03:39 GMT +314 October 2019
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    Supporters of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) yell during a protest outside of the Federal Building in San Francisco

    US Courts ‘Becoming Actual Sites of Terror’ as DACA’s Fate Undecided

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    A US district court judge’s order to the Trump administration Wednesday to resume the DACA program in 90 days unless it explains its decision to end the immigration program is not a victory for the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants in the US, Aly Wane, a member of US social justice organization the Syracuse Peace Council, told Sputnik.

    DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is an Obama-era immigration policy that allowed young undocumented individuals who had arrived in the US as children to be given work permits and a renewable two-year period of deferred action on deportation.

    ​The country's Greyhound bus line has also said it will continue to allow US Customs and Border Patrol agents to ask passengers for their legal papers with warrants.

    "There are a couple of problems here," Wane told By Any Means Necessary hosts Eugene Puryear and Sean Blackmon about the DACA ruling by Judge John Bates, a senior US district judge for the District of Columbia. "A lot of immigration advocacy groups seem very excited about the judge's ruling, but there is a 90-day timeline in which the Trump administration could come up with other rationale for ending the DACA program. So, first of all, immigration advocates should not yet be telling people to apply to DACA until the 90 day period is up," Wane said. 

    "The broader issue is this sort of narrow focus on the legal destiny of DACA. DACA will only help 800,000 undocumented immigrants out of the estimated 11 to 12 million immigrants who are undocumented right now. Right now, there are 2 million undocumented folks with standing orders of deportation. At the end of the Obama administration [in January 2017], these people's cases had been put on indefinite administrative leave," Wane said. 

    "Now, the Trump administration is coming after all of these cases and so immigration courts are becoming actual sites of terror. So, while I am encouraged by the judges pushing back on ending DACA, I think the movement needs to keep its eye on the prize and continue fighting for all 11 million undocumented folks," Wane explained.

    In January, US District Judge in San Francisco William Alsup also blocked Trump from phasing out DACA.

    In 2006 and 2007, millions of people took part in protests across the US to fight back against legislation known as HR 4437 or the "Sensenbrenner Bill," named for its sponsor, Wisconsin Republican Representative Jim Sensenbrenner. The bill, which ultimately failed, stated that undocumented immigrants or people who help undocumented immigrants enter or stay in the US were felons and it required companies to verify that their employees were legal.

    Wane said the massive protests in 2006 "created a white supremacist backlash" and "a divide between organizers who wanted to keep doing their organizing against anti-immigration in a radical way at the grassroots and those who went down the legislative path," seeking solutions in Congress. 

    "That moment in 2006 was an amazing moment of pushback, but it also created the dual path for immigration that we are on right now," Wane told Radio Sputnik.

    "We have immigration reform people now in DC who are trying to get as many rights as possible for immigrants within the context of the two party system" while other grassroots organizers urged the dangers of this strategy to their movement, Wane explained. "DACA was the culminating victory of the reformist movement and it also revealed the limitations of the two-party path. It's exhausting to see some Democratic party politicians acting shocked about Trump's Mexico-US border wall when, in fact, many Democratic attitudes have contributed to anti-immigration sentiments."

    The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) recently argued that Greyhound's searches of passengers 100 miles from the border for their papers is unconstitutional, pointing to the US Constitution's Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures. These practices came to light over the past few months as videos surfaced of Customs and Border Protection Agents entering Greyhound buses and arresting passengers who do not have documentation stating that they are in the country legally. 

    "Greyhound is required to comply with the law," a Greyhound spokesperson said in March after ACLU contacted the company, urging it to not allow Border Patrol officers on their buses without a warrant, Newsmax reported.

    "The whole controversy of Greyhound is fascinating to me," Wane told Radio Sputnik.

    "This has been going on forever. Greyhound and Amtrak have allowed Border Control agents to board their buses and trains for many years. I don't know if Greyhound would prevail in court against the ACLU. But, it is a moral question. The problem is, both the Democratic and Republican parties have succeeded in demonizing and creating an image of immigrants as potential criminals and terrorists," Wane said.

    "Certainly, Trump is riding the wave of white supremacy and xenophobia in a way that is dangerously effective. There's a campaign to create this image of the dangerous criminal immigrant alien. I fear that neither party has done a good enough job pushing back against these narratives," Wane added.


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