Time to step up and defend the Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, which, if taken away, could force almost one million people who have barely or never known another country to leave the U.S.
Late on Sunday September 3, word started circulating that Trump had decided to rescind the DACA policy, which Obama created in 2012 via executive order when it became clear that Congress would fail to address it. Reportedly, DACA will die after a six-month delay that some are characterizing as a chance for Congress to do what they should have done in the first place and pass a law protecting those affected by DACA, who are known as the Dreamers.
The Dreamers have jumped through a fair number of hoops to qualify and stay in compliance. They must not have criminal records, they have to provide personal information to the government, and they have to pay a fee every now and again. So these are young, promising people, exactly the sort who we want here, and who want to be here. Also, on average, they came here at the age of six. Most know no other country than America. To deport them would be jaw-droppingly cruel.
Also, to be scrupulously fair to Trump–he’s acting because a cluster of states is forcing his hand. Nine attorneys general have stated that if Trump hasn’t made a move on killing DACA by Tuesday, September 5, they’d sue. Jeff Sessions has been pressuring him to kill DACA and kick it back to Congress as well. Sure, Trump could tell them all to go screw, and we here at OTYCD wish he would, but this is not like his weird-ass bullshit ban on transfolk serving in the military in that he’s feeling outside pressure to do this, and do it now.
And we’re saying ‘reportedly’ in this context because we’re writing this post before an official White House announcement comes down about DACA. People expect Trump to do this and are bracing for it, but team Trump has yet to go on record.
Anyway. We need to do what we can to protect the Dreamers. For what it’s worth, prominent Republicans, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, have spoken up in favor of the DACA program, and have said explicitly that Trump should not kill it.
If this nonsense actually forces Congress to do the right thing at long last, it could end up being good after all. It will have tortured a bunch of upstanding kids and young adults along the way for no reason, but if they ultimately win the protection of a law rather than an executive order, they’d be better off. But! As always, we the people have to step up and speak up, loudly and firmly, to make our leaders do the right thing.
So, first off, if you live in Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, or West Virginia, call your state attorney general and ask him to drop the threat of a lawsuit against the federal government to end DACA.*
Their contact information is here (thanks to CAP Action for compiling it and the Women’s March for tweeting it). And remember, ONLY CALL IF YOU ACTUALLY LIVE IN THESE STATES:
Ken Paxton, Texas: 512.463.2100
Steve Marshall, Alabama: 334.242.7300
Leslie Rutledge, Arkansas, 501.682.2007
Derek Schmidt, Kansas, 785.296.2215
Jeff Landry, Louisiana, 225.326.6079
Doug Peterson, Nebraska, 402.471.2683
Alan Wilson, South Carolina, 803.734.3970
Patrick Morrisey, West Virginia, 304.558.2012
Possible anti-lawsuit script for the nine AGs: “Hello, I am (Firstname Lastname, and I live in town, zip code). I wanted to tell the state attorney general that I support the DACA program and I want him to leave the group of attorneys general who are threatening to sue the federal government to end it. The Dreamers are not the problem, and they deserve the chance to stay here and become citizens officially. Thank you.”
If you live in Tennessee, call attorney general Herbert Slatery and thank him for pulling his state out of the threatened suit. But again, only call if you actually live in Tennessee:
Herbert Slatery, Tennessee, 615.741.3491
Possible thank-you script for AG Slatery: “Hello, I am (Firstname Lastname, and I live in town, zip code). I wanted to tell the state attorney general that I support the DACA program and I want to thank him for leaving the group of attorneys general who are threatening to sue the federal government to end it. I appreciate him having the wisdom to change his mind, and I appreciate him having the strength and courage to do the right thing. Thank you.”
If you live in the other 40 states, call your attorney general on Tuesday, September 5 and urge him or her to sue the federal government if it takes DACA away.
To learn who your attorney general is, plug your address into this search engine:
Scroll down about halfway for your state reps. The name of your attorney general should be there. Click the plus sign to the right of the name and it’ll give you the phone number for your AG’s office.
Sample script for your state AG: “Hello, I am (Firstname Lastname, and I live in town, zip code). I wanted to tell the state attorney general that I support the DACA program and I want him/her to sue the federal government if it moves to abolish it. Please tell the AG that he/she has my support if he/she initiates or joins a lawsuit to protect DACA and the Dreamers. Thank you.”
Everyone, regardless of the states we call home, needs to call our MoCs and ask them to defend DACA.
Possible pro-DACA script for your MoCs: “Hello, I am (Firstname Lastname, and I live in town, zip code). I wanted to tell (Senator/House Rep Lastname) that I support the DACA program and the Dreamers, and I want him/her to pass a law that formally protects them–preferably a law that would not expire. The Dreamers deserve the chance to stay here and become citizens officially. Thank you.”
To stay on top of DACA-related issues and the #DefendDACA effort, check the web page of United We Dream, the leading organization that protects and defends the Dreamers:
In particular, check this page, see if there’s a pro-DACA protest near you on September 5, and attend it if you can:
If you can’t–and you won’t be the only one who can’t go, seeing as it happens right after Labor Day weekend–get on social media and promote the #DefendDACA and #HereToStay hashtags as best you can. And definitely call all your MoCs. They need to hear from you on this.
On Twitter, follow @UNITEDWEDREAM and @womensmarch
Read about the evident coming disappearance of DACA:
Read about Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery changing his mind and withdrawing his support for the lawsuit to end DACA:
*We’re aware that the original tweets calling for action included the Twitter handles of all nine AGs. We are not including those handles in our post because we are not convinced that tweeting at the AGs will do anything to help the #DefendDACA cause.