Things That Matter

People Across The Nation Are Coming Together To #DefendDACA

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was first announced by the secretary of Homeland Security on June 15, 2012, marking a major victory for hundreds of thousands of undocumented young people in the U.S. For the first time, people were able to come out of the shadows to get work permits, attend college and contribute to the economy of the country they all call home. Five years later, DACA is at stake because of a lawsuit against the federal government led by Texas. DACA is an executive order that was signed by President Obama in August 2012, meaning President Trump has the authority and capability to rescind it. Here’s how DACA has gone from a new proposal to a program at risk, and how some politicians are trying to save it.

August 15 is the Day Of Action to #DefendDACA.

The Tom K. Wong, United We Dream, National Immigration Law Center, and Center for American Progress National Survey spoke with DACA beneficiaries, also called Dreamers, about their educational and employment opportunities since getting on the program. Results from the study show that 95 percent of people who are on DACA are either working or in school. Furthermore, the survey shows that DACA beneficiaries are contributing to the U.S. economy in several different industries, including the nonprofit sector, educational and health services and professional and business services.

DACA beneficiaries are using the program to go to school, get jobs, get better pay and contribute to the U.S. economy in positive ways.

“DACA has given me the ability to work. It has given me the ability to actually fulfill my dreams. It’s so basic,” Emmanuel Ramos Barajas, a mitú video producer, says. “It just allows you to work. Without being able to work, I can’t do any of the things that I want to do. I think a lot of people take that for granted, the right to work. Without that right to work, I can’t do any of things that I want to do that I’ve prepared my whole life to do even if I went to university and I graduated with my bachelor’s.”

Despite studies showing that the program is working to benefit the U.S. economy, 10 states are threatening to sue the federal government if the program isn’t rescinded by President Trump.

Texas, Arkansas, Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia all joined in a lawsuit aimed at eliminating the proposed program Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). When Trump became president, DAPA, which was introduced in 2014, was rescinded. At that time, Trump and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly promised that DACA would remain in place. The original lawsuit was solely focused on DAPA, but these states have threatened Trump with a lawsuit tailored to go after DACA if he doesn’t rescind the program.

If the case against DACA makes it to the courts, officials in immigration have already said it might not withstand a legal battle.

CREDIT: mitú

In July, Sec. Kelly met with members of Congress alert them that DACA would likely fail a court case questioning its constitutionality. Congressman Luis Gutierrez informed the press and activists that DACA is in real jeopardy.

Dreamers lead the fight for DACA. Now that it is at risk, some beneficiaries are calling people to join together to renew the fight to protect what they helped create.

“I feel like, at this time, the best thing to do is to stick together and protect our community,” Ramos Barajas says. “It’s a very scary time, honestly, because even though I don’t think about it every day, in the back of my head I know that I can wake up tomorrow to the news that DACA has been overturned and I won’t have a job. Everything that I have worked for my entire life will be on hold indefinitely until I figure out what to do. It wouldn’t be fair because this is my home. This is where I’ve made my life; where all of my friends and family live.”

Julio Salgado is an artist and a Dreamer. He uses his art as a form of activism to bring attention to the fight for DACA and the lives of undocumented youth, particularly queer youth.

“I think taking DACA away is a way to show that this administration is not joking when they promised anti-immigrant policies,” artist Julio Salgado says.

“DACA is one of the few things that undocumented organizers won aside from all the deportations they stopped,” Salgado says. “If DACA goes away, it sure will be an inconvenience. But I’m a hustler. I am an immigrant. I have survival skills. Don’t let those sci-fi movies fool you into thinking that only white people survive horrific life circumstances.”

In response to the threat, four senators introduced a bill that would create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

The Dream Act, introduced by Republicans Lindsey Graham and Jeff Flake and Democrats Chuck Schumer and Dick Durbin, would allow for undocumented immigrants and DACA beneficiaries to become citizens. It would be a long process but the bill, which has garnered bipartisan support, effectively creates a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

It wouldn’t be an immediate jump to citizenship because there are certain criteria people would have to meet.

CREDIT: mitú

According to the National Immigration Law Center, this is the proposed process:

  • Current DACA beneficiaries would be granted a conditional permanent residency. People who are on Temporary Protected Status and people with final orders of removal would have a chance to apply for the same status.
  • After eight years as a conditional permanent resident, people can apply to become lawful permanent residents if they go to college, have worked for a certain amount of time or served in the U.S. military.
  • After five years as a lawful permanent resident, people would then be able to apply for U.S. citizenship.

Ramos Barajas believes The Dream Act is a good step forward if it gets passed.

“I don’t think it’s a solution across the board because the immigration system is completely broken so that needs a complete overhaul but this, let’s call it a Band-Aid, would be so helpful because it would allow millions of young people to enter into the workforce,” Ramos Barajas says. “It’s not just people doing every day stuff, it would also be people motivated to work in law and in medicine. These things are all beneficial because if you have lawyers and politician who understand the issues because they have lived through them, for them it’s going to be much more personal and they are going to go out and try to make these things happen.”

“We cannot allow the lives of these young Americans to be threatened, and the chants of white supremacists to thrive,” Julissa Arce, an immigration activist, wrote in an op-ed for mitú.

