How To Help Dreamers Fight Trump's DACA Decision With Your Time, Wallet, & Voice
On Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, better known as DACA. Implemented by President Obama's administration, DACA gave young people who had been brought as children to the United States a way to gain legal resident status and remain in the country free from the threat of deportation. If you're following news about the administration being bent on ending DACA, here's how you can help DREAMers, the program's beneficiaries.
There are some 800,000 DACA recipients now at risk. And while many are pinning their hopes on the legislative branch to come up with a solution — Trump himself declared it was time for Congress to act — there are also other ways for concerned Americans to help DREAMers.
The term DREAMers is an apt one. It is the abandoned descendant of the failed DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors), legislation that has been in the works since 2001. Though many politicians have spoken favorably about passing the DREAM Act, it has never managed to find enough bipartisan support (particularly amongst Republicans) to make its way into law.
For those 800,000 who have grown up in America and call this land home, "DREAMers" is also an appropriate way to describe the position in which they now find themselves. For all those who dream of a better future alongside them, here a few ways to help:
Call your representatives.
Yes, there are other ways to help besides pining after a legislative branch none-too-friendly to "liberal" causes like DACA (those ways are forthcoming), but should Congress pass veto-proof legislation providing a legal resident status for Dreamers, that would be the sturdiest way to ensure their wellbeing. So go ahead and pick up those phones.
Donate to United We Dream.
United We Dream is the "largest immigrant youth-led organiztion in the country." They organize and advocate for all young immigrants, regardless of whether or not they are here legally. United We Dream was integral to the initial success of DACA, and will no doubt be on the front lines of fighting Trump's rollback.
Learn the facts and share them with friends and family (and whoever will listen).
Some of the animosity directed at immigrants is the false notion that they "steal jobs." There's also a widely-held belief amongst some that immigrants are more likely to commit crimes. These ideas are not opinions — they're factually incorrect. Arm yourself with knowledge and speak up on behalf of those who can't always speak for themselves.
Donate to The Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights.
Push other states to follow the example of California and Texas.
Both California and Texas offer in-state tuition at their public colleges to undocumented immigrants. It's a small step, but one that can have a big ripple effect over time.
Show up at the march — and the ballot box.
Multiple cities held marches in defense of DACA, and they'll likely have many more, as pressure builds on Congress to find a legislative solution — be there. And when the next election comes around, make sure you're present too.
Nothing gets the political class's attention faster than the threat of losing an election.
Volunteer your time — and your language skills.
For those who are fluent in a second language, your skills are in demand. Volunteer with the National Immigrant Justice Center as an interpreter. For those with a background in law, pro bono opportunities are also an option.
With the fate of 800,000 Dreamers hanging in the balance, the need to stand up in support of DACA is urgent.