Now, seven months into his presidency, U.S. President Donald Trump has announced his intent to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama-era program allowing undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to work legally under consecutive two-year deportation deferral tickets. This is just the latest in a long line of Trump’s attacks against immigrants. Remember, Trump’s presidential campaign began with characterizing immigrants as crooks and drug dealers and threatening them all with mass deportations. Trump even promised to build a wall permanently separating the U.S. and Mexican territories. With this declaration, we add our voices to those that condemn the abolition of DACA as a senseless act of cruelty and cowardice. However, we should be clear that DACA didn’t make Obama a progressive on immigration.
Over the course of Obama’s presidency, 2.5 million immigrants were deported, so many that the immigrant community nicknamed Obama the “Deporter-in-Chief.” Comparatively, only 790,000 “Dreamers” have received protection under DACA. When the millions of deportees are compared to the thin ranks of Dreamers, we can see this policy for what it is: a small concession made to immigrant students and their allies, notably Undocumented and Unafraid, after an extended struggle. While many liberals use DACA as an example of the humanity of their beloved Obama, to many it only demonstrates how the state that administers the affairs of the U.S. ruling class snatches back at the earliest opportunity whatever it gives. We need to dismantle this state that metes out and then rescinds basic human rights, treating them as though they were privileges, and using these privileges to divide people with common interests from supporting one another in their struggles. Democrats and Republicans only have slight differences in approach to the anti-immigrant policies they have in common.
We must also focus on how easy it was for Trump to overturn DACA. One stroke of a pen and a scheduled press conference were all it took to set in motion the deletion of this meek measure of protection for a select group of undocumented immigrants. While we fight for DACA to remain in effect, we must turn this fight into a protracted struggle to secure permanent protection for all immigrants who choose to reside here—protections that cannot disappear depending on the mood of a politician or oligarch. We must own our rights, not rent them.
In order to address the conditions of immigrants in this country, we call on immigrants’ rights organizations, broader civil rights organizations, labor organizations, and the left to form a broad coalition to fight against the Republicans and Democrats alike for the following:
No to the rescission of DACA!
Down with the wall!
Dismantle the border patrols, legal and illegal!
No I.C.E. raids!
Papers for all! Full, unconditional, amnesty for all immigrants in the U.S.