I was appalled and angered as I watched Jeff Sessions announce the rescission of the DACA program. His announcement was made with a diabolically gleeful and viciously animated demeanor akin to “Chuckie,” the monstrously evil doll of horror movie infamy.
Sessions seemingly took perverse pleasure in sticking it to those made vulnerable by volunteering information on their own personal immigration status while hoping to achieve permanent residency.
President Obama publicly responded, saying, “These Dreamers are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper. They were brought to this country by their parents, sometimes even as infants. They may not know a country besides ours. They may not even know a language besides English.
“They often have no idea they’re undocumented until they apply for a job, or college, or a driver’s license…800,000 young people stepped forward, met rigorous requirements, and went through background checks. And America grew stronger as a result.”
Ostensibly, the reason for rescission was to protect national security and integrity of the immigration system. Objective observers disagree, and perceive racist xenophobia at the foundation of this decision. Given Sessions’ personal history, the latter seems more likely.
Objectively, Dreamers should be among the last undocumented immigrants to be considered for enhanced scrutiny.
The $500 application fee and the detailed/rigorous requirements have distilled this segment of the immigrant population into the brightest and best. Targeting them for deportation is the cruelest imaginable contradiction of our national ethos.
In the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and the shadows of Jose, many surmise that nothing of a direct political nature is of comparable importance. Nothing could be further from the truth. The soul of our nation is at stake.
No. 45’s administration has motivated racially charged and hyper-divisive behaviors.
White supremacists proclaim proudly that No. 45 has not and will never criticize their activities. Instead of providing leadership that tears down barriers of racial and ethnic animus, people on both sides of the racial divide are entrenching into foxholes of hate and rigidity.
CNN analyst David Gergen recently stated, “If I were in your shoes (a racial minority), I would feel there was a sign outside of the White House that said, “If you’re not White, you’re not especially welcome.”
Real immigration reform is an issue to which we must lend our support. Too many think it’s only about “Mexican immigrants.” That’s far from true. DACA benefits extend to immigrants from all points on the globe. Many may be our own family members.
As we address moral issues that test our commitment to humanitarianism and justice, we must take a stand against raw xenophobia. Justice for Dreamers is as much a common cause for us as voting rights, criminal justice, the rights of indigenous people, police-community relations and other issues that now plague us. Unless confronted, issues of injustice will ultimately impact us all.
As President Obama stated so eloquently, “Let’s be clear: the action taken today isn’t required legally. It’s a political decision, and a moral question. Whatever concerns or complaints Americans may have about immigration in general, we shouldn’t threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own, who pose no threat, who are not taking away anything from the rest of us.”
He concludes, “Ultimately, this is about basic decency. This is about whether we are a people who kick hopeful young strivers out of America, or whether we treat them the way we’d want our own kids to be treated. It’s about who we are as a people – and who we want to be.”
Dr. E. Faye Williams is national chair of the National Congress of Black Women, Inc. Contact her via www.nationalcongressbw.org.