Remarks about DACA recipients are just wrong

Letter to the Editor


Today, February 6, 2018, it was reported that Chief of Staff John Kelly remarked about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients who would be considered for a pathway to citizenship, “The difference between 690 and 1.8 million were the people that some would say were too afraid to sign up, others would say were too lazy to get off their asses, but they didn’t sign up.”

Most DACA recipients are indigenous, descendants of the original Native people who were here before the Europeans arrived, and who were accustomed to free movement across the entire Western Hemisphere,  and certainly across the Rio Grande.

Indigenous people on both sides of the border have a 242-year history with the U.S. government’s broken promises, discarded agreements, and violated treaties.  Our collective memory of betrayal and subsequent hardships makes us wary of promises of work-rights and deportation protection that require us to divulge personal information that would leave us and our families vulnerable to new betrayals. So Kelly is right, we’re afraid to believe that the government isn’t lying … again.

Kelly is wrong to propagate the racist smear that we’re too lazy to sign up, hiding behind the familiar and evasive “some say” framing. What is gained by characterizing indigenous people as lazy?  What is gained by discrediting any group of people?  It can only be intended to justify actions that are negative, immoral, and unjust. This characterization does not speak to why people are reluctant to sign up for DACA, it only speaks to which groups, those presently in power feel they can disrespect and disparage as unworthy to be U.S. citizens.

Indigenous people come to the U.S. because it is their homeland and always has been. They come here seeking work so they can raise their families in peace. Their children who have made a life here are loyal to this home-country that they love. These are not lazy people; these are the First Americans who contribute a 13,000-year legacy to our country and work hard for the benefit of all of our communities.

Let’s not disparage our indigenous people. Let’s work hard to find them a way to continue enriching our great country.

Maria F. Rocha

San Marcos

San Marcos Daily Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666