I’m often surprised by how quickly other POC shrink back into a callous attitude towards members of their own group, and fall back into a false peace. The new racism is dividing my people into good and bad or “bad hombres” as Trump calls us. The issue is that it’s all a pretense. When the laws are made to make a certain group invisible, or have limited access to rights, your very life is criminalized and made ‘illegal’. Coming to this country when I was five years old and living here since then, I’ve spent many years living under a country that dictated that me working, driving, voting were all illegal acts. In other words, the laws themselves made the basic acts of living and feeding myself illegal.
When it comes to undocumented immigrants, the word “illegal” or illegal acts in general are used to defend any removal of human rights and harm done onto them. This is why not only do undocumented immigrants face persecution, harm, and even death but they are then seen as deserving of it.
To be clear everyone commits illegal acts at least sometime in their lives whether they were charged or not. Most people have committed petty theft, or worked under the table at some point. Imagine if doing these things could remove you from your family, home, and your country. That is what’s happening to undocumented immigrants.
Trump has greatly reduced the standards for deportations and immigration bans. One undocumented immigrant is in removal proceedings because she filed her DACA renewal late because she wasn’t able to afford it on time. Another is being placed in removal proceedings because of a DUI which is a misdemeanor for the first offense. According to many people they deserve deportation despite having families, jobs, property, and spending most of their lives here. They deserve it even though DACA recipients are immigrants who came as children through no fault of their own.
Because of these impossible to reach standards I no longer choose to define morality by legal vs illegal terms. I don’t live by them. If the government chooses to persecute Muslims, Jews, immigrants, or other groups I will gladly hide them and protect them the best I can. I will break the laws if the laws are unjust. People have the right to exist and survive despite the law saying otherwise.