I make the rounds. I hear all the rhetoric.
So we hear about the illegals, as one paints the picture of an invading alien nation determined to overwhelm and destroy everything American.
Actually it’s quite hip to degrade our “brown-skinned” residents.
The Republican party endeared itself to its party faithful by bringing up immigration at every opportunity.
However, I would like to consider the plight of many fully documented US citizens that seem to be hidden from view. These young men and women are bilingual, gifted, motivated, and committed to the greatness of the “American Experience”. With cultural roots in Latin America, their hearts are nonetheless USAmerican. So USAmerican are they, that they are often annoyed by their parents who rightly insist on speaking Spanish in the home.
The young Olympic gold medalist featured in a video in my first blog post was a striking example of the potential available to our country, their country, in fact. I can only imagine what it must have been like for his undocumented mother to stay under the radar while she worked whatever jobs she could to keep the Olympic dream alive for her son.
But she is illegal, I hear someone saying. Yes according to current immigration law, but somehow the US Olympic Committee still counted his gold medal when they posted our standings before the world community.
When asked about the message sent by his impressive 2008 win over the Japanese wrestling champ, he simply replied, “The USA is the greatest country in the world”.
The image of this young man tearfully wrapping himself in the stars and stripes says it all. His mom may never be a US citizen; the last I heard she was undocumented. But she has been here quietly working to create an opportunity for her family, who can be counted as US citizens.
So what are we to do with this next generation who were born here, but to “illegal” parents. Suppose we deport all their parents, and assume that all the children will leave. If so, are we not forcing American citizens out of our land because we don’t approve of their parents legal status?
Their life is here. They are U.S citizens. So are we to make them all wards of the state?
Here’s a novel idea. Why don’t we find some significant relatives to act as their parents, like, for instance, their parents.
Why don’t we place a value on the fully documented rising generation before us. Why don’t we keep these USAmerican citizens clearly in focus when we dismissively speak of “them”.
Why don’t we quit besieging their families by recalling their parents’ driver’s licenses, and forcing them into an “underground economy”? Why don’t we lift the veil of fear experienced by moms of young children who are terrorized at the prospect of not making it back home when they go to work in the morning?
Why are we refusing to educate their older “undocumented” siblings who were brought here while very young? Why are we constantly making the young USAmericans feel second rate “almost but not quite equal” citizens?
[…So these were my thoughts almost 8 years ago. Before DACA and DAPA. Before efforts at discretion in deportation. And of course, before Trump.]