Beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program say last week’s Supreme Court decision puts the brakes on President Trump’s efforts to undo the Obama era action but it is not a permanent fix for them nor the other undocumented immigrants living in the US. Some 27,000 of these “Dreamers” are fighting as healthcare workers on the front lines against the coronavirus.
“Our job isn't done until all 11 million of our undocumented community has permanent protection and a pathway to citizenship,” said Danny Caracheo, a member of Movimiento Cosecha GR and Michigan United. “We believe in the power of organizing communities and in Michigan like fighting for licenses for all.” Caracheo says people in Kalamazoo, Muskegon, Holland, Ann Arbor, Detroit, and Grand Rapids can become part of Movimento Cosecha by reaching out to them on Facebook.
The Supreme Court found that the administration violated tenets of the Administrative Procedures Act. The problem was not what the administration wanted to do but rather how they went about it. So Trump is still free to contrive another justification and try again as he did with the Muslim ban. These Dreamers and their advocates are working to move comprehensive reform through the legislature to solidify these protections in law and create a reasonable pathway to citizenship.
Rosa Fraga is a retired educator and community volunteer with Michigan United. Growing up in Michigan before the Civil Rights movement of the 60’s, she personally experienced the overt and institutionalized racism and segregation that treated black and brown people as second class citizens. “I grew up believing that my future was tied to laboring in Michigan’s fields and orchards as a migrant worker. Even now, I still find myself still involved in that struggle for justice. There is much to be done.”
"America is known for the American Dream, a dream where one can have life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” said Mitzi Cruz, who was able to become a successful mortgage banker in Detroit because of her ability to get a work permit under the program. She dreams of creating a tech startup to employ potentially thousands of Americans. “DACA has opened many doors for young dreamers like me who call this land home, to be able to pursue our goals and contribute to the economic structure. However, DACA is only a lifeline in which one cannot fully roam with liberty due to fear that our dreams may no longer be able to be pursued. We need a Dream Act."
“We are waiting for guidance from the US Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) in order to begin filing initial DACA requests. Unfortunately, Acting USCIS Director Ken Cuccinelli has only put out a release expressing his opinion on the court’s decision, but no practical guidance as to how to proceed,” said Diego Bonesatti the legal services supervisor for Michigan United. “We are not wasting time, however. This weekend, Michigan United will be training our community navigators so that we’ll be ready to help folks who want to file for DACA once the guidance is out.” People who were not yet eligible to file for DACA or, for some other reason hadn’t filed before September 5, 2017, will now be able to file for DACA for the first time. People who already have DACA will be able to renew as before. Both groups will be able to apply for advance parole if needed.
People with questions, who want to confirm eligibility or who want to set up an appointment should feel free to contact us at:
In Detroit you can call Yesenia Baldavia at (586) 339-6119 or LA SED at (313) 554-2025. Grand Rapids, Leticia Heustes: (616) 262-3056 Kalamazoo – Alex Pulido: (269) 366-9563 Michigan Immigrant Rights Center at: (734) 239-6863
Samad Nadeem is a DACA recipient who has also been active in the Black Lives Matter movement in Kalamazoo. He sees parallels between the fight for justice of Black and Brown peoples. “ICE is a police force just like (local) police. ICE needs to be defunded like the police,” said Nadeem, resounding the call to re-prioratorize resources to fund public services rather than police which leads to the deaths and mass incarceration of Black people. In the case of ICE, it leads to the spread of immigrant detention facilities like the one currently proposed in Ionia, MI. ''It is absolutely impossible to celebrate right now because we have Black brothers and sisters being hung from trees. We are in solidarity with all other movements going on right now, in particular Black Lives Matter.”
Kelsey Wiley, a Detroit educator and member of MI Student’s Dream, a Detroit area, grassroots organization made up of immigrant youth and teachers. They are gearing up for the a demonstration showing that solidarity. “There is a Black Lives Matter rally in Southwest Detroit this Sunday at 4pm starting from Patton Park and walking to Clark Park,” said Wiley. “We know that as Americans, our country was founded on the enslavement of Africans and the genocide of our indigenous peoples and we must continue to challenge the systems of oppression that have harmed all of our black and brown peoples. There is strength in numbers and we must stand with each other to fight for justice.”