I’ve been giving the Charlottesville protest/counter-protest a fair bit of thought lately, probably in part because the coverage of the events (and a certain President’s response) has dominated the mainstream news, Twitter, and Facebook, and in part because I live in South Alabama, where reminders of the Civil War abound. In fact, my office sits less than a block from where a slave market used to sit.
I’m going to unequivocally state that white nationalism, Nazis, the alt-right, etc., are all categorically terrible things, and those who ascribe to such beliefs are worthy of scorn — and honestly, disbelief. It’s 2017, for heavens’ sake. How is this still a thing?
But it got me thinking about outrage, in a general sense, and what really gets me truly angry, particularly in the world of immigration. I could think of one right off the top of my head — when the U.S. government deports people that were adopted as infants or toddlers and brought to the United States, but the parents never completed the necessary paperwork for the child to become a citizen (or even a lawful permanent resident). In many cases, and I can speak from personal experience with some of my own clients, the parents avoided the subject when the kids eventually grew old enough to inquire about their status. At the end of the day, though, who suffers? The “immigrant.” And it’s not even fair to call them that. If there was ever a population that truly had nothing to do with their lack of status, it’s this one. It just breaks my heart that people could be so callous as to think it’s the right thing to do to send these people, even as adults, back to a country that they’ve never known. It’s inhumane. And then, try and act surprised when this happens. That’s on you, America.
[Full disclosure: I just took a 5 minute break to calm down.]
DACA recipients often are not in a much better position, and my heart goes out to them too. In both cases, the parents act (arguably) irresponsibly, and the children pay for it. That’s just not right. And yet, these aren’t the issues that find themselves in the national spotlight, at least not for long – and that is the bigger problem. Where’s the collective outrage? What has to happen before meaningful change will come to an immigration system that severely punishes those most in need of assistance? I can only hope that one day the climate in America will change so that the perversities of the U.S. immigration system will trigger outrage on the same scale as Charlottesville – where people are willing to risk their own lives and livelihoods to stop the injustice.