Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) ... 2020 Updates

Within the past few months, the coronavirus pandemic has swept across the nation, and not only has it affected how everyone goes about their daily lives, but it’s given the government something new to work its way around when creating new policies and allegedly helping out those in need.

 

Instead of using this pandemic to bring out the good, some policies previously created in hopes of a safety net for others have been twisted into something it’s not. Our country tends to pride itself on how well others are treated upon when escaping their previous countries. People are risking everything in order to obtain asylum protection in the United States according to such policies that appear to provide a safe haven. 

 

However, this has not been the case with the recent concerns surrounding COVID-19. As opposed to ensuring that workers in the asylum system make sure that those seeking it receive the utmost protection in times as uncertain as these, the opposite has occurred. These asylum workers now use COVID as an additional fear factor and reason to deny access to those simply seeking refuge in the US.

 

There is a difference between those seeking asylum versus migrant workers, though, which must be noted to fully understand the situation. A migrant worker is someone who travels from one country to another for purposes of finding a new job seasonally. These workers often do not have citizenship in the country they arrive in but are willing to do what it takes to make a living-- even though they may only live in the country for a short period of time. On the other hand, asylum seekers have departed their home country for a number of reasons (such as political reasons) and are in need of protection in a new country. They are not yet considered refugees, though, because a request has to go through to the government in ordered t o actually be considered a refugee and be provided with sanctuary. 

 

These sorts of prejudiced policies take a toll on multiple parties involved. Countless immigrants travel far and wide after feeling as though they’ve hit rock bottom, hoping for a bright future ahead-- only to get turned down. In addition, many of these asylum seekers have children that they only want the best for, and these kids have no control over the situation. The children of those seeking refuge end up subjugated to a confusing life ahead and nowhere near the normalcy that many of us have the privilege of experiencing. 

 

Action is being taken against these hateful policies, though. Even though conferences and speeches cannot be held in real life, those advocating for a change have been hosting online sessions with members of the US congress. Those in want of change have nonstop fought for the defunding of the ban of asylums as well as the deportation and/or detention of those needing refuge in the US. They are also fighting for revitalizing previous protections for the asylums, such as the Refugee Protection Act. 

 

What is the Refugee Protection Act?

 

Under this act, the government is required to protect immigrants and those needing refuge from their home countries.Without this, the government may be able to deny people without cause and send them back to a possibly dangerous home situation, taking away all hopes of a better future.

A Statement from the Immigration Round Table Regarding DACA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact:

Danielle Spradley

dspradley@aclu-mo.org

The Missouri Immigration Policy Coalition Is Encouraged By The Supreme Court Ruling On Trump's Effort To End DACA But Missouri Leaders Must Do More

ST. LOUIS, MO (June 18, 2020) - On September 5, 2017, the Trump Administration attempted to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, endangering the futures of hundreds of thousands of members of our communities including 6,379 Missourians. On November 12, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on the termination of DACA and today it refused to allow the Trump Administration to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

 

Without protections that the Court affirmed today, DACA recipients stood to lose their homes and their livelihoods. If DACA ended, they would be added to the list of those in constant danger of being deported and permanently separated from their families. Those at risk included 256,000 U.S. citizen children, according to the National Immigration Law Center who could have lost their parents. In Missouri, if DACA had ended, this would have meant needlessly endangering immigrants to increased police harassment and fear while removing the limited protections many have enjoyed for nearly 10 years. 

 

Federal, state, and local leaders and agencies have a responsibility to protect immigrants and their families to keep all communities safe and today, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that DACA recipients have a home here in Missouri and around the country. 

 

Missouri finds itself in a difficult moment during a global pandemic,  disproportionately impacting communities across the country, and amidst continuing fears of raids and deportations by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), or police brutality in Black communities and communities of color.

 

We can do more than what the Supreme Court did today. It is crucial to support immigrants by adopting policies to protect all of our communities. The Missouri Immigration Policy Coalition, a coalition of state-wide organizations and individuals advocating for issues impacting immigrants in Missouri building a proactive policy platform that works toward cultural and legislative change, calls on our leaders to enact the following policies: 

 

Senator Roy Blunt and Senator Josh Hawley:

  • Not only support the Dream & Promise Act, but actively work to ensure the legislation is passed. 

State and municipal leaders across Missouri:

  • Guarantee free Covid-19 testing, treatment and services for all people, regardless of immigration status.

  • Invest in Black, brown, and immigrant communities by prohibiting CARES Act funding for police departments and corrections. 

  • Forbid local law agencies from from unnecessarily inquiring about individuals’ place of birth and citizenship status is an essential step to limit discrimination against immigrants. For example, these questions should be removed from jail booking and pre-trial forms in criminal proceedings.

  • State and local officials must step up and fight to protect Dreamers by ensuring that local law enforcement officials don’t do the bidding of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Chiefs of Police, Sheriffs, and Police Departments across Missouri:

  • Enact policies and law enforcement protocols in order to reduce the mass arrests/incarceration of Black people and people of color.

  • Sheriffs, jails, and elected officials should not hold people on ICE detainers in county jail or city detention facilities.

 

Public School Districts across Missouri:

  • Update school policies to reinforce schools non-compliance with ICE and to protect the confidential information of families relating to citizenship status, and review district policing practices to limit law enforcement engagement with students 

  • Create a preparedness plan in case family members are detained or deported, and ensure teachers and staff are properly trained about protecting the rights of children and on cultural competence. 

  • Remove School Resource Officers (SROs) from Missouri’s schools. SROs do not make all students feel safe. The presence of SROs constitutes a continuous threat to Black students and students of color, and a direct feeder for the School to Prison Pipeline. 

 

The Missouri Immigration Policy Coalition is comprised of these organizations.

