By Lizzette Arias, Executive Director, Dream Project
Since last summer DACA recipients have suffered the anxiety, the political attacks, and the uncertainty around DACA. We always knew DACA, our saving grace, was temporary, but still we rejoiced and celebrated this program that magically fixed our lives.
A driver’s license, airplane trips, in-state tuition, and a sense of security and stability — we welcomed these with open arms.
But since September 5, 2017, DACA has been dead. Immigrant advocates have attempted to revive it. Some attempts were almost perfect: so strategic, so realistic, that we almost believed DACA would survive the long haul.
But we cannot personify DACA as if it were a breathing being. DACA is an idea, a promise, a success story. If it were a lone person, it would be even easier for our opponents to attack and vilify it. So today as we waited for updates from the Texas court decision, I realized what is so dangerous about DACA, and why DACA threatens those who want to destroy it.
It is not that it was successful at helping the U.S. economy. It is not that it benefits immigrants. It is not that it embodies what the U.S. stands for at its core.
No. DACA is a danger because it does not breathe alone. It is an idea that empowered 800,000+ individuals. It is the fulfilled promise of our parents — that one day we would be better off than they were. It is the success story of thousands of undocumented folks grasping the American dream.
A chant in the movement goes, “No somos uno, no somos cien, somos milliones, cuentenos bien,” which translates to, “We are not one, we are not one hundred, we are millions, count us carefully.”
DACA the program is on life support, battered and at death’s door. DACA the idea, the promise, and the success it engendered cannot be killed, for it occupies 800,000 sets of lungs and millions of minds eager to win once and for all.
So here is to Monday. Whatever the court says, whatever the administration does, it does not matter for we’ve already won. DACA, within our empowered and powerful selves, lives on.
What to do about DACA now?
For DACA recipients: If your DACA expires before 2020, and you’ve had DACA in the past, you can submit an application for renewal NOW. Check out United We Dream website for additional information.
For DACA Supporters: Support immigrant youth through a contribution to the Dream Project .