I was surprised to see Kimmel’s MAGA VS DACA feature, which put the spotlight squarely on the main issue surrounding the immigration debate – lies, alternative facts and the ignorance that continue to blind many in the U.S.
Kimmel had culled together a group of six folks, including a Latina and a black woman, who all claimed to be ultra-staunch “conservatives” and Trump voters.
On the opposite side was a young DACA recipient who had been brought into the U.S. as a baby and was now a mother. This woman was living in fear of being deported when her DACA status runs out. Her fear was heightened because her finance, who serves in the National Guard, was being deployed overseas, leaving her more vulnerable and at risk of losing her status.
As she related her story, Kimmel seemed moved as he asked the group to respond. Without hesitation an older white man responded: “She needs to go back. She is breaking the constitution.” He was ignorant that it is the immigration law and not the constitution that is the issue here.
But the most shocking responses came from the Latina woman and the black woman. Both insisted the young “Dreamer” should be sent back and then somehow get into a magical line to apply to re-enter the U.S. legally.
The discourse, coming on the heels of the blatant lies presented by Trump on immigration laws during his SOTU, proved again the ignorance of most “born Americans” about U.S. immigration laws. Most of it is pushed by the alt-right, whose alternative facts would have you believe lies touted by Trump during the SOTU.
Lie 1 – Immigrants who become U.S. citizens can bring in “unlimited” relatives to live with them under the family sponsorship option of the law. That is viciously branded as “chain migration” by Trump and supporters.
Truth - U.S. citizen can only sponsor a spouse, minor child or parent as an immediate relative and married sons and daughters or brothers and sisters as a third and fourth preference. There is no “unlimited” sponsorship.
Lie 2 - Countries are sending their worst people to the U.S. under the Diversity Visa Lottery.
Truth - The electronic Diversity Visa Lottery is only open to countries with limited immigration to the U.S. – 50,000 or less. So countries like Haiti, Dominican Republic and Jamaica are excluded.
People enter online and must have at least a high school education or its equivalent or two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience to perform. Winners are chosen by a computer. Each winner has to go through an intense background check and processing to get into the U.S. and qualify for permanent residence or “green card”.
No country has any opportunity to maliciously send the U.S. its worst or terrorists.
Lie 3 - Out of status immigrants should go back to their countries and apply to come back in legally.
Truth - The reality is that out of status - or undocumented - immigrants face a bar if they should leave the U.S. and then try to re-enter under some legal pathway. Many who crossed the border and have no proof of entry into the U.S., cannot adjust their status through marriage, family or employer sponsorship within U.S. borders.
The three-year and 10-year bars were created as part of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRAIRA) of 1996. Incorporated into section 212(a)(9)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the statute imposes re-entry bars on immigrants who accrue “unlawful presence” in the U.S., leave the country, and want to re-enter lawfully.
It is important that in this current environment that we take time to educate ourselves on facts versus fiction and not fall prey to the dog whistlers whose only goal is to blind us with lies while stirring the pot of racial hate.