Tomorrow, August 15, 2017, thousands of young immigrants known as DREAMers, who are beneficiaries of the DACA program, will hold simultaneous events across the country. They are doing this for two reasons: 1. To celebrate the fifth anniversary of the program that has allowed them to come out of the shadows. 2. To denounce the attacks by right-wing extremists to phase out DACA. Here is the link for the event in Phoenix, Arizona.
As we explained before in Lacey and Lakin Frontera Fund, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton wrote a letter (signed by only 10 states) to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatening legal action if the DACA program remains, and demanding the “phase off” of this executive order.
“Phase off” means that the program would not be abruptly terminated but left to slowly die. Officials would be ordered not to renew the two-year permits and not to accept new applications.
It would be a death by a thousand cuts.
We fought and won DACA, and we won’t let anyone take it away. –Abril Gallardo
This protracted action would not only affect the approximately 800,000 individuals currently protected by the program. Without their work permits and ability to work legally, former DACA beneficiaries’ families and communities would also suffer grave economic setbacks.
Additionally, lawmakers are attacking the TPS (Temporary Protected Status) program that shields Central-American individuals from deportation.
DACA-DREAMers can avoid deportation, legally work and/or attend higher education. Thus, they further contribute to the economy through taxes, mortgages, car payments, college fees, and more. Some of them are young parents and/or support their parents and siblings.
We are talking about a negative multiplier effect of an economic downturn for an incalculable number of individuals (among them American citizens).
Additionally, DREAMers in Arizona are confronting threats to their access to higher education since disgraced and recalled former State Senator Russell Pearce is determined to sue the state for permitting public education institutions to allow in-state tuition.
To coordinate efforts to fight back against these multiple challenges, the national organization United We DREAM has launched a new website called DefendDACA.com, which will give tools to the many DREAM Act and DACA advocacy groups around the nation to send a clear message to the community that DACA will be defended.
Phoenix DREAMers are also fully engaged: “Although I have faith in justice, I also understand that there are evil individuals like Attorney General Paxton and members in the Trump administration who continue to attack individuals like myself by threatening DACA and TPS,” says Abril Gallardo, a beneficiary of the program. “DACA has allowed me to get a good-paying job, which has helped me to pay for tuition, buy a car and provide for my family. This stability can go away if extremist Republicans continue to threaten DACA. That is why tomorrow, on the fifth anniversary of DACA, we will be joining immigrant youth and community from across the country to send a clear and loud message: We fought and won DACA, and we won’t let anyone take it away.”
What can allies do to help? You can show your support at The DACAversary! DACA Drive and Celebration organized by The Arizona DREAM Act Coalition, Undocumented Students for Education Equity at ASU, and LUCHA on August 15 at 5 p.m. in front of the State Capitol.
“Additionally, you can call/visit/write/email our local and state elected officials and ask them to stand with immigrant youth, to do the right thing and #ProtectDACA,” announced Abril.
You can use social media and send your messages too, right now! Join the great community of advocates who support immigrant youth.