Over the last several months, millions of activists, advocates, business leaders, and everyday people have shown enormous courage in fighting to maintain the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, demonstrating their commitment to our country’s values of dignity, human rights, and inclusion. For five years, DACA has opened a path for young people brought to the United States without documentation to live, learn, work, and contribute to the communities they call home. DACA has strengthened our nation, enabling the full participation of nearly 800,000 talented young Dreamers around the country.
But today, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced President Trump’s decision to end the DACA program after a “wind down” period.
We must condemn the President’s harmful and wrongheaded action, while pressing Congress to pass legislation that ensures the continued participation and dignity of these Dreamers. The Opportunity Agenda’s advice for talking about this critical issue includes:
- Lead with Shared Values such as dignity, community, and diversity as our nation’s greatest strength.
- Call for Solutions like the proposed bipartisan DREAM Act in Congress and local policies that facilitate the inclusion of immigrants and all young people.
- Lift up the voices and leadership of Dreamers and their families, while avoiding the “Good Immigrant/Bad Immigrant” narrative that can unfairly vilify Dreamers’ family members and others.
- Connect the Dots to the pattern of bigotry from the Trump administration that includes supporting white supremacists after the killing of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, the pardoning of Sherriff Joe Arpaio, the dismantling of civil rights protections at the Department of Justice, and many other actions.
- Call for Action! Americans are more willing than ever to take to the streets, to social media, and to the halls of Congress to voice their values and demand solutions. Give them concrete actions to take.
- Avoid Mythbusting. Rather than repeat Sessions’ falsehoods about law and order, crime, and jobs, tell your affirmative story—including accurate facts.
We recommend structuring messages in terms of Value, Problem, Solution, and Action. For example:
Value: Our nation is strongest when every one of us can contribute and share ideas, and when everyone’s basic rights and dignity are respected. The DACA program does just that, enabling young Dreamers to fully participate in their education, work, and family life, and to contribute to our nation’s social fabric and economic engine.
Problem: President Trump’s wrongheaded decision to terminate DACA violates our country’s core values, and harms our national interest. It represents a doubling down on the divisive bigotry we heard from him after the white supremacist killing of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville.
Solution: Congress must immediately move forward with practical solutions like the proposed bipartisan DREAM Act and American Hope Act that uphold our nation’s values while moving us forward together. Those steps should go hand in hand with the commonsense policies that many cities and states are adopting to ensure that all young people can learn, work, and live their dreams.
Action: Tell your member of Congress to protect the Dreamers and our nation’s future.
In addition to this guidance, check out The Opportunity Agenda’s resources on talking about immigrant human rights, the pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and white supremacy in the wake of Charlottesville.