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10 Years Later, Our Communities Need Protections Not Temporary Solutions
Communities United for Status and Protection (CUSP), a national collaborative of grassroots immigrant community organizations, uplifts the undocumented immigrant youths and allies whose steadfast organizing won protection for millions of immigrant children on the 10th anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Ten years later, our communities continue to be targets of anti-immigrant policies and nearly every executive action on immigration is now challenged in court. Hundreds of thousands of families are in limbo due to Congress’s inability to pass legislation to give status to the DACAmented. We call on Democrats to deliver on their promises of permanent protections for our communities now!
Asian Americans, Arab and Black DREAMers have been left out of the crucial conversations about legal status and protections. The more than 120,000 Asian undocumented immigrant youth, in addition to 4,000 Arab and 12,000 Black DREAMers, often lack access to resources, services, and support.
“After 10 years of temporary protection, it is time that DACA beneficiaries finally receive the permanent status that they need. We are not talking about a couple hundred people. We are talking about millions who have lived in the US as children and since childhood, who are now facing a blurry future, fearful that they may be deported to a country they barely know. This is their home. Our representatives must prioritize permanent protections for all!” – Diana Konaté, Policy Director, African Communities Together
Under the Biden administration, millions of undocumented people continue to live precariously as the future of DACA remains uncertain. In addition, the administration continues to detain and deport thousands of immigrants, particularly Black migrants who are doubly targeted due to the interlinked systems of anti-Blackness, policing, criminalization and incarceration. The need for congressional action to deliver permanent protections for millions of people is more urgent than ever. Our communities deserve dignity and a pathway to citizenship, not empty promises and inaction from elected officials year after year.
“Asian undocumented immigrants account for 1 out of every 7 Asian immigrants in the United States and make up 10 percent of the population potentially eligible for DACA. While we celebrate this temporary protection that Asian Americans and other immigrant communities organized and fought hard for – temporary is not enough.
For many in our community without permanent status, constantly wondering if their status will be renewed, if their family members will be deported, and if they will be able to fully pursue their dreams creates turmoil planning for an uncertain future. It’s beyond time for something permanent.” – Megha Lama, Senior Immigration Organizer, Adhikaar
As a collaborative representing African, Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Latinx, Arab/Middle Eastern, and Asian immigrants, the future of DACA is inextricably linked to the livelihood and wellness of our communities. As migration from Africa continues to outpace those from other countries, the continuation of the DACA program is vital to the restoration of our African communities which have been disproportionately impacted with higher rates of deportation, lack of access to higher education and limited work authorization.
“We do not live single issue lives, and know that as Black immigrants we often bear the heaviest brunt of state sanctioned social and economic violence. As our access to reproductive care continues to be diminished, while transphobic violence, attacks against our LGBTQIA communities and the expansion of surveillance technology to track members of our communities all rise, we know our fight for protections requires more than protecting DACA. It requires a dignified rage, rooted in a deep understanding of what systems of anti-Blackness have taken from us, and a resolve to stand in our inherent dignity as people.” – Haddy Gassama, National Director of Policy and Advocacy, UndocuBlack
“Over the last 10 years, living conditions have worsened for the broader population of migrants and displaced persons. To protect the communities we serve, we need more than just maintenance of DACA, we need universal protections of civil and human rights, an established pathway to citizenship for all lawfully present residents, career pathways for all individuals regardless of citizenship status, and a baseline standard of living for all families.” – Adam Beddawi, Federal Policy Manager, National Network for Arab American Communities
DACA was the result of decades of communities organizing to protect one another’s fundamental human rights to live safely, freely, with humanity, and respect. Not as a result of the benevolence of the state. It is with that same spirit of community led advocacy that we demand our elected officials, who have been inactive for a decade, to not only protect DACA but to pass legislation that will permanently protect thousands of people.
Communities United for Status and Protection (CUSP) is a collaborative of grassroots immigrant community organizations working together to win permanent status for our members and communities, and build a more inclusive immigrant rights movement that centers the needs and experiences of African, Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Latinx, Arab/Middle Eastern, and API immigrants.
The UndocuBlack Network (UBN), founded in 2016, is a multigenerational network of currently and formerly undocumented Black people that fosters community, facilitates access to resources and contributes to transforming the realities of our people so we are thriving and living our fullest lives. UBN has chapters in New York City, the DC/MD/VA area, and Los Angeles, CA.
Adhikaar (Nepali: rights) is a New York-based non-profit, organizing the Nepali-speaking community to promote human rights and social justice for all. We are a women-led workers’ center and community center focused on workers’ rights, immigration rights, access to affordable healthcare and language justice. We organize the Nepali-speaking community to create broader social change; build coalitions on advocacy campaigns that address our community’s needs; center women and the most impacted communities in our leadership; engage members in participatory action research; and implement community education, workplace development training, and support services.
African Communities Together (ACT) is an organization of African immigrants fighting for civil rights, opportunity, and a better life for our families here in the U.S. and worldwide. ACT empowers African immigrants to integrate socially, get ahead economically, and engage civically. We connect African immigrants to critical services, help Africans develop as leaders, and organize our communities on the issues that matter.
Haitian Bridge Alliance (HBA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit community organization that advocates for fair and humane immigration policies and provides bond support and humanitarian, legal, and other social services, with a particular focus on Black immigrants, the Haitian community, women, LGBTQAI+ individuals and survivors of torture and other human rights abuses. Since 2015, HBA has provided services to asylum seekers and other migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, in U.S. detention, and during U.S. immigration proceedings.
National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC) is a national consortium of independent Arab American community-based organizations. The Network’s primary mission is to build the capacity of Arab American non-profit organizations that focus on the needs and issues impacting their local community while collectively addressing those issues nationally.