Some people just want to watch the world burn.
As I currently watch my city of Portland engulfed in smoke and ash from the Eagle Creek Fires and observe the Harvey death toll rise, I am reminded that we still have the most menacing man in office, as he declares an end to a program dedicated for children of immigrants. He truly just wants to watch the world burn. He throws DACA into the mix like gasoline, and we are left to figure out the rest.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is a program initiated by the Obama administration, which started in 2012. It grants a renewable two year protection from deportation and gives a work permit to anyone who entered the U.S. as a minor (called Dreamers.) Usually we hear some alt-facts, some fear tactics, and a weird justification thrown into the mix for one of Trump's usual antics, but this time, it's almost as if they have nothing to say.
The facts are clear: 100% of Dreamers do not have a felony criminal record. None. That number is outstanding in any group of 800,000 people. 90% of dreamers are employed with 78% enrolled in higher education, like college or a work program. The average recipient is 26 years old and arrived at the age of 6, and by paying $500 to renew every two years, the economy generates $800M.
There is no legitimate reason to end DACA.
This decision comes after a slew of racially motivated remarks and actions while in office. Are we surprised? No. Does having thousands of kids at risk of deportation hurt any less because we expected it? No.
A recurring theme I'm seeing in my own social justice circles is a call to action for white allies and those unaffected by the removal of DACA.
Eva Sanchez in Portland puts it best:
"I want to see white allies doing something about this whole DACA mess. If you aren't actively doing something to help these kids in danger, then what are you doing?
We need plans of direct action, we need you at the marches/protests, we need you even calling your fucking senators. We need you to use your whiteness to protect kids who are going to be at the mercy of a government they've surrendered all their information to.
So many of us can't do much for fear of personal retaliation due to our/our families' immigration statuses. We need our so-called allies to do shit. How many yt women were out there with their pink pussy hats who aren't even thinking about the kids who'll suffer when DACA is repealed? How many of you have jumped to be at protests when they're about 'resisting' or 'women's rights?' Now, how many of you are actually, actively doing something to help in this situation that might not even directly affect you?
The main question I guess is, what are you all doing right now to help undocumented young adults/children? Are you doing anything at all? And if not, why not? Also don't call yourself an ally if your help depends on the legality of the people in danger."
Sanchez touches on the necessity of remaining silent and forgoing an American right to protest knowing that ICE and police will be a prevalent and looming presence at every rally. For those affected and hurting the most, they simply can't get out and protest. Most having created families here, at the average age of 26, and are at risk of being taken away from them.
The application process for green card status is long and expensive. Dreamer Ivan Martinez moved from Sonora, Mexico around his fifth birthday.
"We had some family here in the northwest, so we came and stayed with a couple of my uncles. My dad worked some odd jobs and night shifts until his brother got him a landscaping position with him," he says. "My mother was a stay at home mom that left all of her friends and family behind, and fully supported my father in what he did, and did anything she could to help financially. As for me, I was not able to get a well-paying job before DACA (when I was 22), which made it hard for me financially, especially because I was also attending college."
Martinez, like many children of those immigrating for a better life, was never prepared for how political simply living in the US would be for him and his family.
"A lot of our parents brought us here at a very young age, so we had no choice and had no knowledge of what political and social obstacles our future would hold."
DACA has been able to ensure that he is able to achieve the same successes and accomplishments his US-born peers are able to. "To me, DACA is the only hope me and many young individuals in this country have for a future. Losing DACA would put our very lives and futures in danger. We live in a country that we know as our home and have worked very hard to get to this point in our lives. To have that taken away for actions that we had no involvement in would be unjust."
Like Eva, Ivan wants allies to know that they are needed in a public setting now more than ever.
"Don't be afraid to speak up and help your fellow neighbors out. I personally have had so many of my friends from all races and backgrounds reach out to me and really offer help. That is what this country is and should be all about. We need to continue that tradition for the sake of this land.
People can contact their local representatives and urge them to support DACA. Another way is to help peacefully protest at any gatherings, as well as show support on social media. For more information, there is a website called unitedwedream.org to find out more about the dream act and help the cause."
For more information on protecting yourself and your family with the ending of DACA, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center has put out material.
If you want to help monetarily and directly, consider donating to GoFundMe accounts of those trying to raise money for the green card application process and lawyer fees.
Jamie is the owner of Jamie Carle Photography and resides in Vancouver, WA. Her background was always in videography. She was an AV nerd in high school and president of her school video club. When college came, she decided to major in graphic design and put video second. She became pregnant — and knowing she'd be a single mother — she made the choice to put off school while she worked, scraped, and saved. One way she was able to stay creative and sane was photography. Through thousands of photos of her baby, she was able to keep doing something really special.
She found a new passion and moved from her own child to other children, which then expanded into all kinds of family portraiture. She was asked if she offered wedding services, and at the time was floored. So she became a second shooter for another photographer and learned some ins and outs of the wedding business. This has become her favorite thing to do — capture love and tell your story.
I'm the queer, tattooed, giant heart behind the images of Studio XIII Photography. As a photographer, I am inspired by everything and anything in my day to day life– from the colors of food to the textures of the sea. I'm crazy passionate about the work that I do and want my imagery to show the energy and pieces of my soul that go into every photograph that I take.
I see the world in photographs–sometimes in vivid color, sometimes in black and white. I’m an observer, a watcher, a storyteller.
When I'm not photographing, I spend a lot of time writing, specifically about grief, feminism and self love. If you're interested in peering into my heart a little deeper you can take a look over here, and here.