Tag Archives: ICE

Dare to Dream

As the battle over Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) intensifies in Congress, so does the fear of many LGBTQ immigrants, whose chances of being deported to a country that may not support their lifestyle are increasing.

Experts say that out of the 800,000 dreamers in the United States, around 75,000 identify as LGBTQ. Dreamers are children who were brought to the United States without documentation at a young age. Some 36,000 of those are DACA recipients, many of them living in California.

The White House announced in September that DACA would end for many dreamers on or before March 5, 2018.

“Many people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer, are not only LGBTQ, but also undocumented and people of color, and not just brown, but also black,” said Ronnie Veliz, executive director of Somos Familia Valle. “So, it is very important to us to understand that, within the immigrant population, the LGBTQ population is present, with papers and also without documentation. It affects everyone’s dreams, because it does affect also mixed status families, those who know the United States as their only country from a very early age.”

What happens to the LGBTQ dreamers who come out in the United States, and then are deported to an intolerant nation?

In more than 70 countries, same-sex relations are criminalized, and out those 70, ten have a death penalty for those in the LGBTQ+ community. Many DACA recipients come from countries that can be dangerous for LGBTQ+ people. Countries like Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are the most common for asylum seekers.

“The risks are not only to be deported to a country that doesn’t even have marriage equality,” Veliz said. “…Keep in mind that marriage equality hasn’t stopped the famous videos of the killing of trans and queer people. It’s not just being deported to a country where you’re going to be killed, and mentally, psychologically, and spiritually abused, but it is also a fact that there are centers and corporations making profits from detaining immigrants.”

Although dreamers face an even greater risk of detention and deportation now, it is important to remember they can still exercise their rights. Practicing those rights before an encounter with an immigration officer, can prepare them.

“Immigrants, whether documented or undocumented, have rights and constitutional rights,” said Julia Vazquez, Southwestern School of Law Professor and the director of CSUN’s Student Legal Clinic. “Everybody should practice his or her rights ahead of time…if you don’t feel comfortable exerting your rights, [remember] the number one right that everyone has is the right to remain silent, and folks should exercise that.”

The DACA program has provided security, opportunity  and hope to recipients. They had the ability to obtain driver’s licenses, enroll in college, and legally secure jobs.

“It’s shameful we are now seeing the cycle of scapegoating, not only [against] immigrants,” Vazquez said. ” Now that we have the language, and more of a platform to really understand, that not every immigrant experience is equal, like people of color, like LGBTQ, and that when you combine those, [these groups] are going to be doubly oppressed by a system of laws that are failing to protect even the most privileged of that group.”

On December 8, in a 5 to 4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled the Trump administration does not have to turn over legal documents connected to its decision to end the program. The Court said it would consider the matter further.

Moderator: Diego Girgado

Producers: Morgan Ball and Minerva Medrano

Anchor: Joselynn Castro

Social Media Editor: Tyler Jones

Reporters: Morgan Ball, Joselynn Castro, Diego Girgado, Tyler Jones and Minerva Medrano

 

Comments Off on Dare to Dream

LA Dreamers

Since the Trump Administration entered the White House, the federal government has promised to deport undocumented immigrants from the U.S., sending them back to their birth country. This situation has left many Dreamers afraid of the very real threat of deportation for themselves or their loved ones, despite the reassurance that a sanctuary city, like Los Angeles, has to offer.

“A Dreamer would be somebody who would be eligible for the DACA program, which is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” said Adan Garcia, a representative from Santa Rosa Immigration Services.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, is essentially an immigration benefit program that provides work permits to qualified immigrants.

“The DACA program gives you a work permit if you meet the requirements for it,” Garcia said, “and the requirements are that you have entered the country before your 15th birthday, [and] that you have also entered the country on or before June 2007….[they also] take criminal record into account.”

The program applies only to young people under these very specific circumstances, and ignores many other undocumented family members who are living and working  and going to school in the U.S.

The Dream Center at CSUN, located inside the University Student Union, is a major resource for undocumented students, including the many people who don’t meet the DACA requirements.

One of the most common issues that the Dream Center deals with are “families that have young kids, especially that are born in the U.S.,” said Jesus, a representative from the CSUN Dream Center, who didn’t want his last name to be used.”The fear of [the parents] being deported, and no one being able to take care of their kids, we’ve had a lot of that.”

Many undocumented immigrants who live in LA, and are not protected by DACA, feel fortunate to live in a sanctuary city. Although there is no legal definition, a sanctuary city is considered “essentially whether a city is willing to cooperate with the federal government when it comes to immigration,” Garcia said. But despite the fact that undocumented immigrants with a clean criminal record are generally protected in sanctuary cities, many of them are still living in fear and paranoia.

“Many people fear their immigration status,” said Lady Pineda, a translator at Hermanda Mexicana Transnacional. “They think that any other day ICE might come to their door, knock, and you know, separate their families.”

“I don’t think anybody should be afraid,” Garcia said, “maybe a little cautious, but it doesn’t seem that the deportation rate has gone up.”

But many Californians say they believe that deportation is something that no active member of a society should have to fear.

“The Dreamers are not criminals,” CSUN student and Dreamer Ivan Salinas said. “We are just trying to fit in. We are trying to be Americans.”

Moderator: Abril Preciado

Producer: Yesenia Burgara

Anchor: Amber Partida

Social Media Editors: Malcolm Finney and Julie Nesbitt

Reporters: Shelby Charlene, Yesenia Burgara, Malcolm Finney, Julie Nesbitt, Amber Partida, Curtis Poindexter and Abril Preciado

Comments Off on LA Dreamers