As the debates on immigration continue to rage on in the national media, all the headlines, tweets, and stories fly across the screen. It becomes exhausting to see how disgusting the lies are, and how narrow and limited the conversation. I try to avoid paying too much of my attention to the broadcasts because they only irritate me, but I cannot help but notice how flawed the arguments being said are. It is disturbing how little they encapsulate the reality of the situation and how easily history is either neglected or erased. All the same, I think to myself, was it any different before? Whether it is crime, immigration, religion, politics, or war, the information we receive as consumers of the media is never perfect and seems to always be influenced from those that are in power. The debate on immigration within the United States rarely addresses the historical involvement of this country into the affairs of the rest of the American continent; it gets talked about in a vacuum where the suspect in question is the set of actions by immigrants. Never do I hear any accountability from this very country who has installed economic policy that ravaged emerging markets, dismantled whole governments, funded coups and drug wars, and blatantly negates aid to refugees. It is disturbing. Trump is a horrifying recent manifestation but our problem started decades prior to him. Recently a long time advocate here in Tucson said “there could not have been a Trump if there had not been a Reagan or Clinton.”
In learning, seeing, and hearing about this history that rarely gets addressed I also find how my life and that of my family’s migration fits into it. Even further, I find some explanatory power as to why I am here, and why we immigrants have a claim to this better life we seek. It allows me to move past the almost romanticized narrative “that I came here for a better life” that is so easily dismissed by those that believe other humans are undeserving of opportunities based on their arbitrary notions and definition of citizenship. This argument of historical oppression may not make much of a difference than the moral argument, but it gives me tools to fight back, and it legitimizes my cause at least to myself. I know that despite growing up as an outsider, there are rights I can defend and that in some ways our struggles as immigrants are embedded in the struggle and history of those displaced before us. The legacy of what occurred to the native peoples of the Americas is something that must never be forgotten. The scars that slavery has left have not vanished. I cannot allow arguments of illegality undermine what I can see and feel is oppressing us because the same arguments were used then and cannot be accepted now.
One of the most defining characteristics of the work I have seen done by groups and individuals here is the strategy of uncompromising resistance. I have come to respect that perspective and even embrace it. One of the biggest hurdles for me as a DACA-mented individual has been reconciling what people argue on how much of a compromise should be made on legislation regarding DACA. In rationalizing the issue, I initially assumed that if at least a step could be made in progress for DACA individuals then maybe we could begin to open more doors later, with only a small cost sacrificed. Now, understanding a bit more of the detrimental effects so called “Increased border security” has on the communities across the borderlands has given me better context. My relief, or the benefit of our collective, is not worth the increased oppression of others. It has been through the fragmentation of collective power that this country has undermined the people’s power and voice. I am very well aware that immigrants in this country are not a unified collective, and we come from all backgrounds, countries, languages, and cultures and that assembling a unified front may be impossible. My goal and purpose in learning about this stance against systems of oppression is for it to inform the work I engage with in the future, and share with others that we must always keep our eyes and ears open to the outcry of others. We must fight their fight with uncompromising resistance because their humanity and struggle is also ours.