This week, NAHREP issued a statement expressing our disappointment in the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that affirmed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program as unlawful. Last year, a Texas-based U.S. District Judge also ruled the program unlawful, in part because it did not follow typical administrative procedure – it had not been subjected to appropriate public notice and comment periods required under Federal law. Last week, the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the Texas court’s ruling, sending the case back to the lower court to review the newest version of the rule issued by the Biden Administration in late August.
This week marks the 10th anniversary of the creation of the DACA program or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. For ten years, Dreamers who arrived in this country as minors have been able to live close-to-normal lives when it comes to work, education, and basic government services without the fear of deportation. I want to remind us all that these are our friends, NAHREP members, NAHREP clients, and NAHREP family members. However, the program has come under attack by various court cases, and in the midst of one of the most politically polarized environments this country has ever seen, DACA is on shaky ground.
Recently, some of our NAHREP leaders were asked: “How would you describe NAHREP to elected officials?” I think the most important thing to remember in answering that question, is that when you describe NAHREP to elected officials or to any community leader in general, it is important to establish what we are, what we stand for, and why we matter in 30 seconds.
Stories are a critical vehicle for human connection. They are powerful mostly because they make us feel something. Storytelling is an especially powerful tool in advocacy because stories have the ability to put a human emotion and a human face to laws and regulations. As the subject of DACA once again takes center stage, I thought of a young man who embodies the most beautiful aspects of the American Dream.
In the midst of having a case of cabin fever this week, I decided to take a drive through the agricultural fields of Chino, California. The fields were lined with farm workers hard at work picking fruits and vegetables for our consumption, individuals who are undoubtedly essential through this pandemic. It’s easy to take the food we eat for granted. It’s also easy to forget that the people who do the back-breaking work of producing our food supply are often undocumented.
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?