Undocumented Lawbreakers

The other day, several news outlets carried an emotional scene from an airport, where an undocumented woman who had been in the United States for 30 years, and given birth to  three children who are American citizens, was being deported. She’d come here as a teenager and was being “returned” to a country she only dimly remembered.

Ah yes! In Donald Trump’s America, we’re getting rid of those dangerous criminals from other countries. It’s particularly rewarding to see ICE ramp up deportation for those who came to the U.S. illegally as two- and four-year-olds, using their criminal parents to carry them over the border. Getting rid of them will make America Great Again–and that’s good, because there are so many things we won’t do to make America great.

We won’t try to make America great by tightening gun laws to cut down on the daily mayhem and violence (caused almost exclusively by angry native-born white guys). We won’t work to make America great by repairing our crumbling roads, bridges and other infrastructure. We aren’t even willing to make America fair by really reforming the tax code to eliminate loopholes that unnecessarily favor the wealthy, or by raising the minimum wage so that working people can make ends meet, or by ensuring that everyone has access to health care.

No–in Trump’s America, we’re not only deporting people whose only “crime” was coming here without going through a tortuous legal process that can take years, we’re repealing the minimal protections the Obama Administration extended to undocumented persons who were children when they were brought here by their parents.

DACA–Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals–addressed the utter cruelty of uprooting children who had no part in the decision to come here, young people who have been productive and law-abiding, who grew up here and have known no other country. As USA Today recently summarized the measure, DACA

allows two-year stays for certain undocumented immigrants who entered the country before their 16th birthday who have attended school or joined the military and have not committed any serious crimes.

They receive a renewable two-year period of deportation protections and eligibility for a work permit. Some enrollees are currently on their third term.

There are roughly 800,000 individuals temporarily protected from deportation by the DACA program.

DACA was a short-term, emergency, humanitarian measure extended by President Obama due to persistent Congressional failure to act on desperately needed immigration reforms. Trump’s attack on DACA is further evidence of his willingness to hurt innocent people in furtherance of a white nationalist agenda that–so far as we can tell–is his only agenda. (Other than self-aggrandizement, of course.)

We should certainly deport people who came here illegally and committed serious crimes. We can argue about deporting undocumented people who came here as adults and subsequently committed minor crimes. However, I am unable to conceive of any argument that would justify expelling young people who had no part in the decision to cross the border, who have spent most of their lives in the United States (and often speak only English), and who are contributing to society in a multitude of ways.

One of my students is a DACA enrollee. Her younger brother is an American citizen, born after her parents settled in the United States. She’s an excellent student. She’s also understandably passionate about fixing both immigration law and state laws that burden undocumented persons. She volunteers for several nonprofit organizations, and she knows a lot more about the U.S.Constitution than most of my native-born students. I fail to see how deporting her would make America great.

In fact, deporting her–and those like her–would make America very, very small.


  1. Amen. I’m sorry we don’t have a President who has any desire to appeal to our better angels.

  2. Theresa has it right. What we all feel is a guilty culpability in all Trump’s injustices and misdeeds. DACA revocation is particularly painful because it is so personal and wrong. And I have to remind myself that while I know, as many of us do, persons who will be affected, the pain I feel is only vicarious.

  3. I don’t remember facts very long anymore, don’t have the energy to research those facts, and don’t make notes when I hear or read them. Therefore I can’t repeat them for our edification here; the conclusion was that immigrants do and always have brought and created benefits, both cultural and economic. Thus, by removing ‘illegals’ and limiting immigrants we impoverish our society. Perhaps Sheila or one of you readers can quote the source(s).

  4. We are throwing in many cases, the best and brightest of our future out of the country. This will come back to haunt us in many ways in our ability to meet challenges that we face in countless disciplines.

  5. My pain in this issue is very close and very personal; those close to me remain in hiding, one a four year old beautiful little girl who loves to hug everyone she meets. IF, after paying an attorney $10,000 over the past six years to legalize the mother’s situation to return to her home country and begin legal action from that end, there is the very real fear of being rounded up at Indianapolis International Airport. IF they were able to leave this country; would they be allowed to return once their legal situation in Mexico is resolved? Highly doubtful, don’t you agree?

    She was brought here at age 14, has attended school making good grades and worked to help her family, she was among all undocumented workers fired by CVS pharmacy this past spring. Her husband also worked in their warehouse; he was forced to change jobs due to their personal situation. He was so well like and respected, it took two hours for him to leave due to the employees stopping him to wish him well and thank him for his 16 years of loyalty and hard work. She also endangered her own life by signing out of one hospital after emergency C-section to deliver her premature daughter so she could follow her daughter to another hospital to give her the benefit of breastfeeding to increase her chances to live. But; do not fear these two dangerous immigrants…they remain in hiding.

    “I fail to see how deporting her would make America great.” Neither would deporting my four year old great-granddaughter improve this country.

