Thousands Demand Legal Status for Dreamers and Refugees, and End to Trump Attacks on Immigrants

December 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper |


December 6, Washington, DC 4,000 people turned out for the “Our Immigrant Communities” protest rally at Upper Senate Park. Their demands: that DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients (“Dreamers”) and refugees in the U.S. on “Temporary Protected Status” (TPS) be given legal status—not deported—and that Trump end his other attacks on immigrants.

As part of a “National Day of Action,” people came from the DC area and from all over the country. There were buses from Staten Island, the Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn, as well as from towns up the Hudson Valley, Rochester, and Syracuse. Buses or contingents came from as far away as Wisconsin, Alabama, Nevada, Colorado, California, and Texas. There were also actions in other cities across the U.S.

Most were immigrants, and many were young. This included many “Dreamers,” mostly from Mexico, Honduras, and other parts of Latin America. A 33-year-old immigrant from Mexico who has been in the U.S. since she was 15 traveled all the way from Phoenix, Arizona. She could be separated from her three children, all of them citizens born in the U.S.

There were groups of immigrants from Africa, South Korea, and Nepal as well. (Nepali immigrants fleeing from an earthquake there are among the countries covered by TPS, now under attack.) They were joined by a diverse mix of many non-immigrants. Unions representing janitors, hotel and restaurant workers, and laborers were also there, including a bus from Atlantic City, New Jersey.

There was a real sense of urgency and determination. In September, the Trump/Pence regime ended DACA, which gave immigrants brought to the U.S. as children legal protection from deportation, and gave Congress six months to replace it. That deadline is fast approaching and beginning in early March some 700,000 to 800,000 Dreamers who have grown up and lived most all their lives in the U.S. could face deportation. Last month, the Trump/Pence regime also ended TPS protections for Haitians and Nicaraguans who fled war, violence, and/or natural disasters and now face deportation. The status of other TPS recipients, including the 200,000 from El Salvador, is also under threat and hanging in the balance, as the Trump/Pence regime steps up its arrests and deportations of undocumented immigrants, including those with no criminal convictions.

“We're facing a real deadline on March 5th (2018)—these are real lives at stake,” one demonstrator said.

The rally was very spirited and included many testimonials from family members separated by deportations, bringing alive what the Trump/Pence regime’s attacks on DACA and TPS will mean and have already meant for thousands. One non-immigrant said, “I felt like those of us who can be arrested without fear of deportation need to stand up and have a voice for people.”

Very importantly, protesters also demanded an end to other attacks on immigrants and refugees, including Trump’s travel ban, and that protection for Dreamers should not come at the expense of, or bundled in legislation with, attacks on other immigrants.  

The protest focused on the attacks on immigrants and refugees, but material was warmly received. And one speaker said, “We won’t stop fighting until all immigrants are safe. We won’t stop fighting until all Muslims are safe. We won’t stop fighting until the environment is safe, and we won’t stop fighting until Trump’s government is gone, because otherwise none of us will be safe.”

At the end of the rally, hundreds of people had been trained for, and engaged in, a major civil disobedience action on the steps of the Capitol building. More than 200 people were arrested, including ministers, several members of Congress, and others.

All this pointed to the enormous potential reservoir of opposition to the Trump/Pence regime that exists among immigrants that needs to be unleashed.


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