We are an immigrant family: My daughter was adopted from Vietnam when she was an infant and we went through an enormous amount of uncertainty before securing her entry into the United States and her citizenship. I was also undocumented for a period of time and thankfully now for 20 plus years, a naturalized United States citizen. Thereafter my ex, (also foreign born) and I were subjected to indescribable agony when The Defense of Marriage Act precluded us from equality under the immigration law, and we came within hours of our own “Sophie’s choice.” I work with asylum seekers, each and every day. I understand the fear and the abject trauma when one puts all of ones love, hope and life into a country. The Dreamers did more than that – they had no choice….
This is personal to me – not only because we are an immigrant family having suffered enormous hardship on this path – but also because as most Americans do, whether immigrants or not, we know what is right:
As President Obama said today:
But today, that shadow has been cast over some of our best and brightest young people once again. To target these young people is wrong – because they have done nothing wrong. It is self-defeating – because they want to start new businesses, staff our labs, serve in our military, and otherwise contribute to the country we love. And it is cruel. What if our kid’s science teacher, or our friendly neighbor turns out to be a Dreamer? Where are we supposed to send her? To a country she doesn’t know or remember, with a language she may not even speak?
It is precisely because this action is contrary to our spirit, and to common sense, that business leaders, faith leaders, economists, and Americans of all political stripes called on the administration not to do what it did today. And now that the White House has shifted its responsibility for these young people to Congress, it’s up to Members of Congress to protect these young people and our future. I’m heartened by those who’ve suggested that they should. And I join my voice with the majority of Americans who hope they step up and do it with a sense of moral urgency that matches the urgency these young people feel.
Just as he did with his suspension of the entire U.S. refugee program I do not think that Donald Trump has the remotest clue about how the action of dumping DACA impacts and effects the lives of people -not 800,000 as a group, but 800,000, one by one, each with their own unique story – and how this further impacts their families and friends and employers and organizations and the states and the country as a whole.
My ‘infant’ daughter is now a junior at NYU and today, after Attorney General Jeff Sessions did Trump’s dirty bidding – announcing that 800,000 young Dreamers, one by one, would be robbed of their DACA, NYU reached out:
Dear Members of the NYU Community,
As I suspect is the case for many of you, I was profoundly disappointed by the Trump Administration’s announcement today rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This was an issue that cried out to be decided differently — a missed opportunity to display decency, to show compassion, and to demonstrate that it is at odds with our national values to make young people fearful of being deported from the country they grew up in and call home.
Without congressional action, DACA will expire on March 5, 2018. As negotiations over a potential legislative solution begin in earnest in Congress, NYU will continue to make sure its voice on this issue is heard loudly and clearly. On our own, as well as working with the national higher education associations, we will be pressing Members of Congress to move quickly over the coming weeks to identify a solution that will protect those currently covered by DACA. We will also closely follow the developments in the courts challenging today’s announcement, and will add our weight to those actions where we can.
Regardless of today’s announcement, NYU is committed to fully supporting our DACA students. We will continue to provide financial aid to undocumented students as before, and will work with students on a case-by-case basis to try to address any other issues that may arise as a result of today’s action.
Rest assured that NYU’s Department of Public Safety officers will continue neither to ask about the immigration status of those on our campus, nor will they convey an individual’s status to any other governmental entity. Similarly, the University will provide no information to immigration authorities about members of our community absent a court order, and stand prepared to fight any court orders we believe to be overly broad or invasive.
For the immediate future, I want to remind any undocumented members of our community of two things.
First, remember that NYU’s Immigrant Defense Initiative provides free legal advice, referrals, and/or representation on immigration issues to NYU students, staff, and faculty. Members of the NYU community can schedule a confidential consultation with an Immigrant Defense Initiative attorney by phone at 212.998.6640, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. And members of the NYU community who would like to request assistance of any kind related to today’s announcement can contact us via this form. We will also continue to update our website with information and guidance for undocumented students.
And second, while you may feel fearful or dismayed today, remember that you are a member of a community that cares about you, a university where you are welcome and respected. Do not hesitate to ask for assistance; we are here for you.
Despite Donald Trump and the disappointing 60 million who voted knowing abject bigotry was the Trump ticket, I am still a proud American and that is in part because I am seeing so many other Americans now pulling together for what is right. Right now, even within mere hours of this horrific news. This will only serve to make us immigrants all stronger as we engage in this opportunity to intersect all our communities which care enough to wage the fight for what is right.
Please reach out to your neighbors – your kids’ friends and their families – and tell them we will NOT let them go- we will hold onto them – all Americans will fight alongside the Dreamers- until we are all safely secured in what is right!
Contact your Congressional Representatives to enact the DREAM ACT NOW!
Keep your eye keenly pinned on social media for calls to action….
Go America Go!
The African Human Rights Coalition stands today in solidarity with DREAMERS.
The determination by the Trump Administration to end the DACA program for over 800,000 dreamers is cruel and unconscionable. What makes this particularly insidious is Donald Trump’s failure to stand in front of his action by taking leadership on the issue to call upon the United States Congress to swiftly pass legislation that affirms DACA, with a promise to sign such into law. This is indicative of the fact that his intention is to kill the program completely. The purported basis for the withdrawal of DACA makes no sense, as its lopsided justification relies on unsubstantiated assertions, blatant lies, unproductive punitive motives, and it fails to take any cognizance of DACA’s overwhelming positive impact and success.
We at African Human Rights Coalition are concerned, not only because we believe the human rights of so many young people and their families have been so horrifically impinged upon, but also we fear, that if unchecked, this sets the tone for the continued tyranny and cruelty which impacts us all, especially those in the severely marginalized communities within the immigration community and beyond.
We are calling on all to please express your outrage swiftly, consistently and peacefully and to also implore upon your representatives in Congress to work to right this insidious wrong.