From the November-December 2017 issue of News & Letters
Los Angeles—From Sept. 1 through Sept. 10, Dreamers (young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as infants or young children) fought for their human rights against President Donald Trump’s administration’s white nationalist policy of rescinding President Obama’s DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival) Program.
On Sept. 1, there was a press conference/protest downtown at the Edward Roybal Federal Building plaza sponsored by the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights. A thousand Dreamers and supporters gathered in front of a large contingent of media and protested Trump’s anti-DACA, anti-Mexican, anti-Muslim agenda. After the press conference, we marched, chanting, “Aquí estamos y no nos vamos” (We are here and we are not leaving), and carrying a variety of pro-DACA human rights signs.
U.S. LABOR AND IMMIGRANTS UNITE
On Labor Day, Sept. 4, hundreds of pro-DACA activists together with thousands of low-wage service workers gathered and marched from a downtown high school to city hall with signs such as: “The workers’ struggle has no borders” and “Fight for 15 and a union.” We then marched to the federal building against ICE’s (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) raids, detentions, and deportation of Latino/migrant workers.
The next day, hundreds of SEIU low-wage service workers held a press conference at the L.A. County Building, where Board of Supervisors members Janice Hahn and Hilda Solis spoke. Solis stated that Jeff Sessions’ ending the DACA program filled her with “disgust.” Then we marched to the L.A. County Sheriff’s office to protest Sheriff Jim McDonnell’s cooperation with Trump and the ICE raids against undocumented immigrants.
Sept. 10 was the climax of the protests as up to 20,000 people gathered at MacArthur Park. Protesters spoke of the contributions of undocumented immigrants and against Trump’s proposed wall between Mexico and the U.S.
A procession of Indigenous Americans joined the protest and we marched several miles to La Placita Olvera, the historic site of the settlement of 44 African, Aztec and Spanish subjects in 1781 that established the city of Los Angeles. We chanted, “From Charlottesville to the White House, dismantle white supremacy,” “No more family separation” and “Build bridges, not walls.”
Undocumented Mexican workers don’t take jobs from U.S. workers, as Trump asserts; rather it is decades of U.S. corporations closing their factories and moving them to underdeveloped countries in order to raise their rate of profit. Automation has also eliminated millions of U.S. jobs.
Criminalization, imprisonment and deportation of undocumented immigrants increase profits for private prisons. Dreamers and their allies are fighting the institutional racism of capitalism and its anti-humanism.