Where’s Your Green Card?
More than just a feminist platform.
There are a lot of things I love about The CW’s superhero, action-adventure television show “Supergirl” including: it passes the Bechdel test, the President of the United States is female, and God is referred to as a she, instead of the classic male pronoun we’re used to.
But what I love most is how relatable the character, Kara Zor-el, also known as Kara Danvers, is. On the show, the strongest aspect of Kara Danvers isn’t her super-strength, but instead her emotional strength. Being an unwanted immigrant in a new country is the same as being an unwanted immigrant from another planet.
In this day of age, being an immigrant is even more difficult than ever. President Donald Trump has been very public about his stance on immigration from the start of his campaign, with clear message of: Immigrants are not wanted. Legal or illegal.
He claims that with his huge wall, there will be a huge door for those willing to file paperwork and become a legal immigrant before coming into the U.S. Yet this is a process that can take years and it’s just to become a green card holder, not a citizen. When Trump passed the “Muslim Ban,” an executive order barring citizens of 7 Muslim-major countries, he forgot to include that those who were visiting those major countries as United States residents could re-enter the U.S. Whoops.
The second ban “fixed” this problem, allowing those with dual-citizenship and green cards to return to the U.S., after all, it was considered illegal to keep those who already have permission to be in the U.S. out of the country. But because of this, there were still card holders who are now afraid to travel outside of the country; after all, Trump has become an unpredictable danger to immigrants.
There have been a few episodes focusing on aliens on the show, not the kind that come into a different country without the proper paperwork, but extraterrestrial aliens, ones that come from a different planet.
In season one, episode 11 of the series, Kara Danvers encounters a politician by the name of Miranda Crane, a senator who brings her anti-alien agenda with her to National City. A white martian attacks the senator, right as she begins to strike fear in the hearts of the citizens by reminding them aliens can be dangerous. “Whether they’re wearing a red cape or not, they're a threat to this country, our freedom, and our lives.”
Crane’s character may be a subtle dig to President Trump, since the episode aired during the campaign period for the presidency. Hell, Crane even offers to build a dome over Earth in order to prevent the further immigration of aliens into the country, the planet. Starting to sound familiar?
“I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great great wall on our southern border and I’ll have Mexico pay for that wall.” — President Donald Trump
Kara and the other pro-alien characters do what immigrants are forced to do when someone with political power makes these kind of comments: keep quiet and hope it blows over.
While at the end of the episode, Crane changes her stance from an extremist point of view to one a bit more realistic saying, “While it’s important we remain cautious, we still have a lot to learn before we take action.”
It’s hard to not feel welcome in the place you are now forced to call home. When you visit a new place, you’re desperate to learn about the food, culture and people so that you won’t stick out like a sore thumb. Now imagine having to do that every day.
In one episode, Kara tells her friend Lucy Lane, “When you’re an alien, you’re willing to sacrifice anything, everything, betray your fundamental instincts just to fit in.” Kara Zor-El has to sacrifice a lot more than any human immigrant will have to, suppressing her urges to save people and the city because “the world didn’t need another hero,” they already had Superman.
The same goes for immigrants who are forced to move to another country. Very rarely do you hear about immigrants who just woke up one day and said “Hey, let’s move to the U.S.” If you have, they’re either liars or rich. Once you make the decision, either out of desperation or leisure, you’re no longer one with your home country. You become one of “them,” but you don’t belong in your new home either. You’re not wanted.
My mom moved to the United States nearly 20 years ago out of financial necessity. She still has a Mexican passport and is technically a citizen of Mexico, but also has U.S. residency. She doesn’t regret moving to America, but she misses her home country. She travels to Mexico as often as she can, especially since her immediate family still resides there, but just as any other immigrant is destined, she no longer belongs.
She recalled an instance that happened while she was visiting Puebla, her home town in Mexico, with the shop owner of a local food stand. He asked her where she was from, after hearing her Americanized accent. She replied saying that she was a native from Puebla, to which he said, “You might have been born here, but you’re no longer from here.”
Although she has grown accustomed to the culture and the language of the U.S., she has never denied her roots. My mother has grown up to be just as American, as she is Mexican.
For me, it’s a different case. With my mom being Mexican and my dad Guatemalan, it was hard for me to fully be immersed into the culture of either or. At a barbeque with my family, my uncles were teasing me about how I was so white-washed. I laughed and whispered to my mom, “A horrible Mexican, and an even worse Chapina.”
I only visited Guatemala once, and I found their customs to be different from the culture I was raised in. In Mexico however, the customs are similar to what I was raised with, but I am still treated differently. If you speak broken Spanish, they treat you like an idiot. If you speak it fluently, they act as if you are beneath them, for simply being a foreigner. There is no win-win.
I realized this mostly when I traveled out to Mexico by myself, when I landed I knew I needed to go to customs and report myself, but I was lost as to where to go and what to do, until I found someone to help.
The man that was assisting me was very helpful, until he saw my passport with the gold lettering saying, “United States of America” imprinted at the bottom. After that, it felt like I was no longer welcome.
No one in the airport was willing to help me, and if they were helping me they were obviously bothered by it. A female employee wouldn’t even allow me to use her pen. She complained that it was her last one and that I should have been more prepared.
It’s not just native-Mexicans, it’s also first generations, those who are more in touch with their culture than I am, who tend to give shit to those of us who don’t have a deep connection with our roots. They call us “whitewashed” and fakes, and it’s hard to get along. I love pop, but I hate mariachi. I love the Kardashians, but I don’t like Jenny Rivera. I’m a great American, but a horrible Mexican, and that’s okay.
“Supergirl” does it’s best to try and educate their audience about what’s going on in the world, but it can only do so much. It’s up to us, as a country to ensure we can protect one another. We did it once against the British, we can do it again.
Trump can build his wall and ban everyone who disagrees with his views from entering the U.S., but the truth is that majority of the public is done with him and his political views.