I realize there are many out there (although none in my immediate circle of friends) that support the President’s idea of a wall to limit immigration from countries south of our border, but I am having a really hard time understanding how this can be a “National Emergency.” To me, as both a family lawyer in the DC Area for over 20 years and the mother of a young child, there are far more pressing issues like the need for (1) gun control, (2) access for all to good medical care and public education, and (3) getting a handle on this opioid epidemic.

Putting aside political views, however, which can always be debated, let’s focus on the offensive statements being made by our own political representatives suggesting that all those emigrating from Central and South America are either rapists, drug dealers or gang members. How can we let all these insinuations just slide? My own mother, who came here from South America, was none of those things, and she is one of the hardest workers I have ever met in my life. Luckily, she was able to come to the U.S. legally in the 60’s, and later she brought over my grandmother, who helped raise me and then stayed in this country, which granted her citizenship, until her death at age 97 just a few years ago.

Now, I may not look it (because I inherited my father’s European features), but I am first generation American. And, I may not sound like a minority because I went to some of the best schools in this country. But with each day that passes, I definitely feel more and more like a minority– outraged by the racial comments being made by our own elected officials, and the blatant discrimination that continues to plague those in our under-served communities.

Admittedly, my view on this wall issue might be tainted because of my family background– but unless you are 100% Native American, aren’t we all children of immigrants, who came here for the chance at a better life? And if you believe in the American dream, how can you justify blocking innocent children from the chance to pursue that same dream?

If none of what I just said resonates with you, then we’ll just have to agree to disagree– on a lot. But, rather than waste my breath yelling in some demonstration filled with people that will never be open to new ideas, I have decided to use my law degree to make a difference. ¬†Today, I took my first step in trying to help some of those kids in need of Special Immigration Juvenile Status (SIJS). Thanks to KIND (Kids in Need of Defense) I was able to attend a training on SIJS cases, and will soon be matched with my first immigration kid-client. ¬†For those interested in helping further, here is the link to this great organization: https://supportkind.org

 

By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.