On Tuesday, September 5th, the Trump/Pence regime ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). By doing this they have thrown the lives of millions of people in this country into a whole new level of fear and danger. Immediately after Jeff Sessions made the announcement, powerful protests broke out in cities all over the country. (See “Protests in the Streets Across the Country Denounce Trump Regime’s DACA Decision” for more).
Since 2012, DACA has shaped the immigration status of 800,000 “Dreamers”—undocumented immigrants brought to this country as children, even babies. For most Dreamers, this society is the only one they have ever known. Under an executive order issued by Barack Obama, they were eligible for renewable two-year work permits to live and work in the U.S. legally.
This decision means the government has stopped accepting applications for DACA. Those whose work permits are scheduled to expire within the next 6 months will have one month—until October 5th—to renew them. But as of March 5th, 2018, there will be no more work permits renewed. That means that beginning on that date, an estimated 1,400 Dreamers a day will see their 2-year work permits expire and be at risk for deportation at any time. By March of 2020, every single Dreamer will become a “criminal” in the eyes of this regime, and in the cross-hairs of ICE.
To qualify for DACA, people had to provide ICE with every detail of their lives, their residence, their work, and the names and status of their family members and relatives. They gave the authorities information that now can and will be used against them, and their loved ones. When they applied for DACA, they were told this information would not be used to deport them. But an email from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services later said that policy “may be modified, superseded, or rescinded at any time without notice.” What that means is that right now, six million mixed-residency families across the country are in a state of extreme alarm, and great risk.
The idea is being promoted that somehow Congress could pass some legislative version of DACA in the next six months. But at the White House briefing after the announcement to end DACA, it was made clear that DACA must be dealt with as part of a far more drastic attack on immigrants: “The president wants DACA made permanent as part of ‘comprehensive’ immigration legislation that would end illegal immigration, prevent visa overstays and create a “merit based” system of immigration.”
Bob Avakian, “Why do people come here from all over the world? – clip from Revolution: Why It’s Necessary, Why It’s Possible, What It’s All About, a film of a talk by Bob Avakian given in 2003 in the United States.
Conflict in the Ruling Class … and What We Need to Do Now
The Trumpites cry, “They’re illegal! They broke the law!” So fucking what. U.S. immigration law is obscene. Slavery was legal, freeing a slave was illegal. Jim Crow was the law, integration was illegal. Abortion was illegal (and today hangs by a thread). “Mixed-race” marriages were illegal… Hardly anything positive has ever emerged in this history of this country that didn’t involve breaking unjust laws.
DACA is not anything close to justice for undocumented immigrants. And it only applies to a small percentage of people in this country without documents. But going after DACA is a drastic leap in demonizing, criminalizing, and driving out immigrants. It is of a piece with the whole agenda of the Trump/Pence fascist regime: pummeling people into an overtly white supremacist (and viciously patriarchal and xenophobic) society, and crushing people’s ability to resist. They are hell-bent on re-cohering U.S. society as an overtly white Christian society, putting people of color, women, LGBTQ people, critical thinkers, and the oppressed violently, firmly “in their place.” Or, in the case of immigrants, driving them out.
A section of the ruling class objects to Trump deporting the Dreamers. They see the officially multicultural (while savagely unequal) aspect of U.S. society as a positive factor in the long-term survival and “competitive edge” of the U.S. empire atop a world of exploitation and oppression. The Democrats defend DACA. Monopoly capitalists like the heads of General Motors, Facebook, and Hewlett Packard have issued statements strongly opposing ending DACA. Some prominent Republican lawmakers have called for a legislative version of DACA in some form, although the actual nature of this replacement appears to be even worse than the present rules for DACA.
These differences are part of a larger divide in the ruling class over the Trump/Pence regime’s agenda to tear up forms through which this system of exploitation and oppression has operated. But in confronting and opposing moves to end DACA, the starting point must be the interests of humanity. The damning indictments against the Trump/Pence regime by Refuse Fascism include the defining moral stand that Immigrants are full human beings, not “illegals” or criminals, to be demonized, terrorized, hunted down, locked up, and thrown out.
Trump’s threats against DACA are an obscene outrage. Those who are furious and disgusted by Trump’s pending attack on Dreamers must resist this. At the same time, these attacks are of a piece with, and yet another escalation in the direction and momentum of fascism. It is necessary to confront the reality identified in the initial Call from Refuse Fascism:
[R]esistance is righteous and necessary, but it is not sufficient. We must recognize that the character of fascism is that it can absorb separate acts of resistance while continually throwing the opposition off balance by rapidly moving its agenda forward. The Trump/Pence regime will repeatedly launch new highly repressive measures, eventually clamping down on all resistance and remaking the law… IF THEY ARE NOT DRIVEN FROM POWER.
And in that light, Refuse Fascism has issued this call:
ON NOVEMBER 4, 2017:
We will gather in the streets and public squares of cities and towns across this country, at first many thousands declaring that this whole regime is illegitimate and that we will not stop until our single demand is met: This Nightmare Must End: the Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!
Our protest must grow day after day and night after night—thousands becoming hundreds of thousands, and then millions—determined to act to put a stop to the grave danger that the Trump/Pence Regime poses to the world by demanding that this whole regime be removed from power.
People! Everywhere! Get with that, starting now. The call, the plan, and what you need to get organized are at refusefascism.org.