By Jose Servin
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Trump administration’s plans to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals today. Over the weekend, news reports noted DACA’s final demise may come within six months, a deadline the president is considering giving Congress to pass immigration legislation. Whether today or on March 5, 2018, we’ve known this day could arrive since the program first began in 2012. DACA never promised to be a permanent solution.
Now, the deportation of 800,000 immigrant youth will cease to be deferred. They’ll rejoin the 11 million other undocumented immigrants in the United States targeted by a ruthless and rogue Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency emboldened by the White House’s xenophobic policies.
This is a tragedy. Many of the youth benefiting from DACA have since become their families’ breadwinners. Graduate school students enrolled in the program stand to lose access to funding for research and to continue their education. Other DACA recipients have bought homes. And some are simply able to get by with its protections.
There are many lessons that can be learned from the rise and fall of DACA. The activist efforts that pressured President Barack Obama to adopt the policy stand as an example of the power that an organized and unified immigrant youth movement can amass. At the same time, DACA came as a watered down concession for what could truly have been achieved with the momentum gained in 2012: a moratorium on deportations.
DACA’s doomsday will be loss, but Orange County Immigrant Youth United also sees it as an opportunity. Immigrant youth returning to the ranks of all other undocumented folks including Temporary Protected Status holders, immigrants deemed “unworthy” of a second chance while trapped in the criminal “justice” system, and those left out of DACA paves a new path forward born out of necessity. Trump’s actions will speak louder than his forked tongue. Now is the time for all immigrants and their allies to take to the streets and fight for immigration reform for all. It’s all of us or none.
We invite everyone to join us this evening to take a stand with the immigrant community. We will be at Sasscer Park in Santa Ana at 6 p.m. to provide a space for those affected by today’s announcement to heal, organize, and mobilize. We will not sit in silence while bigots and xenophobes terrorize our communities. Bring a sign, art supplies and messages of hope and stand with us in a display of strength and solidarity.
Even with the end of DACA, we remain undocumented and unafraid.