Imagine for a moment that your family left Mexico City and came to America when you were just age 5. You have only vague memories of the land south of the border as your entire family lives here.
You grew up in the United States. Your parents spoke English to help you assimilate. You were educated here, and your friends live here, you consider yourself an American, and this country is the only home you have known.
Five years ago, you breathed a sigh of relief when you learned you would be eligible to remain in the US under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) established by Barack Obama. You were grateful to hear you would be able to work legally and continue studying, and you were on a path toward citizenship. You fulfilled your family’s dream for yourself by graduating high school with plans to join the military.
Now imagine it is September 5, and you are told that in six months, you and your family must return to Mexico to live, work, and somehow establish a life where you have no connections to the people, and you barely speak the language. Your only other choice is to remain in the US and be branded a criminal. You and your friends have heard rumors that people are being “rounded up” and deported and you’re scared, terrified.
This is what is happening to 800,000 Dreamers and their families – good kids, children who had no say in being brought here, people who have studied, and many who have worked, paid taxes and kept their nose clean.
These are the immigrants we want to live here and become citizens, right? These are the people we want as our neighbors, our co-workers, our friends. I know I do and I bet you do, too.
And now Congress gets to debate what happens to these people as if they are no more important than a shiny new tax law. This is the demise of our Republic when politicians get bogged down in philosophical arguments and make decisions based on some political concept, casting votes that negatively impact the lives of real people without regard to what happens to them.
It seems that our leaders are so caught up in putting up a win for their party, or furthering the agenda of their corporate benefactors that they forget there are hopes and dreams at stake, families, and. . . Well. . . Human beings.
Rescinding DACA isn’t about whether you support open borders, or you are in favor of restricting immigration. Those things could have been debated and discussed. That is not the issue. It is about using Dreamers as a political football and messing with more than a million lives of people by telling them they may or may not have to leave in six months. How does one plan for anything with that deadline looming? Whether you supported DACA, is this the type of nation we want to become? One of unfairness?
We need to be better than this, and we need to care more than this. We see it every day – GOP leaders who won’t face their constituents and are confused that people are hurt and angry with them for supporting the cruel legislation. They did it with immigration. They did it with health care. They are doing it with DACA. It is as if they have forgotten they are not representing a state or a district. They are serving people.
My name is Brianna Westbrook, and I am running as the representative of the voters for Arizona District 8. I care about you. Please support me and return a sense of humanity to Washington.