Texas Legal Attacks Show DACA “Band-Aid” Is Not Enough
By John-Michael Torres, July 5, 2022

With state politicians seeking to strike down DACA at appeals court, RGV Dreamer calls for permanent protections for all undocumented immigrants.

For almost a decade, Abraham Diaz has lived a freer, fuller life thanks to DACA. “Being a DACA recipient opened my eyes to the endless possibilities of my future.”

The program, which had its 10 year anniversary on June 15th, gave him protection from deportation, a work permit, and economic stability.

“When I obtained my first job as a teenager in a local clothing store, it gave my entire family an opportunity to be more financially stable,” Abraham, who now works as a social service provider for LUPE, told us. “It was an incredible experience transitioning from jobs being paid under the table to a workplace where I was able to say who I was without living in fear.”

Suit to strike down DACA goes before appeals court

On July 6th the State of Texas will argue before a federal appeals court that DACA is illegal and should be struck down. Abraham, who now has legal permanent residency, will join LUPE for a press conference at LUPE headquarters on the morning of the court hearing. He will call for permanent protections and a path to citizenship for all 11 million people without legal status in the country.

Dreamers organized for and won DACA because they know that all of us, across race and place of birth, have worth. We are worth paychecks that equal the true value of our work, quality schools that teach the truth of our past, and clean air, water, and energy that our families can depend on.

We are worth more than politicians in power in our state who abandon us in times of trouble and then shame and blame immigrants to try to distract from their corruption. Their attack on DACA is part of their efforts to block progress on immigration. State politicians have also jailed immigrants for crossing the border without authorization under Operation Lonestar. They sued to block access to asylum by keeping President Biden from lifting Title 42 and the Remain in Mexico Program. They want to keep immigrants as a convenient scapegoat while they take the resources our families, schools and communities need.

Abraham Diaz receives his diploma from the University of Texas Rio Grand Valley in May 2017. (Photo courtesy of Abraham Diaz)

Texas sued in federal court to strike down DACA and won a partial victory in 2021, when a district judge ruled that the program was illegal. The ruling froze all new applications but permitted current DACA holders to renew indefinitely. Now, the case goes before the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

DACA “band-aid” not enough, permanent protection needed

The latest attack reinforces what Abraham has felt since he first received DACA nine years ago: the program is an inadequate substitute for the lasting protection that Dreamers and their families need and deserve.

“This is a temporary band-aid to the large immigration issue that we need to face going forward,” he said.

We asked Abraham to share with us a moment when it sunk in that DACA was not enough.

“In 2015, my grandmother, Mamá Concha, passed away,” Abraham told us. Without legal permission to be in the country, he and his parents couldn’t travel back to his home country to pay their respects without risking detention and deportation upon return. “My entire family had to watch the funeral of my grandmother through a 4-inch screen on a phone.”

Abraham Diaz teaches children how to use a cell phone camera to capture and document police and immigration officer abuse at LUPE's general membership meeting in San Juan in the summer of 2018.

Take action with Abraham for permanent protection for all

Immigrant youth know their worth and have not stopped at DACA. Abraham is committed to organizing for permanent protections for his parents and all undocumented immigrants in the country.

“If the DACA program can have this positive impact in our country, I can only imagine the opportunity that we’re losing by not passing comprehensive immigration reform to include all those who do not currently have DACA,” Abraham said.

Attorney General Ken Paxton, Governor Abbott and other politicians in power in our state will continue using immigration and the border to divide us as long as Congress fails to pass permanent protections and a path to citizenship.

Join Abraham’s call for permanent protection for the 11 million. Sign the petition to President Biden and Congress: DACA Turns 10. Now We Need Permanent Protections For All.

John-Michael Torres is Communications Coordinator for La Unión del Pueblo Entero. More posts

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