Earlier this year, fear was heightened among immigrants who were threatened by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and building the border wall had also elevated concerns among many immigrants in the United States. Now 800,000 individuals are protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and are at risk of losing their rights and facing deportation. Deferred action refers to a temporary action for immigration, but does not give legal citizenship. DACA, also known as the DREAM Act, is a program created five years ago under the Obama administration, with the purpose of protecting those young immigrants that are in the United States from deportation.
Under the Trump administration, however, there are efforts to phase out the program. Based on a meeting with the Hispanic Caucus members and Jon Kelly, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the DREAM Act was at risk of being repealed. In fact, a letter sent by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton put pressure on the Trump administration to repeal the DREAM Act by September 5 of this year. One governor and nine attorneys general signed the letter stating that they will take legal steps if actions have not been taken.
Consequently, the pressure to fight for immigrants’ rights is just as strong as ever. Frankly, it’s unfair that the Trump administration and GOP Republicans are attempting to strip immigrants of their rights, considering applicants made sure to qualify for the requirements, pay application fees, and go through a long, arduous process to get where they are today. Especially considering 95% of DACA beneficiaries work and go to college, it is unacceptable for politicians to theorize that immigrants are only coming to the United States for benefits when instead are contributing to society.
To fight back, Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund is working alongside beneficiaries and advocates to prevent repealing the DREAM Act. The Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund are making information and guidance available to those who need access to assistance or to those who want to get involved in advocacy. The Frontera Fund is now encouraging activists and others to organize and put pressure on politicians to protect immigrants. Some people refer to immigrants as “illegal” or “undocumented”, but these individuals that have applied to the program are DREAMers. The DREAM Act emphasized education, future careers, and advocated to create a path to citizenship for child immigrants, but only Congress has the power to grant legal status. From here, it is crucial that activists, educators, and others continue to pressure politicians to fight for immigrants’ rights because they have the power to speak out and get involved. Additionally, it is up to United States citizens to protest that immigration is a human right, and immigrants should have a path towards citizenship.