Home. For many people, it is their safe space, retreat, or sacred haven. At the very least, it’s a permanent address. For some refugees, immigrants, and their children, home can be synonymous with danger. Home can be an idea, a dream of asylum and opportunity – between now and home are the obstacles to be surmounted after fleeing a life-threatening situation. Home can be the yearning for a future hoped-for residence. For the diverse immigrant population of the United States, however, this concept of “home” is in peril as the government takes bold, unconstitutional strikes against the ability for immigrants to remain in their homes.
According to the Pew Research Center, foreign born people living in the U.S. comprise about 14% of the population, and “non-Hispanic whites are projected to become less than half of the U.S. population by 2055.” The United States is a fusion of cultures, with immigrants from all over the globe, but this diversity has provoked a culture war among Americans, with the fate of immigrants left hanging in the balance.
Since his election, President Trump has made it abundantly clear what side of the war he is on. He has attempted to pass several executive orders which have left people from seven predominantly Muslim countries shocked, confused, and in limbo about their status. Trump built his campaign on nationalism, and high on his agenda was the deportation of up to 8 million undocumented people and the building of a physical wall to separate the US from Mexico.
Although construction on the physical wall has not yet begun, the social walls are already up, and looming. Faced with a climate of renewed hatred and prejudice, documented and undocumented immigrants are beginning to withdraw from governmentally funded service programs such as food stamps and CHIP, facing an even steeper slide into crushing poverty.
Fear makes us hide. Fear makes us small. Fear makes us desperate. Rogue Agent stands with immigrants and refugees who are seeking a better life, and with the millions of undocumented Americans and their families who are among our neighbors and our friends. Human beings cannot be inherently “illegal.”
This winter, we invited submissions of poetry and artwork from refugees, immigrants and the children of immigrants. Authors and artists responded to bring you issue 25: NO WALLS, which also happens to be our journal’s second-anniversary issue. These works demonstrate that the creative force can battle fear. These are wry works, with themes of family, desire, connection, longing, and hope—robust works which stalwartly insist that, somehow, love will conquer fear and melt the walls between us.
Jen Stein Hauptmann