You can see the passion in the signs the Dreamers hold at demonstrations, with such slogans as “Undocumented and Unafraid” and “Keep Families Together.” One Dreamer said, “We do not want any legislation that throws our parents under the bus and results in them being criminalized, or adds more money for border enforcement.”
He was talking in the wake of Trump’s Sept. 5 order rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that President Obama created by executive order in 2012. Issuing the DACA order was merely a political convenience for Obama; this was proven by the fact that he became known as the Deporter in Chief because of the number of people deported by his administration.
Those protected under DACA are known as Dreamers. DACA allows people brought to the US without documents as children the temporary right to live, study and work in America. Even though 1.9 million young people were eligible to apply for DACA, only 800,000 succeeded in becoming “DACAmented” and obtaining a social security number, work authorization, and conditional protection from being deported. They have had to re-apply for DACA every two years, with an additional application fee of $500. Until Trump promised during his campaign to deport the 11 million undocumented adults and children living in the U.S., most of the Dreamers didn’t know that they were without documents in a country that they called their own since they have known no other.
Under Trump’s Sept. 5 order, any Dreamer whose protection expires between Sept. 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018, must file their renewal by Oct. 5, 2017 with their $500 fee. For anyone whose DACA protections end after March 5, unless Congress creates other options, their protections will begin expiring, and all the DACAmented will lose their protections by March 2020.
At the moment, some DACAmented are saying “no reform that doesn’t include our parents.” The separation of their families is not acceptable to them and should not be acceptable to anyone.
The attack on immigrants is immoral. It disrupts lives, displaces and separates families, and strips immigrant workers of their human rights. Just keeping DACA is not enough. The human rights of all immigrants must be protected. This is the right thing to do, and it is also the defense of everyone’s rights.
The claim that deporting immigrants creates jobs is a lie. The same globalization and labor-replacing technology that causes people to migrate so they can survive is also eliminating jobs in the US. The workers are part of a global class, and we have a common enemy in the billionaires and corporations who rule this country.
Going forward means recognizing the unjust and oppressive laws that Trump is implementing to widen the divide among the workers. Trump’s program of building the wall, militarizing the southern border, deporting millions of immigrants, and undoing DACA is part of this repression. Our class interests are at stake, and if we are going to win this fight and build a world we can successfully live in we must see immigrants with and without documents as part of our class. If our families are going to have a future, it will be up to us to secure it—together.
“The world is my country, all mankind are
my brethren (brothers and sisters) and to do
good is my religion.”
Thomas Paine, an immigrant revolutionary. In 1776, he published Common Sense, a hugely influential pamphlet that convinced many Americans that we didn’t need a King and the time had come to break away from British rule.