While families across the country celebrated the American Dream and the opportunities afforded by the fruits of their labor, the Trump administration announced a plan to rescind that dream for 800,000 young immigrants.
The were brought to America as children, and have been given the opportunity to make a life for themselves through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy without fear of deportation. Of the 800,000 immigrants that applied not one single recipient has been convicted of a crime, and 95 percent of them are currently working or are in school.
Our ancestors were among those that built the infrastructure of our nation during the industrial revolution. People from all over the world immigrated here for the chance to earn citizenship through backbreaking labor on railroad lines and in coal mines.
Many of us only need to look back to our great-grandparents to see the face of immigration, a face that resembles ours and reminds us of how our lives have been shaped by their decision to come here.
But this is about children who grew up in America, studied in our schools, and trusted our government to lift the shadow of deportation so that they could legally pursue the American dream.
800,000 young immigrants were given the opportunity to obtain driver’s licenses, enroll in educational programs, legally obtain employment, and pay income taxes, and this measure simultaneously diverted efforts away from low priority individuals to focus on violent ones.
Nearly 65,000 illegal immigrants graduate from our high schools every year, and to deny them a chance at citizenship is not only morally wrong, it goes against everything America represents. Most DACA recipients were only six years old when they were brought here, and to use the term illegal to justify their deportation to a country they know nothing of with a language they don’t speak is unnecessarily cruel and evil.
They placed their trust in the policies that Obama laid out for them. Just to be eligible they had to have a record free from felonies or misdemeanors, be enrolled in some form of educational program, or be pursuing a military career. The application alone requires a 500 dollar fee, stacks of application papers, and several different forms of documentation proving their adherence to the guidelines of the deferment. Read more: Jim Larkin | Crunchbase and Village Voice Media | Wikipedia
Not one single participant has been convicted of any crime, but by sharing intimate details of their lives with the government they could now potentially be easy targets for deportation if the Trump administration is successful in their efforts.
In their minds and in their hearts these people are Americans. They have spent their entire lives here, and know nothing of their birthplace outside of the stories they’ve been told. Some of them don’t even speak their native tongue, but not one of them have been convicted of a crime.
It cannot be stressed enough how far this decision goes to criminalize innocent people who have done nothing but go through a grueling process only to be re-criminalized to support an anti-immigration agenda.
Rather than allocate what little budget we have to focus on actual criminals and drug traffickers this administration would harm those who are literally working to support our country.
Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin are co-founders of the Pheonix New Times, and have been fighting for migrant rights since their arrest in 2007 for reporting on Joe Arpaio’s corruption.
They won nearly 4 million dollars for their wrongful arrest, and with it they established the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund. Through this platform they have been able to reach thousands of people who now live in fear, and connect them with information and support through various programs and resources.
Learn more about Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin: