Our community is under attack! Our immigrant comrades have been under attack since a long time ago. Let’s keep in mind that it’s not just this administration. Our immigration system is not broken – it was built this way! A system that criminalizes immigrants, where politicians play the game that is more convenient for them (where votes are the points in the game). Let’s be real: all those politicos who are standing now for DACA should be standing for all immigrants, but why did they wait until this country had a fascist president to act? Why didn’t their local politics support and protect the immigrant community in the past? We have no love for office holders who play politics with our lives and the well being of our immigrant comrades.
We stand by our DACA recipient comrades but we also stand with all immigrants regardless of immigration status! We should defend and protect DACA and TPS recipients, but we must work to ensure that all immigrants are protected as well! We don’t believe in politics as usual, as we have seen that their main purpose is to get more power and more money! We are in a capitalist system that sees us as numbers, as dollar signs, where even jails and detention centers are used to increase the amount of money that they can put into their pockets. There is no justice in protections for some, while others continue to live in fear and danger.
We have friends, relatives, comrades who have DACA but there are also millions of unprotected immigrants that don’t fit into these specially-created “boxes of priorities” like DACA. We have brothers, sisters, co-workers, relatives and community members who unfortunately don’t have any hope of getting legal immigration status in this country anytime soon because they don’t meet the current residency requirements. We cannot and must not forget them!
We are in this country because we had to escape the economic, political and social crisis that the U.S. created in our homelands. For many of us, it was life or death. In escaping death, our people had to cross a border into a country that hates us, that wants to see us dead, that wants to see us rot away in jail or a detention center. But we had no choice.
We don’t believe in the double standards that politics, extremist groups and even some supposed leftists have created in the community where they are dividing us between bad and good immigrants based on criminal records – that’s bullshit! Who decides the laws, the policies and the correctional system? Who decides who is a bad or good immigrant?
Immigrants are born criminals, according to the U.S. It’s imperialist original sin. Everything after birth is atonement. You are labeled a criminal because you joined a gang, or you lived in a gang-affiliated area, or your family members were in a gang – guilty immigrant by association. But why did you join a gang, they ask. But why did you break the law, they ask. Growing up poor and hated, where your community didn’t have enough youth or community programs (but there’s a liquor store on every corner and an JROTC program in every school). Your parents couldn’t take care of you, having to work all day to have money to pay the rent, bills and school. You, an immigrant, a youth, a sinner, a criminal, reached out for compassion and found it in the waiting arms of a gang or friends who learned how to survive in a hateful world – and most of the time the simple act of surviving is illegal.
The state labels us criminals for driving without a license, while simultaneously, not allowing us to get hold of a driver’s license without a social security number! The state labels victims of their shortcomings as delinquents, all the while not providing youth centers/programs and further criminalizing Black and Brown people for existing.
We live in a system that creates chaos and doesn’t provide enough programs that the community really needs. Then the same system punishes you because you made bad decisions, because politics as usual prefers to invest money in businesses, in cops and jails than housing, than in the arts. Instead of community centers or free job trainings for everyone, and the list goes on…
These are not Amerikkkan lands. This is native land! These are the lands that were stolen from our native relatives, lands that were invaded by white settlers that never belonged to them. It is a disgusting irony that the white settlers are deporting indigenous immigrants who have more stake in this land than they do. Especially in California, the state with the most DACA recipients as well as the highest concentration of indigenous people – and that’s not even counting Chicanxs or indigenous “latinx” immigrants.
Immigrants, regardless of where they are coming from, their background, at what age they arrived, should be free to decide where they want to plant their seeds and become part of a community. Every immigrant – as a refugee – deserves to live without harassment, persecution or criminalization. This is a universal human right. Even the United Nation upholds this.
Let’s protect and defend DACA and TPS recipients but go beyond all that! Because this system will keep pitting “good” immigrant against “bad” immigrant. That is the natural order of immigration in this country; the economy needs someone to blame when their economics fail – as they have and will continue to. Capitalism is always in crisis.
Those organizations who are working toward defending immigrants rights should also make sure that their struggle starts at home with their loved ones, not just youth or students, but the most vulnerable. We hope our DACA comrades are able to maintain their jobs. If those organizations are really in the struggle, they better show how much they care for the immigrant community, for DACA and TPS, and not become opportunists who only organize a broader resistance because it’s more popular now, because it’s a Republican in the White House. Where were they all those years when Obama, the Great Deporter, was in power? Where was the outrage then? Or do the supposed immigrant rights groups only go after whoever the Democratic Party says it’s OK to go after?
We are going to defend DACA and TPS but we are going to keep pushing and go beyond that. We are defending and working to protect all immigrants, to stop deportations on native lands, especially in Los Angeles, by any means necessary!