In the episode titled “Hashtag IWasMadeInAmerica” of Freeform’s The Fosters airing January 23, the determination to normalize DACA recipients and reward illegal behavior was strong. Torn from the headlines of newspapers across the country, disrupting a conservative speaker’s event on campus was even shown to be noble.
High school teen Callie Foster (Maia Mitchell) continues on her mission to bring publicity to her friend Ximena’s story. Ximena (Lisseth Chavez) is holed up in a church offering her sanctuary as she avoids ICE and potential deportation. Her DACA card expired and she didn’t renew her paperwork because she didn’t want the government to know her address. Social justice warrior Callie has used social media thus far but now wants to disrupt an event on campus that features a conservative speaker. The story of a conservative speaker coming to campus and the protest it caused was shown last season. Again, in true liberal fashion, her friends bring signs and wait for the right time to disrupt the speaker, an immigration reform expert.
Portraying conservatives in the usual extreme light, Shiloh McCullen (Kathryn Winslow) says in her speech that “the time has come to close our borders.” That is typical hyperbole used by the open borders set. She wants DACA repealed. Shiloh points to those with DACA recognition who commit crimes in America and this leads into Callie’s rant.
During the question and answer segment of the event, Callie rose to ask a question, of course, and it went as expected. Callie said the claims Shiloh made about crimes committed by DACA recipients were false. The crowd booed her as she began to tell her friend’s story, as border security supporters were painted as loud and hostile, naturally. Callie ends by asking “What is an American?” She and her friends held up signs with photos of Ximena and her family so Shiloh is left with an audience in upheaval.
Callie: Earlier you said that the DACA repeal would protect communities from criminals.
Callie: So, you're implying that DACA puts our nation at risk of crime?
Shiloh: That's right, and the statistic bear me out.
Callie: That's not true. You can't get DACA if you have any significant criminal record. Out of 800,000 DACA recipients, less than one percent have lost their permits because of criminal activity.
Shiloh: Okay, alright, thank you everyone. Did you have a question for me, or do you just wanna spin numbers?
Callie: My friend Ximena Sinfuego has been living in a church, because her DACA status is in question. ICE has already detained her parents. Ximena Sinfuego came here when she was two years old! She hasn't even been back to Mexico.
Shiloh: Okay, okay. I'm gonna ask you one more time before we have you removed. Do you have a question for me?
Callie: Yeah, I do.
Callie: What is an American? What makes you an American? And me an American? But not Ximena? Who has lived here her entire life, gone to school, graduated, worked, paid taxes, and loves this country just as much as anyone who was born here. This... is an American.
Fortunately, the Constitution tells us what makes someone an American citizen in the 14th Amendment, "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."
To listen to Callie, you would think that poor innocent Ximena is entitled to living in America and that is the problem most Americans have with this emotional appeal. Americans are compassionate people but we are also a law-abiding people. The parents of DACA recipients broke the law coming here without going through the legal process and this doesn’t automatically make their foreign-born children citizens with full rights, just because everyone pretends it to be so. In this case, Ximena admits she is at fault by not keeping up with her paperwork, which is a condition of DACA.
After the protest, Callie is excited that Ximena’s story makes a big splash at HuffPo online. Mission accomplished. Ximena’s still not legally here, though, and no doubt this storyline will continue as we deal with this issue in real life, as well as in liberally written television dramas.