Today President Trump ended DACA, which has provided temporary protection from deportation to almost a million young immigrant students who were brought to this country as children often without choice by their parents. Although DACA never gave these young immigrants any lawful status, it provided something basic but yet deeply powerful: access to temporary lawful work permits (the difference b/w having to work under the table and with barriers to accessing rights, legal protections, and a living wage), a temporary pause of deportation, and in some states, the most fundamental source of societal recognition, a driver’s license, and sometimes even the ability to attend public university.
For these young immigrants who the law forced to live in the shadows, DACA provided something meaningful: a taste of being seen as humans. What does this mean? That young person in our schools and communities who have lived in the United States for often decades, since they were children, have no accents, are successfully graduating from our schools, staying out of trouble, and for all practical purposes are just as American as you and I, have a fighting chance to be recognized by, succeed in, and contribute to our country. Still, DACA was no miracle. The Program only gave these basic life necessities for two years at a time, only on an inconsistent discretionary case by case basis, excluding almost anyone with a conviction and paired with the constant anxiety that the decision to come out of the shadows could one day trigger deportation and permanent separation from one’s family and community. That day has now come.
But make no mistake. DACA was not just some gift from President Obama to a sympathetic group of immigrants. The Dreamers, an impactful movement of innovative, bold, unafraid, and unapologetic activists, have relentlessly and bravely fought for DACA for years, even when it has meant risking their deportation, and even when politicians, including President Obama and leading Democrats, have turned their back on them. They marched in caps and gowns, and they camped outside politicians’ offices until they would speak. This movement asks for the most fundamental of rights: the opportunity to go to school, to work, and to contribute to society. The Dreamer movement has shaked the conversation and morals on immigration to the core in this country, and along with Black Lives Matter, they are the civil rights activists of our time. They will not stop fighting. Mark my words, this is just the beginning of the movement’s impact to stir a major shift in American society.
#defendDACA #dreamers #heretostay #dreamact #DACA