April 26, 2017

Two items caught my attention today: an undocumented Rutgers student, a Dreamer, asked by ICE to interview at their office and report about how much young undocumented immigrants contribute to the NJ economy–$66 million and it is estimated that they could contribute another $27 million if they could get on with their lives, continue to study and work.

DACA Student at Rutgers Interviewed by ICE Officials.

Report: NJ young immigrants pay $66 million in taxes

I actually believe many people are squeamish about defending undocumented immigrants.  It makes them uncomfortable.  Aren’t they criminals? Didn’t they break the law? Many Americans, in fact, may be uneasy with Trump’s demonization of immigrants, but might have trouble openly marching on their behalf.  Might they secretly wonder: It is too much, isn’t it? Could some of what he says be true? Are they ruining our economy? Taking over our cities, our towns? Aren’t they a drag on our resources?

I say this not because I believe these ideas, but because I believe we must bring out of hiding these shadow thoughts in ourselves.  And the only way to do so is to bring the cold, clear nuggets of facts, such as the ones above.  To hear these stories.  These are young people whom we have already invested in; young people who are already contributed; and who have so much more to offer.  Are we willing to lose that gorgeous hope and possibility?  Because of we shut ourselves to what they can be, we shut down what we can be as a nation.  I believe we are more capacious than this; that our republic, so different than others, has room and room again.  Let us not give into the shadows and fears; let us find a way.