The trickle-down-effect of the Executive Order on Immigration that Trump signed in January 2017 has reached my classroom and is having a life-threatening impact on my students.
This is serious.
You see, although the order was blocked by a federal judge in Brooklyn, the climate of increased police profiling, surveillance, and arrests in urban centers like New York City that ensued as a direct result of Trump’s Executive Order has many immigrants, documented or otherwise, as well as the people who love them, walking on proverbial eggshells. We are witnessing raids of public places throughout the five boroughs of New York City where undocumented residents are being rounded-up, herded, and carted off to jails and detention centers like cattle.
This is very serious.
When Trump was first elected President of the United States, my students’ concerted response was visceral. — just straight-up scared. (See my post from last October on “The Trump Effect,” where, regarding the pre-election anti-immigrant rhetoric, I noted that “ I’d be less focused too if I feared my parents being taken away from me.”) Now, five months later, one of my students’ worst nightmares has come true. The close-knit bond of this student’s family is being threatened with the deportation of the student’s parents. The student is but a child. Neither parent has committed any crime. They simply do not have the money to pay for the arduous and costly naturalization process.
If the impact of that immigration Executive Order or the “build a wall” rhetoric has not yet been felt by you, I invite you to read this fearful cry of an innocent child:
So today was the same…Many things were going through my mind like always. Why couldn’t i think about happy things instead of getting these dumb flashbacks. I remembered everything. All the bad things that happened to me. The reasons why i was kind of separated from my family. Many things went through my mind. Not only things…Not even things… They were memories. Memories that i wish i could never remember. So that means it isn’t memories they were just flashbacks…Flashbacks that were there to make my life so much harder. So, today i woke up thinking “it’s a friday” but i just don’t understand why the minute i step out of my house i feel unconfident and insecure. I feel down and that’s when everything starts. My head starts hurting and just things that i wouldn’t get that often… Once i arrive at school i meet up with (name omitted for protection/privacy)…The girl who would cheer me up…The girl who has been my friend since 6th grade…I hang out with her for a while and that’s when i totally forgot about those flashbacks….Once school starts everything is out of normal. I get those flashbacks and again my head all of a sudden it starts hurting. Sometimes i would start crying…I just cry…Sometimes because of anger, or pain or even because of fear… I know, Ms. [name omitted] already talked to me about this. To not be scared. But it just doesn’t make any sense to me. The fear that i knew i wasn’t going to get, just came back to me which made me not be the same as before. I couldn’t control myself. I just couldn’t. I am scared .
Never in my wildest imaginations did I expect to be faced with such a real, in-my-face situation with one of my students. What do I do? How do I help?
This is beyond serious.