Many people in the United States have a constant fear of deportation. Only recently, however, has their fear been made clear to the rest of the country. Throughout the election season, immigration remained a hot topic among candidates and voters. Candidates debated about immigration policy to decide what laws would keep our country safe, while not making it so difficult to enter the country legally that people find it easier to break the law. A few of Mr. Trump’s pet policies addressed the issue of illegal immigration in ways that made many voters uncomfortable. Immediately following the election and continuing today, protesters voice their concerns in nearly every major city in the United states. While there is an obvious need to reevaluate our country’s immigration policy, stirring up fear on such a large scale presents a danger to the country as a whole.
Throughout high school, I have learned about different political party’s sides on immigration through classes, news stories, and research essays, but only recently did this issue become personal to me. In spanish class this year, my teacher organized for us to work with bilingual students at a nearby elementary school. The day after the election, one of these students told my friend that her grandparents had left for Mexico because they were scared of what Trump might do about immigrants once he becomes president. A few days later, while casually discussing the election with a friend born in Mexico, he revealed to me that he and his parents were illegal immigrants. These two encounters gave me a different perspective on immigration and deportation. Rather than analyzing these policies from a purely logical and political perspective, I now also see them from the point of view of a family looking for a fresh start and a better future for their children.
Most of what people know about President-elect Donald Trump comes from what he says on TV, or what people write and say about him on social media and in the news. To get a more objective angle on his immigration policies and to see if immigrants, both legal and illegal, have reason to fear, I looked at his plan for his first 100 days in office. On his first day, he plans to cancel every unconstitutional executive action made by Barack Obama. Considering Trump’s previous statements about illegal immigrants, along with attacks from Congress and the Supreme Court regarding Obama’s action, we can assume that the executive action granting up to four million undocumented immigrants temporary protection from deportation will be repealed. This simple action, in the midst of many other immigration policies in the name of “restoring rule of law,” if completed, would uproot millions of families (Kelly). These families could have the chance to come out of the shadows, make things right with the law, find honest work, pay taxes, and further the nation’s economy (Ehrenfreund). This action, meant to help parents of american citizens, if repealed, could force millions of people back into a life of fear.
Donald Trump has also talked about overturning President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, giving 750,000 more people reason to fear (Preston). This action protects people from deportation and grants them temporary work permits if they came to the United States when they were 16 or younger, and were raised here (DACA). This program has aided not only immigrants, but our country’s economy. Those who received DACA were able to get better jobs and invest in higher education. Many of these “dreamers” have come far since the creation of DACA, graduating from college and starting successful careers. If this action is reversed in the Trump administration, hundreds of thousands of people who have been contributing to the US economy will no longer be protected from deportation and will be forced to hide from the government and find illegitimate employment.
Many people felt like they lost a fight after voters chose Donald Trump as the next president, and now wonder where to turn and what to do next. In cities like Los Angeles and Phoenix, activists have organized naturalization events for undocumented immigrants and their families to find out how to protect themselves from deportation (Galvan). Some civil rights groups have even made plans to fight against any government efforts to deport people protected under Obama’s executive orders (Preston). People who have lived in the United States for all but a few years of their life see no reason to return to the country where they were born. Groups of dreamers protest and organize marches, gathering support from city governments, universities, churches, and employers. For fear of their family being torn apart, immigrants are trying, now more than ever, to get permanent residency, apply for citizenship, and stabilize their families.
Immigrants fear for themselves and their families as they watch the news, listening to President-elect Trump’s plans to deport illegal immigrants, cancel visas, and increase immigration screening procedures. During the Obama administration, our country started to make progress in giving undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship and inviting them to join our workforce. For many, it seems like we will take a step back when January 20th comes and Donald Trump takes office. But with all the groups fighting for equality, family, and second chances, there is still hope for the future of our country and its people, no matter who holds office.
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Ehrenfreund, Max. “Your Complete Guide to Obama’s Immigration Executive Action.” The Washington Post. WP Company, 20 Nov. 2014. Web. 23 Dec. 2016.
Galvan, Astrid, and Amy Taxin. “Deportation Fears Grip Immigrants after Trump’s Election.” PBS. PBS, 11 Nov. 2016. Web. 23 Dec. 2016.
Gerstein, Josh. “Supreme Court to Rule on Obama Immigration Orders.” POLITICO. POLITICO LLC, 19 Jan. 2016. Web. 23 Dec. 2016.
Kelly, Amita, and Barbara Sprunt. “Here Is What Donald Trump Wants To Do In His First 100 Days.” NPR. NPR, 9 Nov. 2016. Web. 23 Dec. 2016.
Preston, Julia, and Jennifer Medina. “Immigrants Who Came to U.S. as Children Fear Deportation Under Trump.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 19 Nov. 2016. Web. 23 Dec. 2016.
Wong, Tom K., Kelly K. Richter, Ignacia Rodriguez, and Philip E. Wolgin. “Results from a Nationwide Survey of DACA Recipients Illustrate the Program’s Impact.” Center for American Progress. Center for American Progress, 9 July 2015. Web. 23 Dec. 2016.