By Maria Cadenas, Executive Director of Santa Cruz Community Ventures
On the heels of Labor Day Weekend celebrations the White House announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. For many, this was an expected move, one that we hoped would not arrive. After all, DACA was a small step in recognizing who we want to be and can be as a people and a country. It was saying that you are valued as a human being, a neighbor, a part of our community. And in doing so it made us stronger. DACA provided $200 billion to the economy and one-fifth of DACA recipients work in the health care and educational sector.
But what DACA, in its own imperfect way, was really about was saying that there is no "other" in America.
And that is the real reason to defend DACA, because its end is a blatant effort to reinforce the "other." A society for some and only available to others if the ruling class approves.
And that is the great tragedy. This is not about being shocked at the administration. It is not about political expediency. This is an effort to codify and define who America is for and who it is not for. An effort to codify who gets to participate in this great American Dream - from our schools to our economy.
The question is, does the United States, as a people, want that caste system? Because DACA is not about DREAMers, it is about who we want to be.
So I ask you, in the spirit of the Labor Movement, which side are you on?