When DOJ Director, Jeff Sessions, announced the closeout of the DACA program, it was not a surprise. But it still sent a shock wave through the Dreamers’ community, that had been hoping until the last minute that facts, common sense, or compassion would win a reprieve.
Response was immediate in Santa Clara County, with a late morning Press Conference at the Martin Luther King Library in downtown San Jose, and followed by an afternoon march and a Candlelight Protest in Mt. View. Even with the short notice, an amazing array of people of different ages, nationalities and ethnic groups gathered together to comfort and support the Dreamers and each other,
There were declarations of resistance and re-commitments of solidarity, mixed with confusion and sadness. This decision was made in spite of overwhelming documentation that the DACA program had benefited everyone. 800,000 Dreamers had come out of the shadows and were living lives with opportunities to gain education, better jobs and higher wages (which were in turn spent in their home communities). But just as important, they were granted the privilege that native born Americans have without earning it – the freedom to live without the constant threat of separation from their families, friends and everything they have built.
The majority of Americans can only wonder at the logic of excluding 800,000 young and motivated people from an aging society – one that already sees its workforce declining as baby-boomers age out. If this intention is carried out, the future will be diminished for everyone. The misconception that immigrants (particularly the Dreamers), are a drain on society, will show as DACA authorizations begin to expire. Each month, thousands of workers, students, parents, and members of faith based institutions will disappear, taking with them their energy, creativity and enthusiasm.
When the fate of DACA was announced. local politicians were joined by Dreamers and their advocates (long term as well as newly created) to prepare for a long battle. These photo slide shows from September 5th convey the diversity and determination of the Dreamers and the people who gathered to remind them that they are seen, they are valued and they are not alone.