Illinois Senator Dick Durbin introduced the Dream Act in Congress in 2001 due to a story told him by a music teacher about the life of Tereza Lee a Korean girl whose parents had come to the US from Korea through Brazil. This bill unfortunately fell victim to what happens to all of us; life. The bill was introduced in August of 2001 and scheduled for a Senate hearing on September 12th, 2001. I do not need to say more on this, the hearing that has been scheduled for Tereza Lee to testify before Congress was canceled. By just a twist of fate this bill which would have allowed children of illegal immigrants brought to the USA by their parents to stay in the US with a path to citizenship has seen a lot of trials under two presidents. President George W Bush under whose administration this bill was introduced stated in a recent interview that he recognizes the contributions that DREAMERS have made and continue to make to our nation. A nation’s most important resource are its people, without whom any country will be just a piece of land. Dreamers are for all intents and purposes Americans; most of them do not know any other country and some do not even speak the language of their countries of origin.
Our President has moved to initiate steps to end DACA, which would put 800,000 DREAMERS at risk of deportation. The White House says though that DREAMERS would not be targeted for deportation. One thing about Tereza Lee’s story that may have moved Senator Dick Durbin to act was her younger brother being hit by a distracted driver who was texting whilst driving. On account of fears about their immigration status her father refused to file a claim against the driver and the family went into debt paying his hospital bills. Whilst we see immigration as a matter of border control as long as we make our visitors unwelcome and in fear of deportation we put American Lives at risk. Tereza Lee’s bother who was hit by a distracted driver is a US citizen by birth. Our legislators and leadership most thus give consideration to the unintended consequences of immigration legislation on the health and lives of Americans.
Aggressive stands and media rants about sending illegal immigrant back to their countries have one clear impact on these immigrants and their families. These immigrants and their families feel unsafe and under siege. On the other hand the pardon of former Arizona Sherriff Joe Arpaio who continued to sanction the arrest and harassment of suspected illegal migrants despite a court order to cease such arrests tells potential harassers that immigrants are fair game. I hope though that this is not the intention of our president because if that is his intention then he is not really protecting Americans. It is our President’s duty to protect all Americans irrespective of their origins, at this time though most Americans of color do not feel that is our president’s intent. My question to President Trump today is “ Mr. Trump; are you my president? If you are; please be more careful with your words. Words can, and do kill.
By Dr. Leonard Sowah an Internal Medicine Physician in Baltimore, Maryland