Statement from the Board of the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies regarding the rescindment of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program
The Board of the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies expresses its adamant opposition to the announced end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. As a scholarly field committed to a more just society, we join with those throughout our society in denouncing the end of this program and calling for immediate action to protect Dreamers and other vulnerable immigrant and to insist on comprehensive immigration reform.
DACA filled a lacuna in immigration policy by humanely addressing the problems faced by the vulnerable population of undocumented children and young adults resident in the United States with no legal recourse for relief. From the time the order was signed in August of 2012, nearly 790,000 young people applied for and received permits to work and study. They paid fees, underwent background checks, and met a number of other conditions in order to be approved for the program. And they put their faith in the government to protect their private data. While understanding both the necessity of executive action on the part of the previous administration to address this problem, as well as the purported desire to more comprehensively legislate this issue through Congress, we find the stated reasons for the end of the program specious.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement of the end of DACA on September 5th mischaracterized DACA, the problems of undocumented children in general, and the role and value of immigration in our society, favoring instead a reiteration of white supremacist ideals towards immigration and an implicit preference for the harm and punishment of nonwhite immigrants. Expecting a legislative solution to undocumented children in the current political environment while not continuing a functional and humane policy approach is not only naïve, but cruel.
Chicanas and Chicanos have a unique relationship to questions of immigration. From the failed promises of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848) to waxing and waning sentiment and nativism toward Mexican migration in the 20th century, we recognize that Mexico, Mexicans, and Mexican Americans have a special relationship to the United States, through conquest, history, intermarriage, cross-border cultural, social, and economic ties, and continual migration between the two countries. Yet like other immigrant communities, we have contributed to the growth of this nation, through labor, founding small businesses, utilizing education to improve our social status, contributing to the political process and more. Dreamers were and are eager participants in these processes.
We fundamentally reject the claims of the current administration as to their aims and goals of the end of DACA, and unequivocally deplore the deleterious effects of this decision on the young people and students in our institutions of higher learning. We call on people of conscience and our legislative representatives to reject and resist this cynical and racist decision, and work together towards developing meaningful, humane immigration reform, including prescribed amnesty for people without immigrant documentation in the United States.