With President Donald Trump rescinding DACA, a new chapter in the movement of the Dreamers has begun. DACA allows young people brought to the U.S. without documents as children the temporary right to live, study and work in America.
The Dreamers, those covered under DACA, will use their presence in every corner of the country to mobilize resources and numbers. When the Dreamers say, “we are here to stay,” they mean they’re here to stay and their voices will not be silenced.
This new chapter of the movement began when Trump rescinded DACA for about 800,000 Dreamers in September, 2017. The Dreamers, their families and many Americans met the news with shock, anger, and a sense of betrayal. Demonstrations broke out in New York, Salt Lake City, Denver, Los Angeles, Portland, and in other cities.
Dreamers have learned from the past and they’re not taking the news sitting down. They know President Obama didn’t pass DACA without a fight. Dreamers took to organizing, knocking on doors and did a lot of walking. They crossed the U.S. border into Mexico and back; they chained themselves to the White House fence; and they had sit-downs blocking streets and freeways.
The Dreamers forged themselves into a movement with a collective identity. They became aware of their shared destiny and collective strength.
They had one goal: “We are here to stay.”
What can be done?
Make our voices heard. The majority of the American people is for the Dreamers staying. “Nearly 8 in 10 voters support allowing Dreamers to remain permanently in the country, including almost three-quarters of Trump voters.” (Center for American Progress, July 21, 2017).
We need to keep the pressure on our politicians. Let them know if they don’t vote to protect the Dreamers from deportation they will pay at the ballot box. Furthermore, we need them to vote for the Dream Act to provide a pathway to citizenship. The clock is ticking. On March 5, 2018 the deportation can begin at a rate of 1,000 a day.
The Dreamers are not alone. There’s a growing sentiment among the people that’s updating the meaning of “First they came,” a poem by Pastor Martin Niemoller: “Then they came for the Dreamers and we said, ‘No, not this time!’”
This article is from a talk by Laura Garcia, editor of the Tribuno del Pueblo, at Harold Washington College in Chicago.