For the past few weeks, most of the drastic changes made by the current administration regarding immigration revolved around undocumented immigrants. I’ve read narratives, seen videos and pictures of children being torn from their parents and the parents being detained or deported back to the country from which they fled. I’ve read first hand accounts of how these children felt, how their lives have changed, and their views on America. I’ve sympathized with them, I’ve cried for them, and I’ve prayed for change for them. But, I’ve observed these horrific stories from a safe distance, thinking that I could not be directly affected by the current administration’s attitude toward immigrants and migrant families because I am a naturalized US Citizen. I thanked God for my family’s status because with it, the US government can’t touch us (at least with regards to detainment and deportation).
I could not have been any more wrong if I tried.
Yesterday I read that United States Citizenship and Immigration Services would be creating a new task force which will reevaluate naturalization cases. My shock and sadness immediately showed on my face; I was also dumbfounded. With a few articles, my sense of security as a citizen was shaken and I was left to search for hope. The cynic in me now realizes that it was almost comical that I thought I was safe. The optimist in me still holds out hope and it’s now a constant battle to see which side will win or if I will remain like this for a while.
Working in a law office this summer and being around students who are relatively well informed has pushed me to read more and learn more throughout this summer about our country and our government. My work with Americans for Immigrant Justice (AIJ) has also increase my sense of urgency to be informed about the current issue facing immigrants in the United States. I am thankful for this but I sometimes wonder about the benefits of knowing about these issues when all it does is leave me with a deeper feeling of helplessness.
This summer I’ve tried to channel this feeling of helpless into something positive for my work at Legal Services of Greater Miami and AIJ. I do this because at lease at these two law offices, I can play a small part in slightly bettering the life of an immigrant family. I’ve had the opportunity to do this by helping my supervising attorney in cases to avoid evictions, helping get more funds for families to relocate from closing mobile home parks, assisting in legal screening clinics, and so much ore. I can try and do my part in what I can control.