Congress is back in session and my little Resistance-writing recess has come to an end as well. Unfortunately the chaos of the world we’re living in (also called “the news”) hasn’t taken a break. That can make it hard to know where to pick one of these up after a hiatus. However, the Trump Administration’s move to end DACA and once again disregard the basic rights to life and dignity of human beings can’t go undiscussed. So we’ve got our starting point! As usual, this series aims to a) help us stay informed on the events unfolding in America and b) urge readers to add their voice to the chorus calling out for justice. We must be aware. We must be vocal. We must be active. We must be loving. This is how we will triumph and how we will transform our lives, our nation, and our world.
Before jumping into the disgraceful and disappointing (although, sadly, in no way surprising) move to cut DACA, I want to say something about this series going forward. I try really hard to put this out weekly, minus the occasional breaks I give myself for mental health. However, writing and compiling these posts is emotionally exhausting. During this last little break I spent some time reflecting and praying about how best to manage this. We’re a little over seven months into a (hopefully just) four year fight. We’re also still a little over a year away from the midterm elections. To keep myself from breaking emotionally from the constant dance with the darkness, I’m going to try making this a bi-weekly series instead of weekly. I struggled with this decision. But to keep myself going I need to find a more livable balance. As my brother David so perfectly described it, “Anymore watching and reading the news is like wearing a Horcrux around your neck.” I feel that way too! That’s it! Just as Harry, Ron, and Hermione had to share the Horcrux, I need to take a few more weeks off than I have been. I’ll happily welcome more guest posts to this series as Green Onion so passionately offered a few weeks ago, should anyone else feel so compelled. And I’m not saying I’ll only do every other week for sure. But I need to slow down a little so I can keep fighting for the long haul.
Here’s what’s coming up that we need to talk to our representatives about or call/email/mail other people in government/power. Note, whenever possible, have the bill number of the issue you’re calling about ready to share with the staffer who answers the phone.
1) In another morally bankrupt move, driven by the petty desire to undercut everything President Obama did and the inability to see anyone who isn’t a rich white asshole man like himself as a human being, Trump announced that he’s phasing out DACA (or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) over the next six months. This program protects roughly 800,000 immigrant youth in this country who were brought here, through no fault of their own, illegally by their parents when they were still minors. They have grown up here. They contribute to society. This is their home. For many it is the only home they have ever known.
Yet as early as March those protected under DACA may be deported. This policy allows them to remain in this country without fear of immediate removal and to legally work. As The New York Times reported, “Democrats and some Republicans, business executives, college presidents and immigration activists condemned the move as a coldhearted and shortsighted effort that was unfair to the young immigrants and could harm the economy.”
In addition to being condemned by representatives on both sides of the aisle, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have condemned the decision to end DACA in no uncertain terms. The USCCB called on Congress to find a legislative solution and protect these youth. We need to call on Congress to do the same. We have to be on the phone with our reps about this. Amidst the righteous anger this heartless move generated, Trump called on Congress to “legalize DACA” a few hours after saying he was getting rid of it. He also said he’d “revisit the issue!” if they couldn’t agree on something. This shows that this isn’t over. Don’t let your reps do nothing. Call them. See where they stand. If they are for DACA, tell them to fight and refuse to back down. If they aren’t, let them know how unacceptable that is. Call your reps and make sure they know you demand justice for immigrants and actions that strengthen DACA not weaken or remove it.
There are, obviously, other issues I could explore here. But these are human being, brought to this country as children, who were given a chance to follow legal means to contribute to this country and begin the path to citizenship…and they are being turned away. There is no moral justification for this action. We can’t accept this. We have to fight.
These aren’t matters our reps will vote on directly but they are still important news we should be aware of:
1) The New Yorker looks at the historical need and rationale for impeachment as outlined by James Madison, George Mason, and Benjamin Franklin at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787. Madison said, among other things, they would need to be able to impeach a president in case, “He might lose his capacity after his appointment. He might pervert his administration into a scheme of peculation or oppression. He might betray his trust to foreign powers.” As The New Yorker clarifies, peculation means embezzling.
2) Frighteningly, Russia’s cyber-attacks against the United States didn’t end with the election. Mother Jones explains how they are still happening now while Trump continues to deny anything is or has ever been wrong.
3) Remember Trumpy’s proposed immigration plan from a few weeks ago? Well Time offered this great article about it that includes a test to see if you would be approved for immigration under his suggested requirements. You need to score at least 30 points on the checklist to get in. I scored 26 soooooo no approval for me. I strongly suggest you check this link out for yourself. It’s only a few questions and it shows in stark clarity how tightly he wants to close the doors to this country.
Speaking Truth To Power
This section highlights those who are daring to speak out against the corruption in our government. Sadly, given the way our media operates, we must turn to comedians to do the job journalists should do. Thankfully, we have these insightful, powerful voices – many trained by Jon Stewart over the years – to speak the truth.
1) Stephen Colbert explores Trump’s ending DACA on The Late Show too. “You’re right Jeff [Sessions], deporting innocent children doesn’t mean they’re bad people. It means you’re a bad person.” Amen!
2) Trevor Noah looks at Trump’s pardon last week of Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio on The Daily Show. This is another clear step in Trump’s move to further institutionalize blatant racism. It’s also another example of Trump trying to erode the system of checks and balances that form the foundation of our government. But how bad was this guy? Let’s let Trevor Noah explain it to us with a much needed dose of humor to make the sadness easier.
