Art by Jessica Meza

There’s A Need To Organize For Immigration Rights And DACA On Campus


By Jessica Meza

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The American dream. What does that even mean? What kind of dream leaves us like this? I’ve had the privilege of being documented, so I can never truly know the worries some of my fellow students face, living every day knowing that their future is in the hands of politicians who work more to please their donors and value re-election above the lives they promise to protect. Now. some may think of this as a right and left issue, but recipients shouldn’t have to choose between being allowed to live their life and criminalizing the guardians who brought them here. America was built on a genocide against the native people who were already here, a brutal and inhuman process which was later called the country’s “manifest destiny.” From the beginning, many of us did not cross the border but the border was drawn over us. The ongoing criminalization and demonization of immigrants and people of color today is a tradition rooted in the establishment of the world’s first apartheid state, built through settler colonialism and slavery, a tradition of exploitation and oppression developed by powerful ruling class whose power is maintained by fanning the flames of racism and hatred against oppressed groups with otherwise common interests. DACAmented students and their families are being scapegoated by racists and powerful politicians and their corporate backers, but they are also building a movement that increasingly and rightfully rejects being pigeonholed into narratives about “deserving” and “undeserving,” and in doing so showing us in struggle how together, ordinary people, workers, and  students have the power to wake us up from what for so many has become the American nightmare.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   .

We as a student body must not forget those of us who live in fear because of an immigration status they had no control over. We cannot give in to the racist/proto-fascist rhetoric the White House pushes in its crackdown on immigrants. DACA recipients need our support in these times where they are being pushed around like political pawns.

 

The concerns expressed by a senior DACA recipient and close friend of mine is that their lives are being gambled for political gain. Although they are graduating this year, their “life is bound by a stupid piece of plastic that says you can only legally work until October and your degree means nothing without it…”

 

While the overwhelming majority of Americans support DACA, the Trump Administration continues to instill terror and fear into millions who lives hangs in the balance, and it aims to erect a monument to Trump’s racial resentment- the Wall.

 

Not only should we support our fellow students, it is vital that we support each other and our community against hateful, divisive, rhetoric. While many consider voting for the less-bad-at-least-not-the-worst party as an alternative to Trump is important, it’s going to take a much bigger and bolder movement to truly win the kind of world where people are more valued than profits, and the borders that needlessly divide us.  We must refuse to settle for the lesser of two evils, because evil, after all, is still evil. We cannot be complacent in the destruction of our community, The change we need must be advocated in the streets, classrooms, and workplaces.

 

This Wednesday the UT Austin Jolt Student Chapter is hosting a walk-out, rally, and march for DACA recipients starting at 11:30 am and meeting at the Gregory Gym Plaza. Their event description reads:

 

This is a call for all UT students and the surrounding Austin community to unite and fight back in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program!

 

March 5.

 

That is the deadline President Trump set for Congress back in September, when he announced he would phase out DACA. Every day that there isn’t a fix, an estimated 122 young DACA recipients lose their status.

 

Next Wednesday, February 28 at 11:30 AM, everyone is welcome to join us and walk-out, rally, and march for our classmates, friends, family, and immigrant community!

 

Schedule of Events:

11:30 AM: Meet outside Gregory Gym and RALLY!

11:45 AM: Begin MARCH to the Texas Capitol!

12-1 PM: Join Jolt Texas‘s Migration Is Sweet event!

 

I encourage students, faculty, and staff, to take some time out of their day to show their support for DACA recipients nationwide, let them know we have not forgotten about them, and that the fight is still on.