  6. I cannot even imagine living with the constant fear of being rounded up by ICE agents as I go about living my life as a law abiding citizen. It surely must cause nightmares.

    Sheila, I have a question for you about our immigrant legalization process. I have tried to research what is required of an immigrant to become a legal citizen in our country, but come up with confusing info. Can you tell us exactly what the system requires and why we claim that it needs to be updated or changed, but never do anything about it? Why is it so difficult to improve these laws? Thank you so much if you have the time to clear this up for those of us who really have no comprehension of the apparently complicated process.

  7. trumps words in china,,,, “i cant blame a country for taking advantage of America, for the sake of its people,,,”so does this mean the immigrants from south of the border are not people,or trump didnt make a profit from,them? you decide…. and please,contact your local and regional news broadcast to relieve use from trumps,voice…. i’m getting sick…like food poisoning.

  8. Does anyone know if these DACA children could stay if they were adopted by American citizens? If so, I can guess there might be many of us who would adopt them.

  9. To be truly great, America needs to deport the great-great-great-great-great grandchildren of illegal immigrants, as well as all their offspring. Yes, that would likely include me. But what the heck, no sacrifice is too painful to rid the country of the bloodline of dangerous criminals.

  10. Even 45 knew how bad his new policy was. That’s why he had his Keebler Elf make the announcement.

  11. Trump these past several days has been sharing toasts with murdering dictators abroad and giving away our trade and political standing to those who boost his ego with their red carpet treatment while simultaneously victimizing all of us with his immigration stands (I refuse to call them “policies”). He apparently does not know that immigrants are what made America great (not again but for the first time).

    Take such immigrants as Albert Einstein, for instance, who helped us beat Hitler to atomic secrets, a contribution that profoundly affected humanity in the view of many of us who can only imagine if there would be a world had Hitler first come up with atomic weaponry, and while an immigrant from Mexico or VietNam may not be a brilliant scientist, these are the people who make sure the buses run, that the streets are cleaned, and that America successfully goes about its daily tasks of providing a place where we may work and play, educate our children and in general enjoy the fruits of our democratic institutions.

    Trump’s anti-democratic divisiveness and the spectacles of such as the Bannons and Moores and what they represent will ultimately fail (I hope) in favor of an inclusive and colorblind society that will truly make America great again, an America that treasures its people over its moneychangers and naysayers and authoritarians.

    Right now such a sunny descripion is hard to envision, and that’s because we are in transition in a time where our fundamental values seem to be up for grabs as we grope with how to be fair and just in solving such issues as immigration, taxation and the like. I think our values embedded in our democratic institutions will win the battle, but not without our unrelenting defense of our democracy, our most valuable asset held in common. Our task, it seems to me, is not only to save our democratic values but to nurture and expand them. If we succeed, I think these issues of today will fade away to where they belong – into the dustbin of history.

  12. She’s been here for 30 years as an Illegal alien . For 30 years she’s been BREAKING the law.
    It’s a LOT like taking performance enhancing drugs to win the Olympics, or betting against the team you play for – IT’S AGAINST THE RULES.
    Capice ?

  13. In August, a military policy was quietly passed which allows the United States Army to offer waivers to people with diagnosed mental diseases such as bi-polar and depression as well as self-mutilation and drug and alcohol problems, to qualify them for the military. This appears to be the only way they might meet their quota of new Army recruits. I find this much more frightening than immigrant families with children…and the recruits are given a military weapon and trained to effectively use it to kill. We are already plagued with mentally illnesses being legally allowed to purchase weapons of their choice.

    What other nefarious bills have been passed and enacted into law which we were not made aware of due to being distracted by those pesky immigrants and Trump’s mental quirks?

  14. As a Great Grandmother of an Hispanic child, I say this: We are all and I mean all responsible for this mess we are in regarding Immigration matters. If we had long ago forced the people in Congress who supposedly work for us, and I mean Us, to sort this crap out, this would not be happening. I hold no high regard or respect for this president, but blaming him for this mess is just a way to make ourselves feel better about our inattention to this matter. This Trump person is just an opportunist who uses anyone or anything to serve his purposes. Yes, immigrants, from wherever, should be responsible and do all they can do to follow the law. And yes, there should be little or no tolerance for those from other countries who are lawbreakers, but again we are right back to where we started. Us. We let this happen. Done with rant.

  15. Rant on, Maywin, I totally agree. In the late 1970’s – early 1980’s I worked in the Hudnut administration for the Division of Community Services which was part of the Mayor’s Office. Our job was to monitor all multi-service, senior and health centers in Marion County receiving federal funds. At that time there was an estimated 55,000 immigrants in this city; only one center, the Hispano-American Multi-Service Center was qualified to work with all immigrants from all nations. No need to say they were overwhelmed but provided INS services as best they could. Also English as Second Language (ESL) classes, food, clothing, housing, domestic violence counseling, medical referrals, employment, school assistance, and the list goes on. All services were free and all employees of the center were dedicated to every person who came through their doors. I was honored to be their monitor and work with them; it was also an honor to be a guest at their ESL graduation ceremonies and the wonderful dinner afterwards. The graduates brought dishes from their homelands; they were also working toward their American citizenship and proud to be here. They added to their neighborhoods with few exceptions; adjusting to our way of life while maintaining their individual nationalities. Does anyone in this city provide such immigration services such as that today?

