New York Student Youth Leadership Council
November 24, 2014
On Thursday, November 20, 2014, President Barack Obama announced the executive steps he plans on taking to address flaws within our immigration system. Among other changes, his plan includes expansive border enforcement initiatives, expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and the creation of Deferred Action for Parents. President Obama’s executive order will impact the lives of many undocumented immigrants across the country, including our members and ourselves.
We acknowledge that some undocumented immigrants may benefit from President Obama’s executive order. Unfortunately, this action is long overdue and nowhere near enough to address an inhumane immigration system. We want to be clear that we see President Obama’s priority enforcement policy as directly targeting Muslim communities and black communities. We also want to acknowledge that by excluding groups like undocumented youth who arrived after the age of 16, unaccompanied minors, undocumented parents of DACA recipients, undocumented siblings of US citizens, deported immigrants and deported parents of US citizens, recently arrived immigrants, previously and currently incarcerated undocumented immigrants, agricultural workers, those who are currently pregnant, and undocumented LGBTIQ immigrants, our government sees them as targets. We will not celebrate policies that are intended to pit immigrant communities against each other. We are accustomed to the colonizer’s tricks and will not fall for them. Instead, we renew our commitment to fighting alongside each other.
We demand an immediate moratorium on all deportations and a reform to our country’s detention centers. We are committed to fighting for a just society in which every single human being is treated with respect. We are particularly aware that certain undocumented immigrants are more vulnerable than others due to policies and laws that directly target those communities. Therefore, we will be vigilant and organize to protect those made most vulnerable as enforcement priorities. We urge the American public to educate themselves on how much it costs to detain human beings and to not fall for the myths that politicians propagate to establish climates of fear.
We hope to live in a world where our worth as human beings is not measured by something as arbitrary as papers. The fight for immigrant rights has been entirely led by directly impacted communities. It’s our work as directly impacted individuals that has enabled this small shift in action. Nothing will be enough to erase the years of degradation and dehumanization that our families have faced. It’s imperative that we rise up and challenge our brutal and inhumane immigration system both at a national and local level. We deserve better. Our families deserve better. We are here to fight for substantive and not superficial change and hope you will join us in the battle.
The NYSYLC Team
The NYSYLC is the first undocumented youth led, membership led, organization that empowers immigrant youth to drop the fear and challenge the broken immigration system through leadership development, grassroots organizing, educational advancement, and a safe space for self-expression.