In 2001, Gov. Roy Barnes asked me to serve on his newly created State-Wide Commission for Hispanic Affairs. As part of that work, I served on the higher education sub-committee, which began its work with the following assumption — providing access to higher education to ALL bright, young people makes for a richer, more productive Georgia.
The issue of undocumented immigration has never been an easy one. Last summer I traveled with the Emory Farm Worker Project with my church youth group. Many of the farm workers are still undocumented because there aren’t enough H2-A Visa workers to handle the harvests. And believe me, most Americans wouldn’t survive this work if it paid ten times what it does. For years, we have enjoyed the fruits of their labor; the least we can do now is educate their children. We’ll be richer and more productive for it.
It is said that former President Obama’s DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) dealt with the immigration issue with a scalpel, rather than a hatchet. Our current president prefers a hatchet.
As someone who has done graduate training in the area of child and family development, let me tell you that hatchet-style deportation is emotionally equivalent to physically amputating a limb. Many of these young people will suffer devastating psychological effects when torn away from everything they know and love. In fact, we know that the damage begins with the threat of loss, so Trump’s decision to “end” DACA with a six month delay has real implications for those affected, starting today.
My 17-year-old son attends classes at Georgia Perimeter College (GSU). This morning I mentioned to him that Trump announced the end of DACA. He replied, “You remember Julio, the guy in my composition class that I helped with his essay? He is one of those Dreamer kids.” If you have kids, chances are you know Dreamer kids too.
Activate the calls to Congress. It’s time to speak out . . . again.