On November 12th, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments around the Trump Administration’s termination of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The topic of this debate was not the legality of DACA itself, but the legality of the Trump Administration’s decision to terminate DACA.
Let’s pause for some context.
President Trump motioned to rescind DACA in September 2017 which would have put over 700,000 undocumented dreamers in danger of deportation and at a loss of work authorization, but lower district courts blocked his action, allowing those who already had DACA to continue to renew but putting a hold on all new applications. Two years later, it’s on the docket of the highest court in the country. DACA was always considered a temporary solution as it does not provide a pathway to permanent residency, but it provided a sense of relief and opportunity for those who qualified for it. For the past two years, Dreamers have tried to remain positive amidst the uncertainty surrounding their future and are hoping that the Supreme Court will not rule in Trump’s favor.
The Supreme Court is expected to make a decision by June 2020. And for the 700,000+ DACA recipients, this means that there’s an expiration date on their status in the U.S. It means that everything they have worked for, including their education and careers, is in jeopardy. It means not being able to be legally employed, losing their driver’s licenses, fearing separation from their families… it means anxiously awaiting a life-altering decision with fear and uncertainty of what is to come.
So, we road-tripped to Washington with a message: #HomeIsHere.
As the Supreme Court heard the oral arguments last month, thousands of people came together in solidarity at the steps of the Supreme Court House for the #HomeIsHere rally. Fifteen RV employees attended the rally to show support for DACA, our Golden Door Scholars, and the immigrant families that have lived in limbo for far too long.
A few members of the group were even able to go inside the Supreme Court and sit in on the oral arguments for three minutes! The most profound, recurring theme we observed throughout?
The U.S. immigration narrative is diverse, complex, and deeply personal.
During our trip, we learned about the story of a young Guatemalan girl who was separated at the border from her father and was deported back to Guatemala months later. She was diagnosed with PTSD but is unable to get treatment in the rural area she resides in.
We heard from leaders of the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) who urged the community to remember that Asians are also immigrants too and their narratives must be included in conversations about immigration.
We witnessed a mother’s desperation as she was comforted yet confined by the walls of the church in which she has been living in sanctuary from deportation for almost two years now.
We stood on the steps in front of the Supreme Court with our hearts heavy and raised our voices in chants of resistance, fighting for DACA and amplifying the voices of millions of undocumented immigrants who continue to live in the shadows.
The rally reminded us of a couple of things.
When considering DACA and other immigration reforms, we must be cautious of creating a false dichotomy between “good” and “bad” immigrants. Arguments supporting DACA portray a narrative of young, innocent children being brought to the United States illegally by their parents, and that the parents, not the children, are at fault. Our parents, who crossed borders and oceans to get us here, should not have to be criminalized in order for DACA recipients to be deemed worthy of staying in the United States.
Although being undocumented can feel isolating at times, the love and support we received at the rally reminded us that we’re surrounded by people who will continue to project our voices, even when we feel disillusioned by the country we call home.
If you are a Golden Door mentor or know someone impacted by DACA, don’t forget to reach out and express your love and support.