President Donald Trump has consistently created a narrative of us against them when it comes to DREAMers—the approximately 800,000 immigrants who came to the United States as children—and other undocumented immigrants.
That division has been intensified by his insistence on tying a plan to protect the DREAMers to measures that harm the greater immigrant community, including building a border wall, hiring more immigration agents, making it tougher to seek asylum and financially punishing cities that refuse to cooperate with his mission to rid the nation of immigrants, as The New York Times reports.
An essay published by The Washington Post yesterday (October 12), breaks down why this move is corrosive to America. Immigration rights activist and graduate student Sayra Lozano writes that accepting Trump’s demands would make her a “traitor”:
I’m a “dreamer.” The Trump administration’s list of demands it wants in exchange for helping us makes me feel like a traitor.
In exchange for granting legal status for young people who have never known any country but the United States, the administration wants us to agree to placing a physical barrier between us and our countries of birth and people. To shutting the door on others who arrive as children just as we did. To shoving our parents back into the shadows of fear. The America I know and love would never ask this of me in exchange for her acceptance.
She goes on to explore the artificial rift that many seek to impose on her community:
We are not more human than other immigrants because we are called “dreamers.” All that sets us apart is that, thanks to the soon-to-expire Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, we’ve been able to share our stories for a time without the fear of deportation. If only the voices of bigotry would go silent long enough to hear the whispered stories of the 11 million still-shadowed lives.
She closes by saying she refuses “to bargain at the cost of other marginalized people.”
Read the full essay here.