The Latinx Caucus of the Green Party of Colorado expresses solidarity with all young immigrants of every stripe who are now the target of the Trump administration’s decision to cancel the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was an executive action implemented by the administration of Barack Obama in June 2012.
The United States bears responsibility for the turmoil created in the birth countries of DACA recipients, through policies enacted during both Democratic and Republican administrations, like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), initiated during the George H.W. Bush administration and signed by Bill Clinton in December 1993, before the birth of many current DACA recipients. This policy alone caused intense economic upheaval for Mexico, by flooding Mexico with heavily-subsidized American-grown corn and putting millions out of work. Then, because NAFTA incentivized maquiladoras (factories) along the border that paid less-than-poverty wages and the export of good-paying jobs from American factories, Mexicans were caught in this economic disaster.
We also note that the drug war has created an untenable situation in Latin America as a whole, in which cartels terrorize the countryside and kidnappings and beheadings substitute for the rule of law. The assassination of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa are only one example of the volatile conditions in Latin America, where police and government collude with drug cartels to enrich themselves, all while the United States continues to provide Latin American governments with more and more military hardware and while hyper-militarizing the border. This situation is fueled by the never-ending hunger for drugs in the United States, as the federal government refuses to legalize even medical cannabis.
Additionally, repeated Monroe Doctrine-style imperialism and interference with Latin American democracy and cash infusions to destabilize democratically-elected governments via organizations like the National Endowment for Democracy, are also a factor. The recent American focus on Venezuela is only the latest example.
This is the maelstrom in which Latin American families find themselves, where daily life is a struggle to survive.
We declare that migration is a human right, and the United States is the prime agitator for the conditions that have lent to a sharp increase of migration from Latin America since NAFTA was enacted, from 430,000 in 1994 to 770,000 in 2000 (Pew report), which includes the DACA recipients under fire today.
Democrats have left behind a well-oiled removal machine for the Trump administration to exploit, such as Clinton’s Operation Gatekeeper and Illegal Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, Obama’s expansion of Secure Communities, doubling of prosecutions of people crossing the border, expansion of 287g, and doubling of immigration enforcement budget which led to 2.5 million deportations, and consequently, families torn apart.
In the days following Donald Trump’s election, immigration activists begged President Obama to at least pardon the 800,000 DACA recipients for “civil offenses against the United States” or even to destroy the personal information (including fingerprints) of DACA recipients to avoid use in deportation roundups. But the Deporter in Chief, whose administration targeted more human beings than the previous 10 administrations combined, walked away from his office leaving these thousands of human souls to an administration whose stated purpose was to target immigrants. And he had the opportunity to pass comprehensive immigration reform in the period when the Democrats held the majority in Congress.
It is for reasons such as these that we Latinx members have left the Democratic Party. With “friends” like the Democratic Party, who needs the Republicans? The cancellation of the DACA program is simply the inevitable conclusion of a system that benefits from the exploitation of human beings, from Latin America and beyond.
While Latin Americans comprise the largest share of immigrants who are DACA recipients, we stand in solidarity with other immigrants caught in this situation, such as from Haiti, Philippines, India and Vietnam. Each of these countries have their own stories to tell about American imperialism and the neoliberal aftermath.
We Latinx Greens of Colorado are determined to build a different path to collective power, because we have no one to depend on but ourselves and this party. As a result, our membership is open to every Latinx person in Colorado, and if they are ineligible to vote due to immigration status, they may still join. Non-citizens may participate in every way in the building of this caucus and party, except for donating and voting, as prohibited by law.
We are more than bargaining chips and worth more than the cheap labor that generates profit for the 1%, regardless of whether they are supported by Democrats or Republican administrations. It is time to leave behind the false promises of the Democratic Party, who now are attempting to absolve themselves of the responsibility of the situation now exploited by Donald Trump. We reject the Democratic rhetoric that DACA recipients were “brought here against their will,” and instead, we recognize that the conditions created by American imperialism and neoliberalism caused immigrant parents to make life-or-death decisions to benefit their children’s futures, just as any parent would do. We know the truth, and we will no longer wait for Democrats or Republicans to finally understand that every human being has a right to earn a living, live in safety and peace, and to migrate when these things are not possible.
The Latinx Caucus of the Green Party of Colorado is an accredited caucus, approved in August 2017. The caucus works toward the mutual liberation of Latinx people in Colorado by actively identifying and challenging the effects of colonization within each of us and within one another by actively working toward the dismantling of capitalism and settler colonialism. The caucus’ governance is modeled after the Zapatista Juntas de Buen Gobierno . “We didn’t cross the border; the border crossed us.” Latinx Coloradans can begin the process of membership in the caucus by visiting http://www.coloradogreens.org/latinx.