates, important papers in duplicates "just in case". Ever since Election Day I have known that this day was bound to arrive, it’s just happening a lot faster than I imagined. So please, no more finger crossing and hoping, because if those had helped us in the past we wouldn’t be in the situation we are today.