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The Dreamers are staying

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Maribel Hastings and David Torres

While in the midst of a pandemic, racial conflicts, and Donald Trump’s excesses, good news have to be taken with a grain of salt, it’s important to celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that blocks the president’s decision to eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

It was a matter of time, common sense, and justice, as the Dreamers’ fight has been one of the most arduous and historically significant battles in recent running memory. It seemed impossible at the beginning, but it’s worth considering how far they have come.

In fact, they instituted, from the beginning, a strategy of dignified struggle to resolve a migration problem that they did not create, but which directly affected them since they were too young to decide. And even then, upon growing up, they took as their own the decision made by their parents, who brought them to this country to look for better horizons for all. And now they are leaders of their own generation.

In that way, the Supreme Court decision is a ray of light that not only gives Dreamers and their families a moment to breathe, but that offers a glimmer of hope that, in some instances, the highest court has not been converted completely into a rubber stamp for Trump’s every desire, like the rest of his administration.

It’s notable that the justices evaluated not only the constitutional and economic aspects of the huge contributions Dreamers and their families make to the United States, but above all the moral and human aspect, which right now dignifies these almost 800,000 young people in the face of so many anti-immigrant and xenophobic attacks that this administration has emitted against them since the beginning.

However, at the same time it is a temporary triumph, because Trump continues to be president and his reelection campaign, as in 2016, is based on a declaration of war on immigrants that will never cease while he remains in the White House.

This decision stirs up Trump’s ire and gives him the tools to mobilize his base using, as always, immigrants as scapegoats. It also spurs on his advisors like Stephen Miller to redouble their efforts in pushing an anti-immigrant agenda by way of administrative changes, as they have continued to do.

And it won’t matter to this administration that Dreamers are parents to almost 250,000 U.S. citizen children; that they pay more than $5.7 billion in federal taxes and more than $3.1 billion in state and local taxes; that at the same time, they are the owners of 60,000 homes; that they pay more than $2.3 billion in rent, or that their work greatly adds to the sustainability of Social Security.

Of course that will not matter to Trump, because what comes before that is his narcissism and his repulsion toward minorities, especially if they are of Latino origin.

He already wrote it on his Twitter account in response to the Supreme Court decision:

“These horrible & politically charged decisions coming out of the Supreme Court are shotgun blasts into the face of people that are proud to call themselves Republicans or Conservatives. We need more Justices or we will lose our 2nd. Amendment & everything else. Vote Trump 2020!”

Trump plays to win, always feeling he is above the law. And he shows it now, upon not accepting the decision of the justices of the highest court in the land.

But even if that were not the case, his government has taken on the task of dismantling protections for immigrants and refugees, as well as inflicting as much damage as possible before jumping ship, of course, should he lose the elections.

And this is a possibility ever less remote, if one takes into account that even his closest former aides are demonstrating the type of leader he is, and especially the type of person he never stopped being. John Bolton, former National Security advisor, is only the most recent in a large list of people who regret having worked for Trump.

For that reason, this DACA decision mirrors the importance of the November election. In the absence of a permanent legislative solution for Dreamers, which is very improbable to obtain this year, Trump continues to circle his prey and insist on attacking Dreamers and immigrants.

In that sense, the expression “the struggle continues” must be adopted by the eldest Dreamers in the face of whatever comes these next months leading up to November, since the political calculations of Trump and his buddies will point to a visceral onslaught against everything that has to do with the topic of immigration.

And if he wins, it’s certain that these attacks will magnify because he will feel validated after the questionable 2016 election, when he lost the popular vote and was aided by Russians.

Reason and justice, however, are right now on the correct side of history.

In that way, the Dreamers’ triumph in this battle should be motive enough for people to register, mobilize, and vote, because their protection and a permanent solution for them and the rest of the immigrants will depend on Trump not being reelected.

To read the Spanish version of this article click here.