Childhood Immigrants Once Protected By Obama’s Program Now Face Betrayal And Deportation
Ryan Devereaux describes what could well be one of the great betrayals by the US government, much like the neverending betrayals of Native American treaties and agreements, currently viewable at the Dakota Access Pipeline protest site.
Carlos Varga did not hesitate when the opportunity presented itself in 2012 — a path to formalize his status as an American, a chance at a driver’s license, a work permit, and a social security number. The avenue was an executive order signed by President Obama, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, that was intended to protect undocumented children brought to the U.S. at a young age from deportation, and to encourage their inclusion in civil society.
“I definitely didn’t think twice,” Carlos, who came to the U.S. when he was 4 years old, said of his decision to sign up.
Carlos threw himself into activism in the years that followed, ultimately landing a position working on a major New York City initiative, the largest of its kind in the country, to inform and educate immigrants about their rights. When the 2016 race for the presidency rolled around, Carlos, who is now 31, watched Donald Trump’s rise with alarm, but like many others, he believed Hillary Clinton would ultimately pull off the win.
On the night of the election, the Vargas family gathered at their home in Staten Island to watch the results come in. It was well after midnight, Carlos said, when the reality of what was playing out on the television began to sink in: that Donald Trump, a man who built much of his campaign around the racist scapegoating of immigrants, was going to take the White House.
“We just looked at each other like, ‘He won. This guy actually won. He’s going to be the next president of the United States,’” he recalled.
For Carlos, Trump’s election meant explaining to his 72-year-old undocumented mother, the woman who brought him and his siblings to New York City 2 1/2 decades ago, that the threat of their family being pulled apart had just increased. It meant the relief he eagerly signed up for in 2012 was now in question. And it meant his activism had now taken on an unprecedented urgency. . .
An agreement with the US means nothing: the US may at any time abrogate the agreement with no notice. Currently viewable, the Iran agreement that led them to dismantle their nuclear arms program, and we have inspections to verify that it doesn’t resume. Naturally enough, they also got something from the deal: unfreezing their assets (returning their cash) and lifting the sanctions.
But the new US President states that he will abrogate this agreement. What do you expect? When the US agrees to something, it seems to mean very little in practice.