The shrill campaign trail populism of Donald Trump has revived the issue of illegal immigration. Lars Gesing reports from Denver, Colorado, how understanding life as an undocumented could help fix the issue.
With every step little Cristian Solano took, a flash of light interrupted the old sewer canal’s damp darkness. At age three, Cristian was just little enough to be the only one walking among the group of Mexican emigres who crawled behind him. The shoes shone a light on the path to what they were sure would be a bright future in the United States of America.
I met Cristian, now 24, in Denver in early May, almost a year after a man named Donald Trump escalatored onto the Republican presidential primary stage with tirades against undocumented immigrants particularly from Mexico as well as obscure plans to build a 2000-mile (3219-kilometer) wall along the southern border.
The consensus is that neither the Great Wall of Trump nor rounding up and deporting the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants – of which only about half are from Mexico – is practically or fiscally feasible. Deporting 11 million people alone, so the conservative projection goes, will cost taxpayers $400 billion (362 billion euros). And 72 percent of Americans actually favor a right to stay for the undocumented.
Stop talking, start listening
For the past year, Cristian has been serving as the president of student government at Metropolitan State University in Denver. He can talk openly about his lack of documents since he is protected by the executive order President Barack Obama announced in 2012, which offered temporary relief from the threat of deportation to young immigrants who came to the US illegally through no fault of their own. (…)
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