We are gonna fight ’til this is right

Today, Attorney Jeff Sessions announced that the Trump administration will be ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program within six months. During his speech, Sessions managed to promote just about every ugly stereotype you can imagine about our immigrant neighbors. From the events in Charlottesville, to the pardoning of Joe Arpaio, and this latest attack on immigrants, this administration affirms its white supremacist agenda.  We are called by our conscience and our communities to fully face this moment and work to shift these outcomes! Read below for resources, tools, and ideas for next steps for you and your group to engage.

DACA is a program utilized by 800,000 immigrant youth nationally — 11,000 young people in Oregon — brought here as small children in search of a better life, safety, and to reunify families. DACA recipients can obtain a Social Security Number, apply for a restricted driver’s licence, and work lawfully, although they don’t qualify for any other type of aid like federal financial aid for higher education. These young people bravely came forward, passed rigorous background checks, paid nearly $500 in government fees every two years (not to mention paying much more in legal fees), and will be at risk of detention and deportation despite their courage.

DACA was created after immigrants and allies blocked deportation buses with their bodies and organized courageous direct actions to create national conversation and public pressure around the desperate need for immigration reform and the DREAM Act, which would allow for a path to citizenship. With Congress unwilling or unable to pass the DREAM Act, President Obama signed an executive order creating DACA on June 2012, a very small piece from the DREAM Act, but a relief nonetheless. In July 2017, The DREAM Act of 2017 was introduced by Democrat and Republican senators. It is a bipartisan bill that would provide a direct road to U.S. citizenship for people who are either undocumented, have DACA or temporary protected status (TPS), and who graduate from US high schools and attend college, enter the workforce, or enlist in a military program.

Thankfully, the announcement by Sessions was met with outrage and a renewed commitment to fight anti-immigrant policies for as long as it takes until everyone can live their lives fully with safety and dignity in our communities. Student walkouts, rallies, and marches are happening across the country, demanding that the DREAM Act of 2017 get passed by Congress. DACA recipients are speaking out and declaring: we are here to stay!

#DefendDACA rallies and actions are happening across rural Oregon, and our neighbors are hungry for more conversation, resources, and information so they can support the struggle for immigrant fairness. We have six months to organize our neighbors, raise a ruckus, and ensure communities and families aren’t torn apart!

ROP will be convening a series of conference calls and webinars by and for rural Oregonians to strategize together, to share information and resources, and to dream big about bold resistance that keeps our communities together.

  • Our first strategy call is this Thursday, September 7th at 7PM. We’ll discuss Jeff Sessions’ announcement, strategize about how we can take collective action as a state, and brainstorm local next steps. Click here to register!

  • Join us for a Spanish-only Know Your Rights webinar for undocumented folks Tuesday, September 12th at 7PM. This 2-hour training will review the constitutional rights that apply to anyone within US borders, how to enforce your rights, and how to document violations of those rights as evidence. Please note that we can make this webinar accessible by phone-only if you do not have access to high-speed internet. Click here to register!

  • Join us for a Know Your Roles webinar for documented allies on Wednesday, September 13th at 7PM. In this 90min training we’ll share introductory information about the detention business and concrete ways that you can support your friends and neighbors being impacted by this moment. Please note that we can make this webinar accessible by phone-only if you do not have access to high-speed internet. Click here to register!

We can start taking action today!

  • Build a rapid response team, or join one! Many people around the state are already working to support their immigrant neighbors by forming rapid response teams to respond to threats, harassment, and ICE activity. If you would like to start one in your community, contact us at jess@rop.org!

  • Host a Know Your Rights or Know Your Role workshop in your community. With this attack on DACA, folks are going to be hungry for information and resources — create space for your community to dig in together! Know Your Rights is offered in English or Spanish for those subject to ICE actions or suspicion, and incorporates people of all ages, including kids and teenagers, since everyone has a role to play and can be subject to harassment. Know Your Roles is offered in English or Spanish for nonimmigrants and documented immigrants, where we’ll dive into how we organize from our position for the common good of our community. Click here for more information and email keyla@rop.org about bringing Know Your Rights and Know Your Roles to your town!

  • Reach out to your neighbors. This is a moment to reach out to our immigrant and refugee neighbors in respectful ways to break isolation and share resources. Start the conversation with something as simple as, “how are you feeling? How is your family feeling about this? Let me know how I can support at any time.” People probably feel overwhelmed and not sure what support they need, but allies should still reach out instead of shying away from a conversation. Check in regularly. Invite folks over for a meal, or bring snacks or food over to their home while you chat. Share your contact information and ask them to add them to the list of people to call in case of an emergency. Support can be as simple as driving them to the grocery store.  Being a good neighbor right now can make a big difference!

  • Organize ongoing actions to put pressure on your Congresspeople. Congress needs to act immediately to protect our communities through the bipartisan Dream Act of 2017! Call your local congresspeople today! Better yet, pull together a group of people who can meet weekly for a Congress Calling Potluck – gather friends, food, and phone numbers and send a clear message that we will not allow immigrant youth to be used as bargaining chips to further criminalize and persecute the broader immigrant community. Click here to find your Congresspeople’s contact information or call 888-542-8298.

  • Hold a local action in support of the immigrant community. Organize a rally, vigil, or prayer service and invite local allies in the faith, labor, and civil rights community to join you. Email us at jess@rop.org with details so ROP can support your organizing and help get the word out. Check out ROP’s Facebook page for event announcements!

  • Talk to faith communities about offering sanctuary. Click here for more resources, including toolkits on rapid response for faith communities.

  • Dedicate your group’s next meeting to figuring out your local next steps. At your group’s next meeting, discuss what your group can do to offer support to the immigrant community in your town, map out who needs to have a conversation about immigration that otherwise might only get their information from TV news, and how you can share information with your neighbors so they know what’s at stake.

  • Take a moment to share these resources and action items with your local group, your email networks, and your neighbors.

  • Share your events, actions, next steps, ideas, and questions with us at ROP!

In moments like these, confusion, fear, anger, and grief can feel overwhelming. It is easy to feel isolated and alone in our towns and communities, when we know that the people right next door may hold very different views. Now more than ever, we must remember that we are part of a living and loving movement for human dignity. As we join with friends and neighbors, we can overcome the differences that divide us. This movement is a force, growing stronger and brighter in the face of adversity. We are grateful beyond measure to be doing this with all of you. Together.

We have shared our favorite resources that we hand out while on the road throughout rural Oregon below. Please print and share them as useful! Looking forward to strategizing with you soon!

ROP organizers’ favorite resources to support local organizing:
Please share these resources with your neighbors, your group, and your lists!