The youth internet seems indifferent about what is happening at the border…until memes started circulating about ICE’s arrest of 21 Savage. Most people laughed at the possibility for 21 Savage to be British (although, this claim is allegedly confirmed). Yet, 21 Savage’s arrest only further proves that the cruelty of ICE deportation’s is not just a myth, but a reality that affects people who have already made the United States their home.
Additionally, Trump in his State of the Union Address spent a good fraction of his time rallying for a border wall and using fear as a tactic to oppose loosening immigration restrictions. But, what is actually happening at the border and to immigrants?
Chaos at the Border:
- Using tear gas to disperse migrants (banned by the military even during war)
- Presidential order to temporarily halt asylum acceptances
- 7 year old girl died in detention due to dehydration and illness
- Asylum-seekers wait in detention until cases are resolved
Threat for DACA Dreamers:
- Regents of the University of California v. DHS required the administration to keep DACA for now but
- High likelihood of a Supreme Court ruling → could decide DACA’s fate next summer
- Recent increase in DACA renewals thanks to activists!
Public Charge Restrictions:
- Public Charge restrictions can bar those who are likely to rely on government benefits for their primary support
- New changes alter what it means to be a “public charge.”
- Lowered standards to block people who might become a public charge at any time
- List of public benefits expanded (Medicaid, care at home, Medicare savings, SNAP, housing assistance). Immigrants who rely on these benefits may not be allowed to enter
- New factors included (too old 62+, too young <17, limited English speaking, health conditions, etc)
- These restrictions promote racism and ableism
Construction of the border wall:
- Trump wants $5 billion, which caused the longest shutdown in U.S. history due to congressional gridlock
- The border wall breaks laws including: Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Solid Waste Disposal Act, and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act
- Could cause the next government shutdown if Congress doesn’t reach a budget deal by February 15
- Tell your representative to not fund the border wall
Now, the arrest of thousands of immigrants can be ignored just as easily as one can’t help but notice the magnitude of the administration’s immigration policies. Ultimately, the decision is up to you, but being able to turn a blind eye to the humanitarian crisis comes from a position of privilege.