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by Arielle Johnson, author of the column “Straight No Chaser”

We all laughed when 45 announced he was running for President, and wondered how anyone, would ever take a man walking around with a dead orange squirrel sitting on the top of his head seriously. And if you were eating or drinking anything when he told the world he was going to build a wall to keep Mexicans from crossing over into the southern U.S. border illegally, you probably laughed so hard, you spit it out. Overnight, he became the GREAT white hope, capable of making America Great AGAIN. Back then, it appeared as if the Mexican race was our biggest problem here in the United States. Blue collar workers rejoiced and stampeded to the polls thinking to themselves, the jobs they lost to Mexicans, due to wages which were too low for them to consider, would be brought back offering the pay they deserved. They soon discovered they had been played.


While other immigrant groups looked on as Mexicans were being attacked and memes of them vaulting over the top of this so-called “magical wall”, were in everyone’s Facebook and Twitter feed, they sort of relaxed knowing the attention was not directed towards them. However, slowly, but surely, previous policies and agreements which were put in place to protect all immigrants started to get repealed left and right.


It seems the American dream has turned into a living nightmare for many who came to this country seeking asylum and an opportunity to thrive economically. Immigrants who are part of the DACA program are in limbo now, as they wait for the government to come to an agreement about their fate. There is a good chance their ability to remain in this country will be predicated on the plan for the actual Wall, 45 is still talking about constructing. Ohhh yeah….something to the tune of $18-25 billion dollars.


Many of us for some reason, automatically associate the DACA program with Hispanics, but we fail to realize there are brothers and sisters from African nations and the island of Haiti living here, that are also waiting in limbo to see whether or not they will be able to remain in this country. It looks like 45 is ramping up efforts to express to hell, as many black and brown people out of the States as possible, before the government has its final say so on the matter. Within the first two weeks of January 2018, 45 has ended the Temporary Protected Status program, which will affect more than 200,000 Salvadoreans, sent I.C.E. in to raid 98 7-Eleven stores, which only amounted to 21 arrests and referred to Haiti and African countries as “shithole countries”, while in the same breath asking government officials, why we can’t let more people in from places like Norway.


This entire illegal immigrant round up sort of reminds me of the time when slaves were forced to produce documents which proved they had a right to work in certain areas. If they could not produce the right documents, they were returned to their masters and often beaten mercilessly for getting away. About the only thing missing today are reward signs for turning in immigrants. I imagine if there were reward signs posted up in laundromats and handed out across mass transportation systems in the country, a lot of industries would just shut down completely.

The other side of this immigrant roundup involves people being taken advantage of. Bosses pretty much get to pay employees whatever the hell they want. There are people now working 12 hour shifts for $50 and less and are being told to complain about it to I.C.E. if they want to tell on somebody. We are looking outside of our country at Libya, but slavery exists here.


As reporters go around asking immigrants what they are going to do if they are told they have to leave the country, they are all saying the same thing. “We will just be here illegally until someone forces us to leave.” What’s sad is no one stopped them when they started buying property here and building structures on top of it. No one stopped them when they started to reproduce here. And no one said a dayum thing when the lady started going door to door selling her tamales.


America, the big melting pot has been pulled off the burner for now, and the only thing being added to it is milk by a lady in Kimono, which is being stirred by the lady with a wooden spoon, while holding a bag of horse hair in the other.