Last week, when Attorney General when Jeff Sessions announced the suspension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, there was overwhelming amount of immediate support for DACA recipients from politicians, activists, celebrities, organizations and others around the country.
We know the fight to protect the dignity and respect of all immigrants will continue for the months and years to come.
The first step will be to keep putting pressure on our elected officials to pass a comprehensive immigration reform that not only keeps DACA intact but offers a permanent and humane solution for all immigrants. The bipartisan DREAM Act of 2017 is the most immediate solution. Calling your public officials is just one important way to show our support.
There’s a few other ways to show support for our communities and our DACAmented friends and family in the next few months and turn outrage into action.
- Sponsor a DACA beneficiary! If a person’s DACA expires between September 5, and March 5, 2018 they are eligible to renew their permit one last time. In order to help recipients meet the October 5 renewal deadline, local organizations have put together fundraising drives to sponsor applications, which cost $495. You can also support by paying legal fees for demonstrators who were arrested in front of Trump Tower the day of the announcement. Remember the #resistance costs money.
- Call your local school board member and ask them to pledge support for DACA students by not providing ICE information on students or their families. If they are open, ask them to go a step further and introduce a measure of support. Some schools in Los Angeles went as far as pledging to offer legal support to students and families. Ask your principal to offer the same at your school or your child’s school. If you are at a college or university, ask them to declare themselves a sanctuary campus and pledge to not cooperate with ICE or provide information about students’ status. You can tweet your school and your campus president to get the ball rolling.
- Understand the rights of immigrants and be an ally when needed. United We Dream, a youth-led advocacy group, encourages people to take pictures and record any potential violations of immigrant rights, including when people are being detained. They recommend you “take notes badge numbers, number of agents, type of cars and note details.” They set up a hotline to report violations. People can call 1-844-363-1423. Read the rest of their guide here.
- Find out if your state’s attorney general was part of the proposed lawsuit against DACA. If they were, find out when they are up for re-election or re-appointment, then hold the attorney generals who supported this lawsuit accountable with your vote.
If you’re A business owner, there’s ways to help.
My great grandfather was deported back to Greece before finally making it to this country, saving to send for his family, and creating opportunity for my grandparents, mother, and ultimately myself. He first owned a flower stand, then a piano store, and eventually a full city block in Muncie, Indiana. Without the Dreamers there is no American Dream. #defendDACA
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Tim Cook, Mark Zuckerberg and major CEO’s have pledged support for DACA recipients. That goes a long way, but small business owners can show their support for all immigrants too.
- Businesses are powerful groups, and elected officials pay more attention to them since they are believed to be likely voters. Organize a group of small businesses and write a letter to your member of congress explaining that you support immigrants. Specifically ask them to support the Dream Act and full Comprehensive Immigration reform. This toolkit from the ACLU can get you started. For extra impact, deliver the letter to their local office. Congress is kind of old school so they still value letters and messages. If your elected official isn’t supportive, consider making a donation to or volunteering for someone running against them who is aligned with supporting immigrants. You know, money talks and walks!
- If you are creator, select a product from your collection and pledge proceeds to help immigrants. Better yet, create a special edition product in support of immigrants. This is a great way to not only raise money but also raise awareness about the issue. By being open about your support of immigrant communities, you encourage others to do the same.
- While we are super supportive of our friends who are DACAmented, we want to support their parents and other immigrants who may also be running their businesses on the streets of our cities. They have dreams of their own! Offer to provide a workshop or training to support them. In New York, The Street Vendor Project advocates and works with street vendors. In Arizona, organizations like The Florence Project provide direct services to immigrants who are detained.
- If you provide a service, like therapy or legal assistance, offer your services to an organization like United We Dream. Don’t wait to be asked. Offer your help.
Social Media Influencers can support DACA and all immigrants as well.
Because of the big response I got on the piece I put together in support of #DACA. I am going to be selling the print with all proceeds of the sales going to support @undocumedia #DACAsponsor campaign to pay the application fee of $495.00 for Dreamers who can still renew their #DACA permit from now through October 5th. The size is 12"x18" and going for $20.00. DM for purchase.
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If you have a large social media platform, you have a great opportunity to raise awareness about these issues.
- Don’t think you can’t speak up because you aren’t an expert on immigration. Find trusted sources and share them. Encourage your followers to learn more. You can also pitch yourself to be an ambassador for an organization that supports immigrants.
- Sharing your own story goes a long way. If you are an immigrant or have an immigrant background, it is of utmost importance that you speak up. Even if your content is lifestyle or fashion-based, you can use your platform to speak on politics and social justice. Even Sophia Amoruso of Girl Boss fame opened up about her Greek immigrant roots. Humanizing this issue goes a long way, particularly for people who may not be as aware of these issues.
- If you work with sponsors, take a look at their own policies and beliefs on this issue. Grab Your Wallet has comprehensive list of companies that have pledged to remain inclusive and respect of all people. You can also see organizations that have donated to Trump
Change only happens if those who have power and influence use it to impact opinions of others. Our community needs us so let’s all dig a little deeper to do more!