Since President Trump announced an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) earlier this month, the future of thousands of young immigrants has been up in the air. Set in place by former President Barack Obama in 2012, DACA allowed some 800,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to America as young children a chance to work, go to school, and essentially live normal lives in the only country they’ve known as home.
After the announcement, thousands took to the streets to voice their dissent, and congressional Democrats pledged to fight the decision. “The human and economic toll of rescinding DACA will be far reaching and Democrats will do everything we can to prevent President Trump’s terribly wrong order from becoming reality,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
In fact, Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have been working closely with the president to strike a deal that would allow DACA recipients (or “Dreamers”) to remain in the country while also providing for increased border security. However the details of the deal remain murky, and many undocumented youth are unwilling to be used as a “bargaining chip” in exchange for stricter immigration enforcement that could affect their loved ones.
As Washington grapples with how to handle DACA’s future, here are a few ways Dreamers and allies can take action.
One of the easiest ways to stand in solidarity with immigrants is to simply show up. Americans are no longer keen to sit idly by while major policy decisions are made — the current president’s administration has seen an increase in political engagement and protest. And while you may be skeptical about the efficacy of these public demonstrations, protests have been proven to fuel political change and even change the course of history. To find a protest event near you, check out this interactive map created by advocacy group ‘Here to Stay’.
2. CALL YOUR REPS
In the digital age, there are more ways than ever to get in touch with your state representatives. And while all methods of communication are valid, calling remains the most effective tool to voice your concerns. Calling is simpler than you think — check out Refinery29’s legislator locator for the appropriate contact in your district.
Not sure what to say? The main point is to express that you are a concerned constituent and urge your representative to enact legislation that will help protect DACA recipients from deportation. The Huffington Post even created several scripts you can use to guide the conversation.
Many organizations and nonprofits are dedicated to protecting DACA youth and advocating for immigration reform.
United We Dream is “the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation,” and provides resources to help undocumented youth continue their education, fight deportation, obtain work permits and more.
The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights provides support and advocacy for youth from all corners of the world as they navigate court proceedings and other obstacles “in an immigration system that is not designed to treat children as children.” Many of these children were smuggled into the country with no accompanying adult and are expected to navigate the system on their own. As immigration policy continues to be a major point of contention in the U.S., this group is fighting for some of the most vulnerable people affected.
Meanwhile, the Immigrant Defense Project is working to reshape our country’s “racially biased criminal legal system” from the ground up. Their team of lawyers and advocates provides free counsel to immigrants facing deportation, legal training to attorneys, and advocacy to state and federal stakeholders to help create a fairer system.
For more ways to use your dollars in support of immigrants and reform, check out Refinery29’s roundup of immigration organizations.