Tuesday, September 5, 2017

"No papers! No fear!" Activists Commit Civil Disobedience Over Trump DACA Decision, DACA Fights Back!

On Sunday night, I got an email about an action planned for Tuesday over Trump's DACA decision.

 As a professor at City University, I see the benefits of DREAMERs every day.  I see their hard work, their commitment, their engagement in the classroom.  In a world of cynicism, seeing DREAMERS at the college who are glad to be here, ready to learn and grow - is profoundly moving.  These are the folks that make this work worthwhile.  They are also the people renewing this democracy every day. 
They are the people who bring the dynamism and energy into our public sphere, making this experiment in democracy work.  Without them, the smart people will go elsewhere. We are a country of immigrants. With the exception of the Native Americans, most everyone in this country are immigrants or children of immigrants.  Its what what this country is all about. It renews us. And today with cities flooded and more labor needed than ever, we are turning our back on that process of renewal. 

The announcement for the action declared:
"If Trump strikes DACA, DACA strikes back!

There is an imminent announcement on the decision for DACA on September 5th, but we won't wait for Trump to decide our fates. DACAmented immigrants and allies are going to take direct action and put themselves at risk to fight for permanent protection, dignity, and respect.

PLEDGE HERE: dacarepeal.com/action.

Please spread the word! We are going to shut down Trump tower with:

-Multiple Direct Actions
-School Walkouts
-Trump Tower Occupations
-Street Shutdowns
-Mass Rallies"

Arriving at the action, I saw people clogging Fifth Avenue, across from 57th Street. 
"No Papers, No Fear!" screamed a group of activists sitting disrupting traffic.
"Its not about TRUMP as much as its about us taking action!" declared a young woman.  

"Its just so upsetting.  Its beyond upsetting," bemoaned Caroline at the action. 

When is the next civil disobedience asked my friend at the action. 

The organizers noted:

"DACA has shaped the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and their families. We need thousands of bodies to take over Fifth Avenue. We are angry but we are strong.

This fight isn't just for us-- this is a fight to win permanent protection, dignity, and respect for all 11 million undocumented immigrants. It’s a fight to get recognition for the economic power that immigrants have and that this country depends on. Just like our parents, our biggest power comes from being workers. We are not just “DREAMers,” we are workers who contribute billions of dollars into the economy. We are part of a workforce that is 11 million strong, and without us, this country cannot function."

After the activists were arrested a few woman stood up to announce.

"DACA was fought for by undocumented youth. DACA being repealed does not just effect youth.  It effects my family, my friends, and my community... But we have been here before. Its time to make a decision of whether or not we are going to fight. A lot of us left our home countries.  This is another hard decision we have to make. We have no negotiating power in congress.  Forget replacing it.   We are using non-cooperation for one week.  We are not going to work of school. And we'll hit the country where it hurts the most, its pockets. We have to force this country to recognize its dependence in migrant communities. I am here for my parents and myself and I need you." 

"I am here today to say that I am outraged and unafraid.  I refuse to go back into the shadows.  Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions, you don't fucking scare me.  There are eleven million undocumented people in this country. And only two of you. We are going to show the country what it is like to lose immigrant labor!  We are about to see a crisis in this country.  Over a million people will lose their jobs because of the DACA repeal."

"I am here because I am a dreamer.  Everybody has dreams. We're here to do what we have to do.  We're here to fight.  We're not leaving.  We're staying...   Its gonna be a fight because people look at us as if we don't belong here.  And we do."

She explained going to school was going to be hard.  Working was going to be hard.  But she was ready to fight for her dream. 

After the action, Make the Road by Walking announced: 

Donald Trump has made the despicable decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and put the lives of 800,000 immigrant youth and their families at risk. 
We feared this day would come but are also ready to fight back! Today we will announce with our allies new legal action taken in response to President Trump’s rescission of the DACA program.
Trump’s latest move, which emboldens white supremacy across the country, declares war on young immigrants and their families. Our members traveled to D.C. this morning to make their voices heard at the Nation's capital. We will continue to defend our communities, and we will only get louder and bolder. Immigrants are Here To Stay!

New York Dreamer Challenges Trump Administration’s Termination of DACA
NEW YORK (September 5th, 2017) -- A young immigrant New Yorker and Make the Road New York (MRNY) went to federal court today to challenge the Trump administration’s termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. In a lawsuit brought in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Martín Batalla Vidal, a DACA recipient, and MRNY are asking permission to amend their original complaint in order to argue that President Trump’s actions violate federal law and the equal protection guarantee of the Constitution.
The case, Batalla Vidal v. Baran, et al, was originally filed on behalf of Batalla Vidal and MRNY in 2016 challenging the court decision in United States v. Texas that blocked Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and the expansion of DACA from going into effect. Batalla Vidal and MRNY are represented by Make the Road New York, the National Immigration Law Center, and the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic at Yale Law School.
Nearly 800,000 young people now have DACA. They have provided personal and confidential information to the U.S. government and gone through a rigorous application process and background check which has allowed them to receive a two-year work permit and relief from deportation.
In the more than five years since DACA was first implemented, the program has been a resounding success. According to a recent survey, 91 percent of DACA recipients are currently employed, and their average earnings have increased during the time that DACA has been in place.
The benefits of DACA extend beyond the recipients themselves. Nearly three quarters of all DACA recipients have a U.S. citizen spouse, sibling, or child. Terminating the program would create emotional and economic harm for these family members as well.
Batalla Vidal’s family is no different. Batalla Vidal is 26 years old and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. He came to the U.S. from Mexico when he was seven years old. He works in a nursing home and rehabilitation center, and financially supports his mother. He is a member of Make the Road New York.
Martin Batalla Vidal, plaintiff and member of Make the Road New York , said, “DACA has changed my life. It’s allowed me to pursue my dream of continuing my education and supporting my family, with the peace of mind that I won’t be separated from the people I love the most. Losing DACA would have a dramatic impact on my life. It would prevent me from being able to take on major professional or academic goals, make me unable to work legally, and put me at risk of being deported and separated from my family. This decision by Donald Trump is a direct attack on immigrant youth like me and on our families, and it’s based on one thing: the racist beliefs of a president who has been attacking Latinos and Mexicans since the first day of his campaign.”
Members of Make the Road New York, including staff members, as well as nonmember clients, have filed DACA applications that remain outstanding. As an employer, MRNY will lose significant staff resources; a number of employees rely on DACA to be able to work at the organization.
Javier H. Valdes, Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York , said, “DACA recipients, in addition to being core members of our community and families, have been absolutely central to our organization since 2012. From our work organizing youth and adult members to our legal department to our English classes, DACA recipients have been at the forefront of delivering vital services to our membership and clientele. Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions’ decision today is not only racist and immoral — it also will do serious damage to our organization."
“The Trump administration’s zeal for anti-immigrant and racist actions continues today, and with more devastating consequences. Terminating DACA betrays the nearly 800,000 young people who have put their faith in the government, throwing their lives into terrifying chaos. Our fight continues on behalf of these brave young people, and together we will work tirelessly to live up to this country’s ideals of justice and dignity for all,” said Mayra Joachin, staff attorney with the National Immigration Law Center .
“The bravery of Mr. Batalla Vidal and of the members of Make the Road New York today reveal that young immigrants will not recede into the shadows as the Trump Administration would like them to do. They are here to stay and will continue fighting today’s callous and unlawful decision to eliminate DACA,” said David Chen, law student intern in the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic at Yale Law School .

Speaking out.

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