Tag Archives: DACA

Just Another DACA Tease?

There was so much excitement after the announcement by Pelosi and Schumer that they had somehow forged an “agreement” with Trump on making DACA the law of the land.

Me? Well, I was immediately cynical.

First of all, the “agreement” was only announced by the Dems. Secondly, it included “massive border security” notions, which, when left unexplained makes one think of National Guard troops on the border, or worse, Trump supporters in ill-fitting fatigues and with even bigger guns than the Guard. Without any real explanation, it’s hard to get excited. Of course, the “no wall” provision really excited the progressives. It made me even more cynical.

It didn’t take long for the Trump administration to tamp down the excitement with a strong push for “massive border security” before (emphasis on BEFORE) anything looking like DACA was discussed. Paul Ryan announced a ridiculous program based on hate, today. Of course, me seeing Schumer involved only made me remember his love for the private prison lobby and their money. Again, cynical.

Basically, the Democrats went in trying to save 800,000 young people in exchange for “massive border security.” Did the Democrats, again, go into a negotiation offering Trump the most for the least? You know, because we’re only talking about humans, here.

Remember, Obama did this when he negotiated “comprehensive immigration reform” and started with a mass deportation program to convince the other side that Dems were tough. A deporation program whose removal records Trump and his ilk want to break in stellar fashion. Over 2,000,000, including a vast many who had not committed any deportable offenses, would never be enough for Republicans. So “massive border security” will win us 800,000?

The problem with starting a negotiation with the least you can get is that the other side will cut it down, or demand “massive border security.” And as Trump reminds his supporters, the wall will come, anyway. While Trump plays politics in his way, the Democrats don’t seem to be standing up to him on this issue.

Soon after Trump ended DACA, I read a lot of Facebook whitesplaining telling immigrant advocates not to ask for more than what DACA offered. No consideration for the parents of DREAMERS. Or any of the other 10 million migrants. Avoiding any conversation about the entirety of the situation, including a broken system and corrupt human warehousing (private prison) program. Let’s just go with what we can win, they said. And, apparently, in exchange for “massive border security.”

My favorite advocates at United We Dream in DC aren’t too happy with the supposed DACADeal. From the beginning of this newest push for a DREAM Act, this group has been calling for the passage of a clean DREAM Act, and not one chock full of “massive border security” waste. They “disagree with the premise that one group of immigrants shound endure more pain for another group to get rights and protections.” I was hoping the Dems had noticed and followed their lead.

Thus far, Democrats aren’t listening. And Trump goes merrily along in his own evil way.

 

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No Politics in Disasters? ¡Por Favor!

It’s been said that there are no politics when disaster strikes. But there sure seems to be politics in creating a disaster. For example, Trump’s rescission of DACA.

There’s a lot of talk about its effects on the economy, on schools, and communities. Oh, yeah, there’s also that separation of families thing that no one seems to talk about. ¡

And talk of family unity is avoided when discussing any new “DREAM” act that will be considered. It’s all about the 800,000 DACA kids, but what about their parents? You know, the original DREAMers who wanted a better life and are somehow faulted for “breaking the law” by both sides of the aisle in the current narrative. Yes, I’m concerned about an entire immigration system continuing in its disastrous state, but we gotta start somewhere, I guess.

I don’t care if it’s a hurricane or inhumanity by man, politics exists in everything. Hell, if you signed online petitions to honor a right-winger-turned-humanitarian with a day at city hall, or you want to name a highway that floods all the time after a humanitarian football star who raised $20 million for flood victims, well, congrats, you just got involved in politics. So, maybe it’s time for something meaningful?

Since Trump has punted to Congress on this, the DREAM Act of 2017 is now in conversations. And about how there is bipartisan support for DACA amongst the voters. But what about the people the voters elected?

Back in 2010, and I’ll always remind you, when Democrats were in charge of the White House, the Senate, and the House, we came up short in the vote. Specifially, in the US Senate. 60 votes were needed to support the DREAM Act of 2010, but a 55-41 vote killed it. And I will also remind you that five Democrats voted against, while three (3) Republicans voted for it. (I guess this counts for bipartisan?) And one Democrat, an announced NO vote, didn’t bother to show up.

So, of the five “NO” Democrats, four now go by the title of “former” US Senator (Hagan, Baucus, Pryor, and Nelson). Left are the beloved by lib-labs Jon Tester of Montana and Joe Manchin (the NO no-show). Has anyone checked on these guys as they check to see how many Republican votes are needed?

So, I’ll be asked why I don’t just criticize the Republicans. Well, hell, I’ve been anti-Republican all of my life, as were my parents, and their parents. I know what to expect from Republicans. In the peak of my most recent Democratic involvement, unfortunately, I spent more time fighting with Democratic apologists for anti-immigrant Dems, or worse, Dems who used the issue for their political benefit, reminders of whom would cause some great Facebook fights.

