OPINION: DREAMers May Be Safe For Now, But Our Families Aren’t

Lead Photo: CNS photo/Shawn Thew/EPA
CNS photo/Shawn Thew/EPA
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Looking at Facebook this week, I saw some of my fellow DREAMers with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) expressing relief that, in the recent Department of Homeland Security memos targeting immigrant communities, DACA was not repealed. But no one should be feeling relief. And all of us need to resist.

Our communities are under attack in a way that we have never seen in our lifetimes. The Trump administration keeps targeting our community—our parents, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters who don’t have the privilege that we DACA recipients have. And under his control, ICE has also started detaining DREAMers like Daniel Ramirez in Seattle and making up “criminal” reasons to deport them.

Deportations of any of our family members devastate our families. Take Evelyn Rivera, whose mother got deported while taking her daughter to school. Evelyn had to walk the stage at her high school graduation knowing that her mom was not present at one of the most important moments of her life. When Evelyn got married, her mother could only attend via Skype. Our parents should have the opportunity to fix their status. They work hard, they pay taxes (local and federal), and they should never be treated as second-class citizens.

But it’s clear that Donald Trump has no interest in fixing our broken immigration system. Instead, he plans to do everything he can to criminalize and deport our parents. The administration isn’t doing away with DACA for now to keep us—and members of the public who see us as the “good” immigrants—from protesting.

We cannot wait until they take away our work permits to react. We have to stand up now for our families and communities.

We have to remember the days and nights that our moms and dads had to work in snow, rain, and extreme weather to provide a home and a plate of food for us. They made the sacrifice to leave their loved ones for us. Many of them, like my parents, had to cross not just one border, but two, risking their lives for our future.

My parents came to this country in search of a better life for me. It is because of them that I will be the first one in my family to graduate from college. For 12 years, they contributed to the economy of this country and to its culture. As a result of working 12 hours per day, they developed chronic pain in their bodies. And they eventually had to make the very difficult choice of going back to Mexico, while I decided to stay to finish my education.

Now that they are back in Mexico, one of my parents’ greatest hopes for me is that one day I will be able to travel back and forth. They hope, too, that when they pass away, I will be able to visit them. When he lived in the US, my father could not visit his dying parents, because he would not have been able to return to his family. This story repeats itself across the country, where we and our parents are not able to travel and see our loved ones for the last time.

Our mothers and fathers made so many sacrifices for us, and it is the time for us to stand with them–and to never give into the public shaming of them for the sacrifices they made for us.

No one should feel relieved that Trump has kept DACA for now. (And no, it is not safe to apply for the first time.) Certainly, no one should be celebrating. Today they are coming for our parents. Tomorrow they could come for us.

We need to resist with every ounce of our power, and that starts now.