By: Cesi Martinez, Contributor
Almost a month has passed since President Trump decided to rescind DACA, or DeferredAction for Childhood Arrivals, a program that grants me and 800,000 other “Dreamers”temporary protection from deportation, a social security card, a work permit, and a driver’s license. Now congress tells us to wait while they negotiate our lives. In this battle of political interests, “heroes,” “victims” and “criminals” are strategically chosen.
The simplification—and de-humanization—of the immigrant community in this country has long upheld a violent rhetoric that catalogues Dreamers as victims worthy of sympathy, the 11,000 other immigrants as “criminals” and those who speak on our behalf as the “heroes.” This happens because it is easy to designate roles to those who are silenced out of fear.
The United States’ turbulent immigrant history has shown over and over again how
white hegemony feeds on ethnic cleansing vis-à- vis the uncertainty that is instilled in the
psyche of the immigrant. As a result, the fact that my future hangs in limbo should come as no surprise, and although I understand the cruel logic of this system, I cannot help but eye the time as I write these words.
The Dreamer within me clings to the hours and minutes of my days with a new intensity, while the psychologically conditioned immigrant is emotionally and mentally preparing for change. This acute awareness of the passage of time and vulnerability of my status and that of my family seeps into my dreams and twists them into nightmares. In these nightmares, a parent is torn away from me, my two younger siblings are left alone in this country, or a family member passes away in Mexico, and I am not able to attend their funeral.
Some of these incidents have become my reality, but I am not alone. Eleven-thousand
other people are haunted by these same fears. However, our ability to adapt and balance the Dreamer and immigrant within us is the source of our greatest strength.
We are simultaneously the immigrants who dream and the dreamers who are
immigrants. Despite the distinction of Dreamers as victims and immigrants as criminals that is perpetuated by the media, I do not know where in my mind lies the border between the two, or if they are separated by a river, mountain or wall, for the difference between the Dreamer and the immigrant exists only in the eyes of the government: the former qualifies for the DACA program while the latter does not.
This rhetoric hurts and divides the immigrant community because it says that I am a
Dreamer but my dad, my mom, my neighbors, and my friends are not. We all risked hunger, thirst and death, so we are all Dreamers. The stories of our survival in this country will endure regardless of Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric or that of other white supremacists because the United States is a nation of immigrants.
I do not know how the coming months will unfold, but I will no longer leave my voice in the hands of political “heroes”.