It’s not the first time in my role as AILA’s Executive Director that I’ve been called that, but it still offends. The fallacies about immigrants, about the undocumented, about our borders and our government’s actions continue to linger.
This time it was on C-Span’s Washington Journal. The callers were cut off when they spit out the accusation, but I tried to honestly answer their questions while inside I was yelling “HOW DARE YOU?”
I’m not a traitor when I ask our Congress to pass good immigration reform, actual legislation that would fix the broken system and address the undocumented already here.
I’m not a traitor when I acknowledge that the millions of people already in the United States, already building lives here, paying taxes and working, need a way out of the shadows, away from fear, and into the light.
I’m not a traitor when I read studies modeling the economic impact of giving work authorization to those who apply for DACA and DAPA that show it will in fact help the economy.
I’m not a traitor when I think having people come forward for DACA and DAPA will actually help our country prioritize enforcement on those who actually pose a potential risk to public safety.
I’m not a traitor when I think that a U.S. citizen child is better off with a loving, caring mother and father than to have her family torn apart and her parents deported, like Diane Guererro described.
I’m not a traitor when I believe that our country at its best will welcome those striving for the American dream, no matter their race or color, instead of spitting on them.
I’m not a traitor when I explain that a federal judge’s decision was the wrong one, based on many of the same spurious anti-immigrant claims that those callers espoused.
I’m not a traitor when I still revere what the Statue of Liberty stands for, when I acknowledge that many of my own ancestors came to this country and benefitted from our Constitution’s rights for those who reside here.
I’m not a traitor when I can put myself into someone else’s shoes, a desperate mom or a terrorized child, who seeks asylum in this land of the free.
And I’m certainly not a traitor when I agree to answer questions, honestly and with as much legal expertise as possible, to anyone who calls in on a national news channel. I just get called one then.
Written by Crystal Williams, AILA Executive Director