USA -"US IMMIGRANT YOUTH AT A CROSSROADS" by Kent Wong, Director - UCLA Labor Center

“800,000 immigrant youth living in the United States are in jeopardy because of the actions by President Donald Trump.  Last year, the Trump’s administration announced the elimination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), a move which would eliminate protection from deportation and work authorization for youth who were brought to the US as children. DACA protections will begin to expire on March 5, 2018.


President Donald Trump is shamelessly promoting a racist, anti-immigrant agenda.  He has tried to enact a ban on Muslims entering the United States, has called Mexican immigrants “rapists and criminals,” and has attacked countries from Africa and Central America as “shithole countries” unworthy of sending immigrants to the U.S.  He is trying to build a wall on the U.S. Mexico border that may cost as much as $20 billion.

In January 2018, the U.S. government shut down due largely to a dispute between those in Congress who support DACA youth, and those who want to use DACA as a bargaining chip to demand repressive immigration policies.

DACA has been a lifeline for immigrant youth. It enables them to no longer live in fear of deportation, and allows them to use their experience and education to legally work and contribute to the US. Having DACA has meant, on average, a 40 percent increase in wages, as immigrant youth are no longer forced to work exclusively in the underground economy, where exploitation and abuse are rampant.

The elimination of DACA would not only negatively impact immigrant youth and their families, but would also hurt U.S. society as a whole. It would prevent undocumented immigrants from contributing to our economy and to our society, and would intensify family separation and suffering within immigrant communities.

Thousands of people throughout the country have mobilized to support passage of the “Dream Act”, legislation which would provide a permanent fix for immigrant youth to gain a path to legalization and citizenship. Demonstrations and press conferences are being held regularly, especially in the nation’s capital.

The U.S. labor movement and labor educators strongly supports DACA, the Dream Act, and the immigrant youth movement.  For more information on the Immigrant Youth Movement, please check out these books published by the UCLA Labor Center  here.

The UCLA Labor Center has also launched the first national fellowship program for undocumented immigrant youth, entitled “Dream Summer.”  Dream Summer has helped to recruit a new generation of immigrant youth activists who are now working as union organizers and social justice leaders.”

Want to see more ? Watch these videos below: WAT

  • Check out the first Dream Summer here
  • Hear from Dream Summer alumni here
  • About the Dream Summer labor program here 


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