3) Stephen Colbert discusses the ramifications of North Korea testing their most significant nuclear bomb yet last Sunday.
4) Trevor Noah considers the same nuclear test on The Daily Show while underscoring how Trump has NO IDEA how to handle this, again with the brevity we need to handle it. This is horrifying stuff…
5) And finally, the other week John Oliver enlisted the help of none other than “Weird Al” Yankovic to help with the rising tensions with North Korea. Given my last post, how could I not include this??
1) President Obama took to Facebook to address Trump’s move to end DACA yesterday. In his statement (which I encourage you to read in full) he said, “Let’s be clear: the action taken today isn’t required legally. It’s a political decision, and a moral question. Whatever concerns or complaints Americans may have about immigration in general, we shouldn’t threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own, who pose no threat, who are not taking away anything from the rest of us. They are that pitcher on our kid’s softball team, that first responder who helps out his community after a disaster, that cadet in ROTC who wants nothing more than to wear the uniform of the country that gave him a chance. Kicking them out won’t lower the unemployment rate, or lighten anyone’s taxes, or raise anybody’s wages. It is precisely because this action is contrary to our spirit, and to common sense, that business leaders, faith leaders, economists, and Americans of all political stripes called on the administration not to do what it did today….Ultimately, this is about basic decency. This is about whether we are a people who kick hopeful young strivers out of America, or whether we treat them the way we’d want our own kids to be treated. It’s about who we are as a people – and who we want to be.”
2) The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have condemned Trump’s move to end DACA, as discussed above. In their statement the USCCB wrote, “The cancellation of the DACA program is reprehensible…This decision is unacceptable and does not reflect who we are as Americans…. Today’s actions represent a heartbreaking moment in our history that shows the absence of mercy and good will, and a short-sighted vision for the future. DACA youth are woven into the fabric of our country and of our Church, and are, by every social and human measure, American youth.” It’s worth reading this short statement in full.
3) The Sisters of Mercy have also condemned Trump’s unjust move to end DACA. You should take a moment to read their short statement as well. The Sisters have said ending DACA is, “an historic injustice and a violation of the human dignity of over 800,000 young people, while diminishing us all as a nation….We join others in the faith community to stand in solidarity with DACA recipients and add our voice in strong resistance to the immoral ending of this program, as well as the Administration’s threats to end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for other immigrant communities….We will not stand by as DACA recipients and their families, as well as other undocumented immigrants and vulnerable groups, are scapegoated and blamed for the economic and social problems facing this country.”
4) As the HuffPost reports many DACA recipients are most worried not about themselves but their families. “Many [recipients] were living with undocumented family members when they provided their address to USCIS on their first applications. As the Trump administration eviscerates the last major immigration reform of the Obama years, many DACA beneficiaries were not worried so much about themselves as their parents or other family members left out of the program and in limbo by stalled attempts to pass farther-reaching reforms through Congress….Homeland Security officials insist that they will not use the information provided by DACA recipients against them to pursue deportation orders. Those who participated in the program gave their information to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency that processes applications to obtain legal residency or to obtain American citizenship. That agency is separate from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which carries out deportation policy.” I wish I could believe that would be the case…
Now I turn to my faith, Jesus, scripture, and those who have followed those messages best to remind myself why I fight, how I fight, and who I fight for:
With the careless and casual rejection of DACA (clearly) weighing on my heart and mind, I’ve been praying “A Prayer to Saint Juan Diego.” Juan Diego was a widower living in Guadalupe in 1531 when he began to receive visions of Mary. He was canonized on 31 July 2002 by Pope John Paul II.
St. Juan Diego, our first saint from the Americas, pray for us. We ask God the Father to pour forth the protecting love of his Spirit upon all migrants, taking special heed of those in need of support, who are isolated or separated from their native lands, whether by choice or necessity.
St. Juan Diego, intercede for those torn away from their families in pursuit of work that they may be reunited: husbands with wives and parents with children.
As the Virgin of Guadalupe promised you her compassionate prayers for the poor of Mexico, so now raise your merciful pleading for migrant women and children who are particularly vulnerable to the dangers of human trafficking. Seek for them protection from all evil.
May we, O Blessed Juan Diego, receive through your prayers, the grace to welcome with love to our country all migrants who seek a home in our parishes and communities.
And we ask that you join your prayers to those of Our Lady, who appeared to you as your Mother and as Mother of all in our land. May she wrap her mantle of protection around all migrant people.
We beg for her love, compassion, help, and protection on all immigrants who today experience great sufferings, sorrows, necessities, and misfortunes.
In the shared power of Christ and the union of the Holy Spirit, we say: Amen.
The battle for justice is only just beginning. Join the Resistance! Give it all you have! I encourage anyone interested in helping speak out about and challenge the injustices growing around us to do so. If you’d like, reach out to me in the comments or message me on Twitter. You’re certainly welcome to send me news you’d like to see included! I am only one person and, as such, have a finite ability to track these things. If you happen to be a blogger or vlogger yourself, you’re also welcome to take what I post in these weekly calls to action and share it on your own site too if you feel so called. But, most of all, I hope you’ll take advantage of the direct link that is in this post and all the posts to follow to call – and keep calling – your representatives. Democracy works if we participate. Love will triumph if we have faith. We can’t give up our belief in those principles or we’ve already lost the struggle.
I’m sure I’ve used this song before but it feels appropriate to close with this today. This is Bruce Springsteen’s “American Land.” He describes it as “an immigrant song” and in it he reminds us who and what American really is.