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Mommy, Is Donald Trump Going to Deport Us?

Photograph by Getty Images

"You know if there were no immigrants, I wouldn't be here."

As he often does as we walk home from school, my 10-year-old was telling me about what happened at recess. Only this time it was not four-square or tag or getting yelled at by the yard duties for running on the blacktop. He was replaying his comeback to a classmate's comment during a schoolyard debate about Donald Trump.

"Not you," the other child had told my son. "You're like third-generation."

But I knew something about the conversation had gotten beneath his skin. It's not the first time I've talked about Trump with elementary school students. Before Halloween, I was chatting with a group of kids and asked them what costumes they were planning to wear.

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"Donald Trump!" one boy proclaimed.

"That dude's racist!" another boy responded.

If Donald Trump becomes president, will Ah Ma and Ah Gong have to leave?

These were 9 and 10-year-olds. No one—including (or especially) children—has a shortage of opinions about The Donald. They may be too young to understand most nuances of politics, but they are instinctual creatures. They're fascinated by his comb-over and finger pointing. They can see through BS, yet they are transfixed by oversized personalities. They latch onto catchy phrases, but don't have life experience to separate chest-thumping from action plans.

I realized that many of the kids who were talking about Trump were Asian or Latino, and their parents or grandparents were immigrants. And I can only imagine what it's like to be a Muslim child hearing his comments about banning people from the country based on religion.

That night at dinner, my son brought up the topic again.

"If Donald Trump becomes president, will Ah Ma and Ah Gong have to leave?" My 10-year-old asked, referring to my mother and father, as we were just sitting down to dinner.

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I launched into a long explanation about the fact that they were legal immigrants who came to America on student visas a long time ago, then became naturalized citizens with all the rights that come with it. Then I realized that instead of defending my parents' status, I should really talk about the fundamental problems with Trump's anti-immigrant drum beating. You know—civil rights, constitutional law, checks and balances. He doesn't acknowledge that the presidency is not a dictatorship and neither do his fans. But we do. And we will vote and speak our minds and be active participants in democracy.

The bottom line, I explained, is that Trump's ideas go against the principles of democracy. They're just flat out un-American.

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