Why California Undocumented Youth and I Interrupted Nancy Pelosi’s DREAM Act Press Conference

The recent attacks on immigrants make it difficult not to feel the profound devastation of community members and their families who are fearful of deportation. The recent rescinding of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the postponed mass raid “Operation Mega” have made it crystal clear that the president and his complicit administration will go to great lengths to appeal to a particular base: white supremacists, racists, and xenophobes.

Moments like these cloud our visions with panic that sometimes makes people support legislation that harms others.

Instead, we must reflect on how we have fought back against these familiar strategies, which aim to divide immigrant communities. Immigrant youth has been at the forefront protesting, heckling, and carrying out direct actions against Obama and the Democratic Party, regardless of the unpopularity of such tactics. President Barack Obama, dubbed by immigrants “the deporter-in-chief,” was an expert at using undocumented youth as bargaining chips during his 2012 reelection campaign, while simultaneously placing the rest of the immigrant community in jeopardy through the use of heavy enforcement, mass detention and deportation, making anti-immigrant programs and policies mandatory at the state and local level, and failing to pass a more permanent solution besides DACA.

Past actions against working class people and immigrants of color give us reason to be concerned about recent negotiation with President Donald Trump. When back-door deals are made without directly-impacted community members – who can provide solutions that matter — they can wreak long-term effects and sow divisions amongst our communities.

The Democratic Party plays into Trump’s tactics while pretending to put up a fight. Instead, party leaders endanger the lives of people of color by taking middle-of-the-road stances on issues that affect the lives of immigrants. Democrats have long kept their doors closed to community members and chosen to advance the agendas of corporate lobbyists and donors instead. Immigrant communities have not forgotten that Pelosi stood behind programs like Secure Communities (S-Comm) and the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP-Comm), policies that streamlined deportations in communities that are already heavily over-policed.

By Sandy Valenciano for HUFFINGTON POST
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