ACLU of Missouri, Advocates for Immigrants Rights & Reconciliation, Amnesty International - St. Louis, Bilingual International Assistant Services (BIAS), CAIR-MO (Council on American-Islamic Relations), Casa de Salud, Inter-Faith Committee on Latin America, International Institute of St. Louis, Jewish Community Relations Council, KS/MO Dreamers, Lifewise, Mi Gente: Latinx & Allies at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri Faith Voices, Missouri Immigrant & Refugee Advocates, Muslim Civic Initiative Kansas City, Progressive Jews of St. Louis, Saint Louis University Center for Service and Community Engagement, St. Francis Community Services, The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In 2017, the Trump Administration began to attempt to tear apart the DACA program, which would not only strip away the few protections that many immigrants are able to enjoy in the United States currently, but would put immigrant families at risk of separation. Despite this, in 2019, the Supreme Court ultimately decided that this destruction would not go underway and ever since, DACA has still been happening.

 

However, the fight doesn’t end there. Many are still advocating for Missouri to take more action in providing above and beyond efforts for the immigrants choosing to take up residency in any part of the state. In particular, the

The coalition is also currently fighting for many changes in the current police department regarding immigrants. For example, government money tends to fall into the hands of the police system as opposed to immigrant communities in need. By overfunding the police, it provides more wiggle room for them to continue corrupt practices. These practices include asking about immigration status before jail time and trials as a form of discrimination.

 

Additionally, the coalition is trying its best to prevent local police departments from holding immigrants when arrested or detained and sending them off with ICE to get deported. This practice builds fear in immigrant communities and makes it much less likely for them to report real danger in their community. It instead destroys any form of built trust with police and makes them appear to be more of an enemy.

 

What is an Asylum?

 

According to the American Immigration Council, an asylum in terms of those immigrating to the US is “A protection granted to foreign nationals already in the United States or arriving at the border who meet the international law definition of a “refugee.” In simpler terms, those who apply for asylum when arriving in the country are simply seeking out a safer future, along with citizenship for both themselves and their family. Being in an asylum protects those who come into the country from being forced to return home, as well as providing benefits such as social security and Medicaid.

 

Asylum Advocacy: How it Relates to DACA

 

Missouri Immigration Policy Coalition has been fighting for more flexible policies to be implemented, especially in the uncertainty surrounding COVID.

 

These requests reach out to a wide audience and handle a large spectrum of immigration issues. For those involved in leadership or government roles across the states, it’s requested that immigration status does not interfere with a variety of occurrences, such as COVID testing and treatment. It’s vital that this changes rapidly, because if immigrants fear denial of treatment, they may avoid testing altogether when experiencing symptoms, possibly spreading it much more than someone who knows they would have access to a test.

 

Finally, the coalition is pressing for change to occur in schools around Missouri. Immigrant students need to feel just welcomed in a learning environment as the rest of their peers, but this cannot happen if they feel that all staff members are aware of their citizenship status. Rather than live with the constant anxiety of teachers and School Resource Officers giving away such confidential information to ICE at any time, the state should enforce that teachers know what to do in case of a deportation. Teachers and school staff should also learn how to protect the student in case of someone in their family deported by ICE in place of remaining powerless in such a situation. 

 

All of these requests can not be seen through without the help and communication of others-- this coalition isn’t the only set of people that has the ability to make a change. They suggest contacting any of the below people or organizations in order to have a say in the decisions being made in light of these issues.

IMPORTANT CALL TO ACTION: Asylum Seekers' Lives Matter! This is what YOU can do to Help.

It's vital that this information be spread to others in order to educate and inform on what's going on right now and shed positive light on DACA. Here are a few ways that you can help positively contribute to spreading knowledge regarding DACA and the Dreamers:

  • Share any information or media from this page to social media platforms of any sort- Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Tiktok-- just to name a few.

  • Write letters to your senators to let them know your perspective on the situation-- they actually have the power to influence change if enough people demand it.

  • In the future, when public settings grow safe once again, attend a local meeting, rally, or speech to show your care and advocacy for the issues at hand.

  • Senators:

  • Roy Blunt

  • 314-725-4484

  • Address (MO): 111 S 10th St Suite 23.305, St. Louis, MO 63102

  • Address (DC): Russell Senate Office Building, 260, Washington, DC 20510

  • Josh Hawley

  • (202) 224-6154

  • Address (MO): 111 South 10th Street, Suite 23.360

  • Address (DC): 212 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510

  • https://www.senate.mo.gov/LegisLookup/default.aspx/leg_lookup.aspx  (Missouri State Representatives)

  • Police Departments:

  • Municipal Services & Contracts - 314-615-0184

  • Police Contract Services Unit

  • Lieutenant Aaron Schafer

  • PH- (314) 615-0184

  • Email: aschafer@stlouisco.com

  • Chief of Police: Mary Barton

  • PH- (314) 615-4260

  • Address: Office of the Chief of Police 7900 Forsyth Blvd. Clayton, MO 63105

  • Stl County Sheriff: Scott Kiefer

  • PH- 314-615-4724

  • Address: 105 South Central Avenue 5th Floor Clayton, MO 63105

Instagram Handles of Above Artwork/Photography:

Art by Shawna Chan @bloodygirlgang

@justmightbe.photography

@artbyannaalvarado

Sources

https://docs.google.com/document/d/17YqzFkxiEJ6ws06ywkLobQhZG3akrXT-G1fB0xEOFys/edit?ts=5f208caa

https://docs.google.com/document/d/14APU_8KsLfeYr9sdW48r_h6f7XXxQzhlgNne2oVveRY/edit

https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/1vednjiT4Mhf5PP8J6CEaGo6jd59cxUXT