“According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) data, the Department of Homeland Security deported 414,481 people in fiscal year 2014, down from 438,421 the year before.”1 This drop in numbers may be due in part to the deferments by the Dream Act.
In June 2012 President Obama initiated the well-known Dream Act, officially named Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). This law doesn’t represent an all-encompassing solution to the complicated U.S. immigration issues, but since its implementation it has had a great impact on the lives of millions of young immigrants who have lived in the United States since they were children, many of which immigrated while they were still babies and many of which only speak English. “Approximately 1.4 million immigrants living in the United States could qualify for the deferred action initiative, either now or when they are older.”2 This means that at least for the next two years they can get permission to work legally in the United States, have a right to receive college tuition benefits, and be allowed to remain in this country, rather than being deported to countries they don’t know much about and which have traditions that they don’t identify with.
Many families have been separated because of the immigration policies adopted in the United States in recent years. However last year President Obama announced The Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), another law which also defers the deportation of “3.7 million unauthorized immigrants parents of children with US citizenship or green cards”.3
This is a topic that provides the Lacanian psychoanalytic field a chance to study the effects on the subjectivity of someone who identifies with the U.S. culture and has to deal with a country that does not recognize him/her as a member of its society.
Within the Lacanian psychoanalytic approach, identification is formed by the incorporation of an Other. This Other –in this case the State- acts as a guarantor of the development of this person by providing services such as a mandatory education for a child to start at five years old; this same state that makes education mandatory including these “illegal aliens” in the system is the same one that’s letting down these individuals. What would be the effects of this rejection on the subjectivity of these people?
Meanwhile this Other also has configured certain ways of jouissance particular to this society, such as the way of forming social bonds, the life dynamic, possible projects and desires, and so on. How could someone change a way of jouissance just because the State policies mandate it?
The Dreamers have found a solution via the Act (and their acts, psychoanalytically speaking). They have created organizations and have become activists that not only dream about the legalization and basic rights they are claiming, but who raise their voices to demand a basic inclusion that allows them to stay where they were placed by the same State that now is trying to take them out.
The latest policies created by the current Administration open up interesting opportunities for this population allowing them to be more included than excluded. Lacanian psychoanalysis has clinical evidence that shows the havoc that someone suffers when the ground of her/his identifications are staggered.
(Edited by Silvia Guzman)