The Immigrants’ Rights movement is one that has been ongoing since the 1950s. The major hashtags used on social media to support this campaign include #daca, #immigrationreform, #immigration, #tntweeter, #DREAMers among others. Some of these hashtags are used both to support and oppose the rights movement. The major hashtags used to object these actions are also tied to the recent election with #Trump, #HillaryClinton, #ImWithHer, as well as many other election hashtags. These opposition hashtags include #Illegal, #Immigration, #BuildTheWall, #AntiImmigration. Relating the social media world to the recent election news, most of the supporters of the Immigrants’ Rights movement are supporters for the Hillary Clinton movement, although some of them are still doubtful about her intentions and that of her campaign. Similarly, those who oppose the movement are supporters of the Trump/Pence Campaign for the election, citing the Republican nominee as the one to curb the uncontrollable immigration into the country and enforce the already existing immigration laws.
The familiar themes being highlighted by this movement include equal opportunities for all, an insistence on the fact that the American economy is built on immigrants and the assertion that immigrants strive to improve the quality of the country’s present state. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy which was started during the Obama administration in 2012, has been implemented differently in the various states of the United States, causing DACA recipients in the different states to receive unequal and inconsistent benefits depending on their state of residence. The states of Arizona, Nebraska, and Texas are examples of states that do not extend any benefits to their illegal immigrants (e.g. obtaining a driver’s license, access to in-state tuition and scholarships for higher education, etc.) Some of these opposing states consider the immigrants to be “unlawfully present” in the United States, despite the USCIS saying otherwise. Some Court Judges also openly threaten lawyers that maneuver the law to prevent their clients from deportation. In contrast, the states of Illinois, Michigan, and Virginia do the exact opposite – they extend all benefits to their immigrants, provided they pay their annual taxes. This unequal treatment causes some of the undocumented people seeking higher education to strive for admissions into universities and paying for their tuitions. Some of these students fight for equal rights through the movement.
The movement also emphasized that the jobs taken up by immigrants are those that the citizens of the U.S. do not want such as laboring jobs, construction, plumbing and other jobs that involve heavy manual labor. The supporters of the movement stress that the deportation of these immigrants would cause the economy to take a tumble due to Americans’ rejection of the “dirty work” (and the elimination of the central part of the core foundation of the country). Another purpose of the movement is the fight for the right to vote and the right for legality for undocumented immigrants. For undocumented students, the struggles that they face outside education include those of essential amenities such as obtaining jobs that would pay for their rents and daily food. These other conflicts, in turn, affect their educational progress because a student who is worried about where he/she would sleep at night is more likely to spend less time studying and more time attending to the other obstacles – introducing the continuous cycle of cause and effect. These conditions impede the progress of the undocumented students who dream of being lawyers, engineers and other occupations that would improve the quality of lives in the country that is rejecting them and preventing them from securing these rights.
Some of the most popular Twitter users that share their views on the movement are those whose parents are undocumented immigrants or undocumented themselves. Others are just passionate people fighting for equal rights. Examples are Catalina Velasquez (@consultcatalina) and Diane Guerrero (@dianeguerrero__), Joel Leyden (@joelleyden), BCarrz (@bcarrz) etc. Currently, on the social media platforms, the opposing side of equal rights for undocumented immigrants seem to be winning. Most of the posts about immigration reform are about opposing the movement. A post that caught my attention was one that had extreme opinions about undocumented immigrants being subject to the second amendment rights. The writer expressed how displeased she was with Courts’ ruling on the matter because all undocumented immigrants are criminals who destroy the American economy by unlawfully crossing over. A random search on any search engine seems to display more opposing than supporting views on the movement. Maybe supporters need to recruit more believers by making people understand their point of view.