2.5 million deportations, hundreds of thousands warehoused in private prisons, millions of families affected, and a continued broken immigration system later, nothing has changed. And it’s really tough to be hopeful under a meaner regime with their own majorities. But there’s always hope, right?

Which is why this next fight should be led by the DACA/DREAMer activists themselves. Not the corporate-funded national Latino and immigration groups, not Democratic groups, not Mark Zuckerberg, or any 2020 hopefuls. The Activists. The same activists who called out President Obama for years, who pressured him to finally sign the DACA order after he denied he could for so long. The same activists who fought in 2010 and the ones coming up the leadership pipeline since then. The ones who fought for what was right, and not for political expediency. And the rest of us should follow, fund, and support them.

PS – My last post on the topic, I mentioned that Republicans would remind us that President Obama had failed to pass the DREAM Act in 2010. Well, guess who reminded us?

Update:  Kuff doesn’t like what’s going on, either.

 

Trump Leaves DACA Alone For Now

trumpfamilycrossing950

Credit:  Lalo Alcaraz

 

The Trump campaign-turned-administration has perfected the way it instills fear in communities. Of course, the fear has created plenty of activists who will hopefully remain committed to a multitude of issues utilized by Trump to gain enough votes in a few states to win the electoral vote.  Monday was a stressful day for DACA beneficiaries–numbering about 750,000 nationally. By mid-afternoon, it seemed Trump left Obama’s executive order which created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals alone.

Even his COS Priebus and his alternative mouthpiece Spicer seemed to try to calm pro-migrant forces a bit by stating that the priority is “criminal” immigrants. Cesar Espinosa, ED of FIEL, a local immigrant rights group, asked, “What is ‘criminal?'”

The Obama administration used the same kind of program to deport 3 million and warehouse thousands more in private prisons. Early on, the majority of deportees were convicted of low-grade, non-deportable crimes, but were still sent to home countries, breaking up families, and affecting local economies. Now, with 750,000 DACA lives hanging in the balance, hundreds of thousands more of their parents, and millions more who are simply working and contributing to their communities waiting for Trump’s next move, there’s more fear and stress in the community.

The lack of action by Trump today didn’t provide much comfort. Activists, though, are looking to leadership at the local level.

The newly elected Sheriff of Travis County, Sally Hernandez announced her department would not cooperate with the Trump administration and has earned the ire of Greg Abbott who has gotten really good at making threats about funding. El Paso’s Democratic Sheriff, on the other hand, has decided to cooperate with Trump because he fears losing grant money.

Locally, activists await action from new Sheriff Ed Gonzalez. Gonzalez promised to rid the department of 287g, an immigrant removal program which provides grant money to the department. Since taking office, he hasn’t mentioned anything about that promise, and already there is the start of a movement requesting action from him and Mayor Sylvester Turner.

It’s only Day 5 and real issues are now being discussed. And we also have the Texas Lege to deal with who are bringing out multiple cans of crazy. Let’s stay focused.

Executive Action/Admin Relief Watch Parties – Houston

 
November 20, 2014
 
Own The DREAM Admin Relief Watch Party
1900 Kane St., Houston, TX 77007
6pm
 
Mi Familia Vota’s Immigration Action Watch Party
4124 Telephone Road, Houston, TX 77087
6PM
 
FIEL Watch Party
6610 Harwin, Houston, TX 77036
6PM
 
Also…
 
Neighborhood Centers Inc. will be hosting two live watch parties. One at our Leonel Castillo Community Center (2101 South St, 77009), and another at our Baker – Ripley Neighborhood Center (6500 Rookin, 77074).
 
 

 

Executive Action Will Be Announced Thursday; What Should We Expect?

president_signingWell, everyone seems to be guessing, but the overall prediction is that President Obama will act to defer deportations for a few million undocumented folks and he will announce his plan on Thursday. Which undocumented folks from the 11 million, you ask? There’s nothing official, but most outlets are stating the following:

Administration officials say a key part of the announcement will be allowing the parents of American citizens, who are undocumented immigrants themselves, to remain in the United States without the threat of deportation. That would include the parents of legal residents, but not the parents of children eligible for delayed deportation under a rule Obama enacted in 2012.

Up to 3.6 million people would be affected by that change, according to an estimate from the Migration Policy Institute, though the figures are smaller if Obama’s announcement includes a minimum number of years spent in the country.

Mandating parents live in the U.S. for at least 5 years before becoming eligible would bring the number affected to 3.3 million; a 10-year minimum would bring it down further to an estimated 2.5 million people.

In other words, in this scenario, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals would not be offered to the parents of DACA beneficiaries. On the other hand, undocumented parents of legal residents  will be offered deferred deportation. I figure this much has been said in order to lower expectations, although, this blogger has supported including parents of DACA beneficiaries as a means of keeping families united. Over 500,000 have benefited from DACA since 2012.

In regards to DACA, though, it could be the case that President Obama will increase the age cut-off to offer more deferrals under that program.

