Butterflies Not Barriers: Marching in Support of DACA
Yesterday, at the march in support of DACA, many of the protesters carried hand-drawn signs decorated with butterflies. I learned that the Monarch butterfly has become a symbol of the immigrants’ rights movement because of its cross-border North American migrations. This struck me as at once powerful and positive. The Monarch butterfly is one of the many things we share with our neighbors south of the border; I’ve always believed that finding common ground is essential for achieving any goal.
However, sometimes before you can find common ground, you have to draw a line in the sand. That’s what we need to do with those who seek to upend the lives of our young immigrants. DREAMers are invaluable members of our community. The President's decision to end DACA is wrong from both a moral and economic perspective. If Minneapolis is to be a true sanctuary city, we must come together and oppose this decision.
We must also correct misinformation surrounding DACA. Many who oppose it do so because they fear that DACA holders are taking something away from them. However, there is no evidence that DACA holders with work permits increased the unemployment rate for other groups of U.S. workers. Many also believe that DACA grants immigrants special privileges, but as Rep. Rosa DeLauro puts it, “DACA is not a free ride, despite the heated rhetoric and misinformation surrounding this issue. There are many requirements to qualify, such as entering the U.S. before age 16, continuously living in the U.S. since 2007, not being convicted of felonies or significant misdemeanors, and finishing high school or serving in our armed forces. DREAMers have followed the rules, gone through the entire application process, and been approved to stay in our nation. We should not betray them by threatening their ability to learn, work, and live in this country.”
DACA stands for “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.” Most DREAMers have been in the United States since the age of 6 or younger. This is the only home they’ve ever known. To force them to leave is simply un-American.
Providing Sanctuary for All Immigrants
Opposing DACA is just one of the things we must do to be an effective sanctuary city. We also need to provide clear communication to everyone in our immigrant communities. We need to ensure that immigrants know what their rights are, where to go and whom to call when they need help. We also need to combat harmful misinformation that leads to confusion and fear.
The city needs to take responsibility for connecting people with the resources that can help them. Resources for immigrants include:
- Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota
- Navigate MN
- Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid - Immigration Law Project
- Park Avenue Legal Clinic
- The Advocates for Human Rights
- Battered Women’s Legal Advocacy Project
- Arrive Ministries
Though we are facing some difficult battles, we must continue to steadfastly strive for a brighter future for all of us – one with more butterflies and fewer barriers.