Ah Christmas! A time to celebrate the holidays with family and friends, exchange gifts, look back at your achievements in over the year and if you are a Catholic like me and millions of Caribbean and Latino immigrants, celebrate another birthday of sweet baby Jesus after four weeks of Advent. This year, millions of undocumented immigrants could have been celebrating at least the receipt of a work permit and travel permit through President Obama’s executive orders – DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans).
It would have provided a sliver of hope in a mighty dark cloud that is deferred immigration reform. Instead, in a real life tale of ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas!’ the Republicans in 26 states, combined with a Republican judge, stepped in and stole Christmas yet again for undocumented immigrants.
Not only did the GOP controlled Congress fail to provide any immigration reform solution in yet another year of controlling the House, but their buddies, aka the governors of 26 states, convinced their other “buddy,” aka a GOP judge in the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Texas, to block DACA and DAPA under the guise that the President was overstepping his executive power.
And so here we are – yet another Christmas where many undocumented immigrants continue to feel hopeless at a time when they should be filled with hope; another Christmas when they feel depressed and lonely because their families are back in Central America, Latin America, South America, the Caribbean and other far flung areas around the world and they cannot visit them even though they haven’t seen them in years because they would never be let back into the land they toil to support two homes!
Another Christmas when many immigrant mothers weep for the children they left behind in the hopes of making a better life to support them economically; another Christmas when many immigrant women feel depressed and lonely thinking of the spouses they left behind to pursue the ‘greener pastures’ of America.
All the while, these GOP lawmakers, governors and judges, get to celebrate a very Merry Christmas, fatted goose and all, with their own families and friends.
Now some will argue it’s the immigrants own fault – why did they come to the US “illegally” in the first place? There are many reasons and many, many stories that will melt even the coldest of hearts but I lack the space in my column to get into them.
I can tell you about the woman in Brooklyn who fled her homeland because she was raped and luckily for her got a visitor’s visa to come to the US. She never looked back and even though she struggles doing “off the books” house cleaning or baby-sitting while 20 years have gone by and she still lives in a basement apartment, she is not going back to the land where she was terrorized and brutalized.
I can tell you about the young single mother whose boyfriend walked out on her after he found out she was pregnant and how she endured the humiliation of sharing her pregnancy with her upright Christian family and the stares and whispers in a small Caribbean village to give birth. And how she decided that America was the place where she could begin anew despite the odds and work and raise her son and give him a better life despite the odds of being undocumented.
These are the people whose Christmas the GOP Grinch has stolen yet again!
So while Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and the other jokers celebrate this Christmas hoping by some Coming to Jesus moment that they will become President of the United States, let’s show them the power of the immigrant vote in this nation and prepare to turn the tables next year as we take back the power and become the Grinch that steals their Christmas!
Merry Christmas to all and to all a Goodnight!