As we enter a new year, 800,000 Dreamers await news of their fate in this country. Thwarted by a president who will soon terminate the only program giving them temporary reprieve from harassment or deportation, stood up by a Congress that couldn't muster the will last year to grant them a pathway to permanent residency, they wait.
After ending President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in September, Donald Trump announced that any legislation affecting the 800,000 young Dreamers would have to include building a wall on U.S. southern border, hiring 10,000 more immigration agents and imposition of harsher measures regarding refugees, including children crossing the border to flee violence and possible death. He also made it clear he would oppose legislation offering Dreamers (young people brought across our borders as children) any pathway to citizenship.
Though Donald Trump failed to get his wall funded when Congress passed a recent $1.1 trillion federal spending package, he did succeed in creating a wall of sorts.
I attended a "know your rights" workshop sponsored by an immigration rights organization in Los Angeles. The attorneys conducting the workshop offered ideas and suggestions, but one piece of advice stood out for me. It dealt with potential workplace raids conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, and the attorneys' advice was straightforward: If you are told at your workplace to get into two lines — one for those with papers and one for those without — simply refuse. Stay in one group.