Spreading the Word About the DACA Repeal
by Agustin Fuentes
Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAAJ) is a group that focuses most of its work on the American Dream and what it looks like for people who come from historically oppressed groups. The nonprofit organization was founded in 1991, in Washington, D.C., and its main goal is to bring attention to people who were left out of national conversations about policy making. Having Asian American representation in these conversations directly changes lives, but frequently, their communities have not been taken into account because, according to the AAAJ representative, introduced as Vi, “other groups are brought up when discussing immigration and voting rights.” The end goal for this group is to let all Americans (regardless of their citizenship status or race/ethnicity) to contribute to the American Dream and pursue it like everyone else.
On Wednesday, Sept. 27, Mr. Charles Milbert, Social Sciences department, held an informational meeting about DACA and what will happen after DACA is no long affective.
Vi stressed that this meeting was meant for anyone and everyone regardless of immigration status, ethnicity, or knowledge of the issue. AAAJ wanted this meeting to be for everyone because it hopes to educate as many people as possible about exactly what will happen when the Dream Act is repealed. Vi emphasized the importance of knowing the rights that everyone has (regardless of immigration status) when looking at interactions with the police, going to school, and working rights. Another person then shared a story about when she lost her job, solely because the Dream Act was repealed.
The presentation began with Vi assuring everyone that any shared personal stories would be kept secret. This was important to include in the introduction because most people that have personal insight are too scared to speak about it. However, everyone was encouraged to spread the information given in the presentation to those who were not there but who could benefit from knowing it.
She opened up the presentation by quickly explaining the importance of the Illinois Trust Act when having conversations about immigrant families’ safety. The bill centers around police officers inquiring about a person’s immigration status and prohibiting detaining a person solely on their status. This allows for families to not have to worry about being deported when contacting police. Vi also brought up the topic of undocumented students to applying for college aid. AAAJ is currently advocating to pass the student access bill, which would allow all students to apply to scholarships for four year public universities, regardless of their immigration status.
The rest of the presentation was centered around personal experiences and resources from and for other students. Vi concluded by encouraging everyone to find a community and support others during this time, because when one person speaks up, it isn’t always noticed. Having a community is crucial in today’s political climate, not only for support, but to amplify the voices of those pressured to stay silent.