With all of the raids going on over undocumented immigrants, our beloved leader has said that when it comes to “dreamers” that “I have a big heart”. However, he has proven over and over that he has no heart at all.
One case shows this more than any other. It is the case of 22-year old Daniela Vargas. His policies and inexplicable rationale in this case shows just how callous and amoral trump really is.
When Daniela was 7 years old, her parents brought her to the U.S. from Argentina. They came here under the visa waiver program that allows people to come from certain countries for up to 90 days. The family stayed. Daniela did apply for and received a work permit under DACA as well as reprieve from deportation. Her DACA status ran out last November. She was saving up to pay the fee, $495 to reapply for her DACA status. As a result, her application was not received until Feb 10.
However, on Feb 15, her father and brother were picked up by ICE agents when they left the house to go to work. Daniela was frightened and locked the doors and hid inside the house. Hours later, ICE agents with a warrant entered the house with guns drawn.
When the agents found Daniela they asked her about her DACA status. She said she was waiting for the application to be finalized but that she had DACA status before. They let her go.
Later she spoke to news outlets about her brother and father being picked up. Then on Wednesday, she attended a news conference about immigrants contribution to the community. Here is when things went off the rails for her.
As she was driving away from the press conference, ICE agents pulled her over and arrested her. ICE is trying to claim that her arrest and detention is “routine” and there is nothing to see here. But that can be argued differently real easily.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), ranking member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said: “ICE’s assertion that her detention is ‘routine’ is absurd and seems anything but. Those like Ms. Vargas just want a better life for themselves and their families.”
It should also be pointed that Daniela has never been trouble before. Nor is there any indication that any member of her family broke any other laws that would put them into the “bad dudes” category trump claims he is only deporting.
At first, ICE claimed that Vargas would be granted a hearing on her case before being deported. But, the other day, they changed their tune. According to Daniela’s lawyer, ICE has decided to deport her as fast as possible without a hearing. They claim this is due the fact that Vargas entered the country through the visa waiver program, which allows certain foreign nationals to enter the U.S. for under 90 days without a visa. (Argentina was previously part of the program, although it no longer is.). Individuals who use the visa waiver program have no right to a hearing or to contest their removal unless they are seeking asylum.
ICE claims she waived her rights by this reason. She was 7 years old at the time she came to this country. She did not waive anything. She wasn’t even old enough to legally waive anything. As her lawyer put it:
She was 7 years old at the time [she came to the U.S.]. She didn’t waive those rights, her parents waived those rights. And now she’s an adult trying to assert her own rights.
This young woman has known no life other than the one she has lived here. She even tried to enlist in the U.S. Amy but couldn’t because of her status. She has broken no laws. She does not have a police record. She had DACA status and re-applied once she had the money to pay for the application.
Daniela wants to attend college and become a math professor. Here is her full statement made from a detention center in Louisiana:
I don’t understand why they don’t want me. I’m doing the best I can. I mean I can’t help that I was brought here but I don’t know anything else besides being here and I didn’t realize that until I was in a holding cell last night for 5 hours. I was brought here. I didn’t choose to be here. And when I was brought here, I had to learn a whole new country and leave behind the one that I did know. And I barely knew that one. I feel, I strongly feel that I belong here and I strongly feel that I should be given a chance to be here and do something good and work in this economy. There’s so much that I can bring to the table, so much, like I can even teach music, I’m an excellent trumpet player you can ask my mom about any of that. I’m great with math, I speak Spanish. You know, there’s a lot of stuff that I can do for this country that they’re not allowing me to do. I’ve even tried to join the military, and I can’t do that. But, I mean that’s not the point, the whole point is that I would do anything for this country.
While many lawmakers and thousands of people are protesting the handling of this young woman, the administration is saying nothing. United We Dream, an immigrant rights group, also started a petition asking DHS Secretary John Kelly to grant her protection from deportation, which had received more than 11,000 signatures by Thursday. Kelly has said nothing.
Daniela Vargas is not alone. There are thousands of people just like her. They were brought her by their parents when they were children. They know no other life except our way of life. They have broken no laws. Yet, they are being treated like criminals for doing nothing but try to live a normal life in the only country they know.
Punishing people like Daniela is horrendous. They cause no problems. They love America just as much as you and I. They are people. They are fellow human beings. They are not “illegals” or criminals.
This is the types of behavior that trump and right-wing nationalists that are the root cause of the divisiveness in our country. The same people who claim to be “god-fearing good Christians” are the very ones being anything but “good Christians”. They should remember one little quote from their “savior”: “What you do to the least of you, you do unto me”. I guess they are not too fond of their “savior” either.
Now you know what trump meant when he talked about “merit immigration”. Non-whites need apply. Even those who already live here because they were brought here by their parents when they were young.
So much for trump’s “big heart”.
And, the shirts keep marching along.