September 5, 2017
Spokane Residents Speak Out About Trump Administration's DACA Decision
Cancellation of 'DACA' program threatens more than 17,000 Washington families
Spokane, WA - Fulfilling one his most terrifying and xenophobic campaign promises, President Trump cancelled the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program after receiving pressure from ten conservative states that threatened to sue the federal government. Spokane residents spoke out about the devastating impact this would have on members of our communities.
"I am fearful for my immigrant community which is being attacked by this current administration," said Lili, an immigrant from Mexico City who lives in Spokane and works for Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho. "I personally have seen families torn apart. Parents who don't have any criminal background, not even a speeding ticket, are getting deported. They are being followed from their work places to their homes and being arrested in their driveways. I have seen the fear in family members and friends who were brought to the United States at a very young age and are on the DACA program. They fear that they will get deported and sent to a place where they may not know no one or even the language. I have known people in my community who fear calling in a crime being made towards them or seeing it happen due to fear of being asked proof of citizenship or legal status."
Over the past five years, DACA has provided a short-term solution to problems faced by undocumented people who came to the United States as youth by providing relief from deportation, accessible pathways to careers, and additional stability for communities to thrive. In Washington state alone, nearly 17,000 undocumented residents are actively enrolled in the program and will now be at risk of being deported because of their willingness to obtain a legal immigrant status. Washington state officials and immigrant rights activists have vowed to ensure that every immigrant knows their legal rights and to work through the court system to uphold the civil rights of DACA recipients.
"The DACA program has enriched our society, given hope and security to almost a million young people, and allowed them to finally 'belong' where they have lived, gone to school and contributed to this society," said Naghmana Ahmed-Sherazi, an immigrant from Pakistan who lives in Spokane and works at a local university. "They cannot be sent to their country of origin because they have no affiliation to it yet they are being told they cannot stay here as they are undocumented. They are working as scientists, teachers, health and social workers and are an integral part of our society."
After seeking to recreate the narrative around Charlottesville to shift blame, pardoning Arpaio's human rights violations and targeting of immigrants in Arizona, and in the middle of one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history, Trump has doubled down on his cruel, white supremacist agenda by removing protections from nearly one million undocumented immigrants who have been granted DACA.
"The pardoning of former Sheriff Arpaio by the President was a slap in the face for the Hispanic community, including myself. All I can do is help fight for my community and be a voice for those who fear deportation. I will keep attending rallies, sign petitions, make phone calls to congress, anything to help those in need," Lili added.
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