Imagine at the age of 4, one random morning, you are woken up by your parents and told that you will be going on a road trip with your friend’s parents. Your friend’s parents lied when crossing the border and said that you and your brother were their children. Weeks later, you were reunited with your parents in a brand-new country. At the age of 15, you realize you are an undocumented citizen when it comes time to get a driver’s permit, because of your status, you were unable to apply for a driver permit. Luckily you are able to apple for DACA and are able to start college but still run into many bumps and challenges along the way.
Imagine being 9 years old, living in Colombia and being told you were taking a trip to the United States, but the trip turns into a permanent stay. At a later age you learn about your immigration story and learn that your mother applied for travel visas to enter the country legally and after the visas expired, she applied for asylum as Columbia was in the middle of a civil war, and your brother was murdered by the guerrillas. Luckily, you were able to obtain DACA, but the last year of your undergraduate education, your mother is deported, and you are forced to figure out life on your own.
These are 2 of the immigration stories of DACA students I have worked with. With midterm elections next, the subject of immigration is once again a hot topic in some areas. From the status of DACA, to the building wall at the border, the separating of families, to the most recent influx of people coming to the US from central America, many politicians are once again trying to trigger an anti-immigrant backlash. Much of this anti-immigrant rhetoric has been led by our country’s administration, yet it is sending a mixed message to immigrants and their families.
One day the current administration states they are going to vote on a comprehensive immigration plan or a new Dream Act and the next day the vote is cut off. One day it’s said that the construction of the wall will begin and the next day it is said there is no funding to support the construction. The same happened with ending temporary protected status. Everything seems to be in negotiation and folks are left playing the waiting game.
All of these decisions impact futures and day to day lives. Put yourself in either of the two scenarios mentioned at the beginning of my blog post and I can assure you felt feelings of anxiety and worry. It’s important that as higher education professionals, we do our best to be caring, empathetic, and show support for those who are impacted by the decisions made by our administration and public officials. I strongly encourage everyone to be compassionate and show up at the polls for the midterm elections, as your vote matters!!