President Trump tweeted Tuesday morning that many Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients were “far from angels.” His tweet comes on the same day the Supreme Court is hearing arguments about his administration's decision to end the immigration policy.
Just seven months after taking office, Trump tried to repeal DACA, a program that delayed the deportation of young undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, but lower courts ultimately blocked his action. Now, the Supreme Court is looking at whether the administration has a legitimate justification for ending the program.
A lot of people are paying close attention to Tuesday’s arguments. Greisa Martinez is one of them.
Martinez, a DACA recipient, is deputy executive director of United We Dream, a national immigrant youth-led network. She remembers crossing the Rio Grande with her parents and younger sister when she was 7 years old. Her family ended up in Dallas, Texas — a place she’s called home for years now. She says being an undocumented immigrant was a “formative part” of her childhood.
Her “long journey” is what keeps her fighting and organizing for the rights of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., she says.
“There's a lot of victory and joy in being able to have extended protections for people like myself,” she says.
She campaigned for the implementation of DACA in 2012 after the loss of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, or DREAM Act, in 2010.
“Little by little, immigrant people put our bodies on the line. We demonstrated. We came to Washington, D.C. We spoke to the White House,” she says. “And in a matter of two years, we were able to deliver the victory of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. And we just thought it was magical.”
For Martinez, the battle against the Trump administration’s move to dismantle DACA is about “defining who we fight for and why we fight.” She says it’s been encouraging to see new allies join the movement and call on the government to treat immigrants in the U.S. “with dignity and respect.”
In what she calls a “joyful rebellion,” she expects more young people across the country to mobilize as Supreme Court justices hear the arguments.
What the Supreme Court decides in the coming months will shape the fate of the 700,000 DACA recipients — often called “Dreamers” — who live, work and go to school in the U.S. Their decision is expected by summer 2020, NPR reports.
“DACA is legal, constitutional and successful,” Martinez says, “and no matter what their decision is next year, myself, the members of United We Dream, undocumented immigrants all across the country will not stop fighting for this country to recognize our humanity.”
This segment aired on November 12, 2019.
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