Jamala Rogers

U.S. citizenship for a wall. Really? This is the current reality for those coming from Mexico to seek the American dream. Instead, they’re facing a nightmare.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, better known as DACA, was established by President Obama in 2012. He created the policy by executive order after it was painfully clear that Congress would fail to create legislation to protect children whose parents entered the U.S. without documentation. Last fall, Trump rescinded the policy throwing the lives of nearly 800,000 young people and their families into jeopardy. This action is scary. So is Trump.

Since then, Dreamers all over the country, including the estimated 3,400 in Missouri, have been looking over their shoulders. For those cities with aggressive U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices, the fear and anxiety of the undocumented are on high alert. It would be understandable if those emotions give way to anger and outrage as Trump attempts to use their citizenship as bargaining chips for a divisive wall.

For those who support the inclusion and humanity of all, we should be outraged at the political, cultural, environmental, and financial costs of the Trump wall. Estimates range from $20-70 billion to build and about $200 million to maintain annually. Prototypes of the wall have already been submitted, and contractors are chomping at the bit to get their grubby hands on those billions.

I know we can find a just and humane resolution to the immigration concerns and to better spend our hard-earned tax dollars. The Mexican government is not going to pay for this wall. nor will there be any private dollars coming. This Trump pet project is about to blow a hole in taxpayers’ pockets.

 And let’s not forget that immigrants don’t all come from Mexico. Many come from the “sh**hole” countries of Africa and the African diaspora. Black and brown immigrants are unwanted under a Trump administration; people from countries like Norway are preferred. I believe Trump made these racist statements because they are consistent with his world view and documented over the last 30 years of his actions and comments.

Let’s slow this process down and focus on the important elements: the people, especially the children and youth. This is not just about the DACA young people. Most of them are directly connected to other undocumented people who are connected to documented family members who are connected to non-kin relationships and communities. This is the nature of the human family.

The border wall is wrong on so many levels. We who believe in freedom must keep our eyes on the prize. The prize? The actualization of a democratic society that values and protects all life, and that is invested in the well-being and full development of all people.

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