The struggles of “Undocumented Americans”

One main topic of conversation on the immigrant rights movement on old media is the issue of “illegal” immigrants drafting up a Bill of Rights. The group, United We Stay that identifies itself as representing “undocumented immigrants” released their demands to the American people in “The Undocumented Immigrants Bill of Rights.” The article, which was published in the Independent Journal Review has received about 41,000 views since its creation. The demands made in this article include stopping arrests and deportations of law-abiding undocumented immigrants, access to medical care and respect from the American people and its government. The bill begins with a denouncement of the terms “illegal”, “aliens” and the like because they are dehumanizing. They offered their preferred terms in the first issue addressed in the bill.

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With immigration reform headlining the 2016 Presidential elections, supporters of Immigration Rights are hopeful that this could initiate the passing of a comprehensive immigration reform Bill by the American government. However, there has been a lot of backlash from the opposition, especially Trump’s supporters. The extreme comments under the article that addressed these bills are disheartening because the culprits hurl insults at the fans who are trying to make them understand their points of view.

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The GOP House Speaker has notably vowed that Congress will not pass an immigration reform bill while President Obama is in office. The article on the Bill of Rights has been shared approximately 19.8k times, with 19.7k being on Facebook, 128 on Twitter and several more on other media platforms.

Since most of the undocumented immigrants are from Latin America, the owners of the Latina magazine use the medium as a way to inform people about immigrant rights. One significant matter highlighted in the recent issues or copies of the magazine is the relation of immigration rights to the 2016 Presidential elections. Famous celebrities such as Diane Guerrero and Camila Cabello narrate their stories and experiences in interviews to encourage the 27 million immigrants who are eligible to vote to do so. Diane Guerrero talked about how her parents and brother were deported when she was young, and how the government officials left the U.S.-born children behind without checking on them.

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She uses the personal connection she has with the subject to speak on the negative impact that deportation especially has on the children left behind. She urges her Latino people to go out and educate themselves so that they are not “brainwashed” to see themselves as separate from Americans, especially if they are undocumented. Both celebrities applaud activist groups that have stood their ground and continued to fight for immigrant rights. Unfortunately, the voices of these activists fighting for the cause are not heard often; just those gushing hatred are heard. The online article on these celebrities’ narrations has been shared about 23.3k times, with 19.9k being on Twitter and 3.4k being on Facebook.

One last topic that is circulating old media about the movement is the American judicial system denying representation to children who facing deportation. An advocate from the American Civil Liberties Union elaborates on this subject in a particular article on the Independent Journal Review. He cites a case (JEFM v. Lynch) as an example where the government pays prosecutors to argue against the child in every case. The organization argues that in the case of the children, a level playing field is needed for them to defend their claims for asylum, especially in situations where there is the threat of violence in their home countries. This is a reasonable argument because it is impossible for 3- and 4- year olds to understand immigration law well enough to represent themselves in front of well-trained lawyers, as a senior Justice Department official claims in several depositions.

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Various child psychologists have ridiculed his assertions, emphasizing that that incident is not part of the typical developmental milestone of young children. It is outrageous that the courts would put young children through depositions to defend themselves when mature adults are terrible at defending themselves in lawsuits without lawyers. The particular article on the Independent Journal Review has been shared about 1.2k times, with 1.1k being on Facebook.

Along with the main topics above, there is the concern that immigration has become “the forgotten issue” in the Presidential debates. Latinas in the social media sphere criticize the absence of the subject amidst other important issues discussed – jobs, the economy, national security. Although these are issues that are important to the Latinos, they mention that the omission of immigration is “unpardonable”. I believe this is one of the most influential articles because it has drawn attention from several Latinos on social media, especially Twitter, to evaluate the assertion and give their thoughts.

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(Above – Inexcusable That Not A Single Question Has Been Asked About Immigration, The Border Wall, DREAMers In 90+ Minutes.)

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A Univision correspondent voiced the need for a Latino moderator at the debates so that the most important issues that concern the population can be brought up. A 6-year old sent a question for the latest Presidential Debate to, which read “What will happen to me if my parents get deported?”. Her inquiry about deportation, along with other deportation questions (that had 37,000 overall votes) were ignored during the debate. Instead, questions about Clinton’s paid speeches, which received 13 overall votes were prioritized. Social media has recorded about 800 shares of the article overall, along with thousands of reactions to the subject in question. News outlets such as CNN have suggested various Latino professionals (mostly respectable journalists and television anchors) that could act as moderators because of their personal relation to the subject of Latino immigration.

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The same types of content seem to resonate between the worlds of supporters and opponents of the immigration rights movement. The social media platform looks more a “tug-of-war” between both parties – every subject on immigration brought up by the supporters is countered by several objections by opponents. Some of the respondents buttress Trump’s policies on immigration and building of that expensive wall, but in more offensive language than Trump.

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Some, however, provide decent commentary on why they oppose the whole movement in general. With technological convergence, it is so much easier for one to receive nasty comments on their opinion about a post supporting their views on the topic. It is also easier for those against the view to condemn the commentary post and “gang up” on that person, thereby deterring other supporters from sharing their opinions. Also, the idea of invincibility through the internet encourages the use of impolite language and the like by either party. As for cultural convergence, the recent debates support extreme actions from the supporters of both sides, especially Trump. I believe this is the case because psychologists have proven that the human mind is wired with the “an eye for an eye” phenomenon. So, when supporters of Trump act with violence and extreme comments, the opponents react with the same kind of attitude.

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