Article By Tamara Uribe
Don’t Dreamers Deserve to be Deported?
There is a common belief that if Dreamers would just “get their act together” and apply for citizenship, their problems would be solved, but because they have frittered away valuable time and not gotten their citizenship application turned in they deserve to be deported. However, if the solution to the Dreamers’ problem was as simple as just applying for citizenship, the vast majority of Dreamers would have done so by now and we would not be having this national debate.
What is a Dreamer?
Briefly, Dreamers are young people who were brought illegally to this country as minors. Under a policy call Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) young people who met certain criteria could apply for a deferment from deportation that was renewable every two years. They also became eligible for a work permit. Some of the most important criteria Dreamers had to prove to be eligible for the program was they could not have been convicted of a felony offense or a significant misdemeanor or more than three misdemeanors of any kind. In addition, they could not pose a threat to national security or public safety.
The program was risky for Dreamers because they would need to register for it, be vetted, and make their whereabouts known. But over 800,000 young people came forward, met the criteria, and registered. This was their chance to live a normal life in the only country they had every know and many of them were elated to seize the opportunity. But in September 2017 the Trump administration ended the DACA program, putting all registered Dreamers at risk of being deported.
Why Didn’t Dreamers Just Apply for Citizenship?
There are criteria every person who wants to apply for citizenship must meet, such as being able to speak, read, and write English and understand US History, among other things. But the most important – and the most difficult – criterion is the applicant must be a legal permanent resident (a green card holder.) There are only 3 paths open to apply for legal permanent residency:
1. A person can be admitted as a refugee or apply for asylum.
2. A person can be sponsored by an eligible employer.
3. A legal family member gains permission to bring someone to the US.
Of the above listed methods to gain permanent residency, being sponsored by a family member is usually the path for most people seeking citizenship. Unfortunately, most Dreamers do not have a family member who can sponsor them for permanent residency as their first step on the road to citizenship – that is why they have not and cannot apply for citizenship.
Stand with Dreamers
I think the most important thing to understand is that Dreamers came forward under DACA and proved they were upstanding citizens who had not committed crimes – they voluntarily came out of the shadows. Now they are easily identified and found. Because of their honesty, they now risk being ripped from their families and the only country they have ever known. They risk being forced to go to a country they know nothing about, a country where they don’t know the language, a country where they don’t understand the customs, a country where know very few or no people, a country where they face poverty because they would be unemployable.
This seems a harsh sentence for young people who had no choice or role in coming to this country. This is why, as a Christian, I stand with Dreamers and I hope you and other Christians will do the same.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German theologian who was arrested and martyred for his resistance to the Nazis. His most famous work is The Cost of Discipleship.
‘Stupidity is a more dangerous enemy of the good than malice. One may protest against evil; it can be exposed and, if need be, prevented by use of force. Evil always carries within itself the germ of its own subversion in that it leaves behind in human beings at least a sense of unease. Against stupidity we are defenseless. Neither protests nor the use of force accomplish anything here; reasons fall on deaf ears; facts that contradict one’s prejudgment simply need not be believed- in such moments the stupid person even becomes critical – and when facts are irrefutable they are just pushed aside as inconsequential, as incidental. In all this the stupid person, in contrast to the malicious one, is utterly self-satisfied and, being easily irritated, becomes dangerous by going on the attack. For that reason, greater caution is called for than with a malicious one. Never again will we try to persuade the stupid person with reasons, for it is senseless and dangerous.
‘If we want to know how to get the better of stupidity, we must seek to understand its nature. This much is certain, that it is in essence not an intellectual defect but a human one. There are human beings who are of remarkably agile intellect yet stupid, and others who are intellectually quite dull yet anything but stupid. We discover this to our surprise in particular situations. The impression one gains is not so much that stupidity is a congenital defect, but that, under certain circumstances, people are made stupid or that they allow this to happen to them. We note further that people who have isolated themselves from others or who lives in solitude manifest this defect less frequently than individuals or groups of people inclined or condemned to sociability. And so it would seem that stupidity is perhaps less a psychological than a sociological problem. It is a particular form of the impact of historical circumstances on human beings, a psychological concomitant of certain external conditions. Upon closer observation, it becomes apparent that every strong upsurge of power in the public sphere, be it of a political or of a religious nature, infects a large part of humankind with stupidity. It would even seem that this is virtually a sociological-psychological law. The power of the one needs the stupidity of the other.The process at work here is not that particular human capacities, for instance, the intellect, suddenly atrophy or fail. Instead, it seems that under the overwhelming impact of rising power, humans are deprived of their inner independence, and, more or less consciously, give up establishing an autonomous position toward the emerging circumstances. The fact that the stupid person is often stubborn must not blind us to the fact that he is not independent. In conversation with him, one virtually feels that one is dealing not at all with a person, but with slogans, catchwords and the like that have taken possession of him. He is under a spell, blinded, misused, and abused in his very being. Having thus become a mindless tool, the stupdi person will also be capable of any evil and at the same time incapable of seeing that it is evil. This is where the danger of diabolical misuse lurks, for it is this that can once and for all destroy human beings.
‘Yet at this very point it becomes quite clear that only an act of liberation, not instruction, can overcome stupidity. Here we must come to terms with the fact that in must cases a genuine internal liberation becomes possible only when external liberation has preceded it. Until then we must abandon all attempts to convince the stupid person. This state of affairs explains why in such circumstances our attempts to know what ‘the people’ really thing are in vain and why, under these circumstances, this question is so irrelevant for the person who is thinking and acting responsibly. The word of the Bible that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom declares that the internal liberation of human beings to live the responsible life before God is the only genuine way to overcome stupidity.
‘But these thoughts about stupidity also offer consolation in that they utterly forbid us to consider the majority of people to be stupid in every circumstance. It really will depend on whether those in power expect more from peoples’ stupidity. than from their inner independence and wisdom.’