My grandparents emigrated from Spain into Mexico in 1947; my grandfather, who was seven when he made the trip had never known his father until he arrived, despite making the trip on command of the very man. Although our history of immigration is not as extensive or diverse as the US, INEGI estimates that at its highest point, more than 1.4% of the people living here were immigrants.
My grandmother had it easier, a bit, she was born here some years later. The two would be part of a huge community of immigrants into Mexico. Even if our country never was a hot spot for immigrants, it would be counter intuitive to forget about the immigrants because they are a greatly important part of the economy, they brought over different ideas and practices and helped made our society better. Because diversity is good, and we need to embrace it.
Our immigration institute has made many mistakes, many racist mistakes that lasted for far too long I must add, but I cannot deny I feel at least a bit of pride whenever I see a monument to immigrants. I feel happy because in the face of the unknown, be them refugees, be them people looking for a better place to live, or simply those lusting a different life, we opened our doors and said yes, even if it was in limited numbers.
But DACA isn’t for immigrants, no. DACA is for people whose identity is American. It isn’t negotiable because the country that they belong to is The United States of America. Shamefully they weren’t allowed to make the choice for themselves, much like my grandfather wasn’t allowed to chose where he was going to live because that is life in a nutshell: You need to adapt to the things you couldn’t chose. Maybe the DACA recipients would’ve liked to stay here as children, live a Mexican live rather than an American one, but they were limited to living in the US: Where you live shapes you and there’s nothing wrong with that. Nothing is wrong unless that community fails to recognize you.
Because my grandparents might answer that they’re Galician, but my parents certainly wouldn’t. But they were born into a different immigrant community than the DACA recipients, see if you can spot the difference:
We tried our best to be inclusive, and even if IMM let us down many times with racist rules and ridiculous quotas here we are today: living in a country that embraced my family, the families of jewish refugees, central american refugees, and Arabian refugees. A nation that now overran me: I’m Mexican goddammit! So is my family, and the families of all the people that for reasons that perhaps were beyond them, live here and every day try to be their best selves.
If any of the members of my family was uncertain about their capacity to live in Mexico we would be terrified and depressed, because it is our home, to me at least it’s the only home I’ve ever known. I know DACA is a small part of a big problem that is the American immigration system. Nevertheless I implore the people responsible for it to, rather than closing the door on these people because of fear, or envy, or neglect, embrace them because they are, specially the DACA recipients, Americans just like you.