National Advocacy Committee Blog: DACA and the YIMBY Movement: The Power of Showing Up

Celebrating NAHREP familia, cultura, politics, and grassroots action

Que onda mi gente?

I spent all of last week in Washington D.C. for my own version of “Capitol Hill Visits.” In the span of three days I met with 12 different offices, all members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. It was cold in D.C. for this chica! I’ve now gotten used to living in sunny San Diego, but I do have to say I miss the fall. Why can’t San Diego have fall leaves? Can we import those and keep the sun?

While I was there I had a chance to show up at the DACA rally organized outside of the Supreme Court while the justices heard oral arguments over the fate of the DACA program. It was beautiful. All of these young Latino kids using their voice to claim their place in this country: as Americans by all aspects other than the fact that they weren’t born here. When the DACA plaintiffs who were inside of the Supreme Court came outside, clasping hands, dressed in their best professional clothes, there were chills that went through the crowd. We were so proud of them.

DACA to be decided by the Supreme Court in June of 2020

As the young DACA recipients walked out of the Supreme Court after having served as witnesses, they stood in front of the steps facing the crowd of supporters who had gathered around the Supreme Court with signs saying: “#HomeIsHere. They were proud but you could also see how scared and nervous they were. A final decision on DACA from the Supreme Court will come no later than June 2020.

What does this mean for the 700,000 DACA recipients, 90 percent of whom are employed and 45 percent of whom are in school? Deportation is unlikely, the government wouldn’t have the resources to undertake such a mass action. But, if the Supreme Court votes against the program, it is highly likely these young people will have their work authorization revoked.

How you can help? I’ve been seeing a lot of Latino leaders organize by raising funds to help recipients pay for their DACA renewals at DacaRenewalFund.com. Regardless of what the court decides, if a DACA recipient is renewed for two more years, it buys time for some possible legislative or government action by a new Administration. No matter what, we are familia, and as familia, we have each other’s backs.

Yes in My Back Yard (YIMBY)

There is a phenomenon happening around the country called NIMBYsm, aka the Not In My Back Yard-ers. Or even worse, BANANAs – Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone. It is this notion that you can nod your head and acknowledge that there is a homeless problem or that there is a housing shortage and agree that something should be done, as long as it doesn’t disturb one’s daily life. You’ve all heard it: I don’t want more traffic, parking is already a nightmare, but what about my view!? (Insert obligatory eye roll here). I get it. I live in San Diego and I love my little Spanish style bungalows. I love how idyllic my neighborhood looks. I don’t want that destroyed. But there has to be a give and take. NIMBYSm is usually disguised racism. Many people, often people with influence, have this notion that “good” neighborhoods are made up of single family homes. However, once you build density in neighborhoods, such as condos or apartment buildings, “who knows what kind of people we’re going to get.” Those “people” they are referring to are usually assumed to be people of color.

Last week I ran into a state Assemblymember I went to college with. She told me that she couldn’t vote for a bill that addresses zoning issues because the NIMBYs were so loud in her district that she couldn’t vote otherwise. She understood with all of her heart that housing inventory is a problem. However, her hands were tied. No one in her district was standing up to make the other side of the argument: our argument.

NAHREP understands how important it is to build more homes, create density in job centers and ultimately keep up with the demand for housing driven by the Latino community. However, our voice isn’t loud enough. States like California have created a movement to counter the NIMBYs, it’s called Yes In My Backyard (or, the YIMBYs). It’s time we create YIMBYs everywhere.

One more week of work until Thanksgiving. Let’s hustle mi gente! Every second counts.

About Noerena Limón

Noerena Limón is NAHREP’s Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Industry Relations. Noerena heads the organization’s policy and advocacy efforts on issues ranging from homeownership, housing inventory, credit access and immigration.

Prior to joining NAHREP, Noerena spent six years at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and served as a political appointee under President Obama in the White House Office of Political Affairs.