“Home Is Here!” Dreamers Plead Their Case Before Supreme Court
Today, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments over whether Trump was justified in seeking to end one of Obama’s landmark executive orders. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was a program established in 2012 under the former president after facing direct pressure from grassroots activists. It was designed as bandaid solution to a fractured immigration system, one in which nearly 700,000 undocumented children (called Dreamers) who entered the country without papers were left with no status and under threat of deportation. The program allowed them to receive work permits and a chance to avoid removal.
The fix was temporary and over the course of the last several years the issue has been used as a political football. Congress has been reluctant to pass the hotly debated Dream Act, a bill that would that would turn protection for DACA holders permanent with a clear pathway to citizenship. The limbo recipients of the program, those who did not qualify, and those of whom are consistently harmed at the hands of Customs and Border Patrol are stuck in, strips them of their autonomy. It erases their humanity.
The focus on DACA has also minimized the attention given to the Trump administration cancelling Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA)—a protective program for the parents of Dreamers—as well as its controversial treatment of migrants with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) which was established for those fleeing their homelands because of environmental disasters, ongoing armed conflict, or extraordinary circumstances. Not to mention the aftermath of the travel ban, Central American kids in cages, and nationwide ICE raids.
However, outside of the courthouse another powerful scene was also taking place. Hundreds had gathered in the cold, waving signs and chanting, “None of us are free until all of us are free,” followed by, “Undocumented, unafraid!” One by one, community activists and DACA recipients stepped up to the mic. So did TPS holders. Undocumented Black and Brown young people stood in solidarity with one another. Musicians. Lawyers. Clergymen. Students. Teachers. Community folk. There were stories of heartbreak, lives lived in the U.S. while estranged from homelands, and tremendous loss. There was also courage and resilience. All of them demanding the right to live their lives in full.
Then, as if arriving to walk the red carpet for the MET Gala, the plaintiffs emerged from the courthouse, walking down the steps with linked arms. The crowd erupted and began shouting in unison, “Home is here!” The court will not issue a ruling until 2020, and in the meantime hundreds of thousands of lives hang in the balance. While none of us know what lies ahead under the current administration, one thing is for certain: immigrants make America great.
You can watch the Dreamers rally in its entirety, captured by the Washington Post, below.