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Fighting for the Dreamers: Things You Need to Know to Protect DACA Beneficiaries

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Fighting for the Dreamers: Things You Need to Know to Protect DACA Beneficiaries

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Every week, the Republican administration seems to find new ways to be more repulsive, racist, bigoted, and destructive. Many of our clients, community members, and friends grew up in this country but were not born here. They need Team Diva and we need you to help support them during this time.

Let’s be honest. It has been trying times this week. We have watched cities be flooded. Friends and family evacuate from hurricanes. And in Chavi’s home town evacuation notices were put out because of raging forest fires in Southern Oregon only to be notified of flash flooding. Yikes!

Meanwhile – Instead of having our country focus on RECOVERY efforts Trump and his cronies want to BLAME everything on Dreamers (DACA). Let’s get out there and get to work on RECOVERY EFFORTS not DEPORTIOTION of friends!

DACA Lies and Background – Yes You Need to Get Mad to Take Action!

Trump and Jeff Sessions blatantly lied in their interactions with the press, multiple times. News agencies like Breitbart have repeated these lies and generated others. If you encounter people who have been duped by these racist fabrications, you need to be ready with the facts.

The lies told by Sessions during the initial press conference have been well documented, and one of the most succinct recaps is on Quartz.

Sessions Lies in Bullet Points

  1. DACA benefits are not equal to that of a green card. They are far more limited and can be rescinded at any moment if the beneficiary does not renew or breaks the contract.
  2. DACA isn’t unconstitutional. The constitutionality has not been settled and legal precedent has not been determined.
  3. DACA is not an amnesty program. It is a permit program that requires beneficiaries to renew every two years, costing $495 each time, whether the permit is granted or not.
  4. DACA did not cause a surge of unaccompanied minors entering the country. This is a lie and one that isn’t even remotely based on reality. To quote the Quartz article, “DACA only applies to illegal immigrants who had arrived in the US prior to June 15, 2007 and have resided in the country for at least five continuous years since—so…it would make no sense for minors to cross the border seeking to gain status under a policy that doesn’t cover them.”

Dreamers are Amazing Members of Our Community

Dreamers interviewed by The New York Times. All images via the NYT’s American Dreamer page.

The New York Times editorial board called on Trump to preserve DACA—in vain, of course, because they were addressing a bigot who actively seeks to do the opposite of the right thing at every turn. They assembled a whole slew of stories of Dreamers from around the country, and they are all inspiring. Here are just a few:

Julio Ramos

Born in Tamaulipas, Mexico, living in Brownsville, Texas. Ramos is a high school biology teacher, and a graduate student enrolled in a Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics program and working to become a physician in the US.

Itzel Medina

A student here in Seattle, Itzel Medina was brought to the states at age 3 and knows no other home. After graduating high school, she enrolled at the University of Washington, with hopes of eventually attending law school. This is all uncertain now because of Trump’s stupidity.

Jin Park

In Park’s own words: “DACA fundamentally changed how I envision my place in the US. DACA liberated me to apply to college freely and openly, which allowed me to attend Harvard College, where I am now a junior studying biology and government.”

“Despite the rhetoric of the election and President Trump’s threats of deportation, I am steadfast in my belief that the values that have allowed me to succeed in America – fairness, equal opportunity, and self-determination – will prevail in the end.”

What Can We Do? to Ensure Fairness Prevails

Try as we might, we can’t all be Cher.

With 800,000 dreamers throughout America, there will be staggering human and financial costs if Trump attempts to deport them all. But we have already seen, he is willing to make everyone pay those costs

when we should be focusing on rebuilding Texas and Florida and our forests after these fires.

We can’t let that happen.

We also can’t expect to be like Cher and make sure every Dreamer is sheltered in someone else’s home. So now is the time to act by putting pressure on elected officials.

Washington State’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson has already made clear that he will fight Trump’s directive in court and expose his racist bias. You can bet Ferguson will in turn face attacks by Trump’s cronies and diehard supporters, though it is worth noting that even many conservatives have balked at the senseless cruelty of this decision.

However, many congressional Republicans have remained spinelessly mum, as usual, or have backed Trump’s decision against all logic. (Looking at you, Paul Ryan.)

Step 1: Work Locally to Put Pressure on our State and City Officials

Divas meeting with our 37th District Senator Rebecca Saldana

The best offense is a good defense. Very few of us get involved in our local politics. Meanwhile, we have allowed Trump’s cronies to take over keys areas of our state government. If you want to have a REAL impact you need to work with your local officials and make sure they protect the Dreams.

Get in contact with your local state Representative and Senator and ask….

What are you going to do to protect Dreamers in our state from Trump’s administration?

It is imperative to put pressure on legislatures at the local and national level to put forth a replacement for DACA in the next six months.

Is it doable? Yes. Will it happen easily? No. Does anything come easy these days? Nope!

Step 2: Contact Your Congress Members in Washington DC

FIRST STEP: Sign up with Seattle Indivisible and get going. They are doing an amazing job keeping us informed on issues like this.

NEXT: If you don’t already have your reps on speed dial, get their contact info online. Pick up the phone and call each one of them. You probably won’t get them personally, bit you can ask to speak with the staffer in charge of immigration policy. HuffPo offers a sample script:

My name is ____, and I am one of your constituents. I am calling to express my discontent with the White House’s decision to end DACA and ask Senator/Representative ______ to support legislative action that will protect immigrants affected by the termination of DACA. Eight hundred thousand lives are affected because of the president’s decision to end DACA, and now it is time for Congress to pass a law that would provide a pathway to citizenship for this group of immigrants. Does Senator/Representative _____ currently support the Dream Act or Hope Act?

If you are told your representative/senator supports either the Dream (in the Senate) or Hope Act (in the House of Representatives), say thank you and let them know you applaud that decision.

If you are told your representative/senator does not support either the Dream or Hope Act, ask the staffer to explain why. Then, let the staffer know the human and economic impact that leaving 800,000 youth undocumented would have (see the script for the White House above).

If you have friends and family in other districts and states, talk to them and make sure they are following through on this as well. Congress needs to hear from as many of us as possible.

Yes, this week does feel like fire and brimstone. We have hurricanes in states with friends and family and forest fires dumping ash on our city. Not to mention the emotional toll watching our friends potentially be deported. The administration and the right wing is used to inaction by those of us with a heart. Let’s get out there and get to work on RECOVERY EFFORTS not DEPORTATION of friends! Help protect those working for their dreams and making our country more vibrant and varied. Stand for the Dreamers today, Divaland!

Featured image via Seattle Indivisible.

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