7 Ways To Help DREAMers Get The Support They Desperately Need Right Now
With President Trump's surprise decision to end President Obama's DREAMer program, otherwise known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA, the lives of thousands of so-called Dreamers may suddenly be upended. If you have a heart, you're probably wondering how to help Dreamers who are now worried about being forced out of the only home they've ever known. UPDATE: Jeff Sessions announced during a press conference Tuesday morning that the White House plans to "rescind" DACA.
Trump's decision about DACA has not been finalized yet, but Politico's original report announcing his plan to end it suggested that the White House would leave a six-month gap before enforcing it. This means not only that Dreamers will have a chance to make whatever preparations they can, but also that there may still be an opportunity to change the administration's decision.
This is an extremely serious situation for the approximately 800,000 Dreamers in the U.S., who signed up for the program with the understanding that handing over their information to the government would not put them in danger of deportation.
If and when Trump's policy of ending DACA goes into effect, the government will have a ready-made list of illegal immigrants who voluntarily announced their status with the promise that they wouldn't see any negative repercussions from their action. Those Dreamers are now panicking — and with good reason. It's not a good situation — but there are still several ways for you to help.
1. Call Your Representatives In Congress
With the possible six-month delay between this news from the White House and DACA actually ending, there's still time for Congress to act. This means that now it's time to call your congresspeople about DACA and urge your representatives to defend it.
Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have come out against Trump's decision, so a little urging from their constituents could be something that convinces them to stand up to the president's policy.
2. Donate To Organizations That Help Dreamers
There are numerous immigrant organizations lining up to help DACA recipients, and if you're able, they would all appreciate your donation, no matter how small. One of the most visible of these is the National Immigration Law Center, but they're far from alone in the fight to defend the kids who came over as illegal immigrants through no choice of their own.
3. Be A Visible Ally
4. Join United We Dream
The biggest organization of Dreamers is United We Dream, which includes more than 100,000 young immigrants advocating for fair treatment for people in their situation. Joining one of their 55 affiliate organizations will allow you to hear exactly what they need and then pass on the information that you learn.
5. Educate People About DACA
If you have family members or friends who might not know exactly what this decision means for the 800,000 people it will affect, the best thing you can do is talk to them about it. There are plenty of statistics showing how important Dreamers are to American society, despite Trump's thoughts on the matter. If you expect to run into disagreements about DACA's necessity, then prep yourself with ways to argue on behalf of Dreamers.
6. Help Dreamers Know Their Rights
United We Dream has put together a Deportation Defense Card for those who fear that someone from Immigration & Customs Enforcement might come to their doorstep. It gives basic advice and tells immigrants what their rights are, for example the fact that ICE agents can only come in if the people in the house actually let them in. Even knowing something as simple as that could prevent families from being torn apart.
7. Start Prepping For The Midterms
The best way to ensure that Dreamers and other undocumented immigrants will be allowed to stay in the U.S. and keep contributing to society is if Congress enacts effective immigration reform. If any congresspeople up for reelection doesn't speak out against Trump's decision to end DACA, you need to do everything possible to make sure that they don't get to keep their seats.
The midterms might not happen for over a year, but it's never too early to start registering new voters and ginning up interest in the election. Democratic voters are less likely to come out for the midterms, and that has got to change in 2018.
And above all, don't let yourself believe that things are hopeless. If you jump into action now by doing any of the things listed above, you might help give Dreamers to chance to keep the lives they've come to know and love.