In June this year, the United States Supreme Court blocked Donald Trump’s decision to revoke not only DACA, but also Title VII, scoring two points in the fight for equality in America. For that, praise is partly due to the LGBTQ+ immigrants who have fought for DACA since 2012.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA, is an Obama-Era policy that protects children who were brought to the United States illegally by their parents/guardians before these children could make decisions for themselves. Under DACA, these immigrant youths have the ability to get a driver’s license and work permits without fear of deportation.
Title VII is the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that protects LGBTQ+ workers from workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The fight for these two policies began in 2012 when a group of LGBTQ+ immigrant youths pushed then President, Barack Obama, to create DACA. Not only would the creation of DACA protect these undocumented youths, but it would also expand protection for LGBTQ+ immigrants in the workplace.
Now, DACA was never the end goal for young immigrants, it was supposed to be a stepping stone towards not only citizenship but ending the stigma against undocumented immigrants. However, no one back in 2016 could have foreseen the damage Donald Trump would do to immigrants and LGBTQ+ youth. In fact, he is still trying to revoke DACA, promising that if he is re-elected, that he will try again.
While the main fight for DACA is waged in the courts, LGBTQ+ immigrant youths know that the justice system doesn’t always serve justice. These activists have had to find new ways to fight for their right to freedom.
They have organised protests, organising justice groups and raised funds, as well as recently writing an open letter about not selling out the immigrant community, and how to be a better member and ally. This also includes not pitting the immigrant community against the Black Lives Matter movement. The letter describes of how both groups have a common goal of defunding not only the police but ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) as well.
ICE has been known to be violent and to be more likely to target black immigrants and LGBTQ+ immigrants. Two of the most famous cases concern Roxsana Hernandez Rodruigez and Johana Medina Leon, two trans women who died in ICE custody due to wilful negligence after trying to seek asylum.
For nearly ten years LGBTQ+ immigrants have been fighting for the freedoms of all undocumented immigrants in America–that’s nearly 12 million, while DACA only represents 800,000 of these immigrants.
The groups stress that immigrants are not a threat to America, they are what make the country great. And the LGBTQ+ immigrants who have fought for DACA from the start, will fight until the very end.
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