The Lies That Blind Some

DREAMERs-protest-tough-us-immigration-changes
Activists and immigrants march towards the U.S.-Mexico border in support of passage of the Dream Act February 7, 2018 in San Ysidro, California. The rally coincides with the eve of Congress's spending bill deadline with organizers urging lawmakers to pass a clean Dream Act without provisions for a border wall. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

By Felicia J. Persaud

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Feb. 9, 2018: On Tuesday night, Jan. 30, 2018, after enduring what was an aggravating and painful SOTU, I tuned in to Jimmy Kimmel, hoping to lighten my mood with his Stormy Daniels interview.

But I was surprised to see Kimmel’s MAGA VS DACA feature, which truly beat out any CNN talking head analysis and put the spotlight squarely on the main issue surrounding the immigration debate – lies, alternative facts and the ignorance that continue to blind many in this country.

Kimmel had culled together a group of six folks, including one Latina and one black woman, who all claimed to be ultra-staunch “conservatives” and Donald Trump supporters and voters.

On the opposite side of the couch, with the talk show, host was a young DACA recipient who had been brought into the US as a baby and was now herself a mother. This young woman was now living in fear and limbo of being deported when her DACA status runs out. Her fear was heightened because her finance, who serves in the National Guard, was being deployed overseas, leaving her more vulnerable and at risk of losing her status as the clock to March 5th runs down.

As she related her story and fear, tears rushed to my eyes. Even Kimmel himself seemed moved as he asked the group to respond. Without hesitation one older White man responded: “She needs to go back. She is breaking the constitution.”

Ignorant of course that it is the immigration law and not the constitution that was the issue here.

But the most shocking responses came from the Latina woman and the black woman. Both insisted that the young Dreamer should be sent back and then somehow get into some magical line on the other side to apply to re-enter the US legally.

The discourse, coming on the heels of the blatant lies presented by 45 on the immigration laws during his SOTU, proved once again the ignorance of most “born Americans” about the US immigration laws. Most of it is pushed by the alt-right, whose alternative facts would have you believe much of the Stephen Miller lies touted by Trump Tuesday night.

LIE 1 – That immigrants who become US citizens in this country can bring in “unlimited” relatives to live with them under the family sponsorship option of the law, that is being viciously branded as “chain migration” by Trump and the Trumpeteers.

TRUTH: The fact is that a US citizen can only sponsor a spouse, minor child or parent as an immediate relative and married sons and daughters or brothers and sisters as a third and fourth preference. There is no “unlimited” sponsorship of anyone.

LIE 2: Countries are sending us their worst people under the Diversity Visa Lottery.

TRUTH: The Electronic Diversity Visa Lottery is only open to countries with limited immigration to the US first of all – 50,000 or less – so countries like Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica are all excluded. People enter online and must have at least a high school education or its equivalent, defined as successful completion of a 12-year or two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience to perform. Winners are chosen by a computer and each winner has to go through an intense background check and processing to get into the US and qualify for a green card. So, no countries have any opportunity to maliciously send us their worst or terrorists.

LIE 3: Out of status immigrants should go back to their countries and apply to come back in legally.

TRUTH: The reality is that out of status or undocumented immigrants face a bar if they should leave the US and then try to re-enter under some legal pathway. Further, many who crossed the border and have no proof of entry into the US, cannot even adjust their status through marriage or family or employer sponsorship within the borders. The three- and ten-year bars were created as part of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRAIRA) of 1996. Incorporated into section 212(a)(9)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the statute imposes re-entry bars on immigrants who accrue “unlawful presence” in the United States, leave the country, and want to re-enter lawfully. So no, there is no going out the country and then getting into a line to apply to re-enter legally, unless the laws are changed to exclude a bar.

It is very important that in this current environment that we take time to educate ourselves on facts versus fiction and not fall prey to the dog whistlers in our midst, whose only goal is to blind us with lies while stirring the pot of racial hate.

felicia-j-persaud-hard-beat-altThe writer is CMO at Hard Beat Communications, Inc. which owns the brands: NewsAmericasNow, CaribPRWire and InvestCaribbeanNow.