With the Supreme Court’s decision to reinstate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, around 700,000 Dreamers, 14,910 of whom live in Colorado, can continue to live and work across the US with less fear of deportation. Today, we celebrate; tomorrow, we’ll continue to fight to secure immigrants’ permanent place in our communities.
When the DACA program was created, it opened up important opportunities for our families, friends, and neighbors–opportunities already available to those of us with legal status. It established protections for program recipients, who came to the US as children and whose existence and contributions are essential to our society, while removing some barriers to employment, higher education, military service, and other ways of participating in civic life. These doctors, nurses, business owners, and teachers contribute to the fabric of our society every day, and even more so during this pandemic, where nearly a third of DACA recipients are frontline workers securing essential services, safeguarding our food chain supplies, and providing health care. They are also humans–humans who deserve the protection of law and are valued members of our community, regardless of their documentation status.
This decision by the Supreme Court has blocked one of the Trump administration’s white nationalist policy goals. It also prevented an appallingly reckless economic crisis, since Dreamers’ contributions to the US economy are hundreds of billions of dollars. Now, Colorado must continue its work to protect Dreamers and all immigrants from further attacks.
We must protect immigrants from harassment, intimidation, and deportation. Federal and state institutions are being wielded as a weapon against immigrants–especially those whose black and brown bodies make them targets of racist policing, putting them into the detention and deportation pipeline. We join immigrants, the ACLU of Colorado, Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, and other people and organizations leading this work in Colorado to call on Governor Polis to take immediate action. Colorado must create a legal defense fund to represent those in detention or deportation proceedings, ensure ICE cannot use Colorado’s resources and data to find and deport Dreamers, and prohibit local and state agencies from acting in complicity with federal immigration authorities to persecute immigrants.
Furthermore, the health care sector and other institutions of power must shore up social and economic protections for immigrants and leverage their political influence to drive policy change. We all must commit to prioritizing and listening to the voices and needs of immigrants and fighting for laws and policies that make it possible for everyone to care for themselves and their families.
This is a victory at a time when we’ve never needed one more. We will stay vigilant, as our country and this administration have a long history of anti-immigrant words and actions, but for today, we celebrate.