Politico broke the news earlier today that President Donald Trump has decided to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which had provided deportation protection and employment authorization for registered undocumented immigrants who had been brought to the United States as children. The program had been implemented by the Obama administration in 2012, and enjoys broad popularity in the United States.
Trump had promised to end DACA on the campaign trail, but had been flip-flopping on the issue since his inauguration. However, facing threats from the attorneys general of ten Republican states, Trump now appears to have decided to eliminate the DACA program, throwing the fate of nearly 800,000 so-called “Dreamers” — including at least 18,000 Dreamers from Asian countries — into question.
Of the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants in America, one in ten — or approximately 1.5 million — are from Asian countries. In other words, 1 in 7 of all Asian American immigrants are undocumented, and most arrive from countries such as India, China, the Philippines, South Korea, and Vietnam.
Trump rode into the White House upon a populist wave of anti-immigrant xenophobia and nativism. The president’s pending dismantling of DACA is part of a larger political assault on America’s immigrants — both documented and undocumented. The rhetoric that the Trump administration has deployed against immigrants is one of intolerance against anyone foreign-born. To the huddled masses yearning to be free, Trump would rather build a “big, beautiful wall” than lift a lamp beside the golden door.
The question now facing the rest of America: is this hateful and unwelcoming America the kind of America we want to live in? Or, do we draw our line in the sand here, with a vocal pledge to defend DACA and the rest of America’s immigrants, both documented and undocumented?
Trump’s proposal to end DACA will not be official until he announces the decision on Tuesday. Furthermore, his rumoured proposal to end DACA would include a 6-month delay before the program is fully dismantled. That means we have between now and next Tuesday, and again between next Tuesday and March of next year, to ensure that DACA is not dismantled quietly. We have six months to make it be known throughout the streets of Washington D.C. that we stand with America’s immigrants, and that protections for Dreamers will not be removed lightly.
Here is a bunch of things you can do right now:
Do you have more actions? Please include them in the comments below and I will update this post.
Correction: An earlier version of this post reported that there are nearly 30,000 registered Dreamers from Asian countries, however there is now some questions surrounding how to interpret numbers published in the USCIS report from which that tally was originally drawn. As such, this post has been corrected with a more conservative — but likely more accurate — number of at least 18,000 registered Dreamers from Asian countries. I apologize for any confusion.
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Since 2001, Reappropriate has been the web's foremost Asian American activism, identity, feminism, and pop culture blog!