By Cameron Orr
Landlord-in-chief Donald Trump wants to evict 800,000 people from the U.S. On September 5th, the Trump administration announced it intends to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
Many DACA recipients, employed in the construction industry, built the very buildings that made such real-estate moguls rich.
Every day the people of New York City are fighting landlords and their racist policies. This past week has been no exception. On Wednesday, August 30th, thousands turned out for a march to protect DACA. It was organized by 15 different community organizations including 32BJ SEIU, Working Families Party, Make the Road New York, New York Immigration Coalition, United We Dream, Tenants and Neighbors, Churches United For Fair Housing (CUFFH), New York Communities for Change, Alliance for Quality Education (AQE), VOCAL NY, the Women’s March, and the Center for Popular Democracy. Thousands in cities and municipalities around the country also rallied and marched to defend DACA.
The Trump administration didn’t listen and didn’t care. Less than a week later, Attorney General Jeff Sessions was serving a horrific eviction notice to nearly 1 million people.
Thousands came out in protest across the state and nation that same day. At Trump Tower in New York City, 34 protestors with Our Revolution and Movimiento Cosecha were arrested, including 9 DACA recipients. In the evening, thousands more rallied in Foley Square and marched across the Brooklyn Bridge. Protests also took place in Syracuse and in the Hudson Valley. On Friday the 8th, the people of Staten Island and Rochester came out in protest and a Colombus Circle action took place on Saturday, immediately following the Labor Day Parade.
As People’s World writer Mark Gruenberg wrote, Sessions “has praised immigration laws enacted in the U.S. in the 1920’s … designed by eugenicists whose racist theories were later used by Hitler and the Nazis.” They were “based on the goal of preserving ‘healthy Anglo-Saxon racial stock’ in America.”
Sessions said they were ending DACA to “advance” the “unsurpassed legal heritage” “inherited from our Founders” and invoked — four times — the “rule of law.”
In 1850, the “rule of law” included the Fugitive Slave Act. This law “required officials and all citizens of Northern states to assist in deporting escaped slaves, or anyone a Southerner claimed was an escaped slave, to a brutal and usually short life of horrendous labor on the cotton and sugarcane plantations of Mississippi and Louisiana,” as People’s World writer Art Perlo has pointed out.
Africans enslaved in the U.S., workers, Union soldiers, and abolitionists including the former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln changed that law, and the entire economic system of racialized chattel slavery it existed to preserve. The “inheritors” of the planter class worked to undo Reconstruction with Jim Crow, and to undo the gains of the Civil Rights Movement with voter suppression laws, housing and education segregation, right-to-work and other union-busting laws and tactics. The “inheritor” at the head of the executive branch, which includes our military and police institutions, now aims to scapegoat immigrant workers for an economy that was destroyed on a global scale by housing speculators like Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin. The Trump administration also aims to turn back every gain made by the U.S. people after they elected the first African-American President of the U.S.
Many immigrants have come to the U.S. escaping the destruction caused by the foreign policy of the Pentagon (also part of the executive branch), intended in large part to help Big Oil executives, like Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, secure their control over production and transport of oil worldwide. Now they are being displaced again.
Even before Sessions formally announced the plan to tear apart working families all across the U.S., ICE had already started telling family members of illegally detained DACA-recipients, “When Trump came in, DACA doesn’t exist anymore.” United We Dream and other Immigration justice organizations are now alerting the public of a mass, nationwide deportation raid being planned from mid- to late-September which will target 6,000 – 10,000 people. ICE is calling it “Operation Mega.” (bit.do/deportation)
During the Foley Square rally, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition Steven Choi reminded the crowd that while DACA was enacted by former U.S. President Barack Obama, this was a victory won through the sustained struggle of a national coalition of immigrant rights advocates, organized labor, and sections of the business owning class, and was “led by undocumented immigrant youth.” “And for the next six months,” he said “undocumented immigrant youth will again lead the fight!”
“97% [of immigrants] are in school or working,” said New York Attorney Eric Schneiderman. “They pay $140 million in state and local taxes here in NY. Rescinding DACA, according to some experts, could cost New York over $38 billion over the next decade.” To Trump, Schneiderman said, “I’ll see you in court.”
“This President of the Confederacy,” began Hector Figueroa, President of 32BJ SEIU, “thinks that only people who look like him, who hate like him, who lie like him are to be welcomed in this country. … Those who are Republicans and those collaborators of Republicans in New York State who call themselves Democrats, need to come out and defend the Dreamers in Washington D.C. and the Dreamers in Albany” he said, referring to the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), who were elected as Democrats in the State Senate, but have been voting with Republicans.
“I am a proud immigrant of New York!” said DACA-recipient Flor Reyes. “If I was to be deported, my siblings would be alone.” DACA “provided us with the opportunity to work to contribute to the economy of New York.” “[This] administration has let us down day after day after day. It preaches to be nation of immigrants and yet we [do not] have any immigration reform.” “I am a senior in college; I am a daughter; I am a niece,” she said “and I simply want to give back to my community. Where is the crime in that Mr. Trump?”