September 1st, 2017
On September 1st, Latinos en Axión and IFCLA organized a vigil for immigration justice on the steps of the federal courthouse in downtown St. Louis. Supported by the Archdiocese of St. Louis and several local clergy, about fifty people chanted, prayed, and listened to stories of two Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program recipients. The timing of this rally was incredibly important, as three major issues were at stake with regard to immigration justice: first, Texas’ SB4 was expected to go into effect on that same day, and would have outlawed so-called sanctuary cities and prohibited local law enforcement agencies from preventing officers from demanding to see proof of citizenship. Thankfully, some of the harshest pieces of this legislation were challenged in court, and were not upheld. Second, the DACA “ultimatum” deadline was set for September 5th. This the date when Texas’ attorney general, who, joined by 10 other state attorney generals, threatened legal action if steps were not underway to dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. In an unjust attack on young immigrants, just a few days later, we heard from US Attorney General Jeff Sessions that President Trump decided to end the program. Third, Congress returned to DC after their August recess, and are now negotiating a budget for 2018. Most expect very large increases in Department of Homeland Security funding as the President has requested more than $4.5 billion additional dollars for unnecessary immigration enforcement expansion. This is a 23% increase over immigration enforcement spending in 2016.
We joined together on the courthouse steps to bring awareness to the confluence of these issues, all happening within two weeks of each other. We are called to bring awareness and attention to these issues in order to demonstrate our solidarity and inspire greater growth within the community.
To find out more about IFCLA’s response to the termination of the DACA program, please see page # for our statement with Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE), as well as page #, where you can read about the DACA Fundraiser and Renewal Clinic.