In the past two months leading up to August 15th, when the application is expected to be released for undocumented youth to apply, we have seen organizations come out in support of this memorandum. The Immigrant Youth Justice League also acknowledges the concerns that other organizations and individuals have expressed in regards to the deferred action memo announced by President Obama on June 15, 2012.
It is true, nobody should go through the process blindly and it is definitely not a permanent solution. However, we hope that undocumented youth that qualify for deferred action are not discouraged from starting the application process and instead are encouraged to seek legal counsel on this matter so that they are informed and supported in the process. In fact, we are currently working with local organizations to make sure that legal advice is accurate, accessible, and affordable.
As an organization led by undocumented youth, it is in our interest to keep our community well informed about current immigration policies in order to defend ourselves and the community against anti-immigrant legislation. We aim to armor our community with knowledge, not fear.
If we can use this memorandum to get undocumented youth out of detention centers, to stop some deportations, and to hold politicians accountable then as organizers we will use it. This does not mean that we are trusting the government or governmental agencies, only that we can use the tools that have been the result of our struggle, and know that it will be community members keeping the government accountable. We strongly believe in the power of organized community, more than in policy and legislation.
We acknowledge that it’s up to the discretion of each individual to decide whether to apply and be willing to advocate for a fair, just, and effective implementation of the memo. Last year prosecutorial discretion was supposed to keep low priority immigrants out of detention centers and away from deportation proceedings. Although it has taken a significant amount of organizing across the country just to have 2% of cases eligible for prosecutorial discretion deferred, it has been to our advantage to not shy away from such legislation. Despite the rising anti-immigrant legislation that sets to destroy our community, undocumented people and their allies are confronting it.
Looking forward, despite the uncertainty of the future we will not act with fear but with knowledge and the power of our community on our side. It is important for undocumented youth and their families to be aware of the possible repercussions of policies, to keep fighting for real solutions, and to acknowledge that they have their own prerogative in making decisions.