The Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals was a policy enacted by the Obama administration on June 12th 2012 that allowed some individuals who came to this country as children to obtain a work permit and encouraged prosecutorial discretion that protected the individuals from deportation. Those who were approved for the program are known as Dreamers. The term “Dreamers” is used by the government to describe undocumented youth in the United States. To be eligible for DACA, immigrants from any nation must have arrived before the age of 16 prior to 2007, must be at least 15 now, and must have been younger than 31 when DACA was passed in 2012. DACA recipients must also have no criminal record, and must either be enrolled in high school or have a GED or high school diploma. Since enacted, DACA has protected over 800,000 people and as of September 4th, 2017 there were almost 700,000 DACA recipients, many of whom have lived in the United States since birth. The program was hailed as a victory, even though the program was only available to a tiny fraction of the immigrant population and limited to youth, leaving millions of people unprotected and at the mercy of ICE, which under the Obama Administration deported over 2 million people, more than all of Obama’s predecessors combined.
Contrary to the misinformation spread by the government and media, DACA recipients receive no public aid in any form. They are ineligible for federal financial aid, Medicaid, Obamacare, the Housing Choice Voucher Program, public welfare, and food stamps. They cannot collect social security benefits. Despite this, they are required to pay taxes every year and are not afforded true legal status. Currently people under the DACA program are unsure about their application status as the U.S. government stalls past the March 5th deadline to extend the program.
It cannot be overstated that for over a hundred years the United States has dominated the economic and political affairs of Latin America. It has deployed its troops, death squads and intelligence agencies to these nations when they have not complied with the whims of the US empire or its puppets. It has destabilized every single Latin American and Caribbean nation via military troops, death squads and intelligence agencies, through rape, torture, murder, sabotage, terrorism, intimidation, embargo, imprisonment, genocide and every other form of abuse for its own gain. It has time and again propped up dictators and reactionary governments friendly to its business and military interests that have allowed the US to commit these atrocities against their own people, and that have also committed atrocities themselves to maintain power and profit. The U.S. has destabilized the economies of Latin American nations via free trade agreements and condemned millions to lives of misery and destitution.
The massive waves of immigration from Latin America began as a direct result of decades of US interference and domination of foreign affairs, and yet the United States, under control of the capitalist parties, has continued to demonize people merely looking for what every human being desires: to create a better future for themselves and their families. This pattern has been seen throughout this nation’s history and while DACA recipients hail from many nations, right now immigrants from Latin America and the Middle East are the main targets.
US Imperialism is simply a crime against humanity. Families are being torn apart at a record pace as border militarization continues. In the face of this growing problem we must emphatically reiterate that no human being is illegal, because the artificial boundaries that define nation-states go against the very foundations of a free society, a humane society, of a socialist society. Socialists do not believe in borders, as they merely serve to divide and fragment humanity. No human being is more important than another for we are all brothers and sisters. We believe in and fight for an interconnected world free for all to travel without barriers and do so without compromise.
While there are many limitations to DACA, there are over half a million people whose lives will be affected by its repeal. We call for the reinstatement of DACA. Additionally, the Socialist Party USA demands the right of all human beings to adequate education, health care, full civil and legal rights and an immediate end to state terror against our minority and immigrant communities. We demand amnesty, protection and citizenship for the millions of undocumented workers who are not covered by the DACA program. We demand the abolition of ICE and the illegal detention centers where people are kept in inhumane conditions at the mercy of police. Only then can we move forward in building a world where everyone can build a future worthy of their dreams. Until then, we must continue to protect our communities and keep up the fight.
Written by the People of Color Commission with edits by the National Action Committee