A t-shirt I saw in the parking lot of the HEB grocery store in Austin a few years ago had huge white letters on a black background. The guy wearing it was Hispanic, urban, and in his early 20’s. It said:
NO NOS PUEDEN DEPORTAR A TODOS
I was, and still am, thrilled by the combination of humor, political message, and bravery. I laughed my ass off when I saw that T-shirt, and now, years later, I am sad to not see thousands of them walking around. The immigration situation is so fucked up in the U.S. (nowhere near enough visas to allow people to work legally, ridiculously harsh punishments when people work illegally,) that it is difficult to talk about, much less to affect any real solution. There are absurd laws introduced every year in Texas – laws that would make it illegal to speak Spanish in public, laws that deny emergency healthcare to people based on where they were born, laws that would make it legal to shoot at Mexicans just for being Mexicans who want to live in the U.S. It makes me sick, and there’s not enough that’s funny about it. I am glad for that T-shirt, glad that one person could send the message that not only are immigrantion policies off-base, they’re hilariously off-base, and that there is public solidarity in the immigrant community and a potential for solidarity across immigrant and non-immigrant communities.
The English translation of the t-shirt is ‘they can’t deport us all’, and it is right. It’s embarrasing that the ‘they’ were Indian-murdering immigrants themselves not so very long ago, and it’s time to stop wasting tax-payer’s money on deportation. Let’s write our congresspeople and encourage them to increase the availability of visas rather than the punishment for illegal immigration, and let’s thank the people who are keeping our economy running, even if they’re working illegally. And let’s not even talk about that ridiculous fence.
With that, I’m off to board my plane to Germany where, as of May 2nd, when my temporary resident visa expired, I am an illegal immigrant. This post is going to be especially hilarious when I get deported.