Today was a victory for DACA recipients and for our democracy.
On September 5, 2017, the Trump administration announced that it was ending the Obama-era program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), that has protected over 700,000 young immigrants from deportation.
DACA has been transformative for hundreds of thousands of immigrants like me, who were brought to the United States as children, as it allowed us to to obtain work permits, driver’s licenses, and other benefits.
Ending this program would have had devastating impacts and would have led to the removal of hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from the United States.
As a former beneficiary of DACA, the threat of the cancellation of this program had severe impacts on my life.
When I heard the news, I was reminded of the bold move I (and hundreds of thousands other young immigrants like myself) made when first applying for DACA and deciding to come out of the shadows.
At the time, an attorney told me that if DACA was ever revoked, I would lose all protections, and it would make me vulnerable to deportation because immigration authorities would know where I live. Knowing the risks that came from submitting my information to the government, I still applied to the program.
When I woke up on September 5th, 2017, I was immediately slapped with the reality of potential deportation from the country that I have called home since the age of six.
I felt compelled to immediately move out of my apartment, where my family and I had just renewed our lease. My mother, sister, and I simply did not feel safe in our own home. We feared that ICE officials would show up at our door and arrest us and put us in detention.
I was terrified that I would be separated from my family the way thousands of our immigrant brothers and sisters have, because of this cruel and unjust system. My experience is the plight of many DACA recipients.
Today, June 18, 2020, the Supreme Court preserved protections for young immigrants by ruling that the Trump Administration cannot end DACA. This news allows me to take a sigh of relief - even in the midst of two global pandemics - COVID-19 and the global uprisings.
But our fight does not stop here. We will continue to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform that will allow for a path to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.
CLUE-affiliated faith leader, and soon-to-be Giants of justice honoree, Rev. Nancy Frausto of St. Luke's Episcopal in Long Beach and a DACA recipient, offers these words of reflection:
Thank you to all who have fought alongside DACA recipients. This is an important win but the fight for justice continues. This is proof, "que sí se puede!" We will not let up until there is just and comprehensive immigration reform.
Sí se puede.
We can and will make sure all undocumented people live without fear of deportation. This is the first of many wins as we fight for the dignity of every human being!