How to Help DACA Recipients

The Trump administration has just announced that it intends to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. The policy suspended immigration proceedings for qualified applicants, though it did not create a path to residency status.

DACA, which originated in 2012 under President Obama, will now stop accepting new applications, winding down over the next six months.

Nearly 800,000 people have achieved protections under DACA and these individuals are understandably worried about their future right now. Fortunately, those interested in working in solidarity have a lot of opportunities to make their voices heard and advocate for immigrants in America.

In a nutshell, DACA extends to people who came to the U.S. as children without adequate immigration documentation. To qualify, they need to be over age 16 and under 31, with continuous residence in the country since 2007. The program offers “deferred action,” not amnesty — people need to meet DACA standards and follow a series of steps to avoid deportation.

While Trump suggested that he would honor DACA during his campaign, the president has clearly gone back on his word. Now, the government has a detailed database of undocumented immigrants that it could theoretically use to identify targets for deportation.

President Obama condemned the move on Tuesday morning, joined by a bipartisan chorus. Trump’s DACA repeal leaves open one obvious path to fixing the problem, and it lies with Congress.

1. Call your legislators

First, call your senators. Tell them you want them to support Senators Lindsey Graham and Dick Durbin’s bipartisan DREAM Act, which provides a path to citizenship. These legislators are pushing Congress for a vote, so contact your lawmakers and tell them you’re on board.

The DREAM Act would keep families together, allow people to continue educational and professional development and avert catastrophic policy that could cost the United States billions of dollars. Immigrants offer a net positive to American society, and creating paths to legal residency and citizenship makes everyone safer.

Next, call your representative. Tell them you support Colorado Republican Mike Coffman’s BRIDGE Act, which would create a three-year DACA extension and leave breathing room for Congress to develop meaningful immigration reform.

Even if you — or your representative — believe that entry to the U.S. should be more restricted, ending DACA will create expensive chaos. It’s simply not an efficient use of government resources. Hitting the brakes provides time to develop thoughtful, beneficial immigration reform.

2. Call your state representatives

New York is threatening to sue over DACA, and it likely won’t be the only state to take this issue to court. Urge your state legislators to push for a similar suit. In addition, ask them about specific actions they can take to protect immigrants, including creating a “sanctuary state” designation to protect undocumented people from immigration reprisals.

3. Contact local officials

Even if you live in a self-designated “sanctuary city,” get clarification on what that means. If you don’t, press city officials to develop a sanctuary program. Ask about specific resources and support for DACA beneficiaries, many of whom are frantically trying to find immigration help.

This can include: handing out information pamphlets, funding immigration hotlines in coordination with local groups and creating a designated fund to assist with legal costs.

4. Support immigrant rights organizations

Across the country, local, state and national immigration rights groups are providing pro bono legal services, outreach and education. But that work is costly. If you have funds to contribute, consider donating. If you have skills — including knowledge about immigration law — contact them to volunteer.

Some groups defending immigrant rights include: Immigrant Defense ProjectBlack Alliance for Just Immigration; National Immigration Law Center; United We DreamFamilies for FreedomCouncil on American-Islamic Relations; Mariposas Sin FronterasImmigrant Legal Resource Center; and many others.

5. Take it to the streets

Marches and other actions are rolling out across the country to protest the end of DACA and demand protection for immigrants. If you’re white, it’s especially important to turn out in solidarity, as your presence can shield people who may be vulnerable to harassment from law enforcement. It’s important to note that some people may be unable to march because the safety risks are too great, so exercising your privilege to boost numbers and make it clear that you care about these issues is incredibly valuable.

Take Action!

Stand up for immigrant rights and demand that members of Congress pass the bipartisan DREAM Act by signing this Care2 petition.

Photo credit: Annette Bernhardt

62 comments

Kathryn I
Kathryn I8 days ago

Petition signed! Thanks!

SEND
Stephanie s
Stephanie s12 days ago

Shared. Thank you

SEND
Stephanie s
Stephanie s12 days ago

Shared. Thank you

SEND
Janet B
Janet B16 days ago

Thanks

SEND
Janis K
Janis K16 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

SEND
Freya H
Freya H16 days ago

I'm with you, Bill Eagle! I am sick of all those trolls that slither out of their caves, take whatever they find in their diapers, and smear it all over Care2. Would that Irma, Jose, and any other storms would blow them off Care2 for once and all. Granted, people have a right to express their opinions, but not when they have no idea what they are talking about or when they are just being snarky and mean. (And I may have to plead guilty to this myself!)

SEND
Lorraine Andersen

Good Luck to Cruel Justice who says she is in Irma's path. I have to agree with Kay M, that these are the hard working, educated people. Why would you want to deport them?

SEND
Nita L
Nita L17 days ago

Signed petition and have called and written my reps. Thank you.

SEND
Glennis Whitney
Glennis W17 days ago

Hope all this stupidity can be overturned Deplorable Thump. Thank you for caring and sharing

SEND
Glennis Whitney
Glennis W17 days ago

Despicable Thump RESIST Thank you for caring and sharing

SEND