Do you know what it’s like to be called “an illegal”? It’s knowing that there is a missing noun after illegal because you actually know the language well, but also knowing that the government official will not correct himself. He will place a period after illegal. He will move on. Because it’s what I am: an illegal. Unworthy of nouns or pronouns.
Do you know how it felt to get my driver’s license at 22? It felt like freedom. Like I could drive for hundreds of miles now, just set myself free and go from Georgia to Washington State to Maine. I could apply for a job outside the MARTA public transportation line. I could show my license, not my passport, when I bought a wine at the grocery store. I could show an ID and get on a plane and travel within the confines of this country. I’ve traveled every year since then.
Do you know what it’s like to watch the Republican Primaries debates? It’s hearing that you’re the blame for the economy. For welfare. For crime. But also hearing that you have no say, no space set aside for you. Decisions will be made regarding you. And the biggest decision of all is that you will be kicked out. It’s hearing all of that and knowing you don’t have a vote. And you can’t choose who will make these decisions for you.
Do you know what it’s like to be afraid the police officer has some kind of vendetta against all Latinos and will put you in jail for having a broken tail-light and you can’t fight back?
Do you know what it’s like to not see your family for 19 years? A family that’s loving and warm and kind…. to lose all of your grandparents and not remember what they really looked like but still crying over what you’ll never have? And then knowing more people will die before you get to hold them?
A big guy like Trump, who likes to look tough and strong, he’d make the easiest first anti-immigrant decision he can think of when he gets into office: Undo President Obama’s executive action. The one that lets me work and drive in this country. The one that requires I renew every 2 years for $500. I wouldn’t be able to renew.
But that’s the best possible outcome.
The worst? He’d tap into all our information sent to the USCIS when we applied and renewed and he’d find us to send us back.
All this other stuff? The laws, the Supreme Court appointment stuff: that requires Congress. And we know a united Congress can stop a president from doing many things. But executive actions? That just takes the president’s signature.
Donald Trump, in one of his many ramblings, asked, “What do you have to lose?”
Maybe you don’t have much to lose, voter. But me? I have too much to lose. And yet I can’t vote.