I’m just going to be honest. I spent the afternoon talking to a couple of kids who really, really need the DREAM act. And yet, I’m sitting here wondering just how much of who they were and where we met and how the meeting came to pass a girl can say in public without putting people in danger. I know that’s stupid, but I have become convinced that the situation on the ground here in Nashville is literally that stupid.
So, I’ll say that I met with two kids, C. and H., who are here illegally and have been since they were very small children. They’ve just finished up high school and they now can’t go to college at in-state rates or get jobs or drive or come to the attention of the police in any way.
I guess I must have known that there was no path to citizenship for these kids, but until you’re sitting across from someone and looking in his face when he says it, it doesn’t really sink in. There is no line for these kids to get in. They’ve been in the U.S. almost their whole lives. There’s no “back to where they came from” for them to go to, because they come from here. But there’s no way for them to become U.S. citizens.
I mean, seriously, when you’re sitting at a table with a teenage girl who speaks with a thick Tennessee accent and she’s talking about being afraid of being deported…
I’m going to write something strong and knowledgeable about this at Feministe, but here?
I can’t do it.
These kids are talking about just wanting to be able to go to college and get jobs and give back to a country they feel like has given them so much. They’re talking about just wanting a chance. And, y’all, though they know there’s a core group of folks whose minds they’re never going to change, they’re talking like the problem is just that you don’t know.
You just must not know that they’ve been here since they were tiny and they consider themselves Tennesseans and that they speak with our accent and that they love this place and are from here and yet have no way to legally be from the here. You just must not know that they want to go to college and get jobs and give back.
Both of my brothers could have gone to college and they both went for about half a semester and then found that goofing off and breaking their mother’s heart was more fun. And I was sitting with these two kids thinking about how they just want a chance that people in my family squandered. Couldn’t they have my brothers’ slots?
I mean, of course not. That’s not how it works.
But what a fucking waste. Jesus Christ.
And, America, these kids believe in us–that, if we knew, we would not do this to them.
But I don’t believe that. I think we do know and we do it anyway.
And I find that so upsetting.
To put it mildly.