Another attack on the DACA program, undocumented workers tired of breadcrumbs

On October 5, the New Orleans Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declared the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program unlawful, agreeing with the initial statement by Texas-based U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen. The Fifth Circuit Court did not end DACA, but sent it back to the district court for review. So, what does this mean? For the time being, individuals who already have DACA can renew their applications and are recommended to do so as soon as possible. There are, however, no new DACA applications being granted at the moment. This can change at any moment, especially if Congress and Biden sit back and let it be taken away.

DACA rally SF. Photo: NiskanenCenter

Nearly 600,000 so-called “dreamers” have an active status through DACA allowing them to legally work, drive and have temporary safety from deportation. However, there are over 11 million undocumented people living in the U.S. with no protection whatsoever. The DACA program came out of the Dream ACT that was promised by the Obama Administration. The original Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act was introduced in 2001 and has fluctuated with different versions of the bill in the last 20 years. The only semi-concrete program that came out of it was DACA from an Executive Order through Obama. Even that has not been anywhere near enough for the undocumented community. We will no longer sit back and take the breadcrumbs that the ruling class throws at us!

“The DACA program for me started as a hopeful and energizing opportunity. Now, the program gets tossed around political chairs only provoking anxiety and uncertainty about our lives and futures. It’s absurd to expect people to brush this off and continue their work and school endeavors as our lives are being decided on by political bodies that have never cared. DACA is the bare minimum. All immigrants are deserving of so much more than a tremulous temporary protection.” — M, Dreamer, Organizer

The root cause of migration

Nearly 80% of DACA recipients are from Mexico. Many are also from Central America and South America. Other migrants are from Korea, India and other nations across the world. When conservative politicians talk about immigration and deporting “illegal aliens,” they never mention why immigration from Latin America increased exponentially in the 1990s and 2000s. The neoliberal policies that plagued Mexico and Latin America in general impoverished the working and rural classes creating the migration crisis we still see today. The “Dirty Wars” in Central America funded and trained by U.S. forces caused hundreds of thousands of Guatemalans, Hondurans, Salvadorans and Nicaraguans to leave their homelands to escape the bloodshed that the U.S. ruling class had funded and overseen. Trade agreements, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, only served multinational companies that were allowed to further exploit workers in Mexico through the heavy liberalization and privatization of Mexico’s industries. The unemployment, poverty and violence that followed are the root causes of so called “illegal immigration.”

“It’s almost been 10 years since I’ve had DACA, having to file renewal after renewal not knowing if the next day I’ll have the right to work to provide for myself and family. Yet, there are other immigrants who don’t even have that right because DACA stopped accepting applications and their futures sit in the hands of politicians that don’t view our rights as priority, because if they did, something would have been done years ago. This isn’t enough anymore.” — Griselda, Dreamer

Global capitalism and globalization have almost single handedly created the migration crisis in Latin America, criminalizing the migrants who have no choice but to “illegally” enter the United States. Who are the real criminals? The poor working-class families who seek a better future, or the rich capitalists who exploit these developing nations and then lobby for politicians to pass bills that further impoverish and criminalize migrants in America?

The future of DACA

The ruling class knows exactly what they are doing as stated clearly in the judge’s opinion from the Oct. 5 ruling. Conservative Chief Judge Priscilla Richman stated, “DACA creates a new class of otherwise removable aliens who may obtain lawful presence, work authorization, and associated benefits … Congress determined which aliens can receive these benefits, and it did not include DACA recipients among them.”

The language of describing these people as “removable aliens” is indicative of how the ruling class feels about undocumented workers. They exploit our labor and do everything in their power to keep us in the shadows so the working class cannot organize in fear of deportation. We say enough is enough!

“My entire life I’ve been told to be hopeful in the government and that change will happen for us that are undocumented. Keeping hope is hard when this country constantly threatens my life here in the U.S. DACA is not enough and it angers me to see my people continue to struggle in this country when all they want is a better life. The two parties can’t put their differences aside and realize that they’re literally playing with people’s lives. At this point, I’ve learned to become numb to any news regarding DACA.”— Renata, Dreamer

They don’t mind exploiting the undocumented working class, forcing them to work for the bare minimum in inhumane living conditions in the industrial, agricultural, service and other economic sectors of the United States. But whenever workers and organizers begin asking for more than breadcrumbs, they risk the chance of deportation. Give the undocumented working class legalization so they can organize!

“The limbo status the DACA program continues to be put on, has numbed me into a point of expecting the worst-case scenario. We are tired of the constant fear of uncertainty.” — P, Dreamer

It seems likely that the future of DACA will be left up to the Supreme Court next year, if the Biden administration files an appeal. If this happens it is almost certain that the DACA program will be terminated by the conservative-majority Supreme Court, leaving almost 600,000 people without work permits or drivers licenses, facing deportation. The Biden administration ran on a platform that promised to provide a pathway to citizenship for “dreamers.” Yet, Biden has done nothing but political performances to increase his approval ratings.

The Democrat-majority Congress has also done nothing to help the undocumented community. For decades the promise of citizenship for undocumented individuals has been used as a political bargaining chip and nothing else. They do not care about the lives they are playing with, so why should we wait any longer for them to make up their minds? This is just another attempt by the ruling class to further strip workers and oppressed people of their rights. The question is, are we going to just accept it? Or are we going to organize and fight back?

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