It has been a challenge to write these past couple of weeks. Sometimes I encounter the usual chaos, trying to do more things that I can handle (yeah, I am working to fix that). But there are also times I just feel too overwhelmed by the state of affairs to sit down and write. Where do I start? Especially when I am so invested in two countries that have problematic stances towards migrants. This is worse living in a border town; I often feel swallowed by the political and social turmoil going on “en ambos lados de la frontera” (on both sides of the border).
In the past couple of weeks we have seen a misguided public discourse on the Central American caravan which has been disheartening and painful to watch. It’s not only our political leaders, but people at large who have access to social media platforms to propel their ignorant opinions as “valid” arguments for closing borders and legalizing cruelty. I expect that from xenophobes but to see “people from the left”, “Catholics” and “progressives” reject the idea that we can create inclusive societies, especially for people who are in need of humanitarian assistance is an indication that we continue to lose our way in this post-truth era. Now, we have to worry about navigating conversations and digging through piles of rubbish to understand what is happening around us, especially when we live insulated by our privilege.
Today, as the news are covering the mid-term elections results, I am having a flashback. Exactly 10 years ago, I was just a few miles away from where I am sitting right now to writing this post. I was in downtown San Diego after a long day of GOTV efforts, hopeful for an Obama victory. As the night went on, we started to experience the excitement of what showed to be a historic win for Democrats, for those of us who pledged to progressive policies on many issues, including immigration. Little did I expect I would be deported under his presidency a year later. Yes! Let that sink in… particularly for those of you in Blue Wave or the so-called “Resistance.” Having a Democrat in office didn’t mean much for immigrant communities, and I am willing to bet this won’t change much even as you try to pin racism and xenophobia to the Trump administration. Right, he may be re-engineering aspects of immigration policy, but he is not completely wrong to say that he is just implementing policy as his predecessors have set forth. Racial profiling (remember the Patriot Act). Not New. Deterring immigration. Not new. Detaining children and family separation. Not new. Deporting hard working immigrants. Not New.
But it seems that some of you needed an openly racist presidency and the rise of the Alt Right to see what millions of us have already experienced. You cared little for the pain caused by racist immigration policies and practices that were operating behind the politically correct discourse. America is now turning fascist, but I hope that you take a moment to reflect on how the Dems have contributed to that. Perhaps because you have sold out on progressive values when you had the chance to change things while the right keeps embracing theirs and actually delivering on that when it was their turn. On immigration, you thought that if you deported people like myself and looked tough of immigration you would deliver a “comprehensive” immigration reform. The Republicans fooled you. They never cared for it. Unfortunately, Democratic party continues to fail immigrant communities and it will continue to do so until it actually reforms itself so that it takes real stances aligned with progressive values. There is no middle ground anymore. Doing the right thing was never something that should have been delayed until it was politically viable. If we have not learned that in the first two years of the Trump administration, then it is hard to stay hopeful. A win for Democrats has done little to advance immigrant social justice. Let’s not kid ourselves.