    The Reagan election ended much of all services here and across the country; immigrants and Americans alike suffered.

  16. By the way; Maywin and I share that beautiful four year old Hispanic great-granddaughter…the one who loves to hug everyone she meets.

  17. Recently I had the misfortune to discover that a close relative is an avid DT support and admirer. To make matters much worse, he is “educating” his early teen granddaughter about how wonderful DT is, a very successful business man (his description) who always comes out on top, a man who is to be forgiven his boorishness and misogyny because he is so new to governing, and is making great sacrifice of his personal wealth while in office (I have no idea where he got that tidbit).
    He is fine with the fact that children of the same age as his granddaughter are being criminalized and deported because they “are here illegally and are breaking the law”.
    He also claimed that her teachers (in public schools) are telling her lies about the president and that she now has a “poor” opinion of him because she does not understand how business works.
    I have no words for how distressed this whole situation makes me. A child is being poisoned and I cannot do one thing to stop it. Children are being criminalized and deported and I cannot do one thing to stop it.

  18. Nancy, you asked about immigrants. They have no method of becoming citizens if they are undocumented. If they are here by overstaying their 90 day visitor visa (they get their passport stamped when they enter the country), they have to leave the country and wait out the process that states that they may have to wait 10 yrs to return to the US.

    DACA gave them a process whereby they could postpone the deportation as long as they were law abiding and followed all of the rules set up in DACA. But still there was no process for becoming citizens.

    Unfortunately, this process needs to be set up by Congress and passed before anything changes. The current immigration laws are quite clear and can be read here.


    That’s a 116 page document but defines the process for you and anyone else that wants to know. Page 103 and up shows the details and links to the immigration process for becoming a citizen.

  19. Copied and pasted below from page 106 of the link that AgingLGirl provided:

    Regarding Item 6 – I could not help but think that we must demand all citizens running for and elected to any office be held accountable for knowing and understanding our Constitution.
    Currently, you can be elected President without having one single clue about our Constitution (DT).

    Naturalization: Becoming a U.S.
    The process of becoming a U.S. citizen is called naturalization. In general, you
    can apply for naturalization once you meet the following requirements:
    Requirements for Naturalization
    1. Continuous residence: Live in the United States as a permanent resident for
    a specific amount of time.
    2. Physical presence: Show that you have been physically present in the
    United States for specific time periods.
    3. Time in state or USCIS district: Show that you have lived in your state or
    USCIS district for a specific amount of time.
    4. Good moral character: Show that you have behaved in a legal and
    acceptable manner.
    5. English and civics: Know basic English and information about U.S. history
    and government.
    6. Attachment to the Constitution: Understand and accept the principles of
    the U.S. Constitution.

  20. Nancy: You’re welcome and that question is spot on. Shouldn’t our legislators know the constitution? Because there are signs that they do NOT know the it or what it means!

  21. Nancy, Emma Mahern(immigration lawyer) in Indpls. is giving talk today Re: current immigration law. She will be at St. Patrick’s Church in Fountain Square. Emma will speak in English & Spanish and has great concern for the situation. Emma’s my daughter & is expecting her & Eduardo’s first baby in Jan. Eduardo recently became a citizen, and they know first hand the complexities of navigating the current environment. I don’t want my first grandchild to have to grow up in a city, state, country that’s hostile to some of his heritage.

  22. To make matters worse for DACA enrollees, several days ago, the NYTimes reported that approximately 4,000 re-applications that were mailed weeks before 10/5 deadline…but were mysteriously “lost” until the day afternoon the deadline. Because the applications were late, they have been denied…leaving those young people in limbo.
    In a nation settled by immigrants, which declared equality for all–we fall far short of putting our money where our mouth is.

  23. Yuk. Easy way to broadcast: buy some magnetic sign material with no words. Use big marker or black acrylic paint. Write what you want to say. Stick on car door ( I had one on each front car door during Iraq war). Everyone on road will see it. Prices vary. Shop around. Won’t damage car. You might annoy some. Also can support elected people that way.

  24. Irvin
    November 13, 2017 at 9:23 am
    Capice! Is that an English word?

    It’s a form of the irregular Italian verb: CAPIRE meaning to understand.
    I understand: capisco
    You understand: capisci Do you understand?: capisci?
    Capisci is pronounced ca pee’shee (in dialect: ca pee’sh)

  25. it is simply time to get rid of the DOMESTIC criminal in chief and all his lackeys!(.)

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