(This was originally posted March 2, 2019)

Since Trump was elected over two years ago, we’ve witnessed an unflinching attack against people of color and especially immigrants. But when the travel ban was implemented with no warning, thousands flocked to airports to tell the world, “This is not who we are!” When Americans heard of families being separated at the southern border, people exclaimed, “This is not who we are!” And when white nationalists marched through the streets chanting “Jews will not replace us,” counter protestors marched to say, “This is not who we are!”

However, the more cynics or perhaps the more pragmatic among us challenged that idea, saying in fact, this is who we are, and to ignore those who feel marginalized and overlooked is to ignore societal divisions and class divides. We all know that we live in a deeply polarized country. But we should all care about what is happening in immigration because it is who we are.

Unless you’re an indigenous person or descended from slaves, you most likely have an immigrant story. It may be removed from your identity as well as your memory, but it’s in your DNA. Even Stephen Miller, the sycophantic hater of immigrants, has an immigrant story. Like Miller, you can deny it or claim that your immigrant story is different (but my grandparents came here legally!). But it doesn’t change the fact that this country was founded and built by people who left their home countries to build a better life.

So, while the Trump administration can remove the phrase “a nation of immigrants” from the lexicon of government agencies, it can’t change our history. We are a country of immigrants, and this is why we should care that the Trump administration has done everything possible to circumvent principles this country was founded on while flouting international laws written to protect vulnerable people.

We need to ensure that our borders do not become more important than our humanity.

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