Yesterday, I attended the Immigrant Walkout for DACA protest organized by the New Mexico Dream Team. I attended two separate events, one on the campus of University of New Mexico, and the other in the Albuquerque Down Town Civic Plaza. I reported on both events for my campus paper. When I report I must keep my opinions and biases to myself and remain objective in my interviews and my writing. Luckily, I have this blog where there are no such restrictions.
I was entirely moved by the solidarity I witnessed. In a world that seems endlessly filled with bigotry and hate, to be faced with quite the opposite was overwhelming. Of course, there was outrage at Trump’s decision, but people banded together and comforted one another with community wide support. People from vastly different backgrounds and communities gathered together to show our undocumented immigrants that they are not alone, and people do care. Here in the state of New Mexico, the immigrant population is heavily from Mexico, and President Trumps decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, has had quite an impact on their community. Over 6800 DACA recipients are New Mexico residents.
Some background information on DACA. DACA is a government protection enacted under the Obama administration to give refuge to youth immigrants who fear deportation. DACA gives undocumented youth the right to pursue education and to gain employment while in the U.S. It does not grant citizenship, and it does not award any type of benefits. It simply allows undocumented immigrant youth an established period of time where they don’t have to be concerned with ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) or deportation, and the opportunity to provide income for themselves and their families while attending school. Undocumented immigrants in the United States still pay state and federal taxes. President Trump’s decision to unravel the DACA program is a gross use of his time and power, and benefits no one. He was majorly opposed by both the republican and democratic parties and it seems he only carried out this decision to make good on his campaign promises to control immigration. DACA is only awarded to those who were under the age of 16 when brought to the US, have lived in the US since 2007, are in school, and have no criminal charges. So, President Trumps promise to rid our country of all the “rapist drug dealing Mexicans” seems to be well on its way.
The two photos on the left are from the UNM campus rally, with yours truly watching as speakers incited chants and support. The two photos on the right are from the Down Town Civic Plaza rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico.