Blog At What Cost the Dream?

DREAMers have been at the forefront of the movement for immigration reform

President Obama is about to make his much-anticipated speech on immigration reform in Nevada. Yesterday, a bipartisan group of senators announced they’d struck a deal on a blueprint for a bill that would include a “pathway towards citizenship.” There will be no small debate about how and when that pathway opens up.

But for the moment, there is cautious optimism in many quarters that reform is indeed on the horizon. On the surface, it seems a win for all sides. Obama and the Democrats can finally repay the Latino electorate for its faithful support (I was about to write “fealty”). The handful of Republicans in the senate and the house that must vote in favor of the bill for it to pass congress will finally be able to say that they’re doing the right thing by the immigrants they’ve been scapegoating since forever.

And Latinos and immigrants can take pride for decades of diligent organizing… and demographic authority of course.

But what price has been paid to get to this point? According to Politifact, the Obama Administration has overseen the deportation of over 1.4 million undocumented immigrants as of last summer—a pace even greater than his predecessor George W. Bush, who failed in his own bid to achieve comprehensive immigration reform.

Put a face and a story to those numbers. The face and the story of Erika Andiola, a young immigrant rights activist whose own mother was detained in Arizona recently under the Obama Administration’s Secure Communities program which supposedly targets dangerous criminals but very often sweeps up people who have committed only innocuous offenses (if they’ve broken any laws at all).

Luckily in Erika’s case, news of the arrest blared far and wide through YouTube and social media, accompanied by immediate political pressure on the White House, and her mother was released just as she was about to be deported to Mexico.

And then there are the untold stories across the country of families traumatically separated. Children returning from school to find parents missing. Husbands and wives separated. Young adults raised entirely in the U.S. suddenly deported to a country they barely know.

The Obama Administration has essentially paid for immigration reform with a terrible social cost. Some call it real politik. More like a Faustian bargain.

other works on Immigration

3 Responses to At What Cost the Dream?

  1. by American

    Nice recent piece in the LA times titled “Mexico reels, and the U.S. looks away ” In it, you claim that it is a tragedy comparable “9/11” “Sandy Hook” and the JFK assassination. You go on to whine and complain that the USA haven’t “done anything” and “don’t care”. Just wondering, what did the Mexican government do to aid the United states during the times of crisis you mentioned? Did they provide support after 9/11? Have they ever taken in any white English speaking refugees and helped them? Did they help find who assassinated JFK? Did they “care”. If you have and examples or can show to me how the Mexican government has helped the United States during the times that YOU mentioned, I would love to hear it.

    • by Marla Sink Druzgal

      To “American”: It was truly sad to read your comment. Your words are hateful and immature. In fact, it actually represents the lack of compassion and understanding that America is struggling with right now, which he was referring to in the article.

      I don’t think you mean to be hateful, or immature, so my reply is trying to come from a place of hope, that inside you is still a good person who doesn’t mean to spread ugliness.

      This isn’t about some childish squabble over what Mexico did or did not do for America. They have been in crisis mode for a long, long time. And whether or not they perpetrated whatever perceived slight you feel the need to respond to, resorting to ugly and hateful speech doesn’t right whatever wrong you think they’ve done to you, to us.

      Do you get that part? Seriously, with love, do you understand that to care about others and to improve ourselves, we have to let go of what poisons us and embrace what heals us? You have the power to heal with your words, but you choose words that spread poison and continue the chain of hate.

      I’m a blue-blood, northern Appalachian-raised American, whose ancestry is pre-Revolutionary war. Like many who grew up in a family that felt “more American” than others, I saw firsthand that ugly racism and entrenched ideas about our southern neighbors. Thankfully I read a lot, looked outward a lot, TRAVELED a lot (do you travel much, dear “American?” because it’s really helpful for deepening empathy and compassion). I know this kind of anti-neighbor rhetoric some Americans, probably your parents, spout day in and day out. You can break the cycle, if you choose.

      I love my family with all my heart, and will love them until I die. I embrace so many things about them, but I had to learn that I inherited hatred that needed to stop. We can’t change our families, or the hatred we learned in childhood, but we can stop and retake that upbringing upon ourselves to change the parts that hurt both ourselves and others.

      Your words hurt you, hurt me, hurt America and Mexico. Do you know that? I don’t think it’s what you want. I don’t think you want to be so hurtful, or hateful.

      Instead of looking to the past and your own circle from which to judge, please travel interactively, spend as much time as you can with others different from you, look outward, step into the shoes of your neighbors and think of solutions instead of more problems, or hate-fueled, fear-fueled speech.

      Try to take your creativity and change it from hate speech to “What can we do now to make this better?”

      Have you even heard of the phrase “Lead by example?” This is what America should be employing, but so many of us forget it all the time. We have all the power and so little of the maturity and responsibility to use that power to represent ourselves or our neighbors in a more honest and decent manner.

      In your life, do you only do nice things or care about people who have done nice things to you? I doubt it. I imagine you, the person with the real name instead of just “American” actually do kind things or say kind things to people you don’t know. The internet has a way of finding the ugly pieces within us and laying them bare under a cloak of anonymity that is caustic.

      Take the history “lessons” and turn them inward. Isn’t the demise of a civilization preceded by a building of apathy, and degradation of its willingness to lead by example, and by compassion?

      Are you, my fellow “American,” a perfect example of the beginning of our downfall? I hope you don’t want to be.

      Please don’t be. Please rise up, look inward, and be better than who you are pretending to be. There was once a child in you who understood compassion and natural leadership. Get rid of the poison and re-parent yourself. You can do it. I promise you.

      The only other thing I hope you consider, is to begin using your real name. If you truly believe the words you say, and don’t really, truly care that your friends, your family, your neighbors and your countrymen know the way you feel, then own it.

      I don’t believe you are as cold, hateful, ugly, and immature as your words are. I believe those words came from your parents, maybe your grandparents, even, and you can start shedding that hatred by shedding the anonymity in posting. Own what you say, as yourself, and let the dialogue be honest among us all.

      Love, another American.

  2. by American

    Since when is asking a QUESTION hateful?
    I see you cant answer it, can you?
    How about you Ruben?

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