Ever since we discussed the strategy of the “both/and,” found examples of it from Medical Apartheid, and watched Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED Talk, I have been thinking a lot about how I can apply these concepts to other areas in my life. I found a really striking example. In one of my other classes, we read an article from the San Diego Union Tribune about the repeal of DACA, or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. DACA is a program created during the Obama administration that allows children of unauthorized immigrants to apply for work and study permits and be protected from deportation. To be eligible for the program, DACA recipients, known as dreamers, cannot have a criminal record and must pay taxes. Recently, the Trump administration has decided to repeal DACA. As a result, dreamers will eventually be deported.
I have been thinking a lot about how the repeal of this program relates to what we have been discussing in this class. While reading the article, it became very clear that its repeal was founded in racism. For example, Trump says that he “does not favor punishing children… for the actions of their parents.” He also claims that his administration is “focused on criminals, security threats, recent border-crossers, visa overstays, and repeat violators.” It is thus disturbing that dreamers are still at risk of deportation when the government does not allow any law-breaking citizens into the country. This naturally led me to wonder why Trump’s administration is targeting dreamers when they pose no security threat to the United States. They seem to be reinforcing a single story for all unauthorized immigrants: that they are people who are in gangs, who commit violent crimes, who take jobs away from Americans. In reality, they want a better life for their families, to have a chance at the “American Dream,” just like most people who live in this country do. This is obvious as hundreds of thousands of unauthorized immigrants are part of the DACA program.
It seems that the Trump administration is perpetuating stereotypes of unauthorized immigrants to fuel its agenda of keeping people of different races out of the United States. Although sad, this is hardly surprising when we consider the racist foundations that our country was built upon. After all, we saw in the video during class on Wednesday that former President Andrew Jackson cared for one group of people, and one group of people only: white Americans. Like the Native Americans during the 1800s, unauthorized immigrants today are being forced out of the country due to their race. It is important to note that dreamers did not have a choice in coming to the United States; their parents brought them here and this is the only life that they know. Although dreamers have spent the majority of their lives on American soil, none of that seems to matter because of their origin. It is unfair to force dreamers to a country they do not know simply because they were born there.
Clearly, the United States has not progressed in how people of different races are viewed and treated. There is no moral basis for the repeal of DACA, despite what Trump’s administration may lead us to believe. We can only hope that Congress will pass legislation protecting dreamers and their families.