DACA’s Demise Kicks Off New Immigrant Rights Movement For All in OC

By Sandra De Anda

Many of you are probably wondering what’s next for DACA recipients? You’ve posted articles on Facebook, put an “I support DACA” filter on your profile picture, and may have shown up to a rally or two. You keep refreshing your twitter and Facebook feed as the lives of 800,000 DACA recipients are endangered in your pixilated universe and our three-dimensional realities.

In the time spent clicking on articles, immigrant rights activists moved mountains. We’ve been restless in light of DACA’s demise. Orange County Immigrant Youth United transformed this termination into a moment of unification. We’ve been preparing within our community before the announcement hit to come out on the other side stronger. Last week proved to be busy for us, but rewarding nonetheless. We kicked it off with an “Undocumented and Unafraid” march last Tuesday just hours after the announcement came. We met at Sasscer Park to remind people why we are here in the first place.

We walked throughout downtown SanTana with around 800 people at our side. Every block drew more and more demonstrators; kids on skateboards, parents with strollers, young Latino scholars and anybody else who gave a damn. At the end of the march, we created a platform for any undocumented individual to come and speak up about their experiences. For most, it was their first time to tell someone other than their family that they are undocumented.

Building on momentum, we led a community forum at Oakview Comunidad in Huntington Beach for an informational DACA talk. Those who attended graciously donated to our fundraiser for DACA renewals.The next day we rallied with 200 Oak View High School students during their walkout. We listened to them speak about their apprehensions about not being able to renew or apply for DACA, but also of their determination to mobilize around and address this issue. The following day we marched with students from Anaheim high schools in the afternoon, where they walked proudly with their teachers who vowed to fight for them.

OCIYU represents all of OC and we’ll continue similar actions like those mentioned above. All of these moments that took place last week are stepping stones towards a long but winnable cause. We mobilized in 2012 for the legislation of DACA and we are mobilizing now but on behalf of all 11 million undocumented immigrants. This is not new rhetoric; even a piece of legislation like DACA aimed to draw lines in our communities, deeming those worthy and unworthy of protection from deportation. Immigrants are all meant to be here, whether they are working professionals, convicted of felonies, day laborers, black or brown. The tapestry of immigration has always looked like this and so we go forth standing together.

In the coming month we will be holding DACA renewal clinics in different cities all around OC from Santa Ana, to Fullerton to Orange and Costa Mesa. We are also raising money to fund DACA renewals. And with whispers about mass roundups like “Operation Mega,” we’ll hold “Know Your Rights” forums. The tides of change are at times slow and meticulous, but when enough momentum builds up, moments becomes movements. If you like what OCIYU is doing, and want to make a difference at such a crucial time, come to our general meetings, volunteer with us, donate, and protest. Be more than an observer and take action in your own community.

There is more power than fear here!

Find Orange County Immigrant Youth United online at ociyu.org.

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