DREAM Team Los Angeles is one of scores of immigrant and human rights organizations who are demanding the purge of the DACA database. The purpose of the purge is so no other government agency, notably the Department of Justice, can use the information contained to target undocumented DACA recipients, their families, or their employers.
Raising the Alarm: The DACA Database is a Registry of Undocumented Immigrants
The DACA database is a registry of the names and addresses of millions of undocumented immigrants (800,000 DACA applicants and the millions of their family members and co-residents), and the fate of this existing registry is currently in the hands of forces that are openly hostile to immigrant communities. When U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced President Trump’s decision to rescind the DACA program, there was no guarantee given on what will happen with the information already collected. Given the rhetoric and the practices from this administration and from its agencies, and as organizations that work with undocumented community members everyday, we urgently raise the alarm bells for this registry. We call on our movements for immigrant, racial, worker justice, and privacy rights to demand the deletion of the DACA database.
Our country has an unfortunate and extensive history with registries. One of the most recent of which was the NSEERS (National Security Entry-Exit Registration System) program, more commonly known as the Muslim Registry, which led to the registration of over 150,000 men and boys from Muslim-majority countries and the deportation of more than 13,000 people in the aftermath of 9/11. It was only through the organizing of directly impacted community members and the political direction and vision provided by them, that ensured the eventual discontinuance and finally the dismantling of the NSEERS program in December 2016. We have also been witness to the destruction that has been caused by tracking and targeting of millions of immigrants for deportations in the last several years, and through the increasing raids in the last few months.
We are a similar point in history where we need to have strong momentum with a grassroots-led movement demanding the deletion of the DACA database. While many of us are pursuing the legislative course of action to pass a Dream Act, there are no guarantees of safety from the Trump Administration or it’s agencies on the rights and security of millions of undocumented immigrants. We know that ICE already has a pending request to access the DACA data. There has been a 25% increase in the revocation of DACA in the last three months. The DHS memo on the DACA rescission includes language advising recipients to get their financial and travel arrangements in order within the next 6 months. The xenophobic and nativist logic and intent was clear in AG Session’s announcement. The millions of undocumented people who reside at the addresses of DACA recipients have never had any protections from deportations, and will continue to be at risk even if a dream legislation is passed. Fear of the data being weaponized to target, detain, and deport people is not theoretical. It is very real and expansive.
We cannot afford to only wait and see what happens legislatively, while a large registry of undocumented youth and their loved ones exists. We need immediate action to safeguard the millions of immigrants at risk from this registry. We call on the movements for immigrant justice, racial justice, privacy rights, and human rights to take up the fight to demand the complete elimination of the DACA database now.
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