In the weeks prior to a landmark Supreme Court decision on DAPA and DACA+, a decision that would affect the lives of millions of people across the nation, the Obama administration’s ICE decided to carry out its second major immigration raids of the year; this time in the Midwest. Under the guise of “removing criminal aliens,” ICE has rounded up 331 immigrants in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Kansas and Missouri. Much of the language of the statements from ICE justify these raids in the interest of “public safety,” but they contradict the impact that immigrant rights groups in the area claim is doing more harm than good.
ICE raids break up families and traumatize children who must contend with witnessing armed groups of men abducting their parents and siblings from the safety of their homes. The remark of “removing criminal aliens” is also a ruse that includes individuals working with infractions as minor as working with a made-up social security number. Chicago was the hardest hit city with 106 arrests made. In our own state of Missouri, 39 arrests were made in the Kansas City area. Such actions constitute a treacherous violation on the part of the Obama administration, which has deported more immigrants than any other previous administration combined in recent history.
This coming on the cusps of promising comprehensive immigration reform. It is clear to us that immigration reform and collective liberation cannot come at the mercy of the carceral state, which must be fed with a constant supply of prison inmates to fill it’s jails, but rather a willingness to resist. History has taught us that no people is given their freedom without standing up and fighting for it. The very fact that immigration reform is being discussed, that DACA was won by the People, was not from a change of heart from the Democratic Party and the Obama administration. Rather it was won from the willingness of hundreds of thousands of Dreamers rising up to demand their right to not be separated from their families. Who fought to have access to the right of education.
In Missouri a reactionary bill was signed into law, HB 2003, that would seek to undermine DACA by charging Dreamers international rates to attend public universities. The law is supposed to go into effect August 28, 2016, but already schools are hiking tuition on ‘DACAmented’ students. In Kansas City, community colleges which cannot charge international rates, and thus are immune to the language of the bill, still see it fit to charge out-of-state tuition to DACA recipients, even though they are under no obligation to do so. Such racist attacks by Missouri’s legislature, and the signing of the bill into law by Jay Nixon, who assured undocumented youth that it was “unenforceable,” show that it is not the politicians in whom we can trust, but in our own ability as The People to resist. Such moves which seek to undermine the victories we have made must be soundly and firmly rejected.
We are issuing a call to resist not only the ICE raids but Missouri HB 2003 . We will not relent until this unconstitutional law is repealed and Dreamers are given access to schools in the state in which they reside. We will not sit idly by and allow so many members of our community be treated in such a neglectful, violent and racist manner.
Progressive Youth Organization, Kansas City
Progressive Youth Organization, Saint Louis
Kansas Missouri Dream Alliance
Una Lucha KC
Latinos en Axión STL