Immigrant students, youth stage protests nationwide to live without fear

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by Félix Pérez; image by Andreas Metz

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Five years ago today, President Obama, responding to a growing need to act in the face of congressional gridlock, signed an executive order allowing qualified immigrant students and youths to study and work without fear of deportation.

Today, in cities as far flung as Washington, DC, Denver, Austin, TX, Orlando, FL, Albuquerque, NM, Salem, OR, Boise, ID, Omaha, NE, Portland, ME, and Oklahoma City, to name a few, those immigrant students, known as DREAMers, and young people and their allies are protesting to protect the program created by Obama’s executive order, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The immediate threat: 10 state attorneys threatened in late June to file a lawsuit unless the Trump administration starts phasing out the program by September 5.

Immigrant youth and their allies speak out in Washington, DC.

DACA specifically grants people who came to the United States as children, pass a criminal background check, and meet educational and other criteria permission to live and work in the country on a two-year, renewable basis. To date, 800,000 young people have been granted DACA status.

Gema Hernández is a DREAMer. A 2017 graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, Hernández was granted DACA status in 2013. She and the other DACA recipients “are not safe” because of the Trump administration’s “outright contempt” for the immigrant community, wrote Hernández. “Repeal of DACA is not a distant threat for us, but a very real possibility with measurable consequences,” she said.

Hernández credits DACA with opening the door of opportunity for her and others:

Because of DACA I have been able to travel abroad for educational purposes, work a full-time job, and become the first in my family to graduate from a university, without fear of wage-theft or deportation. We are teachers, scientists, small businesses owners, and students – building our lives, our families, and our communities. We are a part of the foundation of this country.

These are the stories of YOUR community. ✊❤️SHARE — #DefendDACA & TPS: https://unitedwedre.am/2ut5s3g

Posted by United We Dream on Monday, July 24, 2017

 

Utah elementary school teacher Lily Eskelsen García, in an earlier statement supporting a long-term legislative solution for DACA, said DREAMers “are our students, our friends, our peers, and they have lived in this country since they were children. They have built their lives here. They are Americans in every way except for their immigration status. . . [T]hey become a vital part of our economic engine, contributing to our society as engineers, nurses, small business owners, and, yes, educators. Regrettably the threats of deportation, as well as actual deportations of DREAMers, are sending shockwaves throughout our schools and communities, and they are keeping DREAMers from realizing their full potential or realizing their talents in service to the schools, communities and nation they call home.”

Eskelsen García added, “The time is now to protect DACA and to provide the certainty our DREAMers and their families deserve.”

Reader Comments

  1. Interesting that you label me a hater. I suppose I could label you as a hater of the constitution and law, but I will just assume you a person who thinks laws are simply a suggestion for those who wish to follow them. Or ignore them if you don’t like them. The only proclamation keeping illegals here is the last president’s executive order, issued by him because no laws were able to be passed allowing illegal aliens to stay in the country. Congressional progressives attempted several times to pass such laws, but failed each time.

    Obama’s pandering to liberal thinking, law ignoring groups was disgraceful.

    If these so called ‘dreamers’ are so nationalistic (i.e., patriotic) why are they not anxious to go to their native homes with their (I would assume) free USA education, and work to fix problems in their homeland? I am not a fan of people who flee their home and are unwilling to sacrifice to change their home. Rather these people came or were brought here illegally and as such do not merit consideration as would a lawful citizen or legal immigrant.

    It is not relevant to say that any Trump supporter is bad, illegal immigrant students are smarter than others or any other such sweeping generalizations. Such comments suggest an incorrect, myopic, sadly limited view of the world.

    The taxpayers of this nation owe these illegal aliens nothing yet are taxed to pay for them.

    1. MarineBob – Wrong-O. I’m not a hater of laws and the Constitution. I’m a lover of the facts. Fact: executive orders have the force of law and are fully constitutional within a president’s executive power. DACA is constitutional. PERIOD.

      Trump should know…he’s already signed 32 of these orders in his first 100 days in office.

      As for the rest of your comments, they’re the same anti-immigrant drivel you post on this board repeatedly. DACA recipients are not the illegal population at large, they are a small group who came to the U.S. as children, have passed a criminal background check, and meet educational and other criteria in order to live and work in the country on a two year renewable term. They’re educated and are proving themselves to be productive as full citizens. That’s no sweeping generalization. That’s also a fact.

      1. I guess you told me. If this idea is so wonderful, why won’t congress pass a law, representing the will of the voters?

  2. Any illegal alien needs to ‘dream’ their way back to their native home and apply for legal immigrant status, showing they can follow th e laws of this nation.

    1. MarineBob – These DACA recipients are already more educated, and productive citizens than some of the anti-immigrant extremists who call themselves Americans. That said, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if this administration tried to coddle haters like you by rolling back the program and showing once again its distaste for children who since their birth have called this land their home.

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