OUR CAUSE IS NOT LOST
written by Conny Ramirez
On Tuesday morning, the Trump administration announced the end of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program put in place by President Obama in 2012, that allows children brought at a young age to the United States (by their parents) to be able to live, work and continue on to higher education without the risk of deportation. DACA also allowed our undocumented brothers and sisters to be able to apply for and take part in advanced parole, which allowed them to travel outside of the United States to other countries for very limited amounts of time and for very specific situations like a death in a family or for educational purposes. Advanced parole was very important for some in a legal aspect because leaving the United States and then entering the country legally is beneficial towards eventual amnesty. Applying for DACA also requires a $495 fee, not including any lawyer services that may be needed, which could amount to another $500.This is not an easy process. I only speak from what I have learned and heard from first hand from my classmates and from experiences shared within an undocumented students’ support group/organization that I am a part of at my university.
From reading a few articles since the announcement, I have synthesized the following information. The end of DACA means that, after their respective 2 year cycle ends, recipients will no longer be able to renew their applications and as of Tuesday, no new applications will be accepted, this applies to work permits as well. Recipients whose documentation expires between now and March 5, 2018 have a month, until October 5th of this year to renew their documentation for another 2 years. Trump has ended DACA, but he has passed on the responsibility to Congress for creating a legislation towards a more concrete process that leads to legal status, most likely however, not one that includes naturalization. Keep in mind, Congress has a 6 month time limit, because that is when DACAs begin to expire. There have been no orders by government officials to purposely seek out individuals with expired documentation with intent to deport by ICE. If a DACA recipient with valid documentation is detained by ICE for some reason, they are still protected from deportation, however if their documentation is expired, they may unfortunately be deported. The Department of Homeland Security does obtain each and every one of the DACA recipients’ home addresses and other important information but they may do nothing with that information as of now, until otherwise noted.
I can only imagine how complex this situation is and how this must impact the morale and mentality of my fellow classmates. The decision to end DACA does not affect my family or myself personally, and I am eternally grateful for that, but that does not mean that I get to turn my back on those which this decision affects so greatly. As a Mexican-American, as a woman, as a first generation daughter of immigrants, as a classmate, coworker, a sister, as an ally, as a HUMAN BEING, I can not sit back and watch as my EQUALS are unfairly and unjustly being stripped of their lives, of their basic human right to live freely!
This is a disgusting and spineless act by the Trump administration and I will never begin to understand the mentality that goes behind the making of this decision. 45 has the audacity to make the decision and then not be the one to actually make the public announcement! This goes on to further prove what we all already know, trump is uneducated, he's a coward, clueless, ignorant, inconsiderate, a demagogue that continuously spews hate and so on. There is nothing presidential about him and I absolutely believe that he is an embarrassment to our country and to the legacy of the presidency and its office.
Anyway, one of the many questions I ask is, why end DACA and why end it now?? What reason could there be to remove this program that benefits thousands of people? What does this administration or this country gain from rescinding DACA? Those who obtain DACA are among the best role models of our communities. Our DACAmented brothers and sisters contribute to society, they work and pay taxes (about $2 billion), they pursue higher education with the intent to create a more prosperous society, they serve the country that they call HOME in the armed forces! They are, along with their parents and those who are not eligible for DACA, are what this country should be PROUD to call AMERICANS! So why are they being targeted? I don't believe there is a concrete answer to this question, but I’ll tell you what I believe. There is a common misconception that undocumented people are solely Latinxs of Mexican descent, this is not true. There are undocumented people from all over the world that reside in this country, who may have gotten to the US by “illegally” crossing the border, by overstaying a travel or work visa or other temporary visas. So yes, there are undocumented European, Asian, African, Middle Eastern, Eastern European and even Canadian immigrants living in this country, among others. But the stigma that encompasses immigration almost always reverts to Latinxs and Mexicans specifically.
For so long, there has been a negative sentiment towards Mexicans by the United States, from what I recall, since the Mexican American War in the mid 19th century, where the United States drew an imaginary line in the land and called it theirs. Following the war, came some of the worst times for Mexicans. Mexican citizens, who were living in what is now part of the northwestern and southwestern US, were robbed of their lands and forcibly removed from their homes. They were promised American citizenship by the Treaty Guadalupe Hidalgo but encountered deceit, oppression, and blatant discrimination instead. Mexicans also endured repatriation in the 1930s and Operation Wetback in the 1950s in which Mexicans and American citizens of Mexican descent were forcibly removed and deported back to Mexico. This is revolting, and to think that something similar could happen today is incredulous. These unbelievable acts happened for a reason, for the same reason that I believe that DACA has been withdrawn. The United States government and those within the system with the power to influence politics in a negative and racist manner want to continue to oppress minorities so that they may remain in power. They crave to be able to continue creating laws that benefit them and only them, anything less than that is unimaginable to them. Rescinding DACA is one way to preserve their way of life (when I say ‘they’ I mean people like Steve Bannon, Jeff Sessions, David Duke etc.). Stripping any little rights that these young and educated non-American born citizens had, further insures the preservation of that life. God forbid anyone get in the way of their idyllic white supremacy…ridiculous. Essentially, what these people want to do, is to keep America as white as possible, there, I said it!! There’s a bunch of literature on this topic, called institutional racism, I recommend you read up on that.
So what can we do now? How can we, as privileged individuals, allies to our undocumented family members, friends, classmates, etc., contribute to the cause? I have learned through constant collaboration with my peers that becoming aware and knowledgeable about the situation is the first step. Educating ourselves or seeking that knowledge and then spreading that knowledge is important. Garnering support, letting our elected officials know where we stand on the issue, being vocal, safely participating in protests, donating to nonprofits such as the ACLU, donating time to educate others on the matter or even just listening to the stories of undocumented individuals. Standing side by side, not only with DACAmented individuals, but those who are not eligible as well and all immigrants who are negatively impacted by the decisions made by this administration and government.
Our cause is not lost, it is up to us to make it clear to congress, to keep pressuring them, and to let it be known that there is no other alternative, that they must pass legislation as soon as possible to keep these strong individuals here, where they are meant to be.
p.s. I am confident that congress will pass legislation! There are many people who want this to be done ASAP.
- DACA protects about 800,000 people but over 11 million undocumented people live in the United States.
- Eligibility requirements are very specific, individuals must have no criminal record and must be between a certain age range.
- DACA recipients contribute $2 billion in taxes but get no government services in return.
- Because of AB540, undocumented students may pay in-state tuition for college but may not receive any federal or state financial aid.
- Undocumented immigrants DO NOT steal jobs!
More info on DACA :
What YOU can do:
SIGN A PETITION:
Text “RESIST” to 50409
Links to Articles I read:
Lastly, if you are not educated on the matter, please do not comment on the matter.