“DACA has changed the lives of many of these young people; in the same way Texas changed my life in 2001,” Arce wrote.


READ: DACA Has Made It Possible For 800k Young People To Work Legally In America. Today People Fight To Protect It.

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Google Is Pledging $250K To Help With DACA Applications And Renewals

Things That Matter

Google Is Pledging $250K To Help With DACA Applications And Renewals

SANDY HUFFAKER / AFP via Getty Images

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, is not a contentious topic among Americans. The program offers young adults who entered the U.S. as children relief from deportation and a chance to live out of the shadows. Now that it has been reinstated, Google wants to help some people achieve the dream of being a DACA recipient.

Google is pledging a quarter of a million dollars to help people apply for DACA.

The Trump administration did everything in their power to end DACA. The constant uncertainty has left hundreds of thousands of young people in limbo. The war waged against Dreamers by the Trump administration came to a temporary end when a federal judge ruled that Chad Wolf was illegally installed as the head of the Department of Homeland Security. It invalidated a member from Wolf stating that no new DACA applications would be approved.

Kent Walker, the SVP of Global Affairs, laid out the case for DACA in an essay.

Walker discusses the uncertainty the hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients currently face after the tumultuous time for the program. He also touches on the economic hardships that has befallen so many because of the pandemic. With so many people out of work, some Dreamers do not have the money to apply or renew their DACA due to a lack of financial resources. For that reason, Google is getting involved.

“We want to do our part, so Google.org is making a $250,000 grant to United We Dream to cover the DACA application fees of over 500 Dreamers,” writes Walker. “This grant builds on over $35 million in support that Google.org and Google employees have contributed over the years to support immigrants and refugees worldwide, including more than $1 million from Googlers and Google.org specifically supporting DACA and domestic immigration efforts through employee giving campaigns led by HOLA (Google’s Latino Employee Resource Group).”

People are celebrating Google for their decision but are calling on Congress to do more.

Congress will ultimately have to decide on what to do for the Dreamers. There has been growing pressure from both sides of the aisle calling on Congress to work towards granting them citizenship. DACA is a risk of being dismantled at any moment. It is up to Congress to come through and deliver a bill to fix the issue once and for all.

“We know this is only a temporary solution. We need legislation that not only protects Dreamers, but also delivers other much-needed reforms,” writes Walker. “We will support efforts by the new Congress and incoming Administration to pass comprehensive immigration reform that improves employment-based visa programs that enhance American competitiveness, gives greater assurance to immigrant workers and employers, and promotes better and more humane immigration processing and border security practices.”

READ: New DACA Applications Were Processed At The End Of 2020 For The First Time In Years

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Honduran Woman Gave Birth On Bridge Between U.S. And Mexico Border But What Will Happen To Them Next?

Things That Matter

Honduran Woman Gave Birth On Bridge Between U.S. And Mexico Border But What Will Happen To Them Next?

Julio César Aguilar / Getty Images

As the number of parents and children crossing the border continues to increase, driven by violence and poverty in Central America, many are growing desperate while being forced to wait in migrant camps in Mexico. While crossings have not reached the levels seen in previous years, facilities that hold migrants are approaching capacity, which has been reduced because of the coronavirus pandemic.

This is forcing many to check the status of their claims by crossing into the U.S. to speak to border agents. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that more and more women are being forced to give birth in less than ideal situations – putting at risk both the lives of the mother and child.

A migrant woman gave birth on a bridge between U.S.-Mexico border.

According to Mexican border authorities, a Honduran woman gave birth on the Mexican side of the border bridge between Matamoros, Mexico and Brownsville, Texas. The woman was apparently trying to reach the U.S. side, but felt unsteady when she got there and was helped by pedestrians on the Mexican side waiting to cross.

Mexico’s National Immigration Institute said the birth occurred Saturday afternoon on the Ignacio Zaragoza border bridge, also known as “Los Tomates.” It said authorities received an alert from U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials regarding “a woman trying to enter the country improperly.”

It said the woman was taken to a hospital in Matamoros, where she was given free care. Her child will have the right to Mexican citizenship.

Hernández is hardly the first woman to give birth while hoping to cross into the U.S.

Just last month, a woman gave birth along the U.S. side of the Rio Grande. She had just crossed the river and her smugglers were yelling at her to keep moving as U.S. Border Patrol agents arrived. But she couldn’t continue, fell to the ground, and began to give birth.

The mother and her her daughter are safe and in good health. “They treated me well, thank God,” said the woman, who didn’t want her name used because she fears retribution if she’s forced to leave the country, in an interview with ABC News.

“There’s so many women in great danger,” Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, told ABC News. “They must really think before they do what they do and risk the life of their unborn child.”

Like so many other women, Hernández was waiting in Mexico under Trump’s cruel immigration policies.

Hernández was reportedly among about 800 migrants sheltering in an improvised riverside camp while awaiting U.S. hearings on their claims for asylum or visas. Other migrants are waiting in Matamoros, but have rented rooms.

Thousands of other migrants are waiting in other Mexican border cities for a chance to enter the U.S. — some for years. The Trump administration has turned away tens of thousands at legal border crossings, first citing a shortage of space and then telling people to wait for court dates under its “Remain in Mexico” policy.

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