You may have noticed that my country is experiencing technical difficulties. There have always been dark spots, but currently, it feels as if every slimy monster that has been hiding in the crevices is out in the open and claiming to be speaking for us. Basically, I have spent the time since November 8 in a state of unabated rage and panic.
The attacks on DACA hurt my heart. It is cruelty for cruelty sake. So many people forget that Dreamers are people. People who are living their lives, not harming anyone, in the only country they have ever known. They don't have to earn America money, save a life, someone that you know, or be extraordinary in any way to be worthy of defending. They are people living their lives, and for that reason alone they do not deserve to be deported.
I have been living overseas for the last nine years in four different countries on three different continents. I am not a linguist and was not able to come completely fluent in Mandarin, Arabic, French, German, or Mongolian. My German is my best, but I still need help. And you know what? I have gotten it. From friends, colleges, and strangers. Not one person has every told me to go back home. Not one person has looked down on me because I used the wrong tone and said "shit" instead of "ten," yet again. When I was living in Morocco, my tourist VISA expired before I was able to get a working VISA. Essentially, I was working illegally for a couple of months until my paperwork was sorted out. I wasn't vilified. I wasn't deported. I had a day of inconvenience and someone there to help me. There is so little difference between an expat and an immigrant. Semantics and permanence. That is about all. I have gotten nothing but repeat and acknowledgment of my humanity. Dreamers deserve that, too.
From 6000 miles away I feel sort of helpless and useless. I call my reps and senators. I donate (if you have the means The Young Center is a great place to donate). But I have this little space. So here ten books that I am going to be reading to remind me that DACA is about people and their lives are in the balance.
Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal
by Aviva Chomsky
“ Just as the law forbids most residents of the Third World to travel here—by requiring visas, but refusing to grant them—it also forbids virtually all people who are undocumented to regularize their status.”
They Take Our Jobs!: And 20 Other Myths about Immigration
by Aviva Chomsky
“Immigration laws create unequal rights. People who break immigration laws don't cause harm or even potential harm (unlike, for example, drunk driving, which creates the potential for harm even if no accident occurs). Rather, people who break immigration laws do things that are perfectly legal for others, but denied to them--like crossing a border or, even more commonly, simply exist.”
No One is Illegal: Fighting Racism and State Violence on the U.S.-Mexico Border
by Justin Akers Chacón and Mike Davis
"In a matter of weeks, the movement ment has shifted from a defensive to an offensive posture, and promises to redefine the landscape of American history, with immigrant workers narrating the story."
The Book of Unknown Americans
by Cristina Henriquez
“We're the unknown Americans, the ones no one even wants to know, because they've been told they're supposed to be scared of us and because maybe if they did take the time to get to know us, they might realize that we're not that bad, maybe even that we're a lot like them. And who would they hate then?”
Behold the Dreamers
by Imbolo Mbue
“My advice to someone like you is to always stay close to the gray area and keep yourself and your family safe. Stay away from any place where you can run into police-that's the advice I give to you and to all young black men in this country. The police is for the protection of white people, my brother. Maybe black women and black children sometimes, but not black men. Never black men. Black men and police are palm oil and water. You understand me, eh?”
Ask Me No Questions
by Marina Budhos
"When we came to America, though, we didn't know what the right thing was. Here we lived with no map. We became invisible, the people who swam in between other people's lives, bussing dishes, delivering groceries. What was wrong?