Officials also said the plan could include a stronger focus on deporting criminals who are undocumented immigrants and an expansion of worker visas in areas like technology.

Obviously, the tech work visas will make Silicon Valley happy, but putting the focus on the original intent of deportation programs, such as Secure Communities, is long overdue. It is said that a huge portion–some say over half–of the Obama administration’s deportations in the last six years have been of people who did not have a criminal record. President Obama recently stated that the United States has been deporting people who shouldn’t be deported.

It should be noted that whatever is announced will not affect a person’s immigration status. It is by no means “amnesty,” since beneficiaries will not have the vast majority of rights as legal residents or citizens.

Obviously, we will not know until the announcement is made. I’ve kept my  expectations low.  Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson has stated as much that this announcement will include “border security” efforts.

Above all, the legislative battles will continue; the Republican vitriol will surely increase; and there will surely be some confusion along the way. The best source will ultimately be the White House and Jeh Johnson’s people, since the media will likely be less of an informational source for those who need the information. Or, they could try to prove me wrong.

We still need a permanent solution that includes those basic tenets as family unification, deportation reform, and end to family detention, and a fix to the “legal” immigration system.

The President announces on Thursday, November 20, at 7PM.

 

March 15: Own The Dream DACA Clinic

Own The Dream is a national campaign whose focus is to connect undocumented youth to available resources in their communities. The organization provides free assistance for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applicants, and also works with school counselors and teachers on how to better communicate with the undocumented community in their schools regarding higher education opportunities.

Local organizers, Oscar Hernandez and Carolina Ramirez, know first-hand the challenges that the undocumented community experiences, especially the misinformation that can spread locally and in the schools. So, OTD is definitely a welcome resource in Houston.

Own The Dream will be hosting a DACA Clinic on March 15 at Cleveland Ripley Center in Pasadena. You may register online for the clinic here. Below is a printable flyer. (click on image to enlarge)

OTD Clinic Flyer -English

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One-Year of DACA

Last week, I had the honor of speaking to one of my favorite Democratic clubs, the Kingwood Area Democrats. While the Democratic/National Latino Organization narrative has been one of support for Senate Bill 744 (which sits idle in the U.S. House), the Republican narrative has been the same old negative vitriol.

The dissonance can be frustrating for those who truly support immigration reform. In the case of my visit to KAD, I chose to offer a little truth about Senate Bill 744–that not only is it not a perfect bill, as President Obama has told us, but it is quite imperfect. My colleague Rey Guerra also writes about this, and we look forward to posting the second part of his series on S.744.

No doubt, the one bright spot in the last couple of years has been Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an executive order for DHS to defer the deportation proceedings of undocumented children. Some of these kids may otherwise qualify for a future DREAM type act. Unfortunately, Republicans have called it a “back-door Amnesty,” which it is not. And Democrats have compared it to the DREAM Act, which it definitely is not. (The Kingwood article in which I am quoted state DREAM Act, but I actually was talking about DACA in that instance).

All DACA does is bring these undocumented children out of the shadows, allowing them a work permit or the opportunity to continue their studies without fear of deportation for a two-year period. It is not a cure, it is not an amnesty,  it does not include any type of family reunification (the foundation of immigration in the US), and, there is one big problem.

The problem is that it is quite political in that many of those who were applying last year were literally praying for an Obama victory because there was no promise from Romney to continue the program. If anything Romney was non-committal and caught with his pants down with his whole “self deportation” scheme. And if immigration reform does not happen, what then? Pray for Hillary Clinton victory so that these kids can remain in limbo?

The result has been over half-a-million applicants for DACA, with over 70% of them having been approved. Only 1 percent have been denied for various reasons. The Brookings Institute provides some facts on DACA. Back to the political aspect of this, there are well over 800,000 children who may be DREAM-eligible, so that means a few hundred thousand have not applied for DACA, perhaps because of financial restraints or a preference for a more permanent plan like the actual DREAM Act.

What this proves is that an effective process of providing the 11 million undocumented a path out of the shadows toward legalization and ultimately citizenship is administratively possible. It would be a given with a better investment into the legal immigration system.

Instead, s.744 forces folks to the back of a line that doesn’t move, thus leaving people in a second class status. As I’ve stated before, it is currently a back of a line that does not move, and there isn’t much political determination to truly improve the infrastructure that would allow the line to start moving at a faster pace.

As my sister, Toni Medellin, states in her presentation, there are those in the “legal” immigration system being processed for a green card who applied back in 1992. This is not a working system; if anything, it is archaic and quite broken.

So, while many celebrate DACA and a temporary deferral of deportation proceedings, we must keep in mind that the bigger system under President Obama has already deported over 1.7 million immigrants. And this Congressional recess has around 40,000 more immigrants scheduled for deportation.

Let’s just contemplate that while we continue to break apart S.744. Because we are still of the opinion that America can do much better than what is being offered.