A round-up of today's news: the resistance continues


DACA: 'hostage' to the White House agenda 

Today was the deadline for renewals of some 154,000 DACA recipients. And as anxiety ramps up on the fate of these and all DACA recipients, and all undocumented, we are hearing numerous news reports that the White House and some members of Congress intend to hold DACA "hostage" to support for increased border enforcement, including funding for "the wall", cuts to legal immigration and other punitive and anti-immigrant proposals as part of a rumored legislative deal.

President Trump has thrown to Congress the challenge to address the DACA issue legislatively -- certainly with the knowledge that the basis of DACA, the "Dream" bills, have never been approved by the entire Congress since the first version was introduced in 2001. Nonetheless, March 5, 2018 looms as a large target for action -- the six month "drop dead" date for ending DACA.

NNIRR condemns the President's inhumane decision to end this valuable program, which has provided an opportunity -- even if temporary -- for over 800,000 DACA recipients to attend school, work and get on with their lives without the constant threat of arrest and deportation.

On Sept. 5, the Trump Administration had announced its decision to end DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), the program created by President Obama's executive action in 2012. The anticipated decision set off protest actions in cities across the country and has fueled concerns for the safety of DACA recipients and their families, including a call to delete the DACA database given the concerns that the data can be accessed across agencies and place millions of people at risk for raids and deportations.

This week, members of Congress again requested an extension of the renewal deadline, which applied to those recipients whose DACA would expire between Sept. 5 and March 5, 2018, when the program is set to end. The extension has been sought by hundreds of organizations, businesses, and other congressional members, noting that many recipients may not be able to renew in time nor be able to pay the $495 renewal fee. 

In Congress, House Democrats have been circulating a "discharge petition" aimed at bringing the bipartisan Dream Act of 2017 to the floor for consideration. Support from Republican members is still being sought.

NNIRR met with Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) in Washington, DC, last week. Rep. Lofgren, a longtime progressive congressional voice on immigration and ranking member of the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, was adamantly against compromises on the back of the Dream Act that would create a "reign of terror" for immigrant communities. (In photo below, NNIRR ED Catherine Tactaquin and Board chair Eduardo Canales of the South Texas Human Rights Center join recent protest at White House against Trump's "Muslim Ban 3.0")

This isn't the first time we have seen proposals for relief from deportation combined with anti-immigrant proposals in an attempt to gain bipartisan support. The last major immigration reform proposal that provided legalization for some 4 million undocumented immigrants --  the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) -- was a compromise based on that "carrot and the stick" approach. Recent versions of "comprehensive immigration reform" proposals have been similarly cobbled together. Unfortunately, the positive elements in such proposals seem to have deteriorated in each subsequent version just as dangerous provisions become even meaner.

The immigrant rights movement, bolstered by an expanded base of supporters and allies, is ready to fight on several fronts to defend DACA and its recipients, who have declared, "We are here to stay."

DACA recipients are being encouraged to understand their options and numerous know-your-rights and informative documents are available from trusted legal and community advocates.

Click here for more information on DACA, the Dream Act of 2017, and other resources. 

Some good news for the day...

California Governor Jerry Brown just signed into law SB 54, the "California Values Act", which built upon the landmark Trust Act to help protect California immigrant residents from deportations.

Immigrant communities around the state led the fight for the bill, which is considered a "foundation" for greater justice; it continues to build community and state-level resistance to the White House attacks against the growing "sanctuary" movement among communities, institutions and local and state governments. The California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC) has provided a detailed analysis of the bill, which, among other provisions, does away with several local deportation practices, such as local police arrests for "civil immigrant warrants", and it helps to ensure that spaces like schools, health facilities, courthouses and other spaces are safe and accessible. See the graphic chart on the bill here.

And some bad...

The House Homeland Security Committee has just approved the "McCaul border bill" to fund Trump's border wall construction and hire 10,000 more Border patrol agents and customs officers. HR 3548, the Border Security for America Act, authorizes $10 billion for the wall, and $5 billion for more agents in what Rep. Benny Thompson (D-MS) described as a "boondoggle" that would also lead to more government action to seize private land for wall construction. The vote in the committee was along party lines, 18-12.

In the meantime, the border wall prototypes are going up near San Diego. The big, ugly concrete slabs are the first of eight wall "models" selected as a consideration for "the wall" although funding has not been secured, and clearly, Mexico is not going to pay for it. Here's an info piece on "types of border wall". (Photo by US Customs & Border Patrol/Twitter)

The resistance IS continuing! Thank you for your support, solidarity and action!

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