Immigrants Under Trump Era: My Employer Has Refused to Pay Me and Threatened Me with Deportation | Mexicans Under Fear
I have been doing some research on immigrants under the Trump era. There is no doubt in my mind that this is a community under threat. They know that at any minute they are going to be sent back home. Juliana is a 46-year-old woman. She has been in the USA since 1996 but has no papers. Some of her children are dreamers and others are full US citizens. I have advised her to apply for regularization but she is fearful that she will be sent back. When I insisted she pointed me to an article about a woman that was separate from her family in Oregon. To her ICE is the enemy and her nightmare is being accosted by an immigration enforcement official.
What has the world come to when people have to cower for all their lives because they do not have a piece of paper. It really takes the biscuit to think that a few months ago all these people were looking forward to some future since the Obama Administration had promised relief for dreamers. Now we have an administration that is openly hostile to all immigrants regardless of their status. America has gone back rural. We are the paranoid curtain twitchers that are afraid of their shadows, seeing asylum seekers in every corner. When I spoke to a government official, he said that immigrants should just wait for Trump to leave the stage and things will be back to normal. I consider that to be unsatisfactory. Supposing we elect someone even more hostile than Trump?
In any case it seems quite unfair to demand that people suspend their lives for four or eight years until American gets over its temporary madness. I insist that Trump is all our responsibility and we have to really think about what we are doing to these immigrants. Juliana is in the grips of a sociopath who has taken her wages and constantly threatens her with deportation if she makes demands. The US government is giving this sociopath cover and the power to control a victim. Why can’t Juliana be looked as the victim that she is rather than lumping her together with the criminals and drug traffickers who are Trump’s greatest scape goats. When I tell people that all our settle ancestors were actually illegal immigrants, they look at me weird. They want simply questions and answers. To them the immigrants are responsible for their problem.
Immigrants Under Trump Era: Keep the Darkies Out
It is very telling to me that the most virulent anti-immigrant groups say nothing about the millions of Europeans, Australians and Canadians that come to the USA on an annual basis. They will never admit it but deep down the message is clear: keep the darkies out. Somehow we have selectively remembered our history. The natives of these United States are not White Caucasians. Those Caucasians were the invading immigrants who committed far more heinous crimes than the average Mexican cartel can ever dream of. Try saying that to the Klan groups and you will get blanks or even violence. That is not to say that they do not have their points about uncontrolled immigration but whose fault is it anyway?
We impoverish countries and then wonder why their citizens want to come here and enjoy the fruits of their labor which we have stolen from them through unfair trade practices. Our immigration system has no joined-up thinking as the administrators like to say. On the one hand we push them out and then wonder why they return over the border in a few days. Juliana is absolutely petrified of going back home, not least because she has not been there for over 20 years. How will she find a job and how will she start? She hardly has savings because her employer has been taking away her money and giving her peanuts to keep her in captivity. I suggested we get a lawyer and file a lawsuit come what may but Juliana refused to cooperate.
That is not to say that Juliana has not been contributing to the economy although her wages are stolen by her employer. The little money she gets she divides between living expenses and sending some to her relatives. They rely on her and any news that she could be deported would devastating. Juliana describes how the family was crowded around television crying when Trump was surprisingly elected. They knew their goose was cooked. Juliana is a pragmatist and has started to make arrangements for when that day comes. Meanwhile she plays hide and seek with the immigration authorities. She tells me that at least 6 out of 10 housemaids are illegal immigrants. I wonder what those rich families are going to do when Trump kicks out their cheap labor force.
Are they going to hire those gun trotting “real Americans?” I seriously doubt that crowd will ever be able to do housework. I predict that there will be such a shortage that they will start again recruiting. That is the chaos of our government and we cannot lay all the blame on Trump. He saw an opportunity and took it. We set out the groundwork for him and our attitudes encourage him further. I have never quite bought into the selective outrage of America when Trump says yet another outrageous thing. He is one of us and we elected him. In fact, he reflects that many of us think and say in the privacy of our homes. The solution cannot be just getting rid of Trump and his policies. We need to seriously think about what immigration means and its impact on real people.
The Market of Illicit Immigration
I have always been of the view that if you see something that does not change or go away then it is serving a function which the society approves. The same goes with immigration. We need those immigrants to do the jobs that we are too proud, too lazy or too incompetent to do. We then turn around and start harassing those very same people that we are supposed to rely on. Then we wonder why they are entering our borders without following the law. There is literally no other legitimate means of entering the USA today as a low-skilled immigrant unless you apply for a tourist visa or asylum. That is why those systems are being abused. Economic migrants claim refugee status in order to come in and work.
Wouldn’t it be much easier if we simply allowed people to go where the labor market tells them to? We could prioritize American workers since they are the citizenry but we should not be handicapping enterprises that are looking to recruit people from other parts of the world. Moreover, I fail to see the merit in deporting a woman like Juliana who is living in servitude and being exploited by her sociopathic boss with the complicit help of the institutions of immigration control. Where are our priorities in this? When will we learn that you have to get to the root cause of the problem rather than merely operating at its margins?
I keep wondering what happens next for Juliana. She has no papers and is reluctant to engage with the authorities to ask for clemency since the government is hostile. One thing is telling: Juliana bitterly regrets not taking the opportunity of the Obama administration to try and deal with her issues. “He was a great President and we did not appreciate him. He wanted to help us but we couldn’t help him because we are not allowed to vote”. Maybe that is what is really worrying the Trump administration. A crowd of hostile immigrants who will ensure that no Trump ever gets to the Oval Office again. Setting aside the politics of these decisions, there are real people out there that are suffering. They are invisible to us because they have been conditioned to hide away from authority.
Hope in the Sanctuary Cities
At the very least, I can take some comfort in the fact that Juliana is planning to move to a sanctuary city. In all likelihood she is going to escape from her current employer who is bound to report her in a fit of range. However, she has no other option. It would be foolhardy for her to just sit there and hope for a delay in the day that ICE will come to pick her up. We have been interacting for months and I am struck by her warmth and optimism in the face of horrendous challenges. She does not seem to be bitter about it all. Instead she is looking for a way to get out of the mess that she finds herself in. Meanwhile I am left gnawing my teeth in frustration at that employer that is behaving like a real jerk. I wish I could go in with the police and arrest him myself.