The Obama Administration announced today that it would suspend the deportations of undocumented immigrants who are not a threat to national safety or public security. Call me a cynic, but I’m sure this has something to do with Mr. 1 Million Deportations running for reelection.
Our immigration situation is very different from those of the bloggers listed on the right. I’m constantly impressed by the way a few of the white spouse bloggers have analyzed and written about their privilege. Privilege is a tricky thing as I’ve come to learn, particularly for non-white Americans. As a brown-American, I have some amount of privilege but not as much as my white counterparts. In some ways I have more privilege than my white undocumented husband. In other ways, he has more privilege than I, his Mexican-American wife. I think the reality of the situation is that we probably enjoy a certain degree of privilege that other mixed-status couples don’t have.
I’m not really sure how to say this. While no immigrant experience can be “easy”, I’m sure my husband’s family was treated with more deference than other, browner immigrants who came in the way they did. Because of his home country’s Eastern Bloc history his family was able to apply for asylum (for the record it was denied and they’ve been in appeals for a long time). I’m not downplaying how difficult life is in Bulgaria and other former EB countries, but I’d say life is at least equally shitty in a lot of others. A lot of browner countries. So with that privilege, DH’s family have an asylum case, driver’s licenses, and work permits. It did take a long time to get them and they could be taken away in a moment’s notice, but the family is effectively already living Obama’s new initiative.
There has been some amount of excitement over this new plan that I think it will die down soon after. I’m not 100% sure how the initiative will work but if our lives are an example of what could be, the plan is lacking. Unless states enact their own DREAM Act people will still have significant barriers to furthering themselves and it will continue to be difficult to get any type of loan as my father-in-law, brother-in-law, and husband have found. It’s great that people who previously did not have the opportunity to drive and work will be able to do so, but my privilege tells me this isn’t enough. And it has come too late for many.
Shorter version: I guess this is a cool compromise, but we want more.