DACA/Dreamer hypothetical (would you take a "fugitive" Dreamer into your home?)

Suppose that Congress does nothing for the next 6 months, and in 6 months Trump’s DOJ starts to physically arrest and round up Dreamers (immigrants in America who did nothing wrong themselves, but were brought over as children, have no legal immigrant status aside from the DACA order, and are culturally fully American) for deportation. Suppose a close friend or relative asks you to harbor a desperate and terrified Dreamer in your home (they personally vouch for the Dreamer as a good house guest) – if you don’t do it, they will almost certainly be captured and deported to a relatively dangerous country for whom they have no cultural connections and little language ability. If you do it, the Dreamer will likely be safe from capture for at least the medium term, since the authorities would have no reason to look in your house. Suppose there’s a very small chance but real that you might be found out, with possible legal consequences.

Would you do it?

If so, and if the authorities received a tip and came knocking at your door, and the Dreamer was hiding in your basement, would you tell the truth or lie to the authorities (assume that they don’t have a warrant)?

To answer my own poll: It’s hard to know for sure what I’d do until I’m actually in such a scenario, but I hope I’d be brave enough to say “yes”, and in the second question I hope I’d be brave enough to lie to protect the Dreamer.

I like this enough that I’ll just go ahead and use it for my answer too.

No, simply because my house is already crowded.

My fiancee and myself share the master bedroom. My sister is in the other bedroom, which is barely big enough to fit a twin bed into.

My mom sleeps in the living room.

4 people, in 720sqft of space, with 4 cats and 2 dogs.

Now if we had room to spare? Definitely.

It depends on the legal consequences.

Are we talking a fine and probation? Or am I going to be charged with a felony and spend years in prison?

I hate that these are important considerations when it comes to something as serious as this. But I’m not going to perpetrate like I’m brave enough to go to prison for a person I don’t know. I know I’m not, even though I wish I was.

Not an American, but fuck yeah I’d do it.

I don’t know the actual legal consequences, so for the purposes of the hypothetical, assume that there’s a low chance you’ll get caught, but if caught you could face a felony (though probably not years in prison – maybe months, or a large fine + probation). Of course, there’s also the hopeful possibility that a future President would issue a blanket pardon to anyone who harbored Dreamer fugitives.

If it’s a low risk, I’ll sign up. But I will get a good legal team lined up just in case.

I think I’d do it. I’ve often wondered, had I been in Europe during WWII, if I’d have the courage to hide Jewish folk from being sent to camps.

I don’t have a lot of room, but I could take one, maybe two. And I have windows on all four sides of my apartment(the second floor of my house), the better to keep an eye on what is going on outside.

I have tenants on the first floor, I’d just say the new folks were relatives that needed a place to stay after their home burned down. Should woirk for a while.

The much more plausible scenario is being asked to take in a Dreamer made homeless because they can’t work.

Another plausible scenario is that your IP address can be used to find you and that our DoJ seems really ok with very broad applications of ‘information gathering’ warrants for websites hosting conversations by people who are online discussing or planning counter actions to the current administration, and so far they haven’t been entirely reined in.

If you are already on a list by incriminating yourself online, you won’t be a very good hiding place later.

Well, I recently moved into a one bedroom apartment by myself, but I would be happy to put someone on my couch.

I am older though, so the thought of going to prison doesn’t frighten me much. I just don’t think I could live with myself if I didn’t try to do something.

It makes me very sad that this might really happen.

Yeah I would. I found a Salvadoran women to take care of my daughter after my wife had a stroke 6 days after birth. Tax issues not withstanding, it was not illegal at that time to employ undocumented people. Yet, as this beautiful person became a member of my family, my empathetic, culturally enlightened daughter who loves this person as a mother, would ask me if I would have done it anyway. In case you guys were wondering. Yes is always the answer. For what it’s worth we helped bring her whole family up, starting with her almost draft aged son. There was a war on, and we were inviting Nicaraguan refugees, while rejecting Salvadorans. Anyway they are all very proud citizens now. One time, she asked me if a certain church guy from El Salvador, coming to town for some, possibly political business with her church could stay in our house. I gave him a room for 2 or 3 days, and at the end of that time, I received a delegation from her Church higher-ups thanking me, very formally, for my hospitality. Kind of cool, actually. But I always wondered who this guy was, actually.

We just discussed cleaning our attic as needed. Of course, right now it’s just the immigrants, us gays aren’t far behind so we’ll probably have to move with the DREAMers to another attic together.

I think so, and voted yes. While I disapprove of the original Obama order, the results have been promising and these young folks should have a chance to not be arbitrarily deported.

As for the authorities knocking on the door…I don’t know.

The main issue would be money. We don’t have a lot. We tried to take a homeless relative on not too long ago, and we were hurting, bad. When she didn’t keep her part of the bargain in looking for other places to stay and for work, we finally had to leave her behind.

Our house cannot easily take another lodger. The aforementioned homeless relative refused to live in our house, and actually slept in our car. The neighbors knew, but looked the other way, seemingly. And our plan was, if we got caught, to pretend she’d just did it on her own.

I would think that, if we could accommodate a DREAMer, we’d have a similar setup. But I’d be more worried about the neighbors if they don’t look white enough. They are nosy. And anyone who stayed here would HAVE to go to work for us to work.

So I’m not sure it would be something we actually could do. Sure, these guys are much worse off than us, but that doesn’t mean we actually can help.

More what I think we could do is to try and talk to our church about it. But I get worried about that place lately, too. Still, there are a lot of people who could help out, and a church where I seem to understand they can’t really come and take you from.

No. I have mixed feelings when it comes to illegals. I would not turn anyone in or assist anyone trying to find one. But its a general thing I find myself able to fully support even though people in my own extended family have been among those classified as illegals. Its just more something I try not to think about.

This is not my house, so no, I can’t do that.

However, I’m not sure that I would. The situation for the dreamers is rotten but really not analogous to hiding Jewish people from Nazis. I support creating legislation to allow them to stay (or welcome them back, if need be). I support challenging this latest atrocity from the Republicans in court and at the ballot box. But I’m not sure that I agree that hiding non-citizens from deportation is broadly helpful or specifically feasible.

Hiding Jews from Nazis is an awfully high bar to meet, no?

Dreamers don’t face certain death upon capture, so this hypothetical isn’t very close to as bad. But I think it’s the same ballpark – a group of people are unjustly targeted by the law, in legitimate fear for their livelihoods and even lives (since many of the countries they would be deported to are very dangerous) – and thus I think the moral answer is to offer sanctuary when possible.

As for helpful – it could be very helpful to the individuals being sheltered, very obviously. But if it became a widespread practice, the optics of government agents breaking down doors of peaceful citizens and dragging young adults out into vans, much of which would be videotaped, could be immensely politically powerful for the opposition to this policy.

Well, not certain death, no.

And I’d happily take one in, and lie to the cops about it.