How do we deal with the threat to DACA, brought about by Donald Trump?
Let’s look back at the sit-ins, Freedom Rides, and voting rights efforts in the Civil Rights Movement in the early 1960s. Faced with the immorality of segregation, thousands of people put their bodies out front and, in many cases, their lives on the line and undertook DIRECT action. Breaking immoral laws (but, as Dr. King insisted, taking the consequences and going to jail), they forced all of America to look at the distance between a Jim Crow legal structure and historical American values. And we triumphed!
With that history in mind, I think we should confront the DACA situation with two steps:
- Bring every possible public and private institution into a “sanctuary” status. Every individual church, school, University, NGO headquarters, big-box store, community center, hospital should declare themselves open to PHYSICALLY protect our Dreamers. It follow that every single one of us has a local focus to organize our own organization, church, University, place of work, city government, condo building to designate a PHYSICAL space to house 1, 10, or 50 (a college dormitory) Dreamers as deportation threatens.
- And then comes the hard part: Again, with a local focus, organize our own organization members, church parishioners, campus, co-workers, government officials, and neighbors to be prepared to PHYSICALLY surround the sanctuary to “prevent” arrests of Dreamers and, if necessary, be willing to be arrested themselves. As with the sit-ins and Freedom Riders, imagine the media and political impact of ICE agents arresting all those PHYSICALLY protecting our Dreamers! The movement would spread and go viral/spiral!
Millions of hard-working and (now) American neighbors are incredibly fearful of the threatened deportations. Junior high and high school students don’t walk out of school to join (or lead) protest marches without having been brought to a crisis point. They need our help—and need it NOW!
All progressive Americans and organizations must join together to protect our Dreamers. Even, and especially, those of us that who are not specifically threatened with any deportation. And when we are successful, imagine the impact of such a coalition on other ongoing struggles (single payer health care, Black Lives Matter, climate change, education equality, LGBT rights, campaign finance reform, good paying jobs for all, and on and on and on! The DACA crisis is today’s fight—and joining together to protect our American Dreamers will make us all stronger tomorrow.