Things That Matter

Seven DREAMers Are At Risk For Deportation After Being Arrested And Are Refusing To Hand Over Their Names And Fingerprints

Seven DREAMers and an ally were arrested in Washington, D.C., on Friday after participating in a sit-in advocating for a clean DREAM Act. The activists are currently being held in police custody and have initiated a hunger strike they say will remain active until Democrats make space for a clean DREAM Act in the congressional spending budget.

The demonstration puts these activists in a race against a narrowing deadline.

The seven activists, who call themselves the #Dream7, were arrested at the D.C. offices of New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer and Florida Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo. They were charged for occupying the building outside regular business hours, which is regarded as unlawful entry. The group had initiated a sit-in and demanded that the lawmakers pass a clean DREAM Act by the federal spending budget deadline of December 22nd.

Since their Friday arrest, the group has refused to provide their names and fingerprints.

They’ve withheld personal information from law enforcement in an effort to remain in jail and continue their protests until their demands (and the demands of thousands of others) have been met. The participating DREAMers have all put their status in this country on the line, and are now at risk of being detained and deported. In one video taken just before their arrest, one of the participants, named Belén Sisa, told viewers that every day they spend in jail puts them closer to an arrest by ICE and deportation.

Anticipating their arrest, the protesters prepared statements concerning the goals of their demonstration.

Cata is a 20-year-old immigrant living in Florida.

CREDIT: Fightforourdream.org

In her written statement, published on Fightforourdream.org, she explains the pains that she has been through after losing her DACA eligibility.

“I have to take matters into my own hands,” Cata wrote. “I lost DACA, I lost a portion of my childhood with my parents, I lost the burial of numerous loved ones, I am not willing to lose the resiliency that runs through my veins. As a community, we cannot be spectators of the attacks against us. We must take bold action and show up for each other,”

Belén Sisa is an Argentine activist living in Arizona.

CREDIT: Fightforourdream.org

Sisa, a student at Arizona State University, wrote that she took part in this sit-in to give voice to the undocumented and “for those whose future is in the midst of uncertainty.” “If I and seven others can risk it all for something much bigger than ourselves, so can our political leaders who say they support us.”

Barbara is a 25 year old teacher living in California.

CREDIT: Fightforourdream.org

“Before there was DACA I always wanted to work a nice job and have the opportunity to shine using my skills,” Barbara wrote. “Once I had DACA I was able to show my skills off and pay taxes and get holidays and weekends to spend with my family, the feeling was amazing.”

Erika Andiola is from Durango, Mexico, and came to the U.S. to flee from domestic violence.

CREDIT: Fightforourdream.org

Andiola, an activist and former aid to the Bernie Sanders 2016 election campaign, Erika called those at risk to exercise their “collective power.”

“I am risking arrest today because there are thousands of people who are losing hope, who feel attacked and this is the time for us to model courage and to stand together because that was the only way we were able to win DACA in the first place,” Erika writes in her statement.

Hector is a 26-year-old student at City University of New York from Colombia.

CREDIT: Fightforourdream.org

Having been activated into political action earlier this year after seeing the many protests that were sparked after the DACA repeal, Hector wrote about fighting for respect and protection for undocumented youth.

“Let’s uplift each other and create a democracy that values all that live in it,” he wrote.

In September, Donald Trump rescinded DACA, which simultaneously sealed off new applications for the program. The rescission also put renewal applicants whose permits were set to expire between Sept. 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018 under a six-month tight time crunch. #Dream7 has remained firm in their decision to stay on a hunger strike until Democrats include the clean DREAM Act in their budget.

The names of the DREAMers used in this story were initially provided by their social accounts and Fightforourdream.org. The full names of the other activists have yet to be formally released. At the time of this story’s publication, mitú reached out to representatives of #Dream7 but has yet to hear back. 


Read: Here’s How One Houston Panadería Was Saved Because Of A Teenager’s Tweet

Recommend this story by clicking the share button below! 

One Day After A Texas Sheriff Called Undocumented Immigrants ‘Drunks,’ His Son Is Arrested For Public Intoxication

Things That Matter

One Day After A Texas Sheriff Called Undocumented Immigrants ‘Drunks,’ His Son Is Arrested For Public Intoxication

A Texas sheriff is eating his words after his bigotted comments came back to bite him in the worst way.

A day after Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn referred to undocumented immigrants as “drunks” who would “run over” children, his own son was reportedly arrested on charges of public intoxication. It has also been revealed that his son Sergei Waybourn has been arrested before. In 2018 he was charged with assault and in recent years he was arrested for trespassing and theft.

Sheriff Waybourn’s comments sparked controversy when he spoke against undocumented immigrants at a press conference in Washington.

Last Thursday, the sheriff spoke at the conference alongside Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Matthew Albence. Speaking in response to a ruling by a federal California judge made last month that imposed restrictions on ICE’s use of “detainers,” Waybourn underlined the consequences of releasing illegal immigrants with DWI and other crimes.

U.S. District Judge André Birotte Jr.’s decision barred ICE from using online database searches to find and detain people based. Recently, the ACLU stated that since 2008, 2 million US citizens have been illegally detained because of such searches.

Waybourn pointed to his charge of inmates to give examples of high rates of repeat offenders. “If we have to turn them loose or they get released, they’re coming back to your neighborhood and my neighborhood,” Waybourn said according to New York Post. “These drunks will run over your children, and they will run over my children.”

After his comments, the national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens called for Waybourn’s resignation.

