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With or Without DACA You Are Still American DREAMers

[November, 2016] By Andy Bartlett. Filed under: DACA,Immigration Law

I’d like to make a few comments. They may be helpful

Since the election, many people are making scary comments and predictions about immigration in the new Donald Trump world.  I don’t believe that these nightmare predictions trouble the undocumented community too much – you are a tough bunch. People who have fled the gangs in Central America or other terrible experiences, and have risked their lives crossing desert and the Rio Grande are survivors. People who have lived here for years, honestly and bravely raising their families for a better life despite all the roadblocks that face them are determined in the face of adversity.  But your children, raised here – even if not born here – are American kids (as President Obama calls them). And for them, the country they  love is changing in inexplicable ways. And their social media is full of very dire and terrifying opinion.  This post is for these children and young adults. I have learned a huge amount from you all, and some I count as precious friends.

Please remember that everyone who is pushing their view in social media has their own agenda.  Before you assume that the world is coming to an end because everyone says it is, ask why they are saying it. Or at least, what benefit do they get?

Nonprofits – who do wonderful work – need donations to keep going. And the donations are pouring in. They are very reputable organizations, and they are gearing up in order to deal with the nightmare scenario if it happens. And for that, they need money. So their focus is the nightmare. Understand that. And donate.

Lawyers need to help clients. That’s what they do. And people go see lawyers when they are scared.  Lawyers live in a bubble. They talk mostly with other lawyers. They amplify opinions that are going around the lawyer listservs. And they have to focus on the worst case because that is the bottom line. Like the nonprofits, they are gearing up to be ready for the nightmare and this will be their focus.

None of this is bad. Just be aware that they are focused on the worst case. After all, who wants to be a Neville Chamberlain and proclaim that there will be peace in our time. They expect and talk about the worst and hope for the best.

The media needs attention. And they are not going to go quietly into that good night because of their role in the election. They are businesses. They need readers and viewers. And nightmares sell. So that is what they offer.

And then there are all the voters who didn’t cast their ballot for Trump and now think their safety pins are an act of solidarity. They buy into the nightmare and push it across social media. Unfriending Trump voters and feeling sad that relatives were going to go that way might not have been the best way to win the election. And staying within their bubble and echoing the nightmare might also not be the right way forward now.

Contrast all of this noise with the way President Obama has taken upon himself to help Mr. Trump in any way he can to make a success of the presidency, and to explain the humanity of many of the policies we care about and that protecting the future of “American Kids”   is our most important duty , wherever they were lucky or unlucky enough to have been born.

We do not know what will happen in January or after.  But we do know how we got here.

DACA exists because a generation of young people were not prepared to hide in the shadows. They were determined to stand up and be counted. They challenged the country to recognize that they deserve to be treated the same as their classmates who happen to be citizens. And until party politics interfered in 2010, this was a self-evident truth. So President Obama introduced DACA – listen to his speech in the Rose Garden on June 2012. Now lawyers and activists are working hard to fight for DACA but it is not their fight. It is your fight. Every generation takes the movement forward. It is still a self-evident truth that kids who grow up here are American in all of their beliefs and in their heart and soul. Just because some don’t have papers doesn’t take this away. You may not be citizens but you are American.

Stay strong. Stay safe. And remember that the difference between now and then was that before DACA a movement of young people with nothing and dreams of everything reached for their dreams. The new generation is of students, kindergarten teachers, physical therapists and Americans from all walks of life who have lived out of the shadows for four years and have taken the opportunity and done well for themselves, for their families and for their community. You are an example to all of us – and especially to the scared and depressed people in the Rust Belt who fear the future and need to find a way to the opportunities that you are working for as well.

We are all in this together.

No Tenemos Miedo.

 

 

 



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