Luis Torres, Ph.D., and Ramón Del Castillo, Ph.D.
Last week’s issue of The Weekly Issue/El Semanario included an oped entitled “Federal Ruling Will Have Devastating Impact on-Young-People.” We joined with Ms. Nita Gonzales in drafting that statement. More significantly, we participated with the Latino Education Coalition (LEC) of Denver in issuing “Federal Ruling Will Have…” as a statement of principal for the LEC and a call to action on its behalf. We wish to add further here about the Federal Judge’s ruling and its implications for DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and consider how to oppose it and struggle against it.
What will become of DACA and the recipients of DACA certification? As was spelled out in last week’s article, United States District Judge Andrew S. Hanen of Texas has gone a long way to dismantling DACA, ruling for example against any new DACA applications being approved, albeit allowing individuals to apply. This is tantamount to a restaurant allowing would-be patrons to order, but not being served. Additionally, Judge Hanen has, ominously in our reading, allowed current DACA recipients to continue with the certification “temporarily,” with no indication of what such language entails.
According to the Congressional oversight newsfeed Roll Call: Congress, of July 19, 2021, reported just three days after the decision was announced, the ruling “shields current recipients but blocks approval of new DACA applications, including those of roughly 55,000 already in the pipeline, increasing the urgency of finding a permanent solution for Dreamers,” with DREAMers an acronym for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (What’s next for DACA: Court battles and pressure on Congress – Roll Call). The “pipeline” has become clogged, as only some 763 applicants during the first quarter of 2021 were approved, despite the massive backlog. Thus, Judge Hanen’s ruling is only the most recent in this barrier against these applicants.
And yet there are some reasons to hope that DACA might be able to continue, despite a famine in the news cycles about this verdict against DACA. Shortly after Judge Hanen’s ruling, President Biden “condemned the court’s ruling as ‘deeply disappointing’ [and] added that the Department of Homeland Security would issue a rule establishing DACA via the formal regulatory process ‘in the near future.’” Further, lawyers for the group of 22 DACA recipients who were part of the court case that resulted in Judge Hanen’s ruling “expressed confidence that Hanen’s ruling would be vulnerable on appeal” because Texas and its eight amici states did not have sufficient standing, or grounds, to challenge DAC. As was explained in last week’s The Weekly Issue/El Semanario oped about DACA, this point was key to the ruling, with the Judge providing “special solicitude” and “quasi sovereign status,” with both terms having provided a lower bar to sue. Now, the bar should be raised to its natural, rightful, level.
The Weekly Issue/El Semanario is distributed to and has readership in Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada, and New México, in addition to our home base of Colorado. Members of the Latino Education Coalition are calling for the creation of a Colorado DACA, and we urge our readership and subscribers in the additional five states to consider advocating for statewide DACAs in their additional states. We can foresee a California DACA, or a New México DACA, and so on. If for example, Colorado and California can create Colorado Marijuana and California Marijuana, shielding adults from prosecution for what otherwise would be serious misdemeanors and even felonies for possession and use, they can do the same for young DACA recipients, brought to the U.S. at an average age of six years old. And if Texas can summarily create a Texas Anti-Roe v. Wade as it has done, discounting the abortion rights law of the land, Texas can create Texas DACA likewise.
DACA recipients, as part of the broader immigrant community, are at a crossroads relative to losing such protections as work authorization permits and deferral from deportation. For too long regressive immigration policies have caused confusion at the doormat of the US/Mexican border, causing unwarranted pain, suffering, stress and mental health issues for immigrants. Immigration policy in general needs a complete overhaul. Maintaining the status quo with a system that is woefully outdated, inefficient, and unwelcoming further deteriorates América’s image across the world. The reality is that DREAMers are college students, essential workers, and military volunteers who have joined our Armed Forces in droves.
The Latino Education Coalition is inviting nonprofit organizations, political action groups, voluntary associations, student organizations in high schools, colleges and universities, as well as the business community, to connect with us to show unity and solidarity for immigrants in general and DACA recipients in particular as we take action on this matter. It is time to use the power of the pen—or, in today’s parlance, the power of the keyboard—to write letters to major and small community newspapers. We must also contact our state legislators, Congressional representatives, and City Council members, demanding that we protect DACA students during this perilous time in their lives.
One major strategy we are following, among others, as discussed in detail in our DACA column September 2nd in The Weekly Issue/El Semanario, is in Denver to work with Mayor Michael Hancock and Colorado Governor Jarod Polis, urging them to use the power of their elected offices to support current and future DACA recipients. They can do so, through an Executive Order and by working with City Council and the State Legislature. Hopefully, we can initiate a speaker’s bureau to use as an awareness tool for those communities that have been cast aside and misled by yellow journalism, fake news, and downright lies. It is our time to speak truth to power.
Please reach out to us, the authors of this text, Dr. Ramon Del Castillo at firstname.lastname@example.org and Dr. Luis Torres at email@example.com for further information. In Colorado, join the LEC at its next meeting, and similar venues in our readership states, to gather momentum to address this critical issue that will have devastating effects on our community if it is not addressed.
Luis Torres, Ph.D., and Ramón Del Castillo, Ph.D. are member of The Weekly Issue/El Semanario Editorial Advisory Board.
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