Volume 11, Number 1 (2018)

Terrains of Trauma: A Children’s Geography of Urban Disinvestment

Opinion Essay by Bisola Falola and Caroline Faria

On September 5th 2017, the Trump Administration announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). This program protects more than 800,000 young undocumented immigrants (“Dreamers”) from deportation. In rescinding this policy, President Trump stated that he was not in favor of “punishing children”, but needed to enforce the law, reduce crime and secure jobs for American people. In ending DACA the Trump administration frames Dreamers as threatening “adults”, and therefore no longer eligible for U.S. American benevolence. Even where they are acknowledged as “successes” they are seen to pose great “risk” for native born “young Americans.” This move has both policy implications and violent ramifications for actual children. Buttressing policies of disinvestment, it legitimizes the notion that minority youth, no longer children but rather soon-to-be ‘deviant’ adults, have lost their unqualified claim to government welfare. Rendered undeserving, this racialized temporal logic devalues their claims to government support and, more broadly, to national security. This ideology is manifest nationally, as minority youth claims for adequate housing, safe drinking water, desegregated schools, and equal police protection are denied through political and economic disinvestment.