The hills were alive with the sound of music on Saturday morning, when I heard four Hispanic young adults, all Georgians, singing a religious song in Spanish as they walked down Stone Mountain. Wrapped in blankets, they'd watched the sunrise in the frigid cold. As I recorded them right there on-the-spot, it was hard to tell from such a sweet chorus of voices that they're very worried. Karla, 20, is a native of Mexico and a U.S. citizen living in McDonough, GA, who's increasingly anxious about strained relations between the U.S. and her home country ever since Trump took office. Her friends from the Southern Baptist church they attend together are concerned, too. Tania, 19, from El Salvador and living in Lawrenceville, and brothers Matias, 20, and Charlie, 16, both of Dunwoody, are protected by DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program created by Obama in 2012, and don't know yet what their fate will be.
Recent slash-and-burn immigration orders of the past week might indicate that the new U.S. "regime" may soon deal a blow to DACA. After all, in August, Trump called it "illegal amnesty" and threatened to abolish it as soon as he got the chance. He said, “We will immediately terminate President Obama’s two illegal executive amnesties, in which he defied federal law and the constitution to give amnesty to approximately 5 million illegal immigrants."
According to the Pew Research Center, "More than 750,000 young unauthorized immigrants have received work permits and deportation relief" through DACA since its inception.
But Trump didn't mention DACA when he dropped the axe on Saturday, which gives some hope. An Associated Press article posted yesterday seems to suggest that many conservatives are urging a more merciful approach when dealing with DACA, if only to not scare away future Hispanic and Latino voters—or worse, to see what they might get from them in exchange for being allowed to stay.
We shall wait and see. Hope may be caught between a rock and a hard place, though, as trouble continues to stir in the new shock-addicted administration, which plans to install more anti-immigration extremists and tonight just demoted the head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Meanwhile, Tania, Karla, Matias, and Charlie hold onto their faith and will not keep from singing.