Humans of New York is known for eliciting strong emotions in audiences. That’s because many times, the images what Brandon Stanton captures feel so personal to so many. The photo-based project often reflect issues that we as a nation face. That’s exactly the case with his latest image, which features a young woman explaining why we must fight for all 11 million undocumented immigrants.
With the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program – which protects young undocumented immigrants from deportation – the future of recipients is uncertain. The Trump Administration is honoring current expiration dates and allowing a select number to renew their applications before October 5. President Donald Trump has also given Congress a six-month deadline to find a replacement for DACA, which may come at the expense of other undocumented immigrants.
It’s once again drawn attention to the good vs. bad immigrant narrative – which pits young undocumented immigrants against those who crossed the border without papers or overstayed their visas. The government sees DACA recipients as innocent because they didn’t choose to cross the border. This shifts blame onto people like their parents, who had no choice but to migrate to the US, a country with almost no paths to citizenship, without documentation. They’re both victims of the US’ broken immigration system.
As a result of all this, many undocumented youth urge that we stand with the 11 million undocumented immigrants. With Congress taking steps to pass a law to protect DACA recipients, they’re also reportedly considering passing adjoining legislation to bolster border security. Many Dreamers refuse to be used as bargaining chips. This is something a young woman featured on Humans of New York strongly believes.
Stanton’s photo shows a young woman, with tears welling up in her eyes. She spoke to Stanton about the difficulties her family faced back in Mexico, and how her mother hoped to start a business when they moved to the United States. “But it was so much harder than she expected. We moved so much looking for work,” she said. “She’s 50 and she still cleans houses every day. Every year, she gets more worn down. She’s been getting sick a lot lately. But she can’t afford to stop. She never will.”
As a result of the sacrifices her mother has made, this young woman has also worked hard to do well in school, which means she fits the typical Dreamer narrative.
“Everyone loves the Dreamers because we’re a perfect package to sell,” she said. “But why am I the only one who gets the chance to feel safe? Whenever I hear ‘I stand with Dreamers,” I always think about my mom. I’m not willing to throw her under the bus. I’m not willing to be a bargaining chip to make her seem like a criminal. Everything people admire about Dreamers is because of our parents.”
If you’re eligible to apply to DACA before the October 5 deadline but need financial assistance, here are some organizations you can turn to for help.