Some of you may have noticed that I missed two days of blog posts last week – Wednesday and Friday. The reason for this is because I was demoralized last week when it became very clear to me that it is immigrants, like me, that will suffer through the 2020 elections. The truth is that I’m not sure I have the energy to continue living in a country that hates immigrants so much.
Yes, I realize that the immigration political rhetoric does not mean that the country hates immigrants. I even understand that many of the Donald Trump supporters do not hate immigrants. But from the point of view of someone who is an immigrant the constant drone of “deport them all” or “we only want legal immigrants” sounds very much like certain Americans want only those immigrants they like, i.e. English speakers, white protestant Christian worshipers or a combination of those.
The underlining thing that I’ve spent the last few years trying to convey is that being an undocumented immigrant is not necessarily being a criminal. The immigration system is so broken that there is no “legal” way for Mexicans and Central Americans to immigrate “legally” to America without gaming the system.
The immigration surge via asylum seekers is a prime example of this. Asylum seekers are following the American law as it is written. That the law is being abused by many of the asylum seekers is a symptom of a system that is so broken that it must be abused for it work.
Very few immigrants have followed the law to the letter. Many will argue that they have but the truth is that following the law to the letter is near impossible. For example, the oath to become an American citizen requires that all other nationalities be renounced. In other words, to become an American citizen one must renounce all other citizenships.
Yet, there are many dual nationals in America today that were first a foreigner who became a naturalized American citizen yet never renounced their previous citizenship. Ted Cruz, for example, was a Canadian citizen who did not renounce it until it was pointed out to him. Many citizens of Israel become U.S. citizens but retain their Israeli citizenship. They and the U.S. government just ignore the oath they took to renounce other citizenships when they naturalized.
That is just example of a very complex system that requires ignoring certain provisions to make it work.
Even simple processes within the existing framework are pointed out as bad policy while those making the arguments to change the system use it for their own benefit.
For example, “chain migration”. Donald Trump and supporters argue that chain migration needs to be removed even though that it was chain migration that allowed Melania Trump to bring her parents to America. Melania Trump sponsored her father and mother for their Green Cards that allowed them to naturalize themselves as U.S. citizens recently. None of the proponents for abolishing chain migration seem to have a problem with Melania Trump using it for her parents.
But rather than fix the system, the system is used for political points. It is the immigrants that become political fodder. It is not just Donald Trump or the Republicans. It is the Democrats and even Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) who has begun mass deportations of immigrants from México at the behest of Donald Trump.
As a Mexican citizen I am horrified that my government would do that to immigrants in México.
Donald Trump threatened to deport a million immigrants starting yesterday only to tweet that he changed his mind because Nancy Pelosi asked him to.
As a legal immigrant I do not fear the mass deportations but the threat to deport a million hurts me because I know what it is to fear a broken system that looks for low hanging fruit to make the numbers.
Donald Trump wanted a million deported.
His deportation force would have rounded up the easiest immigrants to catch not based on their danger to society but because they are the easiest ones to catch. The easiest ones to catch are those trying to live their lives out in the open as much as possible. They are the maids and the gardeners going to and from work to feed their families. They are easy to find. The deportation force needs to meet the numbers so they will not spend time looking for the criminals hiding in the criminal underworld.
The deportation force will instead go to Hispanic neighborhoods or places where gardeners or maids hangout waiting for a job so they can round up as many as they can in one sweep.
Easy prey makes the numbers for the deportation force.
This is the reality that many immigrants understand when immigrant roundups are announced.
The reality today for immigrants is that the constant drone of dangerous immigrants will drive the 2020 elections. As an immigrant I am one of the dangerous immigrants many will yell about without understanding what it is they are saying.
I’m not sure I have the energy to weather the constant drumbeat of immigrant bashing that will lead to the election of the next president regardless of who wins.