Immigrants in the U.S. are currently facing a challenging environment, as Trump has continued to espouse anti-immigrant sentiments and implement restrictive policies at an unrelenting pace. These policy efforts include the lowest ceiling for refugee admits in U.S. history, expanded deportation of undocumented immigrants in the interior and along the border, the separation of families at the U.S.-Mexico border, attempts to dismantle DACA and eliminate Temporary Protected Status for hundreds of thousands of immigrants, and most recently, the deportations of Cambodian and Vietnamese Americans who legally arrived in the U.S. as refugee children.
Tag Archives: DACA
By Joanna Perez
Although most undocumented immigrants do not have access to a pathway to citizenship, access to education has been granted to eligible undocumented students (undocustudents). In 1982, the Plyer v Doe Supreme Court case ruling prevented the K-12 public education system from denying any student access from enrolling in school, regardless of their immigration status (Olivas, 2012). As such, undocustudents who partake in the K-12 public education system are able to gain a sense of belonging and are momentarily shielded from the daily consequences of an ascribed “illegal” identity (Gonzales, 2016). Yet, upon graduating from high school and transitioning to adulthood, undocustudents begin to experience various forms of exclusion (Abrego, 2006).
On May 17, 2010, four undocumented students and one ally walked into the Arizona office of Senator John McCain demanding that he co-sponsor the Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which would have provided a pathway to citizenship for eligible undocumented youth. Wearing graduation caps and gowns and with a crowd of supporters gathered outside, these activists staged a sit-in (Galindo 2012). Three of the four undocumented activists were arrested marking the first act of civil disobedience in the undocumented youth movement. This protest followed the first Coming out of the Shadows event held in Chicago, Illinois in March, 2010 and preceded DREAM Act Summer, a period of intense mobilization to pass the DREAM Act. During the summer of 2010, undocumented activists held hunger strikes, staged sit-ins in Washington D.C., shutdown intersections in major cities, and held rallies where undocumented youth came out of the shadows as “Undocumented and Unafraid.”
“God helped us to arrive here safely” said the exhausted Honduran mother of two in the refugee camp, El Barretal, on the outskirts of Tijuana. Many of the families who travelled with the recent Caravans identify as Christians. Yet, a recent survey showed that 57% of white evangelicals perceive immigrants as a threat to American society. Through the lens of scripture, these Central American Christians and U.S. Christians are members of the same Body of Christ – a Body that apparently has an auto-immune disease. Is that necessarily true? What is the actual and potential contribution of the Church to the struggle for immigrant justice and immigration reform?