On September 5, 2017 the Trump administration began to phase out DACA ( Deferred Action Childhood Arrival;  a government program signed via executive order by President Obama;  – a program that currently affects some 700,000 students, teachers, social workers, doctors, business owners, fathers & mothers. The program shielded them from deportation or least made them “low priority” – the program only guaranteed a work permit that had to be renewed every 2 years for about $500.

DACA wasn’t enough, although it did shield nearly 800,000 qualified people, it did nothing to address the 42.4 million immigrants that are living in the united states today.  DACA started in June of 2012; that’s 5 years in which we did not push for more permanent action, reform or addressed it a more serious militant matter. DACA wasn’t enough because it made us complacent in the criminalization and exploitation of our sisters and brothers.

The energy that produced DACA came from the collective voice of 42.4 million migrants who collectively contribute $12 billion each year to state and local tax coffers. The program’s dehumanizing terms; Orwellian background checks, continuous, intrusive vetting and general disrespect have congealed to a form a new resistance.

Pre-DACA workshops designed to help navigate the complicated and costly path to apply made many cautiously optimistic about their futures in the US. For those who were accepted, a dark cloud still loomed as they had entrusted the government details about their lives and families.

Now, with a stated 6 month delay and the future of the DACA program in the hands of an unstable administration, it’s up to Congress to present a program for the White House to sign off on. As ICE and other law enforcement are emboldened and funded, the future is in our hands. Demanding respect, not just as immigrants but as humans, not just for us but for everyone across all walks of life, for those that came before us and will come after us, is no longer an option.

Whether it’s Democrats, Republicans or powerful brokers whose names we will never know using us for political gain, we have arrived at a moment in time where we can no longer stand by and watch our families destroyed. It’s time to demand that we will no longer be treated as pawns for your political gain. There are 60,000,000 Latinos living in the US. Collectively we have the power. Our biggest mistake would be not using it.

by: Lui Vrgs