Victory for Immigrant Rights, Hope for Justice

Victory for Immigrant Rights, Hope for Justice

By: Funders for LGBTQ Issues Staff on June 18, 2020

Today, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Trump administration could not proceed with its attempt to dismantle Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that protects 700,000 young immigrants from deportation and provides them with work authorizations. The Court ruled that Trump’s rationale for the rescinding DACA was “arbitrary and capricious;” ending the program would cause unnecessary harm to immigrants who are contributing to every aspect of the fabric of our country.

For the second time in the span of one week, we have reason to hope that we can still make progress in these turbulent times. On the heels of the Supreme Court decision affirming nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people nationwide, this decision on DACA further bolsters morale at a time when it can feel challenging to remain hopeful.

This is a victory not only for the immigrant rights movement, but for the LGBTQ movement, and for all of our intersecting struggles for justice. There are more than 267,000 LGBTQ undocumented immigrants, including 81,000 LGBTQ “Dreamers” eligible for DACA, 39,000 of whom are currently enrolled in the program. Many of these young LGBTQ immigrants have been at the forefront of this struggle–not only of the movement for immigrant rights, but for LGBTQ rights, and across all social justice movements. Today’s victory for justice in the courts is a validation of the hard-fought victory of thousands of immigrant, LGBTQ, people of color and allies demanding recognition of the humanity and dignity of all immigrants.

The work of these movement leaders and organizations was made possible in part by many of the members and funders in our network, philanthropic leaders who have supported LGBTQ rights, immigrant rights, and their intersections for many years. Funders such as the Arcus FoundationAstraea Lesbian Foundation for JusticeBorealis PhilanthropyThe California EndowmentContigo FundFoundation for a Just SocietyEvelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. FundMarguerite Casey Foundation, and NEO Philanthropy’s Four Freedoms have provided crucial and sustained resources for LGBTQ immigrant justice. Some of these leading funders have already issued powerful statements on the historic significance of today’s decision:

  • Cathy Cha, President of The Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, issued a statement recognizing and thanking young undocumented immigrants for their leadership and work: “You made DACA happen…. And today, in the middle of the Covid-19 crisis, you are contributing even more. You and your families are disproportionately likely to be working in frontline, “essential” jobs that are keeping our country going — often at great risk to your safety and health.”
  • Marco Antonio Quiroga, Director of the Contigo Fund, published an op-ed in the Orlando Sentinel, noting that, as a DACA recipient, when the program was implemented, “For the first time in my life, my hopes felt possible and my dreams felt validated.… Even as we celebrate this victory, we must fight for the 10 million undocumented Americans like my mother who lack the security of DACA.”
  • Dr. Robert K. Ross, CEO of The California Endowment, released a statement noting that much work remains to be done: “We must continue to invest in the organizations and individuals at the frontlines of immigrant justice, including immigrant youth themselves.”

Over the coming weeks and years, we know that our members and networks will continue their important thought leadership and resourcing to support the intersecting movements for immigrant rights, LGBTQ rights, racial justice, and women’s rights.

“Eight years ago, DACA changed my life,” said Luis Rey Ramirez, Research and Communications Associate of Funders for LGBTQ Issues. “Though today was a major win, we must not lose sight of the struggles of our Black and Brown family. We must not forget that the system is still broken, we must not forget the original DREAMers–our parents–are still living under the shadows. Organizing really works! Let’s celebrate and carry this momentum into the future.”

“In this time of pandemics within pandemics, this morning’s news filled me with tears of joy and hope,” said Ben Francisco Maulbeck, President of Funders for LGBTQ Issues. “The protection of DACA is a major step forward in our collective struggle for liberation. But our work will not be done until all immigrants live free from fear and have a path to citizenship, until Black Lives Matter in every aspect of our society, until transgender people are protected from discrimination in housing and public accommodation, and until we overcome misogyny and the continuing assault on reproductive justice. Now is the time for funders to put all of our resources on the line to give social justice movements the fuel they need to succeed.”

Photo note: Photo by Mattia Faloretti on Unsplash

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