The Meaning of Immigration “Reform” in a Time of Unmasked White Supremacy

Posted on October 10th, 2017 Helen Harnett

Now that Trump has announced the end of the DACA program, DACA grantees and other immigrant advocates are pushing for legislation that would protect their status in the U.S. Democrats and Republicans have competing bills that would provide a path to legal status for DACA grantees. Some of the top Democrats in Washington have said that they have agreed to a deal with Trump for legislation that would protect DACA grantees.

Although widely supported by the American public, it seems likely that either there will not be successful legislation to protect DACA grantees or that any legislation enacted on their behalf will involve a very long road to legalization, with numerous hurdles along the way.

The problem for DACA grantees, and indeed for all immigrants, no matter their status, is that for more than 30 years anti-immigrant forces have tried to conflate “immigrants” and “criminals” in the public mind. This anti-immigrant campaign has been given further force by white supremacists’ attempts to conflate all minorities with criminality.

The campaign was (and is) very successful: the national media and politicians on both sides of the aisle in Washington bought into the immigrant/criminal hysteria. As Emmett Rensin described:

As it happens, DACA operates on this same infernal logic, conceding, as it does, that illegal immigration is a “sin” and merely arguing that children do not deserve to suffer for their parents’ transgressions. This is roughly the same as proposing that while desperate bread thieves deserve to have their hands chopped off, their children shouldn’t be beheaded just because they ate the stolen loaf. It is no wonder that these programs are under relentless attack. Their very formulation suggests that their authors find them barely defensible.

With an openly white supremacist President, the campaign has now reached its zenith. Any immigration “reform” or “deal” that would actually be signed by Trump would have to be horribly anti-immigrant and carceral.

In the meantime, families are being ripped apart by deportation and tens of thousands – including small children – sit in detention centers.

The good news is that the anti-immigrant climate can be challenged and changed. As Americans across the country showed with the first Muslim Ban, good people are willing to come together to show support for immigrant families and for the Constitution.

There are many different ways that we can support immigrant rights:

  • Learn more about immigration (and dispel myths!) by inviting an expert to speak at your local library;
  • Call your member of Congress to advocate for immigrants;
  • Donate to organizations overseas to help refugees; and
  • Visit the border to see it for yourself and to help feed individuals who were recently deported.

Only by working together can we create the country that we believe America should be.

____________________________

“Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know Einstein’s “Theory of Relativity” to serve. You don’t have to know the Second Theory of Thermal Dynamics in Physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.” 

--Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.