America was built on the idea of achieving the American Dream: creating a better life for yourself and your loved ones through opportunity and hard work. However, for hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants, their dream of remaining in the United States could become a nightmare.
The week of Feb. 6, 2018, President Donald Trump threatened another government shutdown over the issue of immigration.
“If we don’t change this legislation, if we don’t get rid of these loopholes … if we don’t change it, let’s have a shutdown,” Trump said, according to ABC News.
“I’d love to see a shutdown if we don’t get this stuff taken care of,” Trump said to law enforcement officials.
Trump’s feelings on the issue are no secret. The Republican Party has allowed him the power to be the voice of the party. There is no way to comprehend how frightening it is to know that your fate is in the hand of those who do not even know who you are. Can politicians not see that they are playing games with people’s lives? The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals has been an issue for many years, but over the last couple of months, it has become political volleyball.
With passions high on the left and on the right, the question must be asked: Are these politicians thinking about the individuals or their political opponents? Washington D.C. has changed dramatically in the past 20-25 years, so it’s becoming a challenge to figure out if that is because of immigration or because of clashing political parties. Is it too much to ask of our elected officials to share some common beliefs? While it is noble to have politicians care deeply about an issue, Republicans and Democrats are using those who fall under DACA to be a political bargaining chip. Both parties feel strongly about their beliefs and the immigrants are the ones caught in the middle. It has slowly become more about using these immigrants as a pawn in a disagreement so that one party can win the argument, rather than focusing on the actual individual and their situation at hand.
In November of 2017, Senate Democrats were discussing the possibility of a government shutdown over immigration. In Washington D.C., it is all about leverage. Both CNN and Politico discuss California Democratic Senator Kamala Harris stating her lack of support for a spending bill that left out DACA. Although the government was eventually shut down, the leverage the Democrats thought they had, gained them nothing. There were no changes to the DACA regulations. There is a deadline on March 5 for the “Dreamers.” Trump has the most influence to help the immigrants, but he wants them out.
Thousands and thousands of immigrants now call America home. The dream they have that is only found in the United States rests in the hands of one who was and is willing to take whatever means necessary to remove them from the only home that some have ever known. A decision is coming down the road before long. Will it be a dream come true or will it be a nightmare, further dividing our country. Our political leaders should not use immigrants as a pawn in a game, but remember the most important part of the equation happens to be human.