DACA to stage Thanksgiving hunger strike, so who is stopping them?
DACA is planning a thanksgiving hunger strike. To this I say who is stopping them? It really shouldn’t be much different than if they went home and stopped milking the US welfare roles.
As Americans prepared for Thanksgiving, a group of immigrants and their allies launched a three-day hunger strike on Monday to press lawmakers to pass legislation that would provide a path to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children.
Participants in the hunger strike and their supporters gathered outside the district office of Rep. Chris Smith, R-Mercer, on Monday and urged him to support a clean Dream Act, legislation that would provide a path to citizenship for so-called Dreamers without expanding funds for immigration enforcement.
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Many Dreamers are currently protected from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, an Obama-era policy that the Trump Administration announced it will begin to phase out on March 5, 2018.
Seven people at the rally vowed to drink just water and not to eat until Thursday. Two others were expected to join the fast on Tuesday, organizers said.
One of the strikers, Andrew Sydenstricker of Long Valley in Morris County, said he’s fasting not only to draw attention to the need for permanent legislation to help DACA recipients but also to better understand their struggle.
“It’s an opportunity to reflect and really understand Dreamers that are really threatened right now,” said Sydenstricker, of Wind of the Spirit, a community organization based in Morristown,
About two dozen demonstrators arrived by car from around the state. Some clutched placards that read “Defend DACA” and “No Human is Illegal.” They chanted, “When Dreamers are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back,” and “Deport me? No way. Undocumented and here to stay.”
They also delivered a letter to Smith.
“We are doing this action on Thanksgiving because its a time where we want to be close to family. We are making a big sacrifice this Thanksgiving to fight so that we can stay together with our families for next year’s meal,” the letter states. “We don’t need a legislative version of DACA, we need a permanent legislative solution that gives Dreamers a pathway to citizenship. Time is running out.”
Smith has not said whether he would support a DACA deal tied to increased immigration enforcement, but he co-sponsored the Recognizing America’s Children Act, a bill that would allow Dreamers to remain in the United States and earn legal status if they work, attend school or serve in the military.
Immigrants and their allies plan to hold rallies in front of the offices of Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen in Morristown on Tuesday, Rep. Frank LoBiondo in Mays Landing on Wednesday, and Rep. Leonard Lance in Clinton on Thursday before they break their fast around noon on Thanksgiving Day. The lawmakers are all Republicans.
“They are the ones who have not promised that they would advocate for a clean Dream Act,” said Nedy Morsy, an organizer with Make the Road New Jersey and a hunger strike participant. “While congressional reps are coming home and sitting down with their families, we want them to know that there is no confusion about what New Jersey wants.”
The protests this week are among a series of rallies and marches that have been organized nationwide since the Trump administration announced Sept. 5 that it would begin to phase out the program within six months and urged Congress to pass a permanent solution by that time. Starting March 6, some of the 800,000 people who have been granted protections under DACA will become eligible for deportation unless a law is passed.
In New Jersey, 17,000 people are protected under DACA. Many of them have been able to obtain driver’s licenses and in-state tuition under the program. So they are planning a thanksgiving hunger strike. Maybe instead they should use thanksgiving to GO HOME.