Since its inception, the purpose of
Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE)
has been to look at how corporate and government power work to undermine the rights and needs of the people for financial gain. We have looked at the intersection of these issues and how race and class are always at the center of this oppression. For more than 35 years, the
St. Louis Inter-Faith Committee on Latin America (IFCLA)
has worked to accompany the people of Latin America in their parallel struggles for justice, and to educate and advocate in the US.
As we have at times in the past, our organizations and the people we represent join together again today, seeing and feeling the commonality of our oppression and the oneness of our oppressors.
The recent wave of attacks on our civil rights, including the discriminatory rhetoric repeatedly used by our highest elected officials, undermines black and brown people, immigrant communities, indigenous populations and low income people alike. For many in our communities who have always lived under the thumb of this oppression, these attacks are not shocking. Our bodies, labor and land have always been used for capitalistic gain in whatever manner the dominant system has seen fit. Part of both of our efforts have been to consistently fight against the caging of our bodies for profit. People of color are overwhelmingly criminalized more for less in this country. The prevailing reason for this devastation and ever-expanding criminalization of our communities is that in doing so, the mass incarceration industry and the individuals that benefit from its growth enjoy extravagant profits. Every opportunity to take advantage of marginalized people are capitalized upon for profit. Policies that continue to do so are directly aligned with the white nationalist agenda that has become more prevalent at local, state and federal levels.
Earlier this week, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the US government will discontinue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. While there are some legislative options to repair this in the next six months, it was an unnecessary move to begin with and one that quite plainly, is
. This act will send the lives of 800,000 individuals, many who live, raise families, go to school, and work in this country into a tailspin, shattering the families and communities to which they belong. People who trusted the US government with sensitive personal information and the lives they have lived in the only country many of them have ever known, are now being told that they will have to leave and make their lives elsewhere; the US government is telling these folks that they are not valued in this country. We must also be clear that the impacts of DACA will be felt among Latinx communities as well as in other immigrant communities.
Terminating DACA will make them more vulnerable to a legal system that shows a proven bias towards people of color, a system that is designed to make money from our criminalization.
There is much that remains unclear about what can and will happen next. What is clear is that thi
s administration will not exercise restraint in furthering an anti-immigrant, white supremacist agenda
. In fact, earlier this year, Trump’s top immigration agent declared that “no population is off the table.” This is unacceptable. What is most important to acknowledge is that all of this unnecessary action is being done to continue to fuel a white nationalist agenda, reinforced by the economic interests of those that will benefit from these political games. It is a way to coddle and ease the irrational fears of white racists and neo-Nazis. It is also a likely path to help fill prisons and detention centers and line the pockets of the corporations and individuals in control.
Some want to focus on the impact these actions will have on our economy, and while the loss of capital, businesses and workers are indeed real consequences, this is first and foremost a matter of moral concern.
We support DREAMers because it is the right thing to do.
As a nation, it would seem that we have forgotten how to show empathy for individuals and families that made tough decisions to leave unsafe places - many of which are the direct result of decades of dangerous US policy and intervention.
Legislation that keeps dignity first, demonstrates an understanding of the root causes and intricacies of migration as a global phenomenon, and ending the criminalization of communities of color, should be our first priority.
No matter where they are from or how they arrived to the US, their life is of value and they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Every person has the right to move and live freely, in community and with their family, without fear of being separated from their loved ones or displaced from their home. We believe that we all do better when everyone has the opportunity to succeed, which means we believe in investing in strong families and communities by using tax dollars to support critical education, housing, and healthcare programs for all.
Please consider making a donation to one of these organizations to support our work. If you haven't already, please follow these groups on social media, and join us at upcoming meetings and events to get involved. Also, please stay tuned for details regarding an emergency DACA renewal fund. Thank you for your continued support.
Sara John, IFCLA Program Coordinator
Tia Byrd, MORE Executive Director