“As we stand up to defend DACA let’s ensure we don’t reinforce a false narrative and dichotomy of the so called deserving and undeserving immigrant. We cannot forget children and youth whose immigration status has been complicated due to criminalization. I have witnessed young people that I was working with catch a case in the injustice system and get deported from their families and home”— George Galvis, Executive Director, CURYJ
Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice stands with the 800,000 people who have lost protections with the end of DACA. Eliminating DACA is a blow to our communities, widening the vulnerability of undocumented community members by stripping them of documentation to work, and leaving them exposed to the dangers of exploitation and the incarceration-to-deportation pipeline.
It was young people from immigrant families who fought for DACA and won; The power of their organizing is not diminished or forgotten. We also acknowledge that there are over 11 million people living in the US who never had access to DACA and millions more who fight for their human dignity beyond profitability, beyond “legality” beyond “innocence” in this country everyday. To these communities, we say: We are one. We will move as one.
As we press forward, we know that larger change must take place in order for all immigrants to be protected and respected in this country. The practice of carving out certain groups from basic rights creates a space for the oppressive system to divide and conquer us. By uplifting the “model minority” as the only way to be deserving of living here in peace, we disown people and communities who are most victim to the racist and unjust tactics of our government. At CURYJ we know the power of solidarity across lived experiences and family circumstances.
We remember that this country is stolen native land. We remember that many of the so called “immigrants” being targeted today, are in fact indigenous to this land. We remember that foreign US policy has left families and continues to leave families in other countries with no other options but to flee. Their American dream is deferred because immigrant families are vulnerable to systemic violence, especially those who are working low wage jobs, living in impoverished conditions and have had contact with the criminal injustice system. We know that the criminalization, incarceration and deportation of people in our neighborhoods perpetuates family separation and the lack of education opportunities and basic needs for entire generations of black and brown communities living in the U.S.
Who is to decide who deserves protection over another in this country? We strongly oppose the culture that has communities of color fighting each other for a seat at the table… We will not be silent while masses of people are told that their dreams don’t matter. We dream beyond the bars that incarcerate our people. We act, organize and advocate beyond the labels of “immigrant,” “illegal” and “criminal.” We take up the fight that stands for ALL communities in this country, from those who are locked up to those who are constantly running, looking for home.
What happens if we give into the constant branding of our communities as undeserving of basic needs and dignity? Who will be branded next? We brand the illness of the Trump regime, the symptoms of this white supremacist society, as the criminals, as the foreigners, as undeserving of our cooperation. We battle their toxic rhetoric and actions with our resiliency. We defend our community members through awareness and intentional organizing, for protections for all immigrants and indigenous people in this land.
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