OK, resisters, we have another situation on our hands.
By now, you’ve probably heard that the Trump administration has decided to shut down the program known a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. This program let undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children apply for temporary permits that allowed them to do things like get jobs and go to college. This was implemented as an executive action by President Obama after Congress failed to legislate such a program.
Why is this a big deal? Because it gave people who had arrived in the U.S. as little kids a path to citizenship and a chance to be a fully participating member of our society, even before becoming official citizens. And it meant that people who had literally grown up in the U.S., watching Sesame Street and eating PB&J like every other kid, wouldn’t be deported to a country they don’t even remember.
Why does Trump want to shut it down? I can’t say for sure, but it’s probably very similar to the impulse spurring him to keep asking to build a stupid border wall.
So what can we do? Well, the first thing is to get on the phone and call Congress. They’re back in D.C. this week, and operators are standing by to take your calls! Ask them to write a law to protect DACA participants from eventual deportation. They’ll know what you mean.
There’s one other thing I would recommend you do now so you can act later if you have to. It involves finding a house of worship.
You see, houses of worship have long acted as physical sanctuaries for people seeking some sort of asylum in the U.S. or people trying to avoid deportation back to difficult situations in their
countries of origins.
There’s a long history of law enforcement honoring the sanctity of a house of worship and refusing to conduct raids on them, no matter who is inside. This gives asylum seekers time to find a way to establish legal status.
The tricky thing is, people taking sanctuary in a house of worship cannot leave the building. They can’t go shopping, they can’t go to school, they can’t go catch a movie.
Here’s what I suggest we all do: find a house of worship that is prepared to act as a physical sanctuary and reach out to them. Tell them that you’d like to help if they take in people avoiding
deportation, and ask them how you can be of service. Chances are, they’ll put you on a mailing list, and when the time comes, they’ll send out alerts with very specific requests for supplies and
In the meanwhile, set things aside to donate to sanctuary congregations. Linens, clothing, books, DVDs, toys, gift cards for restaurant delivery. Things that can make life more pleasant and comfortable for people who cannot leave the building.
This is another moment when we are reminded that we are stronger together. Let’s work together to become stronger yet.