Would Lady Liberty support DACA?
Give me your tired, your poor,” she calls. And they come. Sometimes in not so legal and conventional ways. Actually, driving or flying across the border to visit family and then never going back is a rather conventional way to have come for an illegal resident of the United States. So, now their children are here and they want to stay. These children “yearn to breathe free” like they have always done because they do not remember the before. Or maybe they do, but here is better and here is where they want to stay. Thus the program called DACA was introduced and signed by President Barrack Obama. Thousands came forward in the hopes that they could have a path to legal status and maybe even citizenship in the United States.
The whole idea sounds lovely: Let them stay and make a home with the rest of us, let them continue to help build our country, let them keep together the families which they have started or the lives which they are trying to build, let them stay because they did not make the illegal choice to come or to stay. Let the dreamers fulfill their dreams . . .
However, there are real concerns about this romanticizing, just as there have always been. The Lady has not always stood in the New York Harbor. When France first sent her, there were real questions by many about whether they even wanted the gift. After she arrived, for many years the pieces of our lady were scattered about waiting for a home. Some did not want her here. Others just couldn’t decide where the money might come from to make a place for her. The debate over immigration in our country is not new.
What are the concerns of those who oppose DACA? Well, if we reward illegal behavior with a path to citizenship, won’t that just give the green light to other hopeful illegal immigrants? If we say you can stay despite the fact that you did not follow the rules from the beginning, how does that reflect on the thousands who are waiting and working patiently to achieve full status in the legal way?
The debate continues. We can do our part by thoughtfully deciding what Lady Liberty might say. We can think about how we will respond. Then we must contact our legistators and let them know how we feel. They need our views so that they can make good choices for our country. As we campaign for Lady Liberty, we campaign for others and for us all.