|America Ferrera in NBC'S 'Superstore'|
By Mwabi Kaira
I remember first seeing the commercials for NBC’s 'Superstore,' a comedy starring America Ferrera about a superstore, and thinking that it would never work. The joke was on me, I laughed through the multiple episodes I binged. There was an episode where Mateo, the Filipino immigrant finds out quite by accident that he is undocumented. The superstore, Cloud 9, is celebrating The Olympics and Mateo proudly displays his Philippines lapel pin to which his boss Glenn says he should be loyal to the United States.
As the day goes on, Glenn keeps trying to show Matteo all the American things he wouldn’t be able to find in Manilla. Jonah, another coworker, tries to cover for Glenn and how he means well and ends up asking Matteo if he is an American citizen. Matteo takes offense because Jonah is asking simply because he is Asian. Jonah explains that he has heard about Parents bringing their children to the United States and not even telling them that they are undocumented. Matteo says he has plenty of documentation and even remembers going to the “Green Card store” with his Grandmother and getting his documentation. Jonah unlike many Americans, seems to know a little about the immigration process and makes an unsure face which prompts Matteo to call his Grandmother and ask. He only learns the truth from this conversation.
This is not an unlikely scenario. In fact, this episode was based on the real-life story of Jose Antonio Vargas who left the Philippines at age 12 to live with his Grandparents in California. His Grandparents were naturalized US citizens but he was not. He attended Middle School and High School and did not learn about his immigration status until he was 16 applying for his driver’s license. The DMV clerk suggested his papers were not legitimate and he learned the truth.
President Barack Obama introduced Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in 2012 after the failure of the DREAM Act, a legislative attempt to provide dreamers with a path to citizenship. The reasoning was always to protect children who are not to blame and have made lives for themselves in the US and consider it their only home. DACA is the protection of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, otherwise known as Dreamers. To be eligible, applicants had to have arrived in the US before age 16 and have lived in the US since June 15, 2007. They could not have been older than 30 when the Department of Homeland Security enacted the policy in 2012. Among the accepted applicants, Mexico is by far the biggest country of origin, followed by El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. To date almost 800,000 have been approved for the program with an overwhelming acceptance from Mexico.
Qualifying immigrant youths had to meet very strict criteria: They were required to have been enrolled in high school, have a high school diploma or equivalent, or have been an honorably discharged military veteran. Approval means being legally able to work in the US, go to school and to live without the fear of deportation.
During a press conference Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday that the program would be rescinded. The administration’s decision to end DACA means that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services won’t consider new applications, but will allow anyone who has a DACA permit expiring between now and March 5, 2018, to apply for a two-year renewal by October 5.
The rescinding of DACA by the Trump administration was met with outcry and disapproval by the public because it appears to be targeting the largest number of its recipients who are Mexicans. These approved recipients are law abiding and went through the Homeland Security process and paid the required fees as requested. To punish them for something they were approved for makes very little sense. And to only say that they found the program unconstitutional with no supporting evidence makes even less sense. According to the Associated Press, fifteen states and the District of Columbia sued the U.S. government on Wednesday to block President Donald Trump's plan to end protection against deportation for young immigrants, saying it was motivated by prejudice against Mexicans.
Trump has been very vocal about building a wall along the Mexican border to keep Mexicans out. During his campaign he painted Mexicans as rapists and very dangerous. He also constantly repeats this rhetoric of Mexicans taking Americans jobs, which is not true. Just last month The Washington Post published an article about a factory in rural Wisconsin turning to robots due to 132 job openings and an unreliable American workforce. Surely if Mexicans were taking jobs they would have filled these openings. His recent pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio convicted for unlawfully profiling Latino's in Arizona is just another example of Trump’s displeasure with brown people. He keeps playing into fear tactics and sadly Americans are none the wiser and just go with these lies instead of doing their own research and finding the facts. DACA is just the latest in a list of this administration's war against its number one target – Mexico.
Do you think the DACA decision is a target against Mexicans?
Mwabi Kaira is an African girl navigating her way in an American world. She is of Zambian and Malawian heritage and moved to the USA in 1993. Writing has been her passion since she could put a sentence together on the page. Mothering her sons is her pride and joy. She has been an avid runner since 2013 and has run 10 half marathons and a full marathon. Keep up with her at http://africanbeautifulme.blogspot.com/