According to Dallas Morning News, Domingo Garcia said Waybourn ought to “resign and apologize for his bigoted comments immediately.”

In response, Waybourne said his comments had been taken out of contexts and his office released a statement saying that “Sheriff Waybourn was not referring to all legal or illegal immigrants when making his comments about DWI/DWI repeat offenders. He was speaking toward the charges of DWI and DWI repeat offender in the context of illegal immigration.”

In response to the news of his son’s arrest, the sheriff said he is “deeply saddened by Sergei’s choices.”

According to WFAA, he said that “It has been many years since he disassociated from our family. We, along with many family members have made efforts over the years to help him – all to no avail. It is always sad when drugs take control of a person’s life. His choices and actions have lead to this situation.”

Hundreds Of Universities, Cities, And Businesses File Amicus Briefs Urging The Supreme Court To Defend DACA

Things That Matter

Hundreds Of Universities, Cities, And Businesses File Amicus Briefs Urging The Supreme Court To Defend DACA

Getty Images

This week the Supreme Court went back into session, kicking off what’s expected to be one of the most divisive and controversial terms in recent history. Everything from LGBTQ and abortion rights, to yes, DACA, is on the docket, and America will get to see the impact of the addition of Trump-appointee Brett Kavanaugh.

Although judges are expected to be politically impartial, Kavanaugh’s contentious confirmation hearing after being accused of sexual assault, left him charging Democrats with unfairly going after his character.

Now, some experts are bracing for a possible “conservative revolution,” after the court overturned two precedents (a highly unusual move) last term, and President Donald Trump has successfully appointed 150 judges to lifetime seats on the bench (whoever told said your vote didn’t matter, lied.)

In its newly started session, the Supreme Court isn’t shying away from hot topic issues – including a decision that will decide the outcome of DACA once and for all.

President Donald Trump’s signature issue is immigration, and in November the court will consider his administration’s decision to phase out DACA, an Obama-era initiative that protects nearly 700,000 young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children from deportation. The eventual ruling will have a major impact on way or another in the presidential race.

At issue before the justices is not the legality of the program, but how the administration decided to phase it out.

Plaintiffs, including the University of California, a handful of states and DACA recipients argue that the phase out violated the Administrative Procedure Act, a federal law that governs how agencies can establish regulations. Lower courts agreed and issued nationwide injunctions that allowed renewals in the program to continue. The Trump administration appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, and at the time, the President predicted success: “We want to be in the Supreme Court on DACA,” he said.

Groups of all kinds are filing so-called Amicus briefs to the Suprme Court urging them to protect DACA.

More than 100 different cities from across the country, dozens of major colleges and universities, and some of the country’s largest companies all joined together to defend DACA.

The brief filed by some 165 educational institutions said: “These extraordinary young people should be cherished and celebrated, so that they can achieve their dreams and contribute to the fullest for our country. Banishing them once more to immigration limbo — a predicament they had no part in creating — is not merely cruel, but irrational.”

Even the Mexican government filed a brief with the court.

Mexico has had little legal recourse in it’s fight against Trump’s cruel and (as many consider) illegal policies targeting the migrant community. And a large part of the migrant community (including those attacked at the El Paso Massacre) are Mexican nationals. So the government has been eager to take a stand.

And with the upcoming legal battle regarding DACA, Mexico has staked its position in support of DREAMers by filing an Amicus brief with the court. The brief points out the commitment to human rights and the principles of dignity that should be afforded to all humans – regardless of their migration status.

Meanwhile, children advocates point out that eliminating the program would also harm more than a quarter million US-born children.

More than three dozen child advocacy organizations say White House officials failed to account for a quarter of a million children born in the U.S. whose parents are protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program when they repealed it in 2017.

“These children are endangered not only by the actual detention and deportation of their parents, but also the looming fear of deportation,” the groups wrote in an amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court last week. “The imminent threat of losing DACA protection places children at risk of losing parental nurturance, as well as losing income, food security, housing, access to health care, educational opportunities, and the sense of safety and security that is the foundation of healthy child development.”

Children’s health experts have been sounding the alarm on the impact of toxic stress inflicted on children impacted by the Trump administration’s immigration agenda. Studies have linked toxic stress to developmental issues with children’s brains and bodies and an increase in their risk of disorders ranging from diabetes to depression, heart disease, cancer, addiction and premature death.

DACA was created by an Obama executive order in 2012, and the Trump Administration announced in September 2017 it was officially ending the program.

When the Trump administration officially announced the end of the DACA program in September 2017, there were nearly 800,000 young immigrants around the country who benefited from it.

Three lawsuits challenging the termination of DACA filed in California, the District of Columbia and New York eventually led to courts prohibiting the government from phasing out the immigration program. Those lawsuits argued that ending the DACA program violated the rights of those covered by its benefits and ran counter to a federal law governing administrative agencies, according to SCOTUSblog. The Supreme Court consolidated those three lawsuits and will hear arguments on the DACA case on Nov. 12.

The justices will consider whether the court even has the authority to review the Trump administration’s decision to end DACA and, if so, whether the decision to end DACA is legal.

Predictably, President Trump has urged the court to strike down DACA.

As recently as Wednesday, President Trump said his predecessor had no authority to initiate the DACA program in the first place, and that if the Supreme Court overturns it, as it should, Congress would likely find a legislative solution to allowing DACA recipients to remain in the U.S.

“The Republicans and Democrats will have a DEAL to let them stay in our Country, in very short order,” he tweeted Wednesday. “It would actually benefit DACA, and be done the right way!”