Thoughts from the Son of Immigrants

The picture above is from a tree at the neighborhood park that was blown down during a windy rainstorm that hit the city not too long ago. As you can see, the tree was uprooted and the branches were broken as the once mighty tree now laid on its side waiting for the city to come and chop it up. So what does this tree have to do with anything parenting related? Let me tell you.

My parents came into this country illegally from Guatemala. They were in their twenties when they decided they wanted to make a better life for their family. At the time my parents came here they left my two sisters behind with my maternal grandmother. They were without their children for about three years. Can you imagine that? Can you imagine being without your children for a few years while you try to set roots in a new country?

Now I can barely stand being away from my children when I go to the annual Dad 2.0 Summit. I know I will be gone for only a few days, but the thought of being away from them for a few years would be heartbreaking. As the years passed I came to be and my sisters joined my parents in Chicago once they were settled with a place to live and decent paying jobs. Along with my parents, my sisters took the necessary classes to become citizens of the United States.

With today’s news that 45 is ending DACA (Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals) as told to the U.S. people by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, I started thinking how this would affect my family if my parents came to Chicago with my sisters when this program was originally created. What if my sisters were still in their teens and found out today that they would have to go back to Guatemala? They would have to leave all of their studies and friends because the government feels that this is the lawful thing to do. The government feels that DACA has “denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans by allowing those same illegal aliens to take those jobs.”

This situation is very upsetting to me because I feel for all those young men and women who are trying to to create a better life for their family and are now being told that they may have to leave the country. The one country that they pledge their allegiance to every morning in school. The one country where they work a job that some people think are beneath them. The one country that they are trying to set roots in for their future families. The one country that is now going to turn its back on them.

For those that might think that Dreamers don’t belong in this country here are a few facts about them via Newsweek:

  • They [Dreamers] must have come to the U.S. before turning 16. They must have lived in the U.S. since June 15, 2007.
  • In a Center for American Progress survey of roughly 3,000 DACA recipients, nine-tenths of respondents said they had jobs.
  • About 72 percent of respondents were in higher education.
  • After getting DACA, nearly 80 percent of respondents said they got driver’s licenses. About half became organ donors.
  • The Center for American Progress estimated that the U.S. would lose about $460 billion in GDP over the next 10 years without DACA. 

I know what you are thinking: what does bringing up political issues on this site have to do with parenting? Well, it has a lot to do with parenting. These laws and regulations that the current administration are creating will have some type of effect on our children’s futures. As parents, we should be abreast as to what is going on in our country to prepare our children for the world around them and show them how to make a change. We have to show them how to make a difference in actions or behaviors that they feel are against the beliefs of this country.

I feel strongly about this because I still don’t understand how the people that voted this man in are ok with everything that he is doing. The one group of people that I question is the Latinos that voted for this man. With talks about building a wall to prevent the “bad hombres” from entering the country to taking a few days to speak against the nazis that were marching is Charlottesville, it seems that they are ok with it. It seems that they are ok with him negatively talking abut their race. This general silence is talked about in a great piece by John Pavlovitz in his post “Why I Oppose Donald Trump”

“In the presence of injustice, I believe silence is participation, and these days I am witnessing more of it than I can bear—and so I speak;
not to piss you off, but so I can sleep at night,
not to insult you, but so I’m able to look myself in the mirror,
not to make trouble, but because my kids deserve a father they can be proud of,
not to be divisive, but to keep the peace within my own head,
not to manufacture venom or dispense vitriol—but so on my last day on the planet I can say that I did the best I could with the time I had and the voice I was given, and the great privilege I had to be healthy and loved and able to speak.
That’s all any of us can do with their lives: try and make them matter.”

So, while Fandads is not going to turn into a political website, we are going to speak out about issues that we feel affect our families. With everything my parents went through to make a better life for their children, I am not going to turn my back on them and remain silent when I see something that stands against everything that they taught me. I can not let this government tells us who does and does not belong here based on their own agenda. I was raised to respect everybody and those are the same principles that I am instilling in my children.

The Statue of Liberty’s tablet does not read: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door…but if they seem like they will be trouble they better turn around and go home”. If this is the road this country is going to go then we must also change the words of “This Land is Your Land” and have it say “This land isn’t made for you and me.”

While we can only see how today’s announcement is going to affect the estimated 800,000 dreamers right now those families are like the tree at the beginning of this post. The announcement is the wind that has knocked them off of their feet and now they will wait for the government to come and chop up or separate these families. I only hope that things can change and all of those young men and women are able to establish their roots and try to make America great for their families.

Thanks for reading and thank you mom and